The 555 bus from Kendal will take you to Keswick on a rollercoaster ride past Windermere and other watery places – especially watery on the day I travelled as it was through torrential rain. I sat upstairs in the warm and gently steamed. Tricky to draw or write in my notebook as we whooshed up and down hill (fell?), and I was distracted by the sight of a defibrillator in a phone booth, and the man with killer breath sitting (too closely) next to me.
The fells were dotted with Herdwick sheep of different shades. I was told the lambs are born black, the teenagers (lots of those hanging around on the hillsides) are dark peaty brown with pale faces, and the adults are tawny grey, some of them tagged pink. I revisited the quirky Pencil Museum, where I’d run workshops a few years ago, paid in sterling and … pencils! Many fascinating pencil related facts and the longest pencil (actually a crayon) in the world at 9.7m.
Despite the rain I boarded the launch Princess Derwentwater from Keswick for a tour round the lake. When I was last here I used to walk by the lake and have a picnic on its shore, across from Catbells. The motor launch is 93 years old, the skipper told me, and had been used in the 1974 film version of Swallows and Amazons. A tiny rowing boat occupied by two fishermen was stationary in the middle of the lake. One of them waved, and laughing, held his arms apart at full stretch, boasting of his (imaginary) catch.