We have had some fantastic weather here at Howtown over the last couple of months, - not every day but when the sun has shone it has brought beauty and the views around the valley have been exceptional. The garden has blossomed with the combination of rain and then warmth and even though the garden has had rabbits, sheep and deer to contend with, the roses have been spectacular!
Our hotel farm – Cote Farm in the Fusedale Valley - had to contend with many landslides that took out some superb old walls and outbuildings. Now with the skills of the local walling craftsmen, the farm and walls are being rebuilt and are beginning to look like a part of the Valley again. It is amazing to see the care the craftsmen take as they consider the shape and contours of each stone, slowly recreating the walls, which had stood for so many years.
The farm is always busy and this time of year means silaging, and baling as well as all the sheep having to be brought down from the fells in readiness for clipping. And of course, there are always the pet lambs and calves to be looked after.
The gravel and stones which covered the lakeside field after being swept in by the floods, have been recycled making a path directly from the foreshore to the Hotel Drive. This will make it much easier for walkers to avoid the road.
With the new season has come the introduction of local chef Colin Akrigg. A long-time friend of Howtown, Colin moved to us from nearby Sharrow Bay and has embraced the Howtown experience from day one. Colin’s menus, change daily offering 3 starters, 3 main courses and deserts and the change in the menu has been very well received.
I have known Colin for many years and was delighted when he came to join us here at Howtown. He is very well respected and knowledgeable in his field and I have also found him to be a very kind man. When I arrived in the Lake District over 30 years ago I came without a job and nowhere to live. I found work pot washing at Sharrow Bay and Colin was my boss. After some persuasion and more out of pity than anything else he offered me a room in his flat until I sorted myself out. Looking back I am sure he was instrumental in my decision to stay and make the Lake District my home and for that I can’t thank him enough. I have never forgotten this gesture of kindness and often bring up our long friendship just as he is dishing up the staff breakfasts at the hotel. This always ensures me of a good hearty start to the day.
The Howtown Tearoom continues to go from strength to strength, it feels to me already like it has always been there. For those who have already visited I am sure they have noticed the mural on the wall (behind the counter) this was actually painted over 20 years ago. Susan Spencer was commissioned to do this and the project it was intended for never progressed apart from the painting. When the Tearoom came along we never thought it would fit in but it just looks like it has been there for ever or painted especially for the team room – not really sure which!
I hope you are all enjoying our long summer days and look forward to seeing some of you at Howtown over the coming months.
Gardener and Beekeeper