Buttermere Circuit and the Kirkstile Inn

The cottage we are staying in is over 200 years old and is featured in a painting by Turner. How’s that for fancy?

‘Featured’ is possibly putting it a little strongly, it’s the tiny white blob on the left.

The house feels kind of like a very large doll’s house… or perhaps we feel just a little too large for it because, by modern standards, it’s a bit cramped and the bedrooms are tiny. So is the kitchen, stairwell and all the lintels. Fortunately the bathroom is a good size and the outdoors feel enormous!

For our first full day we decided to do a circuit of Buttermere, a walk I’ve done twice before but which I’m happy to do again as it always delivers on views. We decided to set off at 10 but the dawn chorus woke me just after 4am. FOUR AM. Fortunately I got back to sleep without too much trouble.

The sheep joined in with the early sing song.

On the recommendation of two strangers in Ambleside, I booked the Kirkstile Inn for dinner in the evening so we all decided to have brunch at the cafe at Buttermere after our circuit walk.

We set off from the gate in our back yard. the weather was quite overcast to begin with.

Tiny bridges.

Dramatic trees.

The last bridge shot everyone willingly participated in.
Moody rocks.
Tranquil water.
Participation in bridge photos was becoming more grudging at this point.

Luke tried to get out of this one, to no avail.
Sue might be fast but she wasn’t fast enough.
The last of the bluebells.
Luke thinking himself safe from being photographed on a bridge.
The sun came out and it was marvellous.
Last time we were here a dog was trying to drag giant rocks out of the river and the owner was trying to stop them.
I found a photo! Buttermere circa 2018, mad dog included.
Not far from the southern end is the ice cream stand.
‘Thunder and Lightning’, what a great name for a flavour!
I ate my icecream standing on the bridge and looking for fish in the river,

The walk, just like every other walk, took longer than expected and so brunch became lunch. I was full of icecream but everyone else had lovely baked things or filled rolls.

Home for a rest between meals and then I decided to walk to the Kirkstile Inn in Loweswater and Luke came too. Everyone else drove with Mark.

Luke and I set off at 4pm. The first part of the walk was alongside the road, which was stone walls on both sides so there were a couple of spots where we leapt into the plants on the roadside to let cars past.

We saw the yellowest gorse bush of the whole trip so far.
We saw a whole lot of sheep on the roadsides and this very northern sign.
All of a sudden the path descended into a rather spooky wood.
Then a nice leafy green wood.
Then we had a chat to a lovely old man who was taking a leisurely stroll.
The last section was country lanes between high hedges.
Some lovely bluebells.
And finally the pub!
The pub has a beautiful arbour of roses that you could smell from a distance.
But they were even better close up!
The front of the inn overlooked a stream and Mellbreak Fell.
A long, hard walk means a nice cold cider/Cumbrian ale. Today we did 18km. Not bad!

Upon being seated at our table, the bartender started talking to Luke about beer and I think I can honestly say I saw Luke fall in love right before my eyes – not with the bartender precisely, but with the everything. The place, the beer, the food, the time, the season… sometimes things are just right and tonight was one of those times. Luke was almost vibrating with pure pleasure and before the end of dinner he’d decided we needed to come back the next day.

Low beams and a friendly barman are life.
Luke and I shared the beef cheek.
The desserts were wonderful.

After dinner Lea and I were outside looking at the roses and got talking to an American lady. It turned out that she and her family were staying at the bed and breakfast part of our property, right next door to our cottage. With six people in our group and a five seater car the solution seemed obvious so I (rather cheekily) asked if they had room in theirs. I ended up getting a ride back with them and, surprise surprise, I had a great conversation with them on the way home.

We came home and played some music trivia, partly prompted by news of the death of Tina Turner. When I heard she has died I thought of Mum, who always loved her music. Thinking of you tonight, Mum!

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