Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mountain Goat, part 3

After leaving the Roman fort and Hardknott, we headed to Boot in Eskdale for a lunch stop. Mr. M and I weren’t in need of lunch. When we are off on our rambles, we usually have a large-ish breakfast and then a bigger than normal (for us) dinner. But Mr. M wished to try out the local ale, so we went into the pub at Brook House Inn so he could have a pint and I could have a hot chocolate. A picture of the inn:

goat pub

After our beverages, we went out to have a look at the old mill. This is apparently the stables—I didn’t get a good picture of the mill, but if you follow the link, you can see pictures and read about it.

goat mill

We didn’t tour the mill. Mr. M felt  we were running low on time and wanted to get back to the van. Here he is on the pack horse bridge, giving me his standard “stop taking pictures and come along" look.

goat eskdale mill bridge

Behind the pub, Mr. M discovered a flock of Herdwick sheep and persuaded one to pose for a picture…well, Mr. M used his telephoto.

goat sheep

According to Malcolm, our guide, Herdwick sheep are the only sheep that change color over their lifetime. They are born black, turn brown after a year or so, and eventually turn gray or white—though they have the white legs and face earlier, as you see in the picture.  If they live that long. Again according to Malcolm, they are mostly bred for their meat, their wool being too wiry to be used for clothing. The lambs are, ahem, selected for our dinner plates before their fleece turns brown.

We encountered sheep all over the Lake District. Herdwicks are special to the area, and Beatrix Potter is credited with doing much to save them and the Lake District from developers. There have apparently been efforts to breed them elsewhere now; if another disease such as foot-and-mouth were to strike, it could wipe out the breed if Herdwicks are concentrated in just one area.

I was very impressed that Malcolm could identify the gender of the sheep we saw—until he told us that only the ewes are allowed to graze free. The rams are kept in “bachelor flocks.” (Found that on Wikipedia here.) Another interesting thing about the Herdwicks—they learn at an early age to stay in their home territory or “heaf.” (You can read more about that if you follow the link.)

After we left Boot, we took a ride on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway from Boot to Irton Road. It’s Victorian, so not my period, but it was fun nonetheless. You can read its history here. They have videos on the official site of the trains in motion, but there’s quite a collection of videos on youtube as well. Here’s one. I asked Mr. M to take a picture of me posing with our engine so you can see the scale of the train.

goat railway and me

I was glad that I’m not a particularly large person when we got into the car—there’s not a lot of room. If we’d had to share with another couple, it would have gotten dicey. I have no idea where we would have put our legs.

We then moved on to Wastwater, the deepest of all the Lake District lakes. If you check out the link, you’ll see mention of the Screes. Here is Mr. M’s picture.

goat wast water maybe scree

Wastwater was very beautiful. I suppose we would have seen more if the clouds weren’t so low, but they did add a dramatic touch.

goat wast water Mr. M

That’s Mr. M in blue, but I have to admit I don’t know what that structure is.

goat wast water rocks

Looking one way

goat wast water long

and looking the other.

goat wast water figure

Yes, I got a little camera happy, but, as you know if you followed the link, Wastwater was voted Britain’s most beautiful view. The figure in the picture above is one of the other two Americans, a mother and daughter from the other Washington.

I think there’s only one more Mountain Goat adventure to come.

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