As we continued our 25th wedding anniversary trip, my husband Franklin and I drove up to the beautiful Lake District, home of poets and Beatrix Potter. I had visited Hill Top Farm back in the 1980s, recognizing the door and dresser that make their way into some of the Peter Rabbit books. This trip, we skipped the farm, as we were headed further north, to the town of Keswick. Little did I know that we would be in Beatrix Potter land nonetheless.
We wanted to hike, not just drive through the beautiful countryside, so we made a climb up Cat Bells, two large hills on the shore of Derwentwater. Those of you who know your Beatrix Potter books will remember that she writes “I have seen that door into the back of the hill called Cat Bells–and besides, I am very well acquainted with dear Mrs. Tiggy-winkle!”
We had picture-perfect weather as we climbed the hillside, and just like Lucie, we hiked “along a steep path-way–up and up–until Little-town was right away down below–she could have dropped a pebble down the chimney.”
The view from the top was lovely. Looking out over Derwentwater, we could see Owl Island, and imagine impertinent Squirrel Nutkin rowing over to it with his friends.
The The Lake District is certainly a place that begs to be painted. Every sculpted green hill, every stone fence guarding another flock of sheep, every foxglove and sparkling lake sings with beauty. I can see why Beatrix Potter loved this place, and treasure her art all the more as I look beyond her whimsical creatures to see the idyllic setting in which they lived.
Now I must go find Jemima Puddleduck–I believe there is a lovely painting with foxgloves in that book.