A Busman’s Holiday for Mistress Agnes

Today there is a strange golden orb in the sky – hurrah. We set off, heading northwards again. We cross Kirkstone Pass, at 1489 feet the highest road in the Lake District. It is named for a rock that is thought to look like a Church Steeple; we don’t identify this. A beautiful drive and lovely to see the scenery no longer shrouded in mist. We pass Ullswater, thereby crossing off number two on the what not to miss list and stop at Aira Force, both credited with having inspired Wordsworth. Force is derived from the Viking word Fors, meaning waterfall. The rain of the past couple of days is now acknowledged as the worst for thirty years so waterfalls are in full flow. We are encouraged by the fact the we overtake quite a few people on our walk up to the waterfall; encouraged that is until we realise that the people we are passing are twenty years our senior. This land was once part of the grounds of the Duke of Norfolk’s C18th hunting lodge, Lyulph’s Tower.

On the way to Kirkstone Pass

We reach our destination at Acorn Bank near Penrith. It turns out that the premises has no electricity today, I said it was becoming a theme. The building is constructed from red stone, which is quite common here. It was renovated by owners John and Lucy Dalston in the C17th. Dalston was a supporter of the Royalist cause during the Civil War and was subsequently declared a delinquent. He and Lucy had twenty one children. Although not historic, the gardens are noted for their collection of medicinal herbs, the largest in the north. This has obvious appeal for the Mistress Agnes in me and we admire the many species that they have. I remember I have some copies of ‘Coffers, Clysters, Comfrey and Coifs’ in the car boot, following Saturday’s course. Nothing ventured, I approach the staff with a view to them stocking it in the shop. They sound quite keen and I leave a message for the buyer. We then walk through the woods to the mill. Although the present building is nineteenth century, there has been a mill on this site since at least 1323, when it passed from the Knight’s Templar to the Knight’s Hospitillars.


The SatNav takes us back a slightly different way and it has been a lovely day, even though it begins to rain again as we set off for home.

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