Monday, 25 July 2011


A typical Ambleside street - wet!

Stock Ghyll and the mill.

Why choose Hawes (in Wensleydale) and Betws-y-coed (in North Wales)?

Over the rooftops.

A typical slate wall.

When I was little our family used to spend every available summer holiday in the Lake District and as I grew up we would add occasional week-ends. When I reached my mid-teens I would also grab every possible school break or long weekend and youth hostel there. One of the things that symbolised the Lakes for me was the Bridge House at Ambleside. But I used to be frustrated that I couldn’t get a decent photo from the side.

The fixed lens of my original bellows camera wasn’t wide enough and one couldn’t step backwards because the trees then obscured the house and the wall hid the ghyll. Nothing really changed when I got a single lens reflex with separate wide angle lens and telephoto lens. I still couldn’t get a satisfactory shot. But modern digital cameras have such a wide angle lens that this was easy.

In the ‘olden days’ it was also impossible to see the bridge from the other side but that too has changed and all it lacked was sunshine. But then, it was Ambleside after all.

One year the family stayed in this cottage, in the town itself and we had a fortnight of continuous rain. We unpacked the car in the rain, we drove around in the rain, we walked in the rain (describing ourselves as lesser-wetted-hikers or greater-wetted-hikers according to how drenched we got), arrived back at the cottage and dried our clothes ready for the next day’s rain. We even repacked the car in the rain. It never stopped. And most of it was ‘Lake District Rain’ - the sort that soaks through to the bones in moments.  It was certainly a memorable holiday.


  1. such lovely photos! Thank you so much! :)

  2. It does not matter that the sun wasn't shining when you took those pictures, they are still charming! Maybe Wensleydale was chosen for its delicious cheese... Does anyone actually live in the Bridgehouse?

  3. No Librarian, nowadays it is a little office for the National Trust.Bridge House is possibly the most photographed building in the Lake District, and a popular subject for many artists including Turner. A tiny building, originally an apple store for nearby Ambleside Hall, it was built over Stock Beck to escape land tax. Once five mills were driven by the power of Stock Beck and some may still be seen nearby. It is said that at some time a family with six children lived here in the two rooms!

  4. That holiday was memorable in many ways but none was more memorable than the rain which was constant even by Lake District standards.

  5. The reason for the place names on the direction sign are that they are all places Stuart Cunningham has shops. Their initials are on the top.

  6. Enjoyed reading about Ambleside a place my dads side had strong family connections with and we visited very often when living in England.Lovely photographs as well showing the workmans quality of building slate walls and the bautiful bridge house


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