A day out to Keswick
Where to start…what a beautiful place! After hearing so much about Keswick and its surrounding areas I just knew I had to visit! And what better way then tying it into a Ten Lakes Spectacular Tour!
Keswick has always been one place I’ve heard great things about but I have never ventured to it - perhaps because there is no rail link unlike places such as Kendal and Windermere, therefore it isn’t as easily accessed as other towns in South Lakeland, but this wasn’t stopping me!
On route to Keswick we drove through some beautiful villages and we got to see Rydal Mount and Grasmere Lake! We had a quick stop in Grasmere so we could taste Sarah Nelson’s speciality – Grasmere Gingerbread, a recipe which is over 200 years old. We also had the chance to walk through the daffodil gardens and we visited the graveyard where William Wordsworth and his family lay to rest. Swiftly moving on from Grasmere we drove passed the spectacular Thirlmere Lake which our knowledgeable Tour Guide Geoff explained is actually two lakes merged together to make a reservoir! The reservoir now supplies water to the whole of Manchester. This was just the start of interesting things Geoff had taught us, which was fantastic as we didn’t just get to see Ten Lakes in one tour, we got to learn so much about the area!
As we approach Keswick, Geoff described what it used to be like hundreds of years ago - an old mining community which was well known for its lead and in fact home to the very first pencil. When we arrived in Keswick we had just over an hour for a “lunch stop” however I took advantage of the Mountain Goat’s packed lunch service so I could eat as we drove which meant I could have more time exploring. With Keswick being the home to the first lead pencil, I was not surprised to discover the Pencil Museum, although I didn’t go in, you entered the building through a replica graphite mine and if you made your way around the museum you would start your journey of graphite and pencil discovery from its humble beginnings to modern day production.
Moving on from the Pencil Museum I walked into the town centre, which is surrounded by mountains which beautifully dominate the skyline. As you walk around the town you can see there are a selection of walking shop, along with specialist cheese, chocolate and sweet shops!
After exploring the town centre, the hour was nearly up so I made my way back to the minibus where we went east of Keswick and headed to Castlerigg Stone Circle! Geoff gave us a brief history of Castlerigg Stone Circle and explained that it dates back to the Neolithic era! The panoramic views were incredible, especially the mountains of Helvellyn and High Seat – it was breath taking.
After our break at Castlerigg Stone Circle we headed for Derwent Water which is just south of Keswick and only a 20 minute walk from the town centre! To the west of Derwent is the fells of Cat bells, to the east is the fantastic viewpoint of Friar’s Crag and in its southern foot is the entrance to the stunning Borrowdale Valley.
As our time in Keswick comes to a close, we head to Ullswater to enjoy a lake cruise before heading over the fantastic Honister Pass back to Windermere.
To sum up, the whole tour was fantastic and I have only touched upon a small section of the tour (Keswick). There was so much more we got to see and learn, from Lake District Sheep to the Viking’s dry stone walls – it’s a tour I would highly recommend!