March in the Lakes – Part 1: Viewpoints

The date was in the diary, the pre-order had been made, the accommodation had been booked. Then the unthinkable happened – Andy Beck’s book launch was pushed back from the weekend of 4-5 March to the equivalent weekend in May. Issues with the colour reproduction in the printing process necessitated this delay, and one I was happy to endure – this is very much about quality rather than speed: after all it’s taken him a decade to execute the Wainwrights in Colour project, so a couple of months more to ensure the standard of the finished product is worth it. But having arranged to be present at the launch, this now presented me with a problem – well two problems.

The first problem is the rescheduled date – it’s now the weekend before the TGO, or in other words the weekend before I’m away from home for 2 and a bit weekends. This makes attendance at the new date a bit of a stretch. So, I contacted Andy and converted my “pick the book up at the launch” order into a posted one. It may be that I do get to attend the launch, but at least this way I’ve got some certainty.

The second, and more immediate, problem was what to do with the weekend in the Lakes that was all booked and planned. The original intention had been to make it an art trip in the first instance and tag some walks on. The constraint of writing off the Saturday to attend the launch now lifted, we could do pretty much what we wanted. Much scanning of the weather forecast took place, to no real benefit as it was all over the place. In the end, with me still recovering from a near-terminal bout of manflu, the decision was made to stick with the accommodation bookings already made, and not bother taking camping gear. Daywalks were the order of the day. This approach allowed the space that would have been occupied by camping gear to be taken up with art gear. Yes, this trip I’d go beyond my usual sketching kit and take the full monty. I also decided to take the car as being a more flexible option in light of the weather and the various social engagements we had in the diary.


Friday was spent travelling, a near constant effort of driving through rain and spray. It was a relief to get to Kendal, check into the hostel and head to the Brewery Arts Centre for dinner with Gina, Dave, Ria and Bob. Naturally, we rounded this off with a few in the Factory Tap afterwards.

Beers at the @ThefactoryTap with Gina, Dave, Ria, Cath and the elusive Bob (picture shamelessly nicked from Gina’s blipfoto)


We piled in the car to head north. The plan was to lurk about some northern fells, paint a bit and then meet up with Robin (@blgpackinglight) for a drink and meal. First up was Binsey, climbing from a handy roadside parking spot at the south eastern corner of the fell. A straightforward track took us to the summit where we enjoyed the view and sat down to capture it. Cath had decided to pick up her paintbrush after a gap extending all the way back to school days. I was there to provide a bit of coaching.

Binsey summit, last visited in 2009 when I took almost the exact same photo
Cath at work
I demonstrated a few techniques, but stopped short of a complete picture
Enjoying the view from Binsey

Binsey’s a great viewpoint to see the northern and north-western fells, and one I’d been meaning to come back to for a while. There was a limit to how long we could stay though – the cold and the erosion of our stock of cookies took their toll, and so we packed up and headed back to the car. The next stop was Keswick for a spot of late lunch and a stroll out to Derwentwater.

Derwentwater from Friar’s Crag

The sun though, was a bit too strong and in the wrong place to make painting anything worthwhile. Add to that the crowds of Saturday afternoon strollers. So we spent a few minutes enjoying the view and headed back to the car. There, I had a brainwave, and telling Cath our next stop was a surprise, drove us up to a hillside above Keswick. This was Cath’s first visit to Castlerigg, and my first for quite some time.

Castlerigg Stone Circle
The light up here was impressive

At this point a text conversation with Robin resulted in a decision to defer our meetup until Tuesday. This turned out to be sensible given we still had to drive back to Ambleside and check into the hostel. Dinner was a pair of dehydrated meals, both homemade – a chilli for Cath and a pasta bolognese for me. Both worked pretty well.

Home-dehydrated meals for dinner

To be continued…..

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