Postcard from the past: Watendlath
4/4/89. Crossed this bridge on our walk yesterday. It wasn’t quite as snowy, but nearly. You can get coffee in the farmhouse. Have now moved on to a small guesthouse in Corris (mid-Wales) before going on to Robert’s for the weekend. See you soon. Love, Anabel & John.
It wasn’t just vintage postcards in Mum’s collection – some of them I recognised as being from us, such as the one above showing Watendlath Farm in the Lake District, and these have given me some wonderful trips down Memory Lane. Most of our print photographs are in boxes in the loft, but the album covering this holiday was in a cupboard in the study because I’d retrieved it a few years ago to write about the Glasgow Garden Festival of 1988. The fact that 1988 and 1989 are both in the same album shows how few photos we took, and many were of a quality that would have been instantly deleted on a digital camera.
This album also allows me to identify the point at which John got rid of his beard – in summer 1988 it was there, but by April 1989 it had gone, never to return. He had been threatening for a while to shave it off, but I was worried – I had never seen him without it. What if I didn’t like his face underneath? In the end he did it without telling me, and when I first saw him I fell about laughing which was probably not the effect he had hoped for. However for the next few days, until I got used to it, I was absolutely fascinated and couldn’t stop looking at him, which I’m sure he liked much better.
But I digress – back to Watendlath. We stayed three nights in a cottage in Stonethwaite in Borrowdale. The first day was bad weather but it didn’t prevent us from climbing Red Pike, although I don’t look very happy about it.
On the second day, we did the walk referred to on the postcard, a circular one which my diary notes as Stonethwaite / Rosthwaite / Watendlath (coffee at farm) / Thirlmere / Greenup Edge / Stonethwaite: I feel exhausted just reading about that now. Here are some of the more acceptable photographs, including a couple looking down on the farm in the postcard.
We spent the next three nights in a guesthouse in Corris in mid-Wales, again with very little photographic evidence, and even less that is worth using. Here’s John on the Precipice Walk at Dolgellau and at Harlech Castle.
On the Friday, we moved on to spend the weekend with Robert, a school friend of John’s who was then a junior doctor in Bangor in North Wales. The weather seems to have perked up here, and our shots of Snowdonia are much better. We also had a trip to Beaumaris Castle on Anglesey.
Finally, my trip down Memory Lane has shown me that my memory can be faulty. This was our second visit to Wales together, but I had conflated it in my mind with an earlier holiday in 1984. I was convinced we had spent a week in Wales, bookended by visits to two of John’s friends from school – Robert in North Wales and Ted in Cardiff in South Wales, but the latter visit was on the earlier trip. Any photographs from 1984 will definitely be in the loft, and probably on slides, but Ted recently sent us the picture below which I think is the Ystradfellte Four Waterfalls Trail in the Brecon Becons. Note John’s full beard! And for the avoidance of all doubt – I was joking when I said I might not have liked his face without it …