About this listing
Perfect for a peaceful, 'off grid', cozy family Christmas! Open fires, long walks, spectacular sunsets and the Santa train, await...!
Welcome to Volcano! (A quick Google search 'Volcano + Holmrook' and the story behind the name will become clear...!)
Volcano is an 1850s coach house; open plan, yet cozy. Plenty of windows and 8 foot ceilings lend themselves to a feeling of openness, whilst its location in woodlands, with a multifuel stove (i.e. not the instant 'flick for heat' of central heating, but the satisfaction of a fire well built and tended!), make for a perfect retreat in Summer or Winter; and particularly at Christmastime, when you'll be welcomed by a wreath on the front door, a fire waiting to be lit, and lots of festive coziness!
Volcano was originally part of the stables for the original Holmrook Hall, which was home to the Lutwidge family, aka Lewis Carroll's Uncle; and, as you exit the cottage straight onto tracks and fields, it's not hard to imagine where the inspiration for timekeeping hares and lazy caterpillars came from!
During the the Second World War the cottage was part of a Royal Navy land base at Holmrook Hall, and was named HMS Volcano. It was the home of the bomb and munitions training school between 1943 and 1946, with a primary purpose of teaching munitions and explosive demolition, to Royal Navy personnel and to special forces including many Norwegians. It was a top secret establishment and the locals were told that the hall had been requisitioned as a recuperation hospital for those who had suffered shipwrecks; a version of events many believe to this day.
Although still remote enough that your nearest chain supermarket is half an hours drive away; the 'secret' of Volcano can now be experienced from within! World renowned walks, pubs, tea rooms, honesty tables with everything from windfall apples to newly picked potatoes perfect for roasting: a visit to the Western Lakes is like stepping back in time.
We have three good sized double bedrooms, one of which occupies the whole of the top floor, and is accessed via a private staircase which provides privacy, although the bedroom itself doesn't have a door. Total occupancy is 6. The cottage is able to accommodate 7, depending on the makeup of your group; whether it be children, or someone who's happy to be based on the couch for a couple of days.
We have one family bathroom with a long, deep, free-standing dream of a bath and a lovely rain shower; complete with dimmable lighting for relaxing soaks!
We also have freestanding oil heaters in each room, and we have a large immersion heater to take care of hot water in the kitchen and bathroom should you be too worn out after your Lake District explorations to make a fire on any given evening!
There is parking for up to two cars in the private, off road courtyard.
Our ground floor has the original cobbles and troughs of the coach house. This means practicality in spades for muddy wellies and paws; but a potential trip hazard too. You easily get used to it, and it's an amazing feature, but it's worth bearing in mind.
Our sofas are really great for slouching; and are made up of old flags which we have collected over the years. They have a unique, worn, character which we love; but aren't your typical sofa covering!
There is a TV that connects to a DVD player (PlayStation) for playing DVDs and music: i.e. no live TV and no WiFi, for off grid bliss!
With or without a car, you'll really embrace the country life: walks straight from the door, local pub and a convenience store which can take care of all your immediate needs. We also get Tescos and Asda delivery, and are blessed with an award winning butcher, specialising in bronzed turkeys, and a fifteen minute drive from the cottage is the official provider of 'sausage to the Queen!' We would be happy to help you place a pre order, and can point you in the right direction for other locally sourced specialities.
The Western Lakes are a privilege to discover. Away from the well trodden tourist trails, Volcano is less than 2 miles from the beach, and less than two miles from the Lake District National Park, with Scafell Pike routes a short (15-20 minute) drive away.
Ambleside and Windermere are an hour and a half drive, Lancaster two hours, and Carlisle a similar distance in the opposite direction.
The Cumbrian Coast Mainland Railway is one of the most beautiful railway journeys in England, and it delivers you to within a half hour walk from our door. The Cumbrian Coast line, and L'al Ratty (Cumbrian for: Little Railway) have featured in a BBC programme entitled Britain's Greatest Railway journeys, hosted by Michael Portillo.
Muncaster Castle is also just a five minute drive away and its Owl Sanctuary, falconry show and incredible views (not to mention, haunted bedroom!) make it one of the Lake District's hidden tourist gems.
The recent winner of "Britain's Favourite View", Wastwater is 7 miles from our small village; which manages to squeeze in a post office come agricultural feed store, a petrol station come village store, and, the all important pub - a 4 minute walk (& only because of the lack of street lights!) directly from our front door to theirs!
If you're a history buff, try entering Holmrook Hall in Wikipedia, for more history of how the cottage came by its name: (HMS) 'Volcano'; or we have lots of locally sourced research and books at the cottage which you are welcome to browse.
Volcano is your home for the duration, along with the garden, and parking, in a private, off road courtyard, for two cars: please help yourself to anything you need. There are a few personal items around, and a few things hanging in the wardrobe, but nothing that's off limits.
The beauty of Volcano is its freedom: surrounded by footpaths and fields. It was our home, and is now shared with others through Airbnb - so it has all the essentials, but not really any personal items; so nothing off limits or out of bounds: simply enjoy!
Seascale, just five minutes drive from the cottage, has some of the most spectacular sunsets across the Irish Sea towards the aisle of Man; and Ravenglass is The Lakes' only costal village; with a beautiful estuary for 'mucking about in the water' Swallows and Amazons style, or just watching the sun set over the dunes from the local pub!
Interaction with Guests
We will not be present at the listing, but there is a really complete Welcome Pack with lots of information about the house, area and anything else you could wish to know; and we love answering questions before or during your stay, by email.
It's a 'self check in', with a key safe (the details of which will be in your confirmation and itinerary email from Airbnb, along with directions), which makes for an easy and flexible arrival.
We also have someone we have worked with for years who can be available locally to help with any issues that arise, and we are always at the end of email, although we live in London now.
Neighbourhoods don't come much better than this if you like a lack of street lights and a pub (The Lutwidge Arms) at the end of the track!
Our cottage is the middle of three, off a private courtyard, with parking for up to two cars.
The courtyard in turn accesses a private dirt track, which winds down to the River Irt, and fields and footpaths galore.
Holmrook the village has the life essentials. In no particular order, but I know what our priorities are(!): a children's playground, pub, small wildflower meadow/village ecology garden, mechanics garage, agricultural feed store, post office, and petrol station come small grocery store. Drigg, Santon Bridge, Gosforth and Seascale (all less than ten minutes drive) have another good two handfuls of pubs, takeaways, and small gift shops.
The A595 is the main artery road through the Western Lakes and will connect you (although it may change name) from Carlisle to Barrow. It is impeccably maintained, is the first road to be gritted or cleared in the snow; and our dirt track accesses directly off it.
The smaller local roads are also well maintained, and wide enough for large cars, with lots of passing spaces should you encounter the familiar sight of a tractor or other farm machinery!
A glimpse into some of the (in)famous walks in the area (extracted from the Telegraph Travel Section):
If there’s one peak everyone wants to tick off their list, it’s Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain at 3,209ft. The mountain is well within the reach of most walkers, but it’s a long climb to the top, and can be tricky to navigate in bad weather, so save it for a clement day. From the top, you’ll be treated to a wonderfully wild vista across the valley of Wasdale. It’s a round-trip of about seven miles from the car-park at Wasdale Head; expect to spend at least six hours on the mountain.
After Scafell Pike, Helvellyn (3,117ft) is the next on most peak-baggers’ list. It’s famous (or infamous) for its twin ridges, Striding Edge and Swirral Edge, carved out by glacial action during the last ice age. There are some considerable drops and steep sections involved, and at one or two points you’ll be climbing hand over hand, so it’s not for vertigo-sufferers. Don’t be deterred by the challenge, though – thousands of people manage Helvellyn every year, and you might even run into traffic jams on busy days. The most popular routes start in Glenridding or Patterdale and cover between eight and 10 miles depending on which trail you take.
At 3054ft, Skiddaw is one of only six fells to reach the magic height of 3,000ft. Often dismissed by purists as a dull slog, Skiddaw actually makes for a great day on the mountain: the hike is long and steep, but it offers a superb outlook over Keswick and Derwentwater, stretching into Borrowdale on a clear day. The usual route begins in Keswick (six to seven miles, four to five hours).
Coniston Old Man
Towering above Coniston, the Old Man (2,634ft) is one of the most recognisable of the Lakeland fells. The most popular trail climbs straight up the east side of the mountain, passing through old copper mines and slate quarries en route to the summit. For a longer day, you can make a circuit around the back of the mountain, incorporating a ridge walk over Dow Crag and Goat’s Hawse. Option one covers about five miles return from Coniston; tack on another four for the Dow Crag route.
This impressive lump of rock stands in splendid isolation to the northeast of Keswick. It’s usually fairly quiet in comparison to the other big-name fells, especially if you start out early. The easiest trail climbs up the fell’s east or west flank from Threlkeld (around four to five miles), but hardcore hikers will prefer the shorter but more exposed ridge ascent via Hall’s Fell. The infamous ridge of Sharp Edge is for experienced climbers only, so steer clear unless you know what you’re doing.
Public transport cannot be said to be convenient in West Cumbria! There is a train line that goes up the West coast, but it's a couple of miles from the house. Ideally you would want a car for longer excursions; but if you would just like to stay local and go on walks and to the pub; you will manage just fine with a taxi on your arrival and departure.
If you are arriving by train, you will arrive into Drigg: the prettiest railway station we have ever come across in all our travels! It's a little under a two mile walk, so, if you'd prefer a taxi to take the strain, give 'Gosforth Taxis' a call and they will meet you.
Other Things to Note
Dogs (and the occasional cat!) are welcome, but we ask that they stay on the ground floor; as the upper floors are carpeted; and we charge a one off fee towards cleaning of £20.
We have a well equipped kitchen; with all the equipment necessary to rustle up anything from toast to a roast! Tea and coffee are provided: just bring fresh milk. There are also a few basic pantry items, as well as toiletries, towels and linen available for you at the cottage.
All the kindling, wood, coal (and all important lighter!) for the multi fuel stove await you at the cottage too!
We have one highchair, and we have a stairgate which we can make available for you if you let us know in advance of your stay.
Volcano is very much a working home, rather than a show cottage: we're relaxed, and invite you to be the same.
Simply treat it as you would your own, and when you're on your way out, leave it as you'd like to come home to. We ask for your help with doing the washing up, popping out the bins, and stripping the beds.
Volcano has a septic tank, so please only ever put toilet paper in the toilet.
Our neighbours are our friends, and the community is a small one. It would be great if you could be a part of it by respecting the neighbours, including the cows, sheep and otters... :-) Things like being quiet between 10pm - 8am; enjoying cuddles (with the animals!), but not feeding or inviting them into the cottage; as it confuses them, and future guests!
We don't smoke, and would be grateful if you didn't either, inside, or anywhere near the cottage or our neighbours' homes (please be careful when disposing of butts too, in terms of fire risk and litter etc.).
We do however, love animals, so you are welcome to bring up to two dogs, who can set up shop on the ground floor (where cobbles reign over carpet); but please don't let them upstairs, as their little paws scratch the staircase, and the soft furnishings aren't compatible with canine exploration! And the same goes for shoes!
Other bits and pieces are in the Welcome Pack at the cottage; along with loads of local information, books, maps, and things to do...