Pooley Bridge: Dick Little (1915-1991) & Margaret Little (1920 – 2015)

Pooley Bridge is a charming and bustling village at the northern end of Ullswater in the Lake District, where the River Eamont meets the lake. We have occasionally stayed at a campsite here and walked over Askham Fell to find the small stone circle, The Cockpit and continued to Askham village or the higher fells. As you climb up the lane the views over Ullswater open out and on a fine day this is a fabulous place to be and the perfect spot for a memorial bench.

This bench has a glorious view looking over Ullswater

The quote on the bench is from Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798 by William Wordsworth and the full poem can be read here. The poem’s title is often, not surprisingly, abbreviated to Tintern Abbey although that building is not mentioned in the poem. In 1798 Wordsworth visited the Wye Valley and the Welsh borders on a walking tour with his sister Dorothy. His first visit had been five years earlier and this is a poem is, at least in part, about memories and how they sustain us in later life.

May I behold in thee what I was once,

My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,

Knowing that Nature never did betray

The heart that loved her; ’tis her privilege,

I notice the bench appears to be in good condition and assume it was erected after Margaret Little’s death in 2015 to remember the two of them as it is many years since Dick Little died in 1991. I like to think that Dick and Margaret Little were perhaps lovers of Wordsworth’s work and how he used nature as a theme in his consideration of spiritual and emotional development. I also like to think that they got to enjoy the panoramic view Over Ullswater once in a while during their lives.



Dodd, Lake District: Ruth Day 1948 – 2002

The view from Dodd, in the shadow of Skiddaw, is well worth the easy 5 km round trip from the Old Sawmill Tearoom car park.  The path takes you on tracks and paths through Dodd Wood, opening out near the summit to provide views over Derwent Water, Bassenthwaite Lake, Newlands Valley, the Solway coast and beyond.  Although this is a small fell that you might think is perfect for a dull day when the bigger fells are shrouded in cloud, it is really a shame not to enjoy this expansive and easily attained view in the sunshine.

Dodd (2)

The view over Newland Valley

The day we walked up to the top of Dodd the summit was sprinkled in snow.  The sun was shining and, as it was mid-week, we had the hill to ourselves.  Sitting on a memorial bench enjoying the spectacular view was perfect.

Dodd (1)

In Memory of Ruth Day 1948 – 2002 who loved walking these fells.  ‘We all look at nature too much, and live with her too little’ Oscar Wilde

I like to think Ruth Day would have enjoyed such a glorious day on the fells too and she accompanied us in one way as we sat on the bench erected in memory of her.  I always stop and think for a little longer when I notice someone died young and Ruth Day was only in her 50s when she died.  I think about the years of life the person didn’t get to live and the people who loved them and are left missing a partner, friend or family member.

This memorial bench is all about Ruth Day, the passing walker is given no clue about who erected the bench in her memory.  The quote from Oscar Wilde is beautifully appropriate for the person the memorial describes and for the place.  The quote comes from De Profundis, a long letter Oscar Wilde wrote while in jail in 1897.  The letter was to his lover Alfred Douglas, a letter Oscar Wilde was not allowed to post from jail.

It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little. I discern great sanity in the Greek attitude. They never chattered about sunsets, or discussed whether the shadows on the grass were really mauve or not. But they saw that the sea was for the swimmer, and the sand for the feet of the runner. They loved the trees for the shadow that they cast, and the forest for its silence at noon.

I hope that Ruth Day had the opportunity to live easily with nature.

Windermere: James Archie Galloway 1912 – 2003

It was one of those perfect days when the sun shines and the ground is hard and frozen; the tops of the Lake District fells were covered with a fine layer of snow.  From the town of Windermere we had a brisk walk up the hillside to the viewpoint on Orrest Head to warm up.  The climb got my blood pumping but it was cold on this exposed craggy top in the wind.  Despite the cold you can’t resist taking in the panorama from Orrest Head and we weren’t the only people out enjoying such a fine day.  The 360° views to the blue water of Windermere on one side and the Kirkstone fells on the other were stunning.


On the path up to Orrest Head above Windermere

On this popular path I found this simple bench in memory of James Archie Galloway.  The bench told me that James Archie Galloway worked as a Tree Warden in the Windermere area.  The role of the Tree Warden is a voluntary one co-ordinated by The Tree Council and there are many thousand across the country.  Tree Wardens gather information about local trees, encourage local projects and help protect trees in an area.  Trees are an important part of our landscape and ecology and I am grateful to anyone who gives their time doing this worthwhile and wonderful work.  I am pleased that James Archie Galloway is remembered for his contribution.


In Memory of James Archie Galloway 1912 – 2003 Windermere’s Tree Warden

Arnside: Joyce Isbel Lord 1922 – 2006


The view across the river Kent in Arnside

Even on a grey wintery day you can’t beat a walk along the front at Arnside.  This lovely Lancashire resort has that essential seaside feel but its coastline is actually along the River Kent estuary rather than Morecambe Bay or the Irish Sea.  Behind the shore the small town climbs up the steep hill and along the front are quirky shops and great cafes.  Arnside is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is surrounded by pretty limestone scenery with no shortage of good walks and we always enjoy a visit here.  The railway line comes through Arnside and the 500+ metre long viaduct spans the River Kent.

Joyce Isbel Lord (1922-2006), A Kind, Gentle, Happy And Much Loved Lady. Whilst The Tides And Seasons Constantly Change, Our Memories Of You Will Always Remain The Same.  (With Love From All The Family)

Along the front there are no shortage of benches where you get a chance to sit and watch the tide coming and going, the birds on the mud flats and the trains crossing the river to Grange-over-Sands.  I picked this bench out for its thoughtful and moving message, ‘Whilst The Tides and Seasons Constantly Change, Our Memories Of You Will Always Remain The Same.’ This is a message that is perfectly appropriate to its Arnside setting; the coast line of Arnside is a dynamic environment and under that expansive sky the views will change by the hour.  The memorial bench also paints an exquisite picture of Joyce Isbel Lord as, ‘A Kind, Gentle, Happy and Much Loved Lady.’


Buttermere Youth Hostel: Andy Follis 1958 – 2005

2017 May Rannerdale Knott Buttermere (3).JPG

Looking over Crummock Water from Rannerdale Knotts

Buttermere Youth Hostel is a special place for me as I worked a summer season there in the 1990s.  One of my favourite memories of those months is the short period between finishing serving breakfast and the two hours of cleaning duties once the hostel was empty.  We would often take this much needed short break on the benches lined up on the open porch at the front of the hostel.  Here, with a view of the surrounding fells, we would chat with the hostellers as they kitted up for a walk or packed their cars, while having a welcome mug of tea and a piece of homemade cake.

Buttermere (1)

In memory of Andy Follis 1958 – 2005

Returning to Buttermere for a stay this summer I was interested to find a memorial bench to Andy Follis on the porch.  Andy Follis was only 46 years old when he died suddenly from epilepsy in April 2005 leaving a wife and two daughters.

Buttermere (2)

The bench under the porch at Buttermere Youth Hostel

Andy Follis must have also had a connection with Buttermere Youth Hostel and certainly the bench that remembers him is welcomed by hostellers and members of staff.

Wythop: Mike Saunders 1948-2010


Looking over the valley from above Wythop Church

On the beautiful hillside of Sale Fell is this simple memorial bench to Mike Saunders.  Mike Saunders lived in the Cumbrian coastal town of Workington and died at the age of 62-years in the West Cumberland Hospital after an ‘illness bravely borne’.

The memorial plaque told me that Mike Saunders was a good cricketer and a good golfer.  Research revealed that he was an excellent amateur cricket player, playing for Haverigg Cricket Club where he eventually became Captain and for the Cumberland team.  This memorial bench left me with the sense of a much loved man and his obituaries paint a picture of a well thought of man who loved cricket and later golf.  In his working life Mike Saunders started out his working life as a teacher and later worked at nearby Sellafield  Nuclear site.  Mike Saunders was a ‘great husband’ to Val Saunders and in retirement he generously gave his time to the Meals on Wheels service.


In Memory of Mike Saunders Good Cricketer, Good Golfer, Great Husband 1948 – 2010

Sale Fell is one of the smaller Wainwrights, that is the 214 hills listed by Alfred Wainwright in his guidebooks.  The Wainwright Fells range from Scafell Pike at 3,210 feet above sea level down to Castle Crag at just 985 feet.  Between Keswick and Cockermouth, Sale Fell might be small but it is a stunning viewpoint and its steep slopes make it an excellent site for a memorial bench to rest on.  We walked from Wythop Mill’s lovely Church of St Margaret of Antioch that is tucked in to the fellside.  From the fell we had glorious views of the flanks of Skiddaw and on the ridge above Wythop Woods we had a lofty view along the length of Bassenthwaite Lake that glistened blue in the sunshine.


Sale Fell: Margaret Anne Brown 14/4/1934 – 10/9/2008

The small mound of Sale Fell (359m) has a view that many larger hills would be proud to call their own.  From the flanks of Sale Fell the walker can see along Bassenthwaite Lake over Wythop Woods and to Skiddaw; on a sunny day there are few places to beat it.  We had started our walk from the pretty church of St Margaret’s that is tucked in to the fell on the narrow lane between Wythop Mill and the Pheasant Inn.  Sale Fell is a Wainwright, that is one of the 214 fells listed by Alfred Wainwright in his seven volumes of guides to the Lake District fells.  We were walking on this lovely hill because my partner is collecting his Wainwrights.


Looking over Bassenthwaite Lake from the edges of Sale Fell

This simple memorial bench has a plaque with a lovely dedication to Margaret Anne Brown; ‘For those who love our land to rest awhile and dream their dreams’.  This dedication suggests that Margaret Brown had a contemplative nature and also loved the beauty of the Lake District.

Sale Fell (2).JPG

In Beloved Memory of Margaret Anne Brown 14/4/1934 – 10/9/2008 For Those Who Love Our Land To Rest Awhile and Dream Their Dreams

I have no doubt that many walkers have been grateful for the opportunity to rest a while on this beautifully positioned bench and I certainly took the opportunity to dream my dreams while I took in the view.


Whitehaven: Bill Madine MBE died 19 April 2005

Whitehaven has been one of my favourites towns, from the first time I visited in 1982.  Whitehaven has changed a lot since then and today Whitehaven has re-packaged itself successfully as a tourist destination and a stroll around the lovely marina and harbour is always a pleasant way to spend an hour or so.

The first quay was built at Whitehaven in 1633 to export salt and coal and as Whitehaven developed and industrialised the harbour was extended and by 1800 was an important port for the import of tobacco from America  and rum, sugar and slaves from Caribbean Islands.  By the late 19th century the harbour had rail access.  Today the harbour has a sea lock creating a marina full of boats with sailing-related street art dotted along the quays.

Bill Madine MBE was very active in the Whitehaven community and this will explain the splendid and interesting memorial bench that is dedicated to him and placed to have a view over Whitehaven harbour.  This bench ensures that he continues to be a community memory, as well as a personal memory for those who knew him well, loved him and will always remember him.  I imagine colleagues and acquaintances giving him a nod in remembrance as they pass the bench or take a rest for a while.

According to Bill Madine’s obituary, in the local News and Star, as well as being a Fishermen’s Agent and Harbour Commissioner, Bill Madine was a trawler boss and also involved in the National Federation of Trawlermen as a regional representative.  This bench remembers his fishing life but Bill Madine was also an active supporter, director and president of Whitehaven Rugby League Football Club.

In memory of Bill Madine MBE Fishermens Agent & Harbour Commissioner Died 19 April 2005

In memory of Bill Madine MBE
Fishermens Agent & Harbour Commissioner
Died 19 April 2005

The bench in memory of Bill Madine at Whitehaven harbour

The bench in memory of Bill Madine at Whitehaven harbour

Whitehaven harbour and marina

Whitehaven harbour and marina

Seascale: Kelly Day 1978 – 1999

The Norse settlers or Vikings came to Cumbria before 1000 AD and their language lives on in many place names along the Cumbrian coast.  Seascale comes from the old Norse word Skali, meaning a hut or shelter.  Long after the Norse people, the coastline-hugging railway bought holidaymakers to Seascale to enjoy the expansive and sandy beach.

Seascale is the closest village to the Sellafield, the previous nuclear power station and reprocessing site, which is now being decommissioned.  This site started out life as a Royal Ordnance Factory in the Second World War as its position on the west coast of England meant it was far enough away from German bombers.  After the war the site, then known as Windscale, produced weapons-grade plutonium and in 1956 became the site of a Magnox reactor.  The name changed to Sellafield in the 1970s and the site continued to be developed and to be a major employer in the area.

This memorial bench to Kelly Day, who died a young woman, has a view of the sea and a beautiful sentiment to a ‘beloved niece’ who was ‘a diamond reflected in the sparkling sea’.  I found this a lovely spot to sit and contemplate those words for a few moments, even on a damp and blustery autumn day.

Not far from the bench remembering Kelly Day is a sombre memorial to the twelve people who were killed by a lone gunman on 2 June 2010.

Donated in memory of our beloved niece Kelly Day 1978 - 1999 A diamond reflected in the sparkling sea

Donated in memory of our beloved niece Kelly Day 1978 – 1999 A diamond reflected in the sparkling sea

The sea front at Seascale

The sea front at Seascale

Ravenglass: Peter Tebb 1977 – 1995

Ravenglass is a lovely coastal village on the Cumbrian Coast with a sheltered harbour on the Esk estuary and houses on the main street that have their backs to the blustery Irish Sea.  A stroll along the beach at low tide watching the waders would be reason enough to visit Ravenglass but there is also the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway; a narrow gauge railway line that runs from Ravenglass to Eskdale.  This is a beautiful journey that I would recommend to anyone who hasn’t been on it.  Passengers travel on a cute shiny steam engine and pass through lovely countryside in to the heart of Eskdale, surrounded by fells.

La’al Ratty is the affectionate name for the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway and means little railway in Cumbrian dialect.

On a blustery and wet November morning we stopped for a hot chocolate at the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway cafe.  We didn’t have time for a trip but it was lovely to watch the little engine get steam up as the passengers climbed in to the carriages.  On the platform I found this moving memorial bench to Peter Tebb, a young man who was clearly attached to the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway.  The memorial bench is attractively decorated with red squirrels on the legs.

Ravenglass (2)

In memory ofPeter Tebb 1977 – 1995″La’al Ratty” A mutual friend

Ravenglass (1)

The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway