Today we went to the other side of Lake Windermere and it was beautiful. My mother got us National Trust memberships for the year for our birthday and it is like discovering the world in a different light. We have hundreds of free places to go now and it’s re-released the inner explorers in us.
We parked at bottom of Far Sawrey and we walked the to Claife Viewing Station. It was this beautiful stone building with built-in original Instagram filters. Any 21st-century children’s dream place with a breath-taking view. It was built in the 1790s but later expanded and the building had windows tinted with coloured glass, designed to recreate the landscape under different seasonal conditions:
- Yellow created a summer landscape
- Orange an autumn one
- Light green for spring
- Dark blue for moonlight
The information boards told us that in the 1830s and 40s, it was used by wealthy visitors for parties and dances. This quote from Mary Maria Higginson, who attended a dinner dance at Claife Viewing Station in the nineteenth century, paints a vivid picture of what it was like to come here:
“The very nicest dance that I can call to mind was given by a friend at a place called The Station. It was built on account of the beautiful view it commanded, both up and down Windermere . . . the winding walks around the Station lighted up with Chinese lanterns and coloured lamps made charming promenades.”
I imagine it was truly a sight to see in all of its glory. However, by the end of the 19th century, the Claife Viewing Station had fallen “out of favour” as so many treasures do and left to decay and weather under the bitterness of the element. Today, the building remains a rare example of a purpose–built public viewing station and is one of the earliest monuments to Lake District tourism.
As we walked on the platform, I imagined Liv dancing and sweeping me off my feet. I can see her catching my eyes over dinner and my breath catching as it does now. I can see the moon dancing on my lake as we kiss under the stars. God, she is beautiful, this place was still magic. I can feel the lovers that fell in love with its charm, the anticipation of whose who steps lead up to their arrival and the knowing that tonight was the night that anything was possible. I felt my heart in my chest and I looked at liv through my lens and saw my dreams smiling back at me. We were explorers, as much in love with the world as we are each other. It made me think of views and that where my quote from today came from.
We then hiked up the hill. It was a little hair-raising but worth it. We initially planned to hike up to Wray Castle but we soon realized that it was just too much for us in a day. So we looped round and walked by the water. We stopped continuously and my real love of photography came back. It was so gorgeous out there. So gorgeous and inspiring that choosing my photo for project 365 was so hard.
So after we looped back round to the Claire, we stopped at the perfect shop for coffee, toasted brioche, and crisps – cafe in the courtyard (Instagram: @cafe_in_the_courtyard). We walked in unsure what to expect (because some places are hit or miss) and left laughing with the team there, about the importance of the Australian open score over coffee and how we were all glad Federer won. But please note, coffee is always important. The coffee was good quality and not burnt! When you drink as much coffee as we do, you appreciated a great cup of coffee. It hit the spot and I struggled to put my camera down long enough to eat my lunch.
Do, if you get to go to the Claife, you will love it. Its history will make you want to Waltz on the metal grates whilst the lake smooths your soul. And make a stop and have a coffee – I promise you it’s good. Well worth it, it was the perfect first location for the use of our national trust membership and another great location for my camera!
I’m so sad to be leaving tomorrow but they place has stolen our hearts. We will be back in the Lake District soon enough.