Monday, 17th April, 2023

Today was again overcast and cool but it didn't rain. A full English breakfast was provided by our accommodation "The Woodlands" in Winderemere. Between us, Satoshi and I took 411 phots today. It was very difficult to choose which to include. There are about 70 photos here which may cause this page to take a while to load. This means only about 1 photo in 6 actually made it!

Our first visit today was to "Sarah Nelson's Grasemere Gingerbread Shop". The gingerbread was £1 per piece so we only bought six. I found it had a little too much ginger for my taste but it was good.

From there, we drove to "Lake District Wildlife Park" where we had booked an "Ultimate Animal Experience". This allowed us to interact with meerkats, tapirs and lemurs. Each of these experiences was wonderful. The meerkats were calmer than meerkats we had met at other zoos, possibly due to the fact that they had been overfed (accidentally) for some time and were rather tubby! The tapirs were very calm and relaxed too. The female came up to me and leant on me for quite a while. The best of the three species were the lemurs. They were as curious about us as we were about them. They were happy to be patted and took food from our hands. It was definitely worth the purchase price. The rest of the park was interesting too and very peaceful. As in other places we have seen in England, the facility was in good order and the animals appeared healthy and happy. Our guide, Josh, was accommodating, knowledgeable and helpful.

This tapir came and leaned on me and stayed there for several minutes!

Clearly, this tapir didn't like he attention it was receiving!!

This goat had given birth to these kids only minutes before this photo was taken.

"Where are they? They should have been here by now."

"Carrots are SO tasty!"

A Yak

Satoshi with two Dwarf Zebu

Asian Short-Clawed Otters

"It's been a long, hard day!"

A sleepy Red Panda

These are Greater Flamingos. (I'm not sure what they are greater than!)

Harris's Hawke (I don't know why he left it here.)

A Black Kite (Yes, I know it doesn't look black... I don't know why!)

An American Bald Eagle (Yes, I know it isn't bald... I don't know this one either!)

A Lanner Falcon

A Green-Winged Macaw

These kids have grown so much in their first hour of life!

A Grey Crowned Crane

If the Yellow Mongoose breeding program has not been successful as yet, it soon will be!!

Next, we visited the Derwent Pencil Museum. We enjoyed some hot vegetable soup and fresh bread for lunch before making our way around the interesting exhibits. We then drove the short distance to Ashness Bridge which featured on the cases of Derwent Pencil tins for many years. The road to the bridge was very narrow but there were several passing places so it was OK.

Apparently, this is the world's largest pencil.

I remember having Lakeland pencils as a child, I didn't know they were made in the same factory as Derwent pencils!

This drawing of Ashness Bridge featured on Derwent pencil tins for many years.

It's still as it was!

The next stop was Lowther Castle. Even though this building is mostly just a shell, it is still very impressive and atmospheric. Unfortunately, there were works going on in the actual ruins so we were not allowed to wander around inside. Nevertheless, we could go all around the perimeter. In 1882, the castle and its income were inherited by Hugh Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale. He indulged in many of his passions, spending money recklessly. Just the bill for his cigars was £3,000 in a year! The castle was not maintained properly during his time. Then it was requisitioned by the army during WWII. During the 1950s the owners could not afford the repairs required so the contents of the castle were auctioned off and, to avoid paying taxes, the roof was removed.

Some of the gold and silver from the castle has been bought back.

This was the castle before its demise.

These tiles are all that is left of the Orangery.

Even as a ruin, there are aspects of the castle which are still quite majestic.

On the way to Lowther Castle, we passed by Brougham Castle which we had not planned to visit. As we had a little time spare, we tried our luck on the return trip, arriving at 4:50pm, ten minutes before its advertised closing time. The castle is managed by English Heritage which we had joined before we left Australia. The helpful and kind lady in the reception office allowed us in, gave us a sticker so we can now park in English Heritage car parks for free, and also gave us an English Heritage Guide Book which lists all the sites in England (about 500) maintained by this organisation. The castle is only a ruin, having been abandoned in the early 1600s but, as with Lowther Castle, it is still impressive and atmospheric. A climb up a steep and uneven spiral staircase was rewarded by wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.

This bridge is located just outside the castle.

Even after 500 years, one gets glimpses of how the castle looked back then.

I don't know the name of this pretty plant but it was growing in many places on the castle walls.

An attempt at an "artistic" photo

The last thing on our activity list for today was to attend a performace of "Around the World in 80 Days" at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick. This was an interesting, funny and enjoyable play. There was hardly any scenery at all but the very clever use of props made sure we understood exactly where each scene was taking place. The actors were great and we could hear every word. Information about the production and the actors, together with some video clips can be found here.

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