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A quick visit to Keswick, Derwentwater & Bassenthwaite

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A couple of hours drive up the M6 and along country roads brought us to Keswick in Cumbria, part of the Lake District next to Derwentwater. (Someone tried to explain to me the difference between, lakes, meres and waters but they’re all big puddles, Derwentwater fed by the river Derwent).

It’s an attractive town with lots of character. Pubs, cafes, gift shops, food shops, and of course outdoor clothing shops – including a Norwegian shop (I was wearing my Icelandic hoodie thinking I’d blend in but everyone else was wearing hi-tech weatherproof clothing, big boots and rucksacks).

The theatre by the lake is an attractive building and seemed busy with a writers’ festival and a full programme of music and drama including an upcoming concert by the Manfreds! (Manfred Mann without Manfred).

And the views across the lake are stunning.

Parking is a bit of a problem with a 2-hour disc system (if you can find a space) and wardens working 7 days a week. And it’s at least a fiver on the car parks for a few hours.

And everywhere dogs – loads of them from ‘rats on string’ size handbag dogs to some as big as sheep.

And Keswick encourages them! Signs everywhere saying “dogs welcome” or “dog friendly”, even in restaurants. How unhygienic is that?

You can tell I’m not a dog person so thank goodness that there are two places at least that doesn’t allow them. Costa Coffee and Wetherspoons. Well done for holding out! Wetherspoons is in the old police/court house (The Chief Justice of Common Pleas) and still has the dock (pictured) and some cells.

A trip across the lake doesn’t come cheaply at £10.25 a pop for a ten minute ride, although kids, and dogs, go free.

Fighting your way through the melee of geese and occasional swans trying to mug you by the water’s edge just adds to the fun.

There are plenty of walks by the lake and around the fells and lots of pubs and cafes to refresh you when you are flagging.

And that was our plan for the Sunday, a forced march round the lake!

The weather wasn’t brilliant but the rain held off and we saw some blue sky when we visited a 9th century church St Bega’s at Mirehouse at the edge of Bassenthwaite.

It’s named after a saint from the early middle ages, an Irish princess fleeing from her husband-to-be, a Viking allegedly the son of the King of Norway. Of course there’s lots of evidence of the Vikings in the place names for example ‘thwaite’ means a woodland clearing..

Lord Alfred Tennyson stayed at Mirehouse in 1835 where he wrote Morte D’Arthur and the opening lines about the chapel were inspired by this church.

After dashing around the lakes we sadly had to leave the fresh air of the Lake District and get back on the motorway heading South.

Keswick is well worth visiting and you’ll get a friendly reception – even if you don’t have a dog!


Author: mikethepsych

He says he's a psychologist but aren't we all?

One thought on “A quick visit to Keswick, Derwentwater & Bassenthwaite

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