Summer Holidays, 1933

By William Logan Selkirk

 In 1933, my parents went off for their summer holiday in my mother’s Austin Seven –  a year before they got married. Their adventures were recorded in a small diary in my father’s handwriting, part of which is transcribed here – the second half still  awaits transcription. I believe Frank has some photos to accompany it.

August 11 to August 27

Left home at 7:10 p.m. for Fred Esher’s at Whalley

Route via Walsall, Cannock, Newport, Warrington, Preston. Good run to Preston. Ran out of petrol about 2 1/2 miles from Blackheath. Got to bed by 3:30 a.m

Saturday the 12th of August

Breakfast at 10 a.m.

This day celebrated birthday of BKB herself. Went for drive in Fred’s car (Alvis supercharged FWD). Fetched Austin. After lunch played tennis and tried out BKB’s camera. Eric Temple arrived in the evening 6 p.m. Pitched tent and Fred’s caravan on Ribble bank. Went to variety show at Blackburn, second house. On returning from the show had a supper and camped out for the night.

Sunday the 13th.

Next morning, beautiful weather. Bathed in Ribble, near White House Bridge. Took further snaps. Started for Mardale at 2.45 and arrived about 6 p.m. Camped for night at Grove Brae farm.

Monday the 14th

Took sandwiches and made for Small Water, but a party in front was going in the same direction so we branched off to Blea Water. The only possible fault with the beautiful little tarn was that the white concrete dam at outlet was only about a yard wide and was very ugly. We then walked along the right-hand slope of the lake, took photo, then climbed High Street, 2718 feet. Slight mist made distant visibility rather poor, but Skiddaw in the North and the B ??? in the West were visible.

The top of High Street is a boggy upland with no definite peak.

We walked on and dropped down to Small Water which he is a very similar tarn to Blue Water though the water hasn’t the same blue colour that gives the first its name.

(This paragraph in BKB’s hand)

Returned to farm along Manchester’s abominable in new road. Struck camp, packed up and visited Mardale Church and drove off to Ullswater stopping en route at Penrith. Dined at Patterdale hotel. Found accommodation at Oversteads farm in Grisedale.

Tuesday the 15th

The morning was wet, so we decided to go to Carlisle. Called at Penrith for a rucksack, and set out from there at about 12 o’clock for Carlisle. Found Mr Barns and had lunch with him and took him to Gretna Green. Crowds there. BKB went inside. Weather then cleared up a bit, returned to Mr B’s for tea, then back to Penrith to collect developed photos and so back to camp, visiting Anna Force en route.

Wednesday the 16th

Morning broke to a fineday, so we packed lunch and off up Helvellyn via Striding Edge. Very cold on top, and after lunching (especially on tomatoes, as this was the first place that didn’t ever tasted one). We intended coming back the usual route via in Grisedale tarn, but route so crowded that we descended between the High Crag and Dollywaygren Pike, joining the usual route at Ruthwaite Lodge.

From the top of Helvellyn saw Ullswater, Coniston, Windermere, Outhwaite, Thirlmere, lakes Red Tarn, Harrop tarn, Bassenthwaite Lake and the old basin of Kepplecove tarn.

The top of Helvellyn was very uninteresting — a game of football could be played on top with ease.

Thursday 17th

Struck camp in pouring rain and off to Langdale over Kirkstone Pass. I had to get out on the steepest bit as our load was just too much. Route via Windermere and Nowness, , Rydal and Grasmere — sport at Grasmere — then by mistake up Red bank — several stretches of one in 3 ½ what a shove for me! Camped at Side House in Langdale, a beautiful site facing Harrison Stickle in Pavey Dale (bythe Langdale Pikes).

Friday the 18th

Climbed up a Harrison Stickle via Dungeon Gill force and down between Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ask – rained too hard on top for us to go on to the other pikes.

(And here my transcription ends – AS)


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17th January 2016