3 September 2013

Visiting the Queen of the Lakes

Life at Capernwray has become natural, just in a few short days. The routine of lectures, daily duties, mealtimes, and late-night conversations with roomies feels like a life I've been living for years. I'm making friends, getting to know people from far-flung stretches of the world, and letting them get to know me as well, opening up in ways I never have.

Though Bible School is its own little bubble, we're near many famous and wonderful attractions, and four times this semester we will have the chance to take a chartered bus to a location where we can roam about and enjoy the area for a few hours before heading back. The first of these trips was to a town I'd been eager to see: Keswick. It's a town in the Lake District that is actually inside a national park, and is surrounded by the natural beauty of water and the fells (mountains or hills, high ground used as common grazing).

Everyone going on the trip ate a big English fry up breakfast, then piled into the bus for a lovely hour and fifteen minute drive past tall, sloping scoops of land, dappled by sun and shade and thousands upon thousands of daffodils. Strips of houses cling to hillsides segmented by wobbly fields; the hills are almost vertical and it's a wonder the sheep don't roll off.

We got off the bus in a carpark and I went with our group on a short hike along the banks of Derwent Water. This is one of the most famous places in the Lake District, holding the unofficial title "Queen of the Lakes." My walk was almost an hour of stunning views, precious moments, and fantastic photo opportunities. Every bend in the path was picturesque. We stomped through mud, crossed bridges, trekked between hedgerows, finally climbing up a steep hill to a rocky crag perched high above the lake. This unpublicized scenic overlook proudly displayed Derwentwater and Keswick in all their sparkling glory. Looking out on that awesome landscape, the words of Bryan Waller Procter seemed appropriate:

 Deep stillness lies upon this lovely lake.
The air is calm, the forest trees are still;
The river windeth without noise, and here
The fall of fountains comes not, nor the sound
Of the white cataract Lodore: the voice,
The mighty mountain voice—itself is dumb.
Only, far distant and scarce heard, the dash
Of waters, broken by some boatman's oar,
Disturbs the golden, calm monotony.

Keswick is a quaint jumble of new shops and venerable ones, and an abundance of cafes and restaurants. Once in town I meandered through the tiny twisting streets, stopping to admire booths at the Saturday market where local salesmen displayed everything from handmade wooden decor to scrub brushes to freshly baked pies.

My friends and I popped into the adorable Bryson's tearoom. This is where I had my first cream tea in England: a fluffy scone piled high with clotted cream and jam, accompanied by a steaming cuppa—for only £3.25. The place is run by a Cockney fellow with a love of conversation, and a passion for a certain local specialty called plumbread, which is chock full of currants, raisins and sultanas.

After walking around town a bit more, I went to Booth's and did my first bit of shopping since arriving at Capernwray. Chocolate covered digestives were a must! The bus came for us at 4, and then we had a sleepy drive back to school, arriving just in time for tea.



  1. I kind of want to go there now. ;)
    My name is Jen, I found your blog through melindablogs.wordpress and have thoroughly enjoyed my stay--and worked up an appetite for cuppa, scones and British Bible college. A friend just visited Ireland and England this summer and she's looking into Bible colleges there now.
    It was quite fun following the narrative of your life there--you're a delightful read!

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Jen! I love comments, and yours is greatly encouraging.

      Your friend should certainly consider attending Capernwray! As I hope you will see in future posts, it is a spectacular place :)

  2. Hi Abigail, Fantastic that you are in the UK now and in the Lake District - we were in Keswick just a few weeks ago. Kind Regards, Mick Bannister.

  3. Hi Abigail! Sounds lovely. I haven't seen Derwent Water. My time in the Lake District was concentrated on "my" lake, Ullswater. My family lived around Ullswater for at least a couple of centuries that I know of.


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