The Return to Sawrey
the years I have often described my 30th birthday as
my most enjoyable ever. The memory is a little
hazy now as to precisely what happened but our best
reconstruction of it is that on the day, or perhaps
a day or two before, we had a visit from Margaretís
cousin Dinah and met for the first time her husband
Alan. It was arranged that we would all go to
the Porthole in Windermere for my birthday meal. That
definitely took place on Monday, 18th April 1977. We
gathered at the Albert and then moved on to the Porthole.
I donít remember much about the meal except it was a
very jolly affair and we cadged a bottle of English
wine that had been left behind on another table as the
diners didnít like it.
we all went back across the ferry to the Sawrey Hotel
where festivities continued. Eventually it dawned
on me that as I had far too much to drink to drive and
Margaret, although sober as she was carrying Jamie,
was not yet driving, we had better stay the night. The
Landlord was himself well-oiled and was having a private
party in his quarters but he told us we could use room
number 7 as no-one was in it. The barman went
to bed and left the four of us plus another couple (Peter-Jimmy
and his wife) whom Alan knew slightly, with an honesty
arrangement which I am proud to say we used liberally
but not fraudulently. Needless to say, we went
to bed very late.
next morning after breakfast we went to pay for room
number 7 but the landlord was quite perplexed and insisted
that he didnít have anyone staying in room number 7.
We reminded him of the conversation we had had
with him the previous night. Whether or not he
remembered, he was happy enough to take our money- not
surprising considering the bar bill.
years later, it came as a lovely surprise to learn that
Dinah and Alan planned to take us back to the Sawrey
Hotel as a 60th celebration. It was of course,
not possible to arrange it for my actual birthday so
10th October was picked as the target date.
and Alan joined us at Cracalt the day before which by
happy coincidence was our wedding anniversary so we
got off to a good celebratory start. Then on the
10th we left for the ferry. It was a beautiful
morning, the lake was still and it was no burden to
have to wait for a couple of ferries before we managed
Marina at the Chandlers
from Ferry Nab
across, we soon reached the Sawrey Hotel. The
rooms were not ready but that didnít matter as we were
planning to go for a walk. I was in Blue Peter
mode- ďhereís one I prepared earlierĒ- namely BB0710
at the Sawrey Hotel
climbed up past Moss Eccles Tarn (spotting Sawrey washing
en-route) and then Wise Een tarn, enjoying beautiful
autumn weather and spectacular views.
in the woods
picnicking in the woods we crossed the awful, devastated
fields that had once been woodland but now look like
the aftermath of the Somme.
contrast once at Latterbarrow summit, the views are
magnificent- the whole panorama of Southern Lakeland
from Coniston Old Man round to Yoke.
a team picture and a coffee stop, we retraced our steps
through the battlefield and descended alongside Belle
Grange Beck. The path is quite steep and laid
with stones that were extremely greasy so it was a bit
of a challenge. In the lower reaches it looked
more like Aladdinís cave with cold coins strewn everywhere.
Unfortunately fallen leaves are not legal tender,
no matter how golden. At the bottom we followed the
lakeside track until taking the bridle path back over
to Sawrey, descending into the setting sun. A
superb outing of 7.8 miles and 1,535 feet of climbing.
picture on Latterbarrow
resumed in the evening.
Sawrey Hotel puts on a decent pint of Hawkshead
in the Claife bar where we half expected
to see Peter-Jimmy.
fact, Alan had tracked him down. However,
now approaching four score and ten, the
prospect of returning to meet up with people
he didnít really remember was understandably
trumped by the second birthday party of
Sawrey restaurant, indeed the whole hotel,
seems little changed in 30 years.
the fireplace is an intriguing relief depicting some
story of biblical or mythical times but I canít work
restaurant provides a splendid hearty dinner of good
home cooking in which you can choose two starters then
your main course followed by sweet and finally a choice
of cakes of cheese. Just the job for an evening
stroll to burn off the calories, or, in our case, another
trip to the Claife bar.
the fine weather did not continue to the next morning.
It was drizzly at best so we abandoned the idea
of another walk (a reprise of BB0602).
Nevertheless, even in the wet, the countryside
looked magnificent as we drove across to Coniston and
down the lake to return to Kendal via the Greenodd and
might not have been as wild a visit to Sawrey as 30
years previously, but it certainly was a wonderful addition
to the still ongoing 60th celebrations!
11th October 2007