Cockermouth and Keswick

Our journey down to Keswick took us through the small town of  Cockermouth, which neither of us had previously visited, so we stopped for a look round. I for one associate Cockermouth with the horrendous floods that were a major news story a few years back, and sure enough we noted that all the buildings in the lower parts of the town had vertical metal posts attached to the wall on each side of their doorways, presumably the supports for some kind of flood defence that slots between them.

Cockermouth was a nice little town; Mark was very impressed by the pork pie he bought from the local butcher’s shop, and we successfully sourced some dressing gown hooks from the local hardware shop. The most memorable part of the visit, though, occurred when an old bloke approached Mark, pointed him towards the establishment in the photo below, and said “In there, Madame Pompom’ll sort y’out….”. Oh how I laughed…..😂😂😂

Once I’d managed to compose myself, we returned to SOK and drove the last few miles to Keswick. We had such a good time in Keswick that we stayed for four nights, which is quite unusual for us….  We normally get itchy tyres much sooner than that…..

The Camping and Caravanning Club site turned out to be right on the shores of Derwentwater and within a few minutes’ walk of the town centre. It was pretty quiet given the time of year, so although the four “lake-front” pitches were all taken, we got a great spot with a nice view of the lake from our side window.

Our first objective was the time-honoured Keswick tradition of wandering round the town centre, checking out any changes since the previous visit, and huddling in a tea shop to escape the worst of the weather. The weather has been pretty wintry – there’s plenty of snow on the hills and lots of showers falling as hailstones but not sticking in town. On the positive side, it’s pretty quiet; not something you can say about Keswick for most of the year!

We found a circular walk to take us from Keswick up to Castlerigg stone circle (which dates back to 3200 BC-ish). I’d visited the stone circle before but never walked to it from Keswick. It was a good winter walk, not too far (about 5 miles round trip from the campsite), and going just high enough to afford a nice view of the lake without getting into any serious snow.

Our plans for a second low-level wintry walk near Keswick were scuppered by snow. We’d considered doing the walk around the lake (10 miles on the flat) but decided, on the grounds that we’d left our Thermos flasks at home, that instead we’d drive to Whinlatter and do two of the short forest walks there, returning to SOK at lunchtime between loops.

Ho hum. The visitor centre and car park at Whinlatter are about 200m higher than Keswick and whilst the road up there was OK, we arrived to find big “closed” signs across the entrance (due to “severe weather conditions”) and an empty snow-covered car park beyond. So that was the end of that; we turned round and headed back down to Keswick.

By this point it was too late to set off round the lake and get back before dark, so we had some lunch in SOK then walked part way along the Eastern side of the lake, round the “Great Wood” walk, and back to town along a different path.

So hardly an adventurous / overly energetic trip to Keswick, but we enjoyed it….

From Keswick we headed down to Coniston, which we’d chosen as our base for the next three nights, via Grasmere and Ambleside. The camp site here (Coniston Park Coppice) looks unexpectedly dismal at this time of year set as it is among leafless trees; it was much greener and prettier last time I visited (to meet up with Yvonne and Adriana back in the days when Mark was still working hard… ok… when Mark was still working.) Not to worry though, we aren’t planning on hanging around the camp site much during daylight hours…. On our to-do list for the next couple of days are Furness Abbey and the Lakeland Motor Museum…

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