Derwentwater Independent Hostel

…a gorgeous white mansion, with those tall elegant Georgian dimensions…

I’ve come over a bit Arthur Ransome thinking about Derwentwater Independent Hostel.

‘Why?’ I hear you ask. 

Although Coniston and Windermere are the acknowledged home of Ransome’s ‘Swallows and Amazons’ stories, Derwentwater chimes more to me. Not only are there the islands dotting the lake just begging to be rowed out to and explored (maybe even camped on with a little fire cooking our freshly caught fish); and the towering mountains with their spiderwebs of drystone walls, craggy tops and wooded slopes; but also there is Barrow House.

Barrow House is the home of Derwentwater Independent Hostel. I visited as a boy for an adventure holiday, much of which was spent red-armed and happy in boats on the lake. In its present incarnation, the hostel still offers outdoor and adventure activities. There can be fewer more pleasant locations to retire back to as well. It is a gorgeous white mansion, with those tall elegant Georgian dimensions, sitting right on the lakefront and bounded by woods, waterfall and grassed parkland. Certainly, if you’re not sweeping languidly around the grounds with a parasol, you should be pottering about in a boat. 

And so, whenever I think of Swallows and Amazons, in my mind I place the action around Barrow House. Not canonically accurate, I grant you, but deeply evocative in this writer’s mind’s eye.

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