I’m celebrating my first “live” tour of the Lake District since March 2020 today, after an amazing day out with @the_apoke on May 16th, one week ago. Blessed with fine, sunny weather for our trip out to Dalemain, near Pooley Bridge at the northern end of Ullswater, we had a particularly scrumptious as well as fine day for our visit, finding Dalemain’s world famous Marmalade Festival well underway and jars of the good stuff in many of the rooms in this gracious and gorgeous house.
Somewhat harder to find were Dalemain’s blue poppies – another huge draw for the house – but we did find one solitary petal left trembling on the stem of the first blue poppy of the season amongst the many other treasures in Dalemain’s magical gardens. Naturally, I’ll be heading back to Dalemain again in early June to see the poppies in all their glory but seeing this one was also special.
Staying on the subject of “special”, my guest was over the moon to bump into and talk with Mrs Jane Hasell-McCosh, custodian of Dalemain together with her husband Robert, having become a huge fan of Dalemain and the family who lives there through watching NHK TV’s hugely popular series about Dalemain back in Japan.
Luckily, there was still plenty left to enjoy, with a glorious one hour boat trip from Pooley Bridge to Glenridding with Ullswater Steamers and an early evening trip back to Kendal by bus: first, to Bowness on the #508 bus via Brothers Water, the Kirkstone Pass and Troutbeck, soaking up the views of valleys, peaks and stony fells peppered with ewes, corralling their young lambs; then, from Bowness, sweeping home with wind and laughter on the open-topped #599 back to Kendal.
Altogether, it was a great day and a long day, and we spent much of it chatting not just about nature, conservation, history and the lakes, but also about my guest’s dream to reconfigure the world with flower power, bringing plants into every aspect of life for a more sustainable – and frankly, much more beautiful – future for as many of us as she can reach. I suspect I may have been as inspired by her as she was by the Lake District, and feel privileged to have guided her for what I hope will be just one of many journeys for her in this beautiful part of the world.