the lake district


Last weekend, despite forecasts of persistent rain we headed south of the border to the Lake District (of Keats, Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter & Jane Austen fame apparently) for a spot of camping.

With some Ballardian moments at eerie post-modern truck stops along the way we managed to get our tent set up before the meteorologists were proved correct. We were luckier than our friends who were joining us from London – they didn’t arrive until 2 am and in the middle of a downpour.

Our tent was less than 100 % waterproof so we endured a slightly damp evening, including waking up with our shoes in a pool of water. However we had reasonable weather for the rest of the time we were there with low cloud and occasional misty rain adding to the atmosphere.

Testing Claire’s footwear (and endurance) to the limit we completed a small circuit around Lake Buttermere at which we were based on the Saturday, after a leisurely breakfast at the local pub. The views were quite beautiful – Scotland with grass, and there were interesting remnants of quarries to investigate.

lake buttermere

On Sunday we skipped more walking opting instead for a more leisurely peramble around Keswick the local touristy town including a paddle on the Derwent Water (below) where Claire practiced her rowing technique.

We took the long way home, via small villages and some coastal towns, enjoying the sunshine till 10 pm

lake district 1


great glen house

I was lucky enough to get a work trip to Inverness for a presentation of a winning competition entry that I had worked on. While we didn’t see much of the city (and spent 7 hours on the train for a 2 hour event) the reception was held at Great Glen House (above & below), an interesting new sustainable building (designed by Chhay’s firm) so I was able to poke my nose around it and see what a top rated Scottish sustainable building feels like (the answer was stifling in the atrium, although apparently the ventilation systems wasn’t operating while we were there).

great glen house 2

madam butterfly

madam butterfly
As we didn’t make it to any opera in Berlin with CJ (who really likes Wagner anyway) on his last night in town we grabbed some cheap seats at the Theatre Royal and took in a performance of Madam Butterfly.

Our nose bleed seats, noisy neighbours and distracting surtitles didn’t help things but overall the performance was a bit disappointing, the voices were thin, costumes a little shabby and Madam definitely bore little resemblance to a lithe Japanese fifteen year old. A distorted perspective set was highlight – interesting if a little restrained.

We worked our way a little further forward after the interval, which improved things a little before CJ hopped on the Caledonian Sleeper for the overnight trip to London. Having not heard from him since we don’t know if he made it!


With CJ in town our new flat was christened for visitors. In addition to the usual Glasgow attractions (an inordinate number of which seemed to be about consuming alcohol) we also took a quick day trip up to one of the more famous regions of Scotland – Glencoe.

Although we missed the Henderson stone, the scenery was fantastic as we took some very back roads including ‘Rest and be Thankful’ (below) on the way up. Dodging showers Chhay got to test the limits of her new gumboots with a small hill climb that involved some quite tricky scrambling.
rest and be thankful
The taste of the area was enough for me to want to go back and do some serious hill walking in the area – although my motivation seemed stronger when at the pub than when surveying our proposed route!