1st - 4th DECEMBER 2009


On Uncle Brian and Dad's first visit to Armathwaite Hall, I was adopted and went to live in Morecambe, with all my other Hug pals. So when they made a return visit I of course went along, with a few friends too, and it was nice to be going as a proper guest this time.  

Over the period of the stay the weather was not very good, so we did not stray far from the hotel. Uncle Brian and Dad went to Keswick on Wednesday for lunch and shopping, but stayed in on Thursday as it rained hard for most of the day. Still we had all gone for a rest, so it was nice just to enjoy the quiet and comforts. Dad and Uncle Brian relished the superb six course dinners, and Wednesday nights was particularly good, the dishes full of intense complex flavours throughout.  When we arrived on Tuesday, I went with Dad to check in, and we were offered a complimentary glass of sherry, which I enjoyed in our room.  

Dad had asked for the same room, as it has a wonderful view of Bassenthwaite Lake and the fells. My pals and I immediately took over the sofa, but like the last visit some of my pals decided to sit looking out at the view.   

They are from left Ralph, Freedom and Craig. Freedom was adopted by Dad from Virginia, USA.  

Uncle Brian was quite content to relax with us, but not Dad, so we sent him off to do the nature trail walk.  Taking the path to the left Dad crossed the bridge over the road.  He had to duck down, to get under the tree that had fallen across it, in the recent high winds. The path then led down to Bassenthwaite Lake. Following the recent terrible rains, the level had risen considerably, and the tiny "beach", out beyond the treeline, where Dad had stood last time to take the view, was now well under water.  

Going right the path led along the top of the lake.  It was very muddy but Dad was undaunted and ploughed on (mind you his shoes took some cleaning afterwards!), and eventually reached the road near the bridge over the River Derwent, just beyond its outfall from the lake. 

The bridge was almost submerged in the floods, and has now had to be closed as it is in risk of collapse. This is causing inconvenience to local people, making a 10 minute journey now some 45 minutes.  Lets hope it gets sorted out soon.   Walking through the Herdwick Caravan Site, the ongoing track then soon brought Dad back to the hotel.  Away to the right was this fine view of Skiddaw, clothed in snow.  Quite different to when STAG climbed it in September.  

Dad was lucky to see this view, as ever after during our stay, Skiddaw was covered in a blanket of cloud. The picture below was taken on the next day, Wednesday, on return from their visit to nearby Keswick.

Dad did some shopping buying a new woollen sweater, then they both went to have a lunchtime snack at Bryson's.  They said the carrot and ginger soup was absolutely delicious.  The town is decorated for Christmas, although being daylight they could not be appreciated fully.  Dad however liked the depiction of a climber, on the wall of the Moot Hall.  

Keswick is the busiest tourist destination in the North Lakes being thronged in the summer. On this wintry day though the main street was almost deserted.

The hotel is decorated for Christmas, so I asked Dad to take some pictures. As we approached the car park we spotted these reindeer.  

There were trees and garlands outside the main entrance with a further tree and figures inside.

Going inside, here is the hall with its comfortable chairs and sofas, and the stairs leading to the bedrooms.

To the left of where Dad is standing, is the doorway to the luxurious and beautifully appointed lounge. Here looking towards the door. I sneaked up onto the piano to be in the shot.

On a fine circular table, stands the largest wine glass Dad and Uncle Brian had ever seen. They thought it would be very difficult to lift if full of wine. At this time is was enhanced with beautiful festive decorations.

And finally in here is this tall Christmas tree, laden with decorations and lights.

Dad loved the magnificent original oil painting. It is a depiction of Derwentwater and the fells looking to Castle Crag that stands in the so called Jaws of Borrowdale. This is just one of many paintings and many items of old and interesting furniture. The Hall as it stands today was built by Thomas Hartley in 1881. We thought it was likely that these were the original furnishings and have been passed on as the Hall has changed ownership.

Dad always takes a Holiday Hug group picture, and with Thursday forecast to be wet, he decided to do this when they returned from Keswick. First though he took some photos of me on location inside to show off some of the interesting furnishings.  Here sitting on one of a set of small chairs.

Then by the huge gong that stands halfway up the stairs. From the carved figures it is obviously of Oriental origin. 

Then we all trooped out for our group shot, taken on the steps down to the extensive lawns that our room overlooked. 

back row - Craig, Fred, Gladly, Ralph
front row - Elmer, Staveley, Fletcher, Freedom

Well that is nearly the end, and indeed when Friday arrived, it was time to return home. As Uncle Brian opened the heavy curtains that morning, we were all surprised to see that there had been a heavy frost overnight and the lawns were white. The lake too, looked silver in the early morning light. I had to include this atmospheric picture that Dad took.

I hope that you enjoyed these jottings.

Love and Hugs always,  



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