Friday, 1 July 2011

Not Glastonbury…..Woolfest!

So as the whole world seemed to be driving past our house to get to the worlds best music festival we were on our way in the opposite direction off to the worlds best festival for all things sheepy – yay! Here’s a blow by blow account of our adventure.

Thursday 23rd
Ok, so on Wednesday the road outside our house, which just happens to be the main road from Bristol to Glastonbury, was choca with traffic travelling south from about 6:30am to about 9:30am. So today, in an attempt to beat the traffic I was up early, washed, dressed, bacon & egg breakfast and car packed by 8:30am so that I could go and pick up Lesley before meeting up with Liz and Andrea and then off to Woolfest! There was no major Glasto traffic though – weird, but a good start.

I took my Traddy, some of the Dorset Poll that Liz gave me from Freecycle which has washed up really nicely and is quite soft and crimpy, a spindle and some washed Zwartbles, also from Freecycle plus the BFL that I dyed at Lesley's Mums (just in case!). These were my spinning supplies for the trip :-)

I got to Lesley's and picked her up about 9:15am then we went back to meet Liz and Andrea at Farrington Farm Shop where we had a nice coffee and slobbed about on the comfy sofas until they turned up. Then we had another coffee and off we set to Woolfest 2011!

Liz had her wheel and an impressive amount of fluff considering where we were going! while Andrea had decided not to bring her wheel as she had brought her knitting instead.

We stopped and filled up with diesel in Bristol and then set off up the motorway to Cumbria stopping at Stafford Services for a spot of picnic lunch and arriving at our lovely B&B at about 6pm……a nice leisurely trundle.

We dumped our stuff in our rooms and had a cuppa out on our terrace which had a lovely view of Derwent Water and the fells with Borrowdale right down the end of the valley. Then we headed off to Keswick for some dinner at the chip shop opposite the Moot Hall, very yummy. As it was still early we went down to the lake for a stroll by the water. The Blue Box Theatre is still there but it’s not a temporary structure anymore but a new smart modern building where the old one use to be and a big improvement! We used to go to the Blue Box when my sister and I were little. I remember seeing The Tinder Box there; the dog with eyes as big as dinner plates, scary stuff! and people covered in grey mud?! mm not sure. As Liz and Andrea had never been to the Lake District before we took them off to see the Bowder Stone; a very large boulder dumped by the retreating glacier after the last ice age, then through Seatoller; the wetest place in England according to Lesley (not sure about that); and on over Honister Pass, stopping off at the Slate Quarry and admiring the sheep, then on down to Buttermere and past Little Town and Newlands back to the B&B for a cuppa and some spinning. We went to bed quite late, well after 10pm which is late for me, so excited for tomorrow!!!.

This is the Bowder Stone; a Glacial Erratic.

Friday 24th
I was up early 'cos I was so excited! Here’s the view from our terrace. You can just see Derwent Water and Cat Bells is on the right and Maiden Moor behind.

I was up first and even well before Janice our B&B lady. We had a fab brecky with fresh free range eggs from Janice's hens and black pud and Cumberland sausages from a butchers in Keswick. Then it was of to Keswick so Lesley could raid her savings account and then off to Mitchel's to Woofest – yay!

There was so much to see and I was a bit overwhelmed to be honest, however I did have a good look at absolutely every stall. They were all lovely and colourful and full of wonderful stuff to do with wool and sheep! I particularly liked the three dimensional felt; little felted sheep reclining on felted grass and little felted hens – so cute. In the end I bought a Shetland shearling fleece in a light brown colour, some acid dyes and some natural dyes and mordent. I also caught up with my Mum and Dad and we checked out the Sheep Parade and the Phop Stand. Mum got herself a nice shawl pattern and I got one for mittens, Dad really liked the sheep. I then caught up with the gang and we went for a spot of lunch before heading back to the B&B to drool over our purchases and get some spinning in before the sausage supper and spin in later that evening.

Here’s a pic of the sheep parade.

We packed up our wheels and fluff and headed back to Woolfest for the sausage Supper and Spin in. The sausages were yummy and the sticky toffee pudding was wonderful…mmmmm. Afterwards we went back into the cafe as it was getting a bit cold out in the marquee and had a spot of spinning till about 9 o'clock then we went back to our B&B with my Mum and Dad for a cuppa; spinning and chatting until quite late. We had a lovely time.

Saturday 25th
Today was a bit overcast and drizzly and we decided that we had done Woolfest so we went on a bit of a tour about the Lakes! First off we took my Dads coat back to their hotel in Grasmere; he’d left it behind at our place. Then we checked out the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop and bought some Gingerbread, breathed deeply the Gingerbread fumes and had a look at Wordsworths grave and cottage.

We decided against going over Hard Knott Pass as Liz was not too confident about the whole business so we went up to Cockermouth across to Maryport and up the coast road to Alonby Bay for a bit of a blow on the beach. Lesley though we were insane as it was raining by now and a bit cold; she stayed in the car!

Here’s Liz and Andrea on the beach.

And this is looking south towards Maryport.

Then we drove inland to Cald Beck where the Wool Clip cooperative is based at Priests Mill. It was shut of course because everyone was at Woolfest (they organise the whole thing) but we pressed our faces against the windows to see inside – very little left as it was all a Woolfest! We checked out the other little shops and I got a nice knitting needle case from the antique/junk shop and we had a bit of lunch at the cafe. We also checked out a really nice little shop called HestaScene that had various fibre crafts including three dimensional felted items – bags, flowers and purses – very nice; plus the lady did felting courses, now there's an idea…..

Sunday 26th
Home today – boo!

But not before Liz and I took a little jaunt up Castle Head to partake in a bit of extreme spindling! A very kind but somewhat bemused man took our picture.

The view down the lake was beautiful. Andrea is going to live on the big island and we can all go and stay with her whenever we like.

Then it was off down to Windermere to check out the Bobbin Mill at Newby Bridge – but it was shut!!! So that was that and we headed off home picking up the motorway just north of Lancaster.

So we had a fantastic time, the landscape was beautiful as ever and the people as friendly as ever. Liz and I have decided that we want to do more extreme spindling and we will be up Cat Bells and Skiddaw next apparently! Better go dig out my walking boots and buy myself a waterproof me thinks!


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