Friday, 4 November 2011

Half term and Halloween

November again and last week was half term. It has now become a tradition to spend the half term week with The Granddaughter (TG) at her family home in Cumbria. They live in an interesting town based around a gigantic ship yard where nuclear submarines and surface warships are built or fitted out. Most of the town grew up with the needs of the shipyard but government spending on warships has been in gradual decline since the Second World War as the Navy has reduced the number of ships year on year, so this industry is no longer the huge employer it once was.
Barrow town skyline
Barrow-in-Furness is right on the tip of the Furness peninsular and has sometimes been described as the longest cul-de-sac (dead end) in the UK. It is about 50 minutes from the M6 motorway, which for strangers to our island is the longest major road, linking London with Scotland.
To get from our home to theirs it is usually about a six hour journey from door to door, but can be longer.
An offshore wind farm
The town is on a rather windy part of the English coast and out to sea off the Cumbrian coast there is an impressive wind farm and in the hills around some smaller wind farms make use of the regular prevailing winds.
Lake Windermere in October
Despite being a town based on heavy industry, there are compensations because within half an hour you can be at Lake Windermere and well into the Lake District, an area containing many of Britain’s favourite beauty spots, with lakes, mountains and walks all within this small area.
On the way from Barrow to Lake Windermere you pass the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway (link), which every October puts on a Witches and Wizards week. One of the stations on this line was used in the filming of the Harry Potter Movies and so you can visit Hogwarts School Station. The line ends at Lakeside, which is the most southerly end of Lake Windermere. From there you can take the passenger boat service up the lake to the three small towns on the lake, Bowness, Windermere and Ambleside.
In Windermere there is the headquarters of the company Lakeland Plastics, a place which specialises in kitchenware and household gadgets. This is somewhere that The Better Half (TBH) always wants to visit when we are in the area. This store has branches all over the UK and do an Internet service but like an Internet book shop, a real bookshop is much better for browsing and finding new authors and Lakeland always seems to have a new selection of must-have gadgets.
Fell Foot park
Fell Foot Park

Some stone steps in Fell Foot

We went for a walk in Fell Foot park, a National Trust property, which was once a large private estate with a big house and landscaped gardens but which is now missing the house and the only remaining structures are the old boat houses bordering the lake.

The Lake shore at Fell Foot
The lake in autumn

A local inhabitant going about his business

Windemere from Fell Foot
 The largest of these is turned into a Tea House with chairs and table along the lake’s edge.
The architecture of this quaint building is eccentric to say the least, with castellation and large almost unworked stones for the lintels and sills on the windows.
The Tea House with its strange lintels
 This is repeated on a larger scale on the front entrance and requires a view from the lake to get the full effect.
This image is borrowed from from the National Trust site for Fell Foot
Meanwhile Halloween was nearly upon us and there were several home grown pumpkins to carve into spooky faces. Pumpkins do not grow to a huge size in northern Britain but TG’s parents work hard at growing many kinds of vegetables and produce some good results.
TG was keen to get the carving done as soon as possible and we all set to designing faces we could carve into our particular pumpkin. The result was quite spooky.

A whole gang of pumpkins


  1. You know what I always remember about Barrow? That Chewits advert... Chewier than Barrow-in-Furness bus depot!

    We went over to Piel Island last year when we were staying in Bardsea (just down the road from Barrow). Gorgeous spot. I assume you've been.

  2. Beautiful area. Glad you've had a good time, Snafu. I love that pumpkin man! Very creative.

    Some of the Harry Potter was shot on the Pickering to Goathland line as well; presumably the other end of the journey. x

  3. I have many wonderful memories of times in the Lake District,especially around Lake Windermere. Beautiful place - and you got some beautiful shots,snafu!

    Love the creativeness of all your pumpkins - some prize-winning ones there, for sure!