Well, "HERE WE GO!!!", final full day of potential clamberin', scramblin' madness in the District, and I've saved the BIGGEST for last... yep, I'm gonna peg it to the top of Skiddaw, and at 3,053 ft (that's 509 Weselbys high!!!) this will easily be the biggest hit of the trip.... drrrrrrrum roll.... HOWEVER, as I wake this morning, finally after nearly 10 days of constant, solid, hiking and climbing with my clapped out 29 year old bod having far exceeded my expectations, it finally packs in this morning. It's clear from the moment I gain conciousness that my legs will steadfastly REFUSE to do anything more strenuous than walk to the pub and back today. I feel absolutely wiped out, and Skiddow and 3,000 ft plus heights will have to wait until I return :(
Oh well, you can't quite win 'em all. Still an opportunity to chill out and limp around the joys of Keswick town are fine by me.
I mooch around and hand over some spondoolies to gain entry to the intriguing sounding 'The PuzzlingMuseum', some kind of mini-Mecca to all things optically weird. Illusions and tricks of the eye and mind etc... I'm vaguely amused by the fact that instead of being half way up a mountain I'm instead staring at myself in fairground mirrors and at holograms of Marilyn Munroe and Frankenstein, but all's good innocent fun. There's some odd room that's all built on an angle, but with everything in the room constructed to optically compensate for this tilt.
Sorry everything's on a slop but ya brain "jus' don't get it", so you sit on a chair which seems to slide you up hill in defiance of gravity etc, etc... you get the idea. The coolest room though, again playing with perspective and brain perception is the highly amusing 'Ames Room' where just by standing in different parts of the same room you get to look teeny-tiny or mega-massive. Many giggles were had, allbeit it to myself.
Next up was the Cars of the Stars Motor Museum... winner of the award (in my eyes anyway) of the most incongruous and out of place museum in the world possibly ever. Yep tucked away in this quiet, olde worlde cumberland country town is a pretty flippin' astonishing array of original cars from famous movies and TV shows through the ages.
.. and they're the ACTUAL ones too! They've got several of the Batmobiles includin' the one from the really camp original TV series, the A-Team van, The Addams Family Model-T Ford, K.I.T.T. from Night Rider, Harry Potter's Ford Anglia, Lady Penelope's pink Rolls Royce from Thunderbirds, Mad Max's thingamy (I'm not too hot on cars!) and loads and loads more... INCLUDING the time-travelling DeLorean from the Back to the Future movies... this weirds me out a bit... as out of all the cars in the world I don't expect to see TWICE within the space of a 10 day trip to the Lake District this one about tops the list. Sadly the stingy sods at this place refuse to let you take any photos on the premise for copy right reasons (read : money-making reasons), so no pictures of me straddling the Street Hawk motorbike I'm affraid :(
Most of the rest of the day is passed with just chilling out, eating and reading, before getting a good nights rest ahead of my return to Birmingham the following day.
... which comes all too soon. Still the Lake District is kindly determined to see me off in style, and it is a glorious Monday morning that greats me and accompanies me on my way back. I have my final spleniferous Keswick full on cooked breakfast, pack my bags and sadly hit the road. The weather is too beautiful not to take some advantage of though, so i stop from time to time as I drive South back the way I originally came. It's a clear, blue skied morning and earlyish as it is the jet-streams from the morning flights still artistically streak the skies demanding the odd pit-stop and photo-opp as I drive down towards Ambleside where I stop for a final nostalgic stroll around for a final farewell in the fine weather.
Onwards I go, and before leaving the District I make sure to stop at Blackwell, one of the finer examples (I am told) of the Arts and Crafts period/ movement within British architectural design history, and in fact remains the finest, if not only remaining example in such condition available for public viewing. It was designed and built by Mackie Hugh Baillie Scott (1865 - 1945) and completed in 1900 for by a certain Sir Edward Holt. The home was later utilised as an World War Two rural school for girls evacuated from the cities. It is owned and run by one of the District park trusts for public edification, incorprating small art exhibitions into some of it's beautiful rooms. There was not a single other person in the place at the time I visited, so I had free and peaceful reign of this absolutely beautiful country house all to myself, with the warm sunlight flooding in through the many windows on to the immaculate wood and stone walls and floors.
Unfortunately as with the motor museum, it turns out that photos within Blackwell are also prohibited... BUT fortunately I only realised this upon reading the literature several days later... sooooo there are a few cheeky shots here for your consumption. This a beautiful, beautiful building with it's lawns down to the waters edge of Windermere, and I would seriously recommend a stop-off here anytime you're in the area.
So that as that say was that. All done and dusted, and not really any injuries to show for my adventures "Phew!" It's been fun and I wish I could juuuuust wind back the clock and start aaaall over again rather than returning to grey old Birmingham and work tomorrow...
...SO all that remains to be done is for me to hookup the time-travel enabling Flux Capacitor that I have stolen from the Delorean in the motor museum (to spite them for denying me photo fun!) to my Ford Fiesta.
.. here we go... set the date to 02.02.2008, and the time... check there's enough enriched plutoneum in the tank... hit the M6 motorway with Hewie Lewis and The News blasting through the stereo "Don't need money... bam-bam... don't need love...bam-bam... dooon't need no credit cards...." ....floor the accelerator... speeding up... 65mph....73mph (oops I'm now driving illegally!)... speeeeeeeding up..... 78mph.... 82mph.... (I can hear the nuts and bolts on the old rust bucket rattling themselves free!)... 86mph, 87...... 88 MILES PER HOUR!!!!!....FLASH, BOOM.... PHSSSSHWAAAAAAAH-Zoooooooommmmm.... purple-blue trails of flame upon the tarmac...
(lightening fast passage of movie-style time travel.............)
..., 02.02.2008. The radio alarm sounds.
"Groooan!" - streeeetch - CRACK! I have just turned precisely 29 years and 2 hours old. It's my birthday... again... and I'm off to the Lake District "WOO-HOO!"