August 14th-15th, 2015
Just 15 miles down the narrow, winding one and a half lane road from our campsite lay the pretty English market town of Keswick, nestled between the Skiddaw Mountains and the northern side of Derwentwater Lake, it’s a popular destination for visitors to Cumbria’s northern Lake District area.
In keeping with quintessential English countryside weather it was wet and muddy outside as the rain that had started the previous evening at 9pm had not let up for even a second during the night and was still going strong when we awoke. Rather than fight the elements to cook up our glamping style breakfast of eggs benedict and bacon, we decided instead to head into Keswick for breakfast and internet so that Dan could finish up his homework for the week at one of the many coffee and tea shops in town while I went out to explore the area, regardless of the seemingly endless precipitation. Perhaps not the most ideal weather for an active weekend of camping and hiking but if you let the rain keep you indoors in England, you’ll hardly ever get out!
The pedestrian friendly cobblestoned streets of Keswick are lined with artist galleries, coffee and tea rooms, a multitude of outdoor gear outlets, various shops selling chocolate and other Lake District sundries and gifts, cafes, and book stores. For those who love unique and quirky attractions, there is the Cumberland Pencil Museum as well as the Puzzling Place with illusion exhibits and a gallery of holograms and 3D images. A perfect rainy day alternative!
I discovered during my damp wanderings that the town hosts the Lake District’s largest farmers market every Thursday and Saturday and as the weather forecast called for drier conditions the next day, which luckily happened to be a Saturday, we made plans to stop through Keswick again on our way to see the western part of the Lakes.
On our way back to the campsite to settle in for glamping cocktail hour, we stopped at nearby Ashness Bridge, an old packhorse bridge popular for its spectacular views across Borrowdale towards Skiddaw on a clear day, however, on this gray and rainy day our views were a bit limited to the River Derwent and the fingers of clouds rolling through. We might have been rained out for the day but the colorful, cheerful shops of Keswick provided a warm, dry respite to spend the day.