More Audio Lake District Drives
Following on from my previous blog in March 2022, which described my first audio Lake District drive, I am pleased to announce that two more audio drives are now available via this website and the VoiceMap app. I just wanted to share a bit about these new audio drives and my experiences in creating them.
Tales of the Lake District: A Windermere, Coniston and Hawkshead driving tour
This driving tour starts and finishes at Bowness-on-Windermere and does an extended circuit of Windermere lake, including the picturesque villages of Coniston and Hawkshead. There are plenty of attractions, landmarks and scenery along the way and there is a Beatrix Potter theme with the tour visiting many locations associated with the famous children’s author, including her former home and sanctuary at Hill Top. You will learn all about her inspiring life and her many other skills, from sheep farming to her renowned expertise in fungi. The tour is never far from water as you visit the scenic lakes of Windermere, Coniston Water, Esthwaite Water and the wonderful beauty spot of Tarn Hows.
You can discover the rich history of the area and its industrial heritage, including the historic port of Lakeside on Windermere where trains and boats used to carry local produce before carrying tourists. You can still see some of this historic local produce at nearby Stott Park Bobbin Mill, where vast quantities of wooden bobbins were made for the Lancashire textile mills during their heyday in the 19th century. Other highlights include a number of extravagant and magnificent lakeside properties, such as Brockhole, Wray Castle and Blackwell, which started out as 19th century homes for wealthy city industrialists and are now visitor attractions. Also, stories of local world water speed attempts in bygone days, including the successes and the catastrophic failures. Plus a couple of local ghost stories and the fabled Bownessie lake monster!
Lake District Landscapes: A Keswick, Borrowdale and Buttermere driving tour
A driving tour starting and ending in Keswick which focuses on some of the most awesome lake and mountain scenery in the Lake District as you drive through the Borrowdale and Buttermere valleys. The tour heads up Borrowdale, firstly alongside beautiful Derwent Water with its mountainous and wooded surroundings, before visiting the famous viewpoints at Ashness Bridge and Suprise View where there are fabulous views over the whole lake. Further up the main valley is picturesque Grange-in-Borrowdale village, before heading through the impressive ‘Jaws of Borrowdale’ to the incredible Bowder Stone, an immense fragment of rock! As the valley widens out again you soon reach Rosthwaite and Stonethwaite villages, surrounded by high mountains, before the spectacular valley of Seathwaite with its historic graphite mines and ancient yew trees. The graphite supplied the old Pencil museums in Keswick during their heyday. The next section climbs over the notorious Honister Pass road which has some steep and narrow sections but wonderful scenery at the summit where you will find the Honister Slate Mine with its thrilling choice of activities.
Descend to Gatesgarthdale, still surrounded by mountains, including Haystacks where the famous local walking guide author Alfred Wainwright had his ashes scattered following his death in 1991. Beyond here are the stunning unspoilt lakes of Buttermere and Crummock Water with the village of Buttermere inbetween for refreshments. The very scenic road follows the lake shores and includes a stop at pretty Rannerdale where there is an amazing display of bluebells in spring. Then a trip down Lorton Vale valley, before climbing up Whinlatter Pass to the mountainous Whinlatter Forest, with plenty of walks, activities and views. Descending over the Pass soon brings you to the village of Braithwaite and then a short hop back to Keswick for a well earned drink!
I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed producing these 3 audio drives and I’m very pleased with the final results. I think they offer fabulous Lake District days out, exploring many of the best bits and learning all about this beautiful area. I wanted to expand on the web versions of the drives with more on local history, culture, attractions and the many quirky stories. This involved a lot of additional research and I discovered a lot of new stuff myself. Learning all about Beatrix Potter and her many talents, William Wordsworth and the very different Lake District during his day, plus the more recent local legend, Alfred Wainwright. There is a wealth of interesting and often surprising local history, including the farming and mining which shaped the scenery we see today. Plus, ongoing challenges with the environment and all the people who live or visit here. The area has certainly changed massively over many centuries, particularly since local tourism boomed in Victorian times.
Of course it’s not so easy writing it all down into a script that will fit in with travelling times. Or recording it all in a comprehensible and interesting manner when I’ve never done it before! I couldn’t have done it without my new friends at VoiceMap who helped me through and added some wonderful editing. I do think the VoiceMap app is amazing, navigating by GPS, very user friendly and with hundreds of different tours all around the world. Thoroughly recommended!
So far, my audio tours seem to have been well received and a good option if you want to see and learn more about the area but with the flexibility of using your own vehicle at your own pace. Also, the audio guides you through every twist and turn so you shouldn’t get lost, plus its much cheaper than taking a professional tour guide with you!
I hope you can enjoy the audio drives on your visit to the area.