Although it is on the other side of the country and nearly touches the west coast, the Lake District, at its nearest, is only an hour's drive from home for us. So, as we had to go to Carlisle last weekend anyway because Mrs MP and Delphi were competing at an obedience dog show (see DELPHI WINS), we decided to stay for the week. We parked our caravan in the yard of Throstle Hall Farm just outside of the village of Caldbeck, which is pretty much at the northernmost tip of the Lake District at the foot of the fells behind Skiddaw and Blencathra.

Caldbeck is a village that Mrs MP and myself are regularly drawn back to. It is nowhere near as busy as the villages in the main part of the Lake District National Park but is just as charming as the best of them. If I hadn't had the misfortune of meeting the child-grooming vicar, the cover-up archdeacon and the bigoted bishop it would have been exactly the sort of place we would have retired to.

The Cald Beck at Calbeck

St. Kentigern's (a.k.a. St. Mungo's) Well at Caldbeck.
Originally much deeper, it was used by the saint for full immersion baptisms

In the 6th Century St. Kentigern (founder of Glasgow) worked as a missionary
in Caldbeck before he travelled further south to found churches in Wales

A herdwick sheep.
If I had sheep they would be herdies

The beck running through the village

When I win the lottery I am going to live in one of these cottages

Sheep on a village meadow

The old smithy - now a tearoom

The village farm

17th. Century cottage

St. Kentigern's Church dates back to Norman times. It replaced a
celtic church originally founded by its patron saint

That arch looks Norman to me

A sunflower growing up from a crack in the paving stones of the church porch

Like most Cumbrian churches, St. Kentigern's is plain inside reflecting the
predominantly low church ethos of the diocese

However, it does have some interesting a beautiful stained glass

John Peel, not the DJ but the huntsman, is buried in the churchyard.
He was immortalised in the song "Do yea ken John Peel?"

The Old Rectory. The vicar (now house for duty) no longer lives in this
mansion of a house. However, the present vicarage is almost as big

The Priest's Mill

Old AA sign on wall of village garage

Throstle Hall farm is one of the best small caravan sites we have ever stayed on. The owners were friendly, the facilities were clean and more than adequate and the free range eggs were delicious and, at £1.50 a dozen, extremely cheap.

Quiz enjoying the evening sun

Delphi hiding from the evening sun under Mrs MP's chair

Farm meadow

Looking east

Looking south towards the Caldbeck Fells

If it itches then scratch it!

Housemartins on the telephone wire

A tired Quiz on my bunk

For our first long walk we drove to Derwentwater at Keswick where we caught a launch down to Lodore. From there we crossed the water meadows along the bottom of the lake and then all the way up the west bank back to Keswick.

Lakeside at Keswick

Looking south over Derwentwater towards Cat Bells

As it is tradition in these parts we sacrificed a young child to the water gods
in order to guarantee a safe journey for ourselves

The path across the water meadows at the southern end of Derwentwater

Children bathing in the River Derwent

Looking back over the Derwent to Shepherds Crag

The lakeshore at Brandlehow Bay

Looking north from Brandlehow Bay towards Blencathra

Delphi and Quiz having a mad on the lakeshore.
Brandlehow Point is in the background

This sculpture, entitled "Entrust," in Brandlehow Park, was carved by
John Merill in 2002 from a single oak

One of the Derwentwater launches leaving Hawes End

Looking over The Park towards Cat Bells

Nichol End boatyard

Looking east over Derwentwater towards Keswick

Bridge over the River Derwent at Portinscale, north of Derwentwater

For our next big walk we stayed local. We parked in Calbeck and walked east along the Cumbria Way for a couple of miles or so before turning right along the River Caldew and into Hesket Newmarket. After a cup of tea from the village shop we crossed the fields to Upton, then another field to the waterfalls on Whelpo Beck before making our way back to our car.

Looking over Throstle Hall Farm towards the Caldbeck Fells
from the Cumbria Way

Our caravan parked at Throstle Hall Farm

The point at which we parted company with the Cumbria Way

The River Caldew north of Hesket Newmarket

Hesket Newmarket showground all ready for Saturday

Back of Hesket Newmarket

The Old Crown at Hesket Newmarket
Britain's first cooperatively owned pub
Decidedly closed even though it's the middle of the tourist season

Hesket Newmarket village green 

Looking towards the Caldbeck Fells from Upton

Whelpo Beck flowing through the Fairy Kettle at Howk Gorge near Caldbeck

Remains of the Howk Bobbin Mill

Caldbeck village pond

The Old Brewery at Caldbeck 

Red sky at night, shepherds' delight
Although, to be honest, the next day was wet and miserable

As regular readers will know, Quiz is from working border collie stock and is registered with the International Sheep Dog Society. He has definitely inherited all the right traits for a working dog and so I'm looking into the possibility of training him to compete in sheep dog trials even if it is only at a very novice level. Therefore, on Thursday we took the opportunity of being in Caldbeck for their annual sheep dog trial to check out exactly what goes on at such events. It was very relaxed and friendly, the Cumberland sausage baps were scrumptious, and the competition itself, interesting. I learned a lot about working sheep dogs and I hope this will help me develop a good friendship with Quiz who is certainly different to any other border collie I have lived with.

Friday was another showery day and the clouds hung low over the fell tops. We went to Glenridding on Ullswater (another favourite haunt of ours that has featured on this blog before). Although it would have been foolhardy, because of the poor visibility, to attempt to climb high up into the fells we did manage a rather splendid circular walk in the shadow of the mighty Helvellyn.

Miner's cottages in Glenridding

Looking out across Glenridding Beck towards the slopes of Birkhouse Moor

The road up to the old mine workings (Greenside Road)

The youth hostel at the old mine workings (Greenside Mine)

Swart Beck

The top of Helvellyn covered in cloud

Glenridding Beck above the mine workings

On the south side of Glenridding Beck looking towards Glenridding village

View from where we took our tea break

In a garden on the outskirts of Glenridding village

Rowan tree, lakeside at Glenridding
Looking towards Patterdale Common

Not only were we lucky enough to be in Caldbeck for their sheep dog trial we were also there for the Hesket Newmarket Show. I was really looking forward to this event but, to be honest, it was quite disappointing. There were very few entries and very few stalls of interest. Considering the possibilities of what could be included in a country show I think the organisers had been very lazy. Unless you were a sheep farmer there was very little of any relevance which was silly as most of the paying showgoers were definitely not farmers. This was proved by the fact that the entry for the pet dog class was about ten times as high as any of the livestock and working dog classes. They should learn from this but they won't.

Sunday was another changeable day weatherwise. We spent it mooching around Waterhead Pier near Ambleside and Grasmere. I didn't take any photos because you will have seen it all before on this very blog. We are now back home. Mrs MP goes back to work tomorrow and hopefully I will find something interesting to blog about. But don't count on it. I've got quite used to doing bugger all all day except enjoying myself. Heck, I could easily qualify for the episcopacy.

A very naughty cow who is not obeying the law
(see photo at top of post)



  1. I enjoyed all the pictures – especially the Rowan tree, Quiz and Delphi, the red colored sheep (they are so beautiful), and the horses – Frisians and Clydesdale? Thank you for sharing them. So much beauty and joy.

  2. As much as I love animals, * giving drivers licenses to cattle is a step too far, IMO.

    * Inc the tasty ones! Beeeeef. Geez, MP, at the bottom of the thread, you had to undercut my joke, didncha?

    OMG, LOOK at all the purdy pictures! [Went a bit nuts w/ the camera, did we? Ah, the days of film, when one had to ration oneself’s shutter-finger. ;-p]

    Seriously, looking forward to enjoying these pics, at length… (!)

  3. One of your best ever photo-diary posts, IMHO, Jonathan.

    I particularly enjoyed the detail about John Peel.

    I’m writing this from Oakham, BTW, so quite a bit closer to you than usual. In case you felt a disturbance in the Force!

  4. “He has definitely inherited all the right traits for a working dog and so I’m looking into the possibility of training him to compete in sheep dog trials even if it is only at a very novice level.”

    …and then you and Quiz can fly (!!!) over to this side o’ the Pond, and join me at UC Davis for Picnic Day (3rd Sat of April) and their Sheep Dog Trials, as seen here.