Day 59/112 Wet and windy in the English north

We decided to combine a trip to Northern England while we were in Scotland and then we’ll fly back to London to spend three weeks in Southern England. It’s always so hard to balance booking ahead with the flexibility to stay on in a place we love. We certainty could have spent more time in the Highlands.

Over the last few days we’ve had fun in the Lake District. On our way here we stopped at Gretna Green, just before the English border, only because we saw a sign for the “Famous Blacksmiths Shop”. What a surprise we had to find that it is actually a famous wedding venue as a result of people running away to Scotland to get married when England had higher age restrictions to get married. There was a wedding on when we went through the museum. Fascinating history for this small village including letters from couples married there who were celebrating anniversaries many years later.

Yesterday we had a Beatrix Potter day, starting at Hill Top Farm, where Beatrix purchased her first Lake District property. It was neat seeing the spots in the house that provided the inspiration for her beautiful illustrations. We could also walk through the village and see the old pub and post office box in her illustrations. We then went to the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead, in the building which was her husband’s office. The exhibition here had a number of her illustrations with an explanation, an old photo of the scene used for the drawing and then a recent photo of the same scene. Fascinating and heartening to see that a lot hasn’t changed. We also went to the World of Beatrix Potter, via the car ferry across Lake Windermere. This is a commercial operation aimed at children. The exhibitions were beautifully presented but I thought they could have provided a bit more dept into the stories (perhaps they are restricted by copyright).

I loved hearing about how much Beatrix did to save the area from development and the wonderful gift she gave the nation by leaving her farms and properties to the National Trust. I saw more of this today when I went to Wordsworth House in Cockermouth where the poet William Wordsworth grew up. William and his sister were also passionate about nature and protecting it for future generations.

To escape the rain this morning we went to the Beacon Museum in Whitehaven. Great local history and views over the harbour. Also lots of hands on interactive displays which Loralei and Holly enjoyed.

So what’s next? We now have the rest of our trip booked! Tomorrow we are back to Edinburgh, then we fly to London (Luton) on Monday. From there we have three weeks travelling west then along the southern coast. We fly from Gatwick on 3 July to board our cruise to Norway the next day. On our return from Norway on 16 July, we will train to Frankfurt where we fly out to Denver on 21 July.

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