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I’m participating in the #AtoZBloggingChallenge 2016 with the theme – Pins on the Map of my Memory – which is about places that bear a special connection with me for reasons mostly personal!

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W for Windermere

The memory of this journey takes me back in time almost 10 years ago! On a crisp, clear morning we had set off on a short weekend trip from Manchester Piccadilly station to catch the Oxenholme-bound mid-morning train. Our destination was Bowness-on-Windermere, roughly about an hour and a quarter away. The main aim of the trip was to spend a memorable time in the village of Ambleside and Windermere for the very last time, before we moved back to India.

As the train chugged along and pulled out of the station, we noticed the cityscape change. Gradually, the narrow passes began to appear, and soaring mountains and plunging waterfalls all added a new dimension to the place that has historically been a point of inspiration to poets, writers and artists of all times. Interestingly, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Ruskin, Beatrix Potter, Arthur Ransom all lived here once and the place bears a testimony to that.

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The beautiful Lake Windermere at Bowness. (Image source: Neil Hanson)

As every visitor will vouch for, this district is arguable the most beautiful corner of England, with a combination of beautiful lakes, rocky mountains and green dales, all existing within what is known as Wordsworth Country and his houses in the nearby villages of Grasmere and Rydal are nothing short of literary shrines for millions today.

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The streets of Windermere village (Image source: Malc MacDonald)

We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast (B&B) place in Bowness/Windermere towards the South. It was wonderful to walk our way through the village and a 30-minute walk took us down to Bowness on the lakeside by the grand lake Windermere.

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Pleasure boats lined up at the pick-up point for Lakeside cruises. (Image Source: Garry Smales)

The best part of our stay was to enjoy a scenic two and a half hour cruise that took off from Bowness, followed by a freshly prepared buffet and live music on board a historic ‘steamer’. Our journey took us through Bowness, Ambleside and Lakeside and the spectacular voyage gave us magnificent views of the mountain scenery, secluded bays and the many wooded islands.

keswick-pencil1One of our most unforgettable experiences was the trip to the Derwent Pencil Museum near adjoining Keswick, where we saw the world’s longest pencil (see pic above).  It is, in fact, the world’s longest coloured pencil (it’s yellow) and, according to the Guinness World Records Certificate it measures 25ft 11.5 inches in length and weighs approx 450 kg. Made by the Cumberland pencil factory in 2001, apparently, 28 men were needed to carry it from the factory to the museum. Not having a pencil sharpener big enough to accommodate it, they had to sharpen the tip with a chainsaw.

On display, arranged in neat glass cases, were various packets of Cumberland pencils produced since the factory opened in 1832. I confess here, that for someone who goes totally berserk at the sight of a stationery shop, It was hard to resist picking up a few packs of the famous Derwent Pencils and Sketch Pads, as a token of our memorable trip.

Today, as I recall that trip my only wish is to take my son along to revisit our wonderful trip a decade ago. Some experiences need to be revisited again and again. 🙂

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