Today was predicted to be sunny and clear so we jumped at the chance to take a boat ride around Ullswater Lake, a favorite spot of William and Dorothy Wordsworth. I'd seen so many paintings of this lake that I just had to see it. It is a narrow lake, 7-1/2 miles long and 1/2 mile wide. This is where he was inspired to write his most famous poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, also known as "Daffodils." His sister Dorothy kept a diary where she noted the lovely daffodils they came upon by the side of the lake. He wrote the poem after reading the diary a year later.
The drive took us through a very different landscape--hilly and rocky and beautiful in its own craggy way. We passed by High Nest Farm, Low Nest Farm, Holly Cottage and Babbling Brook Cottage.
We found our "steamer boat", which now runs on diesel, grabbing two front row seats outside. The clouds came in and the sun went in and out but the views were great and we had a wonderful time. We talked to several people--one couple has never been out of Britain. They just don't see the point. Another woman was born near Sacramento but has lived in London for 17 years.
As we cruised along, we came to a gaggle of geese tightly bunched together just floating and enjoying the day. As we came closer, they disconnected, slowly paddling away then began frantically splashing, paddling and flapping their wings until the entire skein achieved lift off.
We enjoyed our picnic on board, taking in the beautiful houses on the shores of this "prettiest lake in the region."
Leaving the car park, we headed in the direction of Penrith and came upon Aire Force waterfall, another National Trust property. No building, just beautiful hiking trails to a very nice waterfall. We were able to park free and save the £4.50 "pay and display" fee using our National Trust windshield sticker. We love the names of towns along the way: Ambleside via "The Struggle", Watermillock, Glenridding, Pooley Bridge and Newbiggen.
Who said there aren't any monsters in the forest?
I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).