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Countrystride #120: A history of BOATING ON WINDERMERE which we are joined by Kendal-based author and Windermere Lake Cruises skipper Robert Beale to dive into the deep history of boating and boat-building on England largest lake. Rambling along the fine new path from Lakeside to Finsthwaite, we look back to Roman times and beyond to hypothesise about the first lake users. Moving into the medieval era, we consider the importance of Windermere to the monks of Furness Abbey, and the subsequent use of cargo boats to transport everything from slate and charcoal to limestone and gunpowder. Arriving in the tourist age, we reflect on the remarkable monopoly of the Furness Railway Company with trains and boats ferrying huge numbers of people on lengthy Lakeland adventures. As we backtrack to historic fords and the River Leven 'dog hole', we learn about the role Windermere played during the two World Wars, before turning to matters more frivolous: the Tizzie-Whizie, the Crier of Claife and the possible genesis of Beatrix Potter's creative world.

Tern in front of Gummer's How.

Our guest for the day: skipper Robert Beale.

Teal on the Lakeside slipway.

The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway and the River Leven, just south of Lakeside.

Arriving at beautiful Finsthwaite.

Stott Park Bobbin Mill - a reminder of the industrial past of the lake.

Tern at Lakeside.


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