Rick says Berkeley House is run “enthusiastically” by Barbara Compton. He’s right. She served breakfast with a smile and a wit. Found out later that the first time Rick stayed here she scolded him for writing in his journal at the breakfast table. At breakfast we debated which of the many offerings we might partake of today: a walk around the lake, a walk up a nearby ridge (Cat Bells), some canoeing on the lake, some cycling on the Sea to Sea (“C2C”) pathway? However, after breakfast we noticed it was misting pretty hard. Wordsworth’s Cottage, Beatrix Potter sites, Castlerigg stone circle, a slate mine tour, Muncaster Castle with owl show and maze? That all degenerated to an errand trip: internet, laundromat, gift shopping, mailing home used guidebooks.
Chores completed, we bought sandwiches at the supermarket and the boys headed for the pool for another swim. By now the weather had cleared, but the Pencil Museum beckoned. Pat passed, so the menfolk all wandered over to see displays about how graphite was first discovered here in the 1500’s and the first pencil factory was built in 1828. 60 million pencils a year are still made here. However, when a Frenchman discovered how to make pencil lead by mixing clay with other ingredients, the mining operation nearby came to an abrupt halt. We also saw the World Record Pencil, weighing in at about 1,000 pounds. (Photo 205) We bought some sale items (wooden pencil box and watercolor pencils) in addition to some professional supplies (extra-hard pencils for the mathematician).
Back to the room around 4 PM, we set out to finally take advantage of the improving weather. We walked a few minutes from our hotel down to the lake, Derwent Water, and hired a rowboat for an hour. The weather was a bit windy, so we rowed into it, but eventually settled for puttering around in the lee of a nearby island (owned by the National Trust, no less). For dinner we opted for safety in Italian at the Bella Casa. Everybody ordered themselves a pizza, thinking we were still in Sorrento. Proved to make a huge meal, but Robert and David both finished theirs off completely.
Lots to do in Keswick, and we only scratched the surface. Probably could have spent a relaxing week here profitably, but its not to be. Not clear if the weather is very cooperative, anyway.