When in Rome…
After an epic day on the fells I needed a day closer to sea level. Besides, when in the Lake District, one should spend some time on at least one of the District’s beautiful lakes.
The village of Ambleside (where I’ve based myself) is located at one end of Lake Windermere - the longest lake in the District at just over 18km long. The circuit around the lake is 32 miles (51 kilometres) long - I wasn’t up for anything like that, but there are a couple of ferry services criss-crossing Lake Windermere so I headed to Ambleside’s Lakeside Pier to catch the ferry to Wray Castle.
Wray Castle does a great impression of a medieval castle. According to the Captain of the ferry, Wray Castle was built by a surgeon from Liverpool as a wedding present for his heiress wife (with her money) in the 1840s. Today, it is in the hands of the National Trust and a tourist attraction (though closed the day I visited). A gentle 4-5 km walk along the path that hugs the shoreline out of the way, I cross Lake Windermere again - destination Bowness.
Bowness is another of the lovely little villages on Lake Windermere. The highlight for me was St. Martin’s Church. The original 13th century wooden church burnt down (like so many others) and the church that stands on the site today was consecrated in 1483 (though its frescoes were painted in the 17th and 19th centuries). Pre-dating the Reformation, the church was once Catholic.
Back in Ambleside I visit the remains of a Roman Fort before heading to the Royal Oak for a very late lunch/early dinner. The original structure was a small, wooden garrison for 200 men at the end of the first century AD. The remains of a much bigger stone fort we see today date back to the second century.
A gentle 20,000 step day!