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On Sunday I shall be passing through the Lake District, it will be a whistle-stop visit with an overnight sleep on our way to Skye. I’m not a stranger to the Lake District but haven’t visited since the early 1990s when my car broke down and I lost nearly a tankful of petrol in the middle of Wrynose Bottom, miles from anywhere. Unfortunately there are no photographs to remind me of this holiday. Now I know I must have had an enjoyable time, I vaguely remember the caravan site, and remember a steam railway and lake trip, but sadly don’t seem to recall much else.

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I first visited the Lakes as an eleven-year-old with my parents, we had gone camping. My father had purchased the latest in camping gear, an igloo tent you pumped up with a car foot pump. It slept four comfortably, but as there were five of us I opted to sleep in my own little tent which my father had borrowed from his brother. It was alright until it rained and then I had to squeeze into the igloo with the others. Back in those days, the early 1960s, one could more-or-less camp where one pleased, we stopped at the roadside on a couple of nights and stayed at campsites or in farm fields (with permission) on others. The photo shown above was taken at Derwent Water and we and the occupants of the other tent behind were the only campers.

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A few years later myself and two friends from our church went on a camping trip to the Lake District, the year was 1969 and I was the only one with a car, an elderly Morris Minor which limped its way northward. Every hour or so we had to keep stopping so I could tighten up the distributor which somehow had worked loose. My sparse basic toolkit of a screwdriver and an adjustable spanner certainly did the trick and we arrived (eventually) at Coniston where we had arranged to camp. The campsite was right on the edge of the lake and it was only a few steps from our tent to the water’s edge. Here we see Jeff and Peter comfortably seated in the McLaren “Gadabout” chairs which my father had bought from a wholesaler to sell in the shop, he obviously changed his mind, or they did not sell, as he kept the four of them. I’m just sorry I didn’t include my car in the shot, as I have none. Sadly Jeff passed away a few years ago but Peter I have only seen once since this period, and that was over thirty years ago.

My next visit was in 1977 when I was working in a children’s home in south London. We tried a new idea that year and instead of us all going on the usual group holiday we decided that smaller groups would go away for two weeks at different times during the long summer holidays. My plan was a camping trip to the Lake District and soon had four boys willing to give it a go. It was a memorable holiday, the kids were great fun, but once again I didn’t take any photographs. I did however take my 8mm ciné camera and shot a couple of rolls of film. Looking back now after 37 years I think it was probably my most memorable visit to the Lakes so here’s the first part of the film I took during that holiday, it’s called “Introducing the boys”.

Parts two, three and four of the film can be found on my youtube channel.

Hopefully, tomorrow evening, I shall have a few new scenic photographs to show you, depending upon internet access of course, so until tomorrow it’s goodnight from me!

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