4th - 9th OCTOBER 2020



With a mug of tea in paw, Fletcher and his girlfriend Polly were chatting with Fred and Gladly.

"The next visit to Armathwaite Hall is coming up", said Fred.

"Mmm", agreed Fletcher. "The visits now are tinged with sadness since your Dad's death. We all miss our dear Uncle Brian, but none more than you Fred, as he always referred to you as his little lad."

"He did", replied Fred. "I truly do miss my Dad so much, but I am fortunate to have my brother, and Uncle Gerry to look after me now. He has been so good to me."

Polly said, "it has hit Dad so hard too. All we can do is support him as much as possible."

"It's good we are still going to Armathwaite Hall", went on Gladly. "I know that Uncle Brian would be pleased he is, and would want him to enjoy the visits, and being able to get out for walks."

"There were lots of good times with Uncle Brian, and many trips out in the past, but Dad did not go for walks, not wanting to leave Uncle Brian on his own all day", said Polly.

"I hope Dad will be able to take some of us out, and perhaps too some of mine and Polly's guests can explore the grounds", went on Fletcher."

"Who are your guests this time?" asked Fred.

"Me", piped up Polly.

"Of course", laughed Gladly. "How ever could he refuse."

"That's a bit of a conundrum", replied Fletcher. "You two of course. Dad is sticking to the maximum number agreed with Uncle Brian, so that leaves another four or five."

"That's exceeded with STAG for a start", said Gladly.

"Ah", replied Fletcher, "they are separate because of the walks, and I am sure Uncle Brian would not have considered them part of the 8 or 9."

"So who are you thinking of", went on Fred.

Polly responded, "we thought of taking Kieran. He was the first Charlie Bear and was adopted on a stay there"

"Which means his girlfriend Sandie, will have to come", said Gladly.

"I have also decided that Archie, who was Aunt Wendy's special bear shall come with his pal Figaro who sits next to him", went on Fletcher.

"So that's the eight", replied Fred.

"Well, your Dad was not totally inflexible, and usually did not complain if just one extra came", replied Fletcher. "So Wordsworth Duck is coming too."

"Great", agreed Gladly, "he is such a character."



We heard Dad moving about and getting his cases packed. Polly said, "I'll keep and eye out and let you know when the luggage is loaded in the car."

"Are the rest of you ready?, asked Gladly.

"Yes", replied Tetley. STAG are always prepared, as we have to make sure not to delay Dad when we go walking."

"Looks like that's the last lot", called out Polly.

"Thanks", replied Fletcher. "Come on pals time to get in the car."

STAG sat on the front seat and the rest of us settled comfortably in the back.

We heard Dad saying good bye to the rest of our pals and telling them to behave themselves. We suspect that Craig, our John Lewis bear, will have organised a delivery from Waitrose, and that there will be some parties, as some of our pals have birthdays during the week. We did not tell Dad, of course.

As Dad backed out of the drive, Fred asked, "which way are we going, Uncle Gerry?"

"Via the M6 route, as I want to avoid the A590 due to the road works."

The views were good and we marvelled at the bravery of STAG to climb all the hills we could see. First the Howgills, then away to the left in the distance the Lakeland Fells.

"Phew", breathed Gladly, "it makes me feel tired just looking at them."

As we drove along the A66 towards Keswick the higher mountains came into view, one being very prominent. "That's Blencathra", pointed Little Eric. "It was my last Wainwright in book 5 Northern Fells."

Then shortly the wonderful panorama of the fells and mountains all around Keswick opened out before us. "Wow", called out Figaro. "How magnificent." Then to STAG he said, "I can see why you and Dad love to climb them."

Soon we were passing along Bassenthwaite Lake, then turning right it was not long before we drove along the drive to Armathwaite Hall.

"Right", said Fletcher, "I'll go with Dad and see if the room is ready for us to check in."

At reception JJ greeted us and shook my paw! He told us the room was not quite ready. There are special precautions in place to ensure they are totally safe due to Covid.

"That's Ok", replied Dad. "I'll go and have some lunch in the Brasserie first."


"Yes Fletcher."

"I'll return to the car. Polly and I have agreed that Kieran and Sandie will go with you to the Brasserie today."

Dad was welcomed by Alina, who was very pleased to see him, and of course our pals. He had a nice lunch, then checked in and brought the luggage up, and we trotted up and immediately settled on the chairs.

We saw Dad getting his camera out, and he said, "I'm going for a walk in the grounds. Does anyone want to come along? I can then take some pictures for Fletcher's story."

"Not me", sighed Fred. "I just want to relax."

"Me too", agreed Gladly.

"Not Archie and I either", said Figaro, "we are just going to sit looking out of the window."

"How about you and Sandie", suggested Polly. "It can be your day."

"Ok", agreed Kieran.

Immediately out of the entrance, Sandie said, "it would be nice to have our picture by those flowers."

l-r Sandie and Kieran

"What's that hill with the sun catching it?", asked Kieran.

"Binsey", Dad replied. "It is one of the 214 Wainwright summits."

"So that means STAG have climbed it", said Sandie.

"Yes lass, apart from Southey who had not been adopted then", Dad replied. "We can include a picture of them at the summit."

"Ooh, yes Dad", enthused Kieran.

Later Tetley said, "it was a windy day as can be seen from Grizzly's scarf."

Sandie now said, "let's go round to see the wonderful view that our pals Archie and Figaro are looking at."

"Wow", said Kieran. "I never tire of seeing this view."

"No", agreed Dad, "and it is never the same two days running. Being able to see it from the room is why Uncle Brian and I always insisted on having room 131."

Pointing across the lawns, Sandie asked, "what is that structure."

"A gazebo", Dad replied. "It is used for open air wedding ceremonies."

"We'll sit on the rail so we can have our picture taken", said Sandie.

We strolled along the path behind this. Then going left at a junction and seeing the statue of a stag, Kieran insisted, "let's sit on it for our picture again."

"Now", said Dad, "I'm going to take you to see a superb view."

"Super", cheered Sandie, "lead on."

This involved walking past the spa, and through gates onto the exit drive by the staff block. Here Dad took us right to the end of the drive and just across the road. "My", breathed Kieran, "that is magnificent."

Dad then explained what we could see. "The long ridge is shadow is mighty Skiddaw that is one of the Lakeland mountains over 3000ft. At the left end in sunlight is Broad End, that is a Birkett summit. To the right the long ridge known as The Edge, rises to Ullock Pike."

We just stood a little while drinking this in. "That is a quite beautiful tree", pointed Sandie. "Please can you take our picture with it in the background?"

Finally dragging our eyes from the view, we walked back to sit on a seat by the lawns, in the process passing a line of trees.

Kieran said, "I remember about these. They are lime trees, and their are 21. They were planted long ago by a previous owner of the hall, on the occasion of his son's 21st birthday."

So now we sat in the sunshine just looking out at the magnificent view to the lake. "Thank you so much for bringing us Dad", said Sandie.

"Don't thank me. It is Fletcher and Polly who have invited you both."

Finally we headed for the room, and as we made our way inside, Sandie pointed, "what do those initials over the door represent?"

Dad said, "they represent the initials of Thomas Hartley and his wife (AI). He bought the hall in 1880 and remodelled it to the house we see today. I guess this was completed in 1881, hence the year date. He was a local mine owner.

Settled again in the room, Fletcher asked, "did you have a nice time?"

"Yes thank you", replied Kieran.

Dad now rested, which he thoroughly deserved. Our pals Archie and Figaro were still looking out of the window and as the sun began to set, Figaro called out, "there is some nice light effects on the fells."

We all looked out, Allen saying, "the sunlight is catching Skelgill Bank and Catbells, and highlighting the descending ridge from Barrow."

Looking left, Shaun said, "lovely light on Skiddaw and just touching the top of Ullock Pike, with Dodd the other fell behind."

Soon now it was dusk, Dad saying, "Archie, Figaro, it's time to sit in the chair, as I want to draw the curtains."

"OK", replied Archie. "It has been lovely looking out. The view is truly wonderful, and constantly changing as the sun and cloud dapple the fells."

A little later Dad went off for his delicious dinner in the Lake View Restaurant. We had ours, as usual, in the room. Fletcher and Polly had arranged this of course.


We were up early, Fred grumbling, "I would have liked to lie in a bit. After all we are on holiday."

"I know", replied his brother Gladly, "but Dad is taking STAG for a walk today from Caldbeck and he wants to make as early a start as possible."

"Now", said Fletcher. "Polly and I are going with Dad and STAG, and after their walk we will take a tour of Caldbeck. So does anyone else want to come with us."

"Not me", said Fred, "I just want to relax and have a nap."

Figaro piped up, "I'd like to come and can my pal Archie come too."

Of course", replied Polly. "That will be lovely."

So after breakfast, we and STAG scampered down the stairs and got settled in the car for the relatively short drive to Caldbeck. If you wish to read about STAG's adventure from here, then click the link. Caldbeck & Hesket Newmarket.

As STAG settled in Dad's rucksack, Figaro called out, "enjoy your walk and take care."

"Thanks", called by Allen. "In all, the walk should take about four hours, allowing for stops for pictures etc."

So we waved them off and we sat quietly in the car reading and chatting. Fletcher said, "I have arranged a picnic, so we won't go hungry."

"Thank you", replied Archie, "that is very considerate."

So the time passed by, and checking the time, Polly said, "it won't be too long before they are back. I am sure they will come along the side road opposite the car park."

"OK" said Figaro, "I'll keep a look out."

A little time passed then Figaro called out, "here they come!"

Dad opened the car, Fletcher saying, "have you had a good time."

"Yes lad it has been a lovely and interesting walk."

"We'll tell you all about it later", chimed in Shaun. "But for now come on let's explore some of Caldbeck."

So we quickly scrambled out of the car and followed Dad across the car park.

"Look, a seat", called out Archie. "Let's sit there for a picture."

l-r Figaro, Polly, Fletcher & Archie

"So where now?", asked Archie.

"Cross the bridge, then take the path by the river", replied Southey.

Seeing there was no railing, Fletcher called out, "take care pals and stay on the right. I don't want any of you to fall in the beck, especially as it is flowing very fast."

Round the corner, Figaro pointed, "that's a nice old bridge spanning the beck.

"Can you tell us anything about it, Grizzly?", asked Polly.

"It's called Church Bridge. A footbridge now, it was probably originally a packhorse bridge dating from the 18th century. It is constructed in mixed sandstone and limestone with a solid parapet with saddleback coping. The bridge is Grade II listed."

"Thank you", replied Polly.

At the lane a few steps right took us through the gate into the churchyard and St. Kentigern's church.

"What a lovely building", commented Figaro. "I hope you will be able to tell us about it Grizzly?"

"Of course pal. It's my role in STAG to provide information about buildings, locations etc. So, this is St Kentigern's Church or St Mungo's as that was Kentigern's alternative name. The earliest fabric of the church dates from the 12th and 13th centuries, and it was built on the site of a previous church dating from the 6th century. Alterations, including rebuilding the chancel and adding a chantry chapel, were made in 1512 by John Whelpdale. In 1727 a stage was added to the tower, and further restorations took place in 1880 and 1932. It is constructed in sandstone blocks the tower being limestone. The plan consists of a six bay nave with north and south aisles and a two bay chancel with a south vestry that was originally the chantry chapel."

Then taking us to look through the porch, Grizzly ended by saying, "the doorway into the main church is Norman."

Tetley then said, "over there on the left is the grave of John Peel, which Dad has brought us specifically to see.

Grizzly said, "I know you have done the research about him, so please tell us, pal."

"John Peel, was a Cumberland farmer who kept a pack of foxhounds and hunted in the traditional Lake District manner where the hounds are followed on foot. As you can see he died in 1854 aged 78, and is remembered forever in the words of the song ‘D'ye ken John Peel’. John Woodcock Graves penned the words. It is said that the two men met one night at Graves’s house to arrange some hunting matter. The grandmother of Graves's children was singing a child to sleep with an old nursery rhyme known as Bonnie Annie, or Whar wad Bonnie Annie lie, and Graves became struck by the idea of writing a song in honour of Peel to the tune the old lady was singing. He completed a version before Peel left the house. In the song the words are 'his coat so gay', but it is probable that is should be 'coat so grey', referring the Hodden grey cloth woven from the fleece of the Herdwick sheep."

"Thank you Tetley", said Dad. "On my mother's side my ancestors came from the north lakes, specifically the Cockermouth area. Research has revealed that my great, great, grandfather, John Bateman, was a farmer and lived between 1800 and 1875. Mum said that with his dogs he drove his sheep over Whinlatter Pass. She also said that he hunted with John Peel. I do not know if this is true but they were certainly alive at the same time."

Polly replied, "this must be why you feel so at home in the Lake District."

"Yes", replied Dad, "it is without a doubt my spiritual home."

"I think we should all have our picture taken by the grave", suggested Little Eric.

"OK", said Shaun, "we can walk down the churchyard then circle back through the village.

This took us past these colourful cottages. "They look pretty", commented Archie.

So, our exploration over we settled in the car for the drive to the hotel, chatting all the time about what we had seen, and STAG told us about their adventure too.


Today was a rest day for us all, and especially for Dad, spending the day sitting in the Lake View Lounge, and having lunch in the Brasserie.

"Who want's to keep me company today?", Dad asked before breakfast.

"Fred and I", called out Gladly. "And our pal Wordsworth can come along too."

Now Dad did not take the camera , so all we can do is include this taken some years ago. Fred is on the left.

And here is Wordsworth, our duck pal who is full of character! He was bought for Dad in 1990 by Jill Burrill, a friend of his sister Elaine, as thank you for having her to stay for walking weekends. They usually involved walks in the Lake District, and Dad wanted a name associated with there. It was Uncle Brian who suggested Wordsworth, a totally outrageous name for a duck! Being yellow in colour that is also a reminder of daffodils from Wordworth's famous poem.

As Dad was taking us off to the Brasserie, a lady in a group of four asked about us. Gladly explains, "Dad told them our names and mentioned that I was the first bear he adopted. He explained that we were Boddington Brewery promotional bears, and how he had seen them first at the Silverdale Hotel. With no spare cash at the time, Dad had to save up only to find that the bear had been sold when he returned to buy him. However all was not lost as they could be obtained by mail order and on the 14th August 1981 I arrived. My brother Fred was adopted the following April for my Uncle Brian. The rest is history and the Hug now is about 570."

One gentleman asked laughingly, "are the rest in your room?"

"No", replied Dad with a laugh, "just a dozen or so."

Fred says, "he went on to tell them how long he had been coming here, with my Dad until he sadly died. He said I was my Dad's special bear, and that Brian lives on through me."

The couples were having afternoon tea, before one couple set off for home. Later in the evening Dad got talking to Roy and his wife again. They live in Catterall that is just a little way south from Morecambe. Of greater coincidence was that fact that Roy was born in Morecambe and that his father built many houses in the area. Small world. Roy's wife told Dad that soft toy alpacas are on sale at the Lakes Distillery, just down the road. Dad told them about when the alpacas were in the paddock here and that Dudley seemed to recognise Dad and would come over to see him.

"You'll have to get one from the distillery", said Roy's wife.

"I certainly will", replied Dad. "And he will of course be called, Dudley."


As Dad threw back the curtains, we could see that it was set to be a mostly dry day, if generally cloudy.

"Looks like we will be able to get the walk in", said Southey excitedly.

"Yes pal", agreed Shaun. "Another early breakfast before we set off."

Polly asked, "do any of you want to go with STAG, like we did on Monday?"

Unsurprisingly Fred replied, "I just prefer to rest in the room."

There was a general murmur of agreement from the rest of us, so that is what we did.

Fletcher asked, "Dad, are you going to get an alpaca pal to join the Hug?"

"Yes lad. I plan to walk to the distillery once I return from Loweswater and have had some lunch."

So we waved our pals off, Wordsworth saying, "have a good walk and take care."

A little while later Fred said, "the walk round Loweswater will be poignant and nostalgic for Uncle Gerry."

"Why is that?", asked Sandie

Fred replied, "he has done it before on 22nd November 1995 and my Dad was with him."

"He'll probably shed a tear or two then as he walks round today", said Kieran. "How we all miss our Uncle Brian so so much."

The account of this adventure is told elsewhere - Loweswater.

We have decided to include just a few pictures from the walk, Allen telling us, "after walking the access to Waterside Farm, the path then proceeds through the beautiful trees of Holme Wood."

"Then pals after leaving the woodland, the path climbed, to provide this lovely view along Loweswater."

"The path then led us past the farmhouse of Hudson Place. It is dated on the coat of arms over the door as 1741."

"A short section across fields brought us to the road. About half the return route was along here, although there was a section through more woods by the shore."

"Thank you, Allen", said Polly. "We look forward to reading the full account of the adventure."

Dad meanwhile had gone to the Brasserie for lunch having it with Simon the General Manager, who said that he would have dinner with Dad tomorrow night. "How kind", said Gladly.

Then getting his jumper on, he announced, "I am off to walk to the Lakes Distillery, to adopt Dudley.

In the field adjacent to it the alpacas graze. Dad looked carefully and thought he saw the real Dudley, but he was not sure, telling us, "I did not feel it was right to enter the field for a closer look."

So here is the real Dudley, taken when they were in the paddock at Armathwaite Hall.

And here his face in close-up.

Fletcher said, "do you remember the day that Aunt Elaine and Aunt Sharon came to to have lunch. Afterwards Uncle Brian and Aunt Elaine sat in the hall having a chat, while Dad and Aunt Sharon went for a walk. Dudley came up to Dad and Aunt Sharon snapped this picture.

"Oh yes", replied Polly. "And just after it was taken Dudley reared up and then sat down. This surprised Dad, who took a step back but tripped and fell flat on his back. He was not hurt and Aunt Sharon and he just fell about laughing."

"What was even more amusing", went on Gladly, "was that Uncle Brian and Aunt Elaine saw it too, through the window, causing them to laugh very much."

"An incident that will live long in all our memories", laughed Fred. "Alpacas are such lovely gentle animals and here we introduce our new Hug pal sitting with Fletcher and Polly."

He is cute, don't you think?


So our last day, and we had a lazy breakfast in the room. Meanwhile Dad went off to the restaurant for his. Suddenly he came rushing into the room and grabbed the camera.

"What's going on", called out Sandie.

"The early morning sunlight is highlighting the early autumn colours in the trees across the paddock", replied Dad. "I want to get a shot before the sun rises any more."

On return Dad said, "you will be pleased to know that I have booked to come and stay next March."

"Wonderful" cheered Gladly. "It is good to have things to look forward to."

Dad then said, "as you know Aunt Deborah and Uncle Paul are coming for afternoon tea. I wonder if any of you would like to go for a walk in the grounds this morning."

"Oh yes please", said Wordsworth.

Polly said, "Fletcher and I will come along too, and we should take our new hug pal Dudley as well."

Leaving by the front entrance, Fletcher suggested, "let's walk through the woods."

We skipped along, Wordsworth pointing, "look at that sculpture of a hand."

"I am sure the thumb and index finger brought together is to do with yoga", said Polly. Later she looked it up and told us, "it symbolizes the unity of fire and air as well as the unity of universal and individual consciousness."

The wide path led on through the trees.

Dudley said, "I am so so happy to have been adopted and that I now have so many new friends to meet when I get home."

"You must have your picture taken with us", said Fletcher. "There's a suitable place for us to sit."

Strolling on Polly strained her neck to look up, saying, "the trees are old and so very tall. How about trying a shot of the light coming through, Dad?"

The path began to circle right, and we looked down out of the woods. "There's a pond", pointed Dudley.

"A long time ago there was an equestrian course here and that pond was the water jump", Fletcher told him.

Wordsworth said, "can we walk round and have our picture taken sitting on the wooden jetty, please Dad?"

At the main path, Dad said, "that's the path to the caravan site, and then onto the main road. I walked that way yesterday to adopt Dudley."

Here a bridge carries the path over the Coal Beck that was in spate after the rains last weekend.

Pointing left, Polly said, "where does that other path go?"

Fletcher replied, "I have no idea. Let's go and explore."

On and on it led, eventually coming to a gate marked private. "Look at that lovely house", called out Polly.

"The grounds here are part of Herdwick Fold Caravan Park", said Fletcher. "I wonder if this is where the owners live?"

What was intriguing too was the tall wall running on one side of the track. "It is one side of a square that must be some form of walled garden.", said Wordsworth.

"It is on the Armathwaite Hall estate for sure", went on Polly.

Dad said, "in all the years we have come here, we have never seen this before."

As we strolled back we could see doors in the wall, but they were securely locked, preventing us exploring further. What we did note was that the Coal Beck ran through the walled area.

At the car park Fletcher said, "we need to have a picture of the hotel to include in the story, so let's walk a little way across the lawns."

So here is our second home, where so many happy memories have been made during the many visits by Dad and Uncle Brian. He is now still with us in spirit and our hearts and we know that he will be happy that Dad is still coming to stay.

Our exploration was now over, Dudley saying, "thank you Dad, I have loved the walk."

"You're welcome", he replied. Then went on. "I want you four to sit in the car, while I go and get Fred, Gladly, Kieran and Sandie, Archie and Figaro, to take your holiday group picture."

"I bet Fred will grumble about that", laughed Polly.

He did, but nevertheless we all soon settled on the steps down to the lawns.

Back row - Figaro, Fred, Wordsworth, Gladly, Archie and Dudley
Front row - Sandie, Kieran, Polly and Fletcher

As this picture was being taken, two ladies and a gentleman emerged from the woods. The gentleman said, "I have got to ask?"

So Dad explained about us, mentioning that Fletcher was adopted here, and explaining the significance of Gladly and Fred. Also about Archie who had been Aunt Wendy's special bear and that after her death Uncle Mike had given him to Dad.

They were interested and amused, the gentleman saying, "this is one of the mains things we will remember about our stay here."

After they had gone, Fred said, "we have certainly brightened their day."

Now we trooped back to the room and after a rest Dad went off to the Brasserie for a bowl of soup, taking Archie, Dudley and Figaro. Then they settled in the lounge with Dad waiting for Aunt Deborah and Uncle Paul to arrive. It was lovely for Dad to see them and they had a very nice afternoon.

There was a surprise for Dad. Aunt Deborah had made him a bear as a gift. Here he is. Aunt Deborah wanted him to be called Brian, in memory of our dear Uncle Brian. "What a lovely surprise", said Kieran, when he came to the room to be introduced.

Later we had dinner as usual in the room, while Dad went to the restaurant to have dinner with Simon. Afterwards they adjourned to the bar, where the brandies kept coming. When he finally returned, Dad said, "I lost count of the number I drank."

Unsurprisingly he slept well and woke with a clear head.


So time to go home, after a super time. Fletcher told us, "I have more news. Dad has decided to come for a stay in December like we used to do, but just for three nights."

"Oh great", cheered Fred. "It will do him good to have a break before Christmas."

We hope you enjoyed reading the tale of our stay.

Love and Hugs




And finally, we feel it is only proper that a picture of our dear Uncle Brian, should be included in our tale.

Here he is sitting in the hall in October 2013. Friends, seeing the picture, referred to him as Lord Brian!

We all love you, and miss you more everyday, especially Dad and Fred.