Saturday, 18 January 2020

Lavenham Guildhall

It is admittedly a bit of a stretch to compare this National Trust Scone Blog to Game of Thrones. In its last season, each GoT episode cost $15m to produce. This blog post about Lavenham Guildhall cost a bit less than that, although I nearly had a heart attack when the bus driver asked for £7.40 to take me seven miles. I'm not sure what was worse - parting with the cash or the fact that I can remember bus fares costing 25p and am therefore officially of 'nan age'.

BUT ANYWAY. This is the final year of the National Trust Scone Quest and I live in mortal fear that it'll end up like GoT; a massive damp squib with all of you feeling let down. I can't let you down. I just can't.

So I've upped the ante a bit. I've gone into "the cloud" and got some "big data" to help me not fail. 

My first task: make the first scone mission of the year a non-disaster. They're always a disaster. Usually it's because I'm wearing inappropriate shoes and the weather is bad, but I've also turned up to properties that were shut or partially shut and it's always horrendous.

So I did the maths. Last summer, I ran a survey asking you all to tell me which properties I should prioritise. The runaway winner was Lavenham Guildhall in Suffolk, so I checked the details; open in January, located in a village offering tarmac and limited mud, weather didn't look discouraging. So off I went.

Lavenham Guildhall

Here's a bit of history for you:

Lavenham Guildhall: for religion, not trade
I had assumed that a guild was an association for people belonging to a trade, for example weavers or masons, but not in this case - trade guilds were found in large towns and cities, whereas guilds in smaller locations tended to be religious. There were five religious guilds in Lavenham and this one belonged to Corpus Christi. Lavenham Guildhall was quite small, suggesting that membership was limited to a few eminent merchants.

Lavenham: very wealthy from 1460 to 1530
In 1525, Lavenham was the 14th richest town in England, paying more tax than Lincoln or York. This boomtime had come about because of cloth - Lavenham was famous for producing a blue broadcloth called Lavenham Blews, using woad as a dye.

The Guildhall: built to impress
The Guildhall was built along with two adjacent properties in 1529-30. They were all constructed using timber plus wattle and daub, as East Anglia lacks natural stone. The Guildhall was a bit more elaborate than the other buildings, again suggesting it was a meeting place for high status folks.

The end of the boom...
Sadly for Lavenham, a recession hit the cloth industry in the 1520s and 30s and many merchants moved into other industries, leaving a lot of unemployment. By 1568, Lavenham had fallen behind other towns in the area and never regained the levels of wealth and success that it had achieved.

...and the end of the guild - the Guildhall becomes a prison
Religious guilds also came to an inglorious end, being dissolved from 1547 during the Reformation. By 1655, we know that a portion of the Guildhall was being used to house paupers charged with petty crime in what was then called a 'bridewell'. The museum contains some brutal stories of children being incarcerated there before being transported to Australia.

The Guildhall becomes a workhouse
In 1655 the Guildhall also became a workhouse. This was in pre-Victorian days, when being poor was considered to be a fact of life and inhabitants were reasonably treated. It was only later that the idea of the 'undeserving poor' came about and the workhouse became a terrifying place of absolute last resort. Lavenham's workhouse closed in 1836.

The rescue of the Guildhall
Thomas Patrick Hitchcock owned the properties after 1836. He divided the place up and rented it out to tenants, also using space for a granary and a woolstore. A rich man called Sir William Cuthbert Quilter then bought the buildings in 1886 and set about restoring them. He was ahead of his time, as 30 years later the realisation dawned that Lavenham's buildings needed to be preserved and a wider effort began.

Lavenham loom

The Lavenham Scone
But let's move on to the all-important business of the scone. I've had excellent reports about Lavenham scones over the years but I didn't want to get too excited - see above for first-scone-of-the-year-disaster precedents.

However, there was nothing to fear. The scone was sublime. It was fresh and warm and tasty and I gobbled it down in about 10 seconds, much to the alarm of the nice ladies at the next table who must have wondered where the Cookie Monster had suddenly come from.

Lavenham scone

I'll end with this picture of Lavenham village. I took it as I was standing at the bus stop - by the way, I'm pleased to report that they had provided a nice bench for my tired old grandma legs, although presumably not out of bus profits. 

It was only afterwards did I notice that the picture looks like something from 'Postcard from the Past'. Lavenham didn't feel stuck in time though - most of the old buildings have been turned into useful things like pubs and there's a buzz to the place that definitely wasn't tourist-dependent. It just looks very classic.

Lavenham village

So there you have it: the first scone mission of the year completed and it was a roaring success. I'm going to take this as an omen that 2020 is going to be our year, scone fans, and we will be victorious in completing the National Trust scone quest!

Lavenham Guildhall: 4 out of 5
Scone: 5 out of 5
Stories of misery: 5 out of 5 (if you like misery)

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Top National Trust Properties for Scone Sightings in 2019

Last year, you sent in nearly 500 pictures of National Trust scones that you encountered on your visits (an increase of 20% on 2018, for any advanced stat fiends).

It fascinates me to see which properties get regular mentions (and also which ones don't), so I'm sharing the numbers with you.

Top 10 National Trust Properties for Scone Sightings in 2019:

Top 10 National Trust Properties for Scones

The scones that you shared the most were Ickworth, Blicking, Tyntesfield, Lavenham, Hardwick Hall, Scotney Castle, Anglesey Abbey, Sutton Hoo, Dunwich Heath and Flatford. East Anglia VERY well represented!

Top 11-20 National Trust Properties for Scone Sightings in 2019:

Not far behind were Fountains Abbey, Packwood, Standen, Avebury, Nymans, Stourhead, Cliveden, Oxburgh, Sissinghurst, and A La Ronde.

Top 21-30 National Trust Properties for Scone Sightings in 2019:

And then came Chartwell, Cragside, Greenway, Lyveden, Mount Stewart, Nostell, Sizergh, Treasurers House York, Charlecote, and Clumber Park.

It's the final year of the National Trust Scone Odyssey, so keep sending in your photos. Tweet them to @nt_scones or tag me on your Insta shots @nt_scones! 

Saturday, 28 December 2019

National Trust Scone of the Year 2019

I visited 36 National Trust properties this year and nearly all of them were able to provide me with a scone. In itself that's not wildly impressive - I managed 48 in 2014. But this year I made it to 26 NT places IN AUGUST. One single month of careering around the country eating jam. I truly lived the dream in 2019.

I have committed to finishing this National Trust Odyssey by December 2020. This means I have just 12 months left to career around the country again and visit the remaining 40 or so National Trust properties that have an NT-run cafeteria serving scones. That's the criteria for inclusion, by the way - I'm always overjoyed to stop off at lovely places that don't have a tea room, or have one run by tenants, but they're very much an optional extra as I have to draw the line somewhere.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. This post is all about the highlights of 2019 and the big question that I now have to face; which of the 36 properties provided my favourite scones over the past 12 months?

It's been very difficult to narrow it down but narrow it down I must. So here we go with my Top 10 National Trust Scones of 2019:   

10. Cotehele
"COTEHELE IS WONDERFUL AND YOU HAVE TO GO THERE IMMEDIATELY" is basically what I've been told, about 100 times, since I started this blog (turns out Cotehele has a very large and ardent fanbase). And so this year I DID make it to Cotehele in Cornwall and it IS a wonderful place - it's just very dark and it threw me somewhat as I wasn't expecting it. The restaurant on the other hand is light, bright, and airy and the scones were delicious.

9. Antony

My sister and I arrived in Plymouth for our 2019 Summer Tour of Devon, all revved up and ready to atone for years of neglect; until this year I'd only managed about four visits to Devonshire. We picked up the car, set the sat nav for Antony...and within minutes found ourselves on a ferry sailing across the Tamar into enemy territory. And so the first National Trust scone of our Grand Tour of Devon Cornwall. It was a wonderful scone though.

8. Dudmaston
I know that the Dudmaston scone was exceptional because I can still remember it, despite the fact that the entire West Midlands wasp population decided to join me while I was trying to eat it. The scone was light, fresh, and a good size. "Jammy, with jammy undertones," added A Wasp.

7. Kinver Edge & The Rock Houses
If there was an award for Most Bizarre National Trust Property, the Rock Houses at Kinver in Staffordshire would walk it. To quote Danny Dyer, they still do my nut in to this day. People actually used to live in the rocks, doing them up like a country cottage and just digging out a bit more sandstone whenever they needed another room. Truly remarkable. The tea room was tiny and I had zero expectations of the scone, but it was stunning.

6. Erddig
I had been reading up on the sad story of Ellen Penketh, housekeeper at Erddig from 1902-1907, before my visit to Wrexham. This meant that I was unusually focused on the kitchens and staff quarters where she once lived before she was prosecuted for stealing. But luckily I remembered to visit the restaurant where I found an unexpectedly delicious fruit scone AND a Hot Cross Scone. 

5. Arlington
I loved Arlington in North Devon. I loved its peaceful location, and its rooms, and the fact that the National Trust Carriage Museum is located in the stables and one of the carriages was powered by a goat. But most of all I loved its scones. There are some scones that you never forget and the Arlington scone is one of them.

4. Croft Castle
It's scone blog tradition that the first scone mission of the year is usually a total disaster. Croft Castle in Herefordshire refused to play along with that. It was open in January (a good start) and homely, and the tea room served a big, fresh, wondrous scone that had us all impressed.  

3. The Argory
My summer tour of Northern Ireland was surprising for many reasons, but most memorable of all was the universal love for a cherry scone that I found across the province. I never got bored of them, either - turns out that cherries can perk up a scone like nobody's business and the one that I had at The Argory in County Armagh will never be forgotten.

2. Watersmeet
Picture the scene: it's August 2013 and I have started a new blog about National Trust scones. I'm riddled with doubts about the whole idea and my mouse cursor is hovering over the 'delete it all' button. 

And then I turn on Countryfile and His Royal Majesty Sir John of Craven is baking National Trust scones at Watersmeet in Devon. I take it as a sign from the gods and I persevere with the blog (and the scones). Watersmeet has been a place of pilgrimage in my mind ever since and I finally made it there this year. The scones were beyond my wildest imaginings - fresh, crumbly, warm and eaten in beautiful surroundings on a sunny day. Perfection.

1. Fell Foot
If I've learned one thing from this National Trust scone project it is that the most unassuming of properties can sometimes deliver the loveliest rewards. 

Fell Foot, on the banks of Lake Windermere in Cumbria, has no grand house - it was knocked down. The cafe is not what you'd describe as cosy - it's large and wooden and basic to accommodate all the walkers and watersporters. And yet the scone was sublime. I'm so glad that my great friend Sarah-Jane was there with me to witness it, otherwise I'd be questioning myself that a scone could be that good. But we both knew we were in the presence of something very special. 

So well done to Fell Foot for winning my National Trust Scone of the Year for 2019. They join the previous champions in the pantheon of the greats: Shugborough (2018), The Needles Old Battery (2017), Cornwall Properties (2016), South Foreland Lighthouse & White Cliffs of Dover (2015), Dunwich Heath (2014), Flatford (2013). 

And that's a wrap for 2019. A huge, huge thank you to everyone that has supported the scone odyssey this year, either by reading the blog, buying the Book of Scones, or sending me photos of your National Trust tea-room adventures. Every single photo, comment, and like is appreciated, I promise you.

My attention now turns to completing my quest by 31 December 2020. The good news is that it's a Leap Year, which means I get an extra 24 hours, but I'm still going to need a fair wind and positive thoughts. Wish me luck and meet you back here next year for the big one: who will be the Scone To Rule Them All?

Sunday, 22 December 2019

National Trust Sconepals' Choice Award 2019

There's only one short week to go until I announce my top National Trust Scone of 2019. I visited a whopping 36 NT properties this year so it's going to be a very difficult decision. But before I declare my own winner, I asked you all to vote for your favourites of the past 12 months. 

So without further ado, let's get the big golden envelopes out and ask our adjudicators to stand at the side of the stage with their briefcases but not mess things up, a la the Oscars in 2017.  

53 properties got at least one vote this year, so bravo to all of those expert scone bakers who wowed us throughout the year. 

However, there can only be one winner.

So eyes down as we reveal, in reverse order:

In third place! It's Fountains Abbey!

In second place, our runner-up! It's Treasurer's House in York!

And in first place, the Sconepals' Choice of 2019 is...

It's Ickworth! 

Congratulations to the team at Ickworth. It's a few years since I went there, so it's clearly time to go back. You can read about my scone mission to Ickworth here.

A huge well done and thank you to all of the National Trust baking teams across the land. Among the honourable mentions this year were: 

Buckland Abbey
Hardwick Hall
Sizergh Castle
Attingham Park
Lavenham Guildhall
Quarry Bank
Acorn Bank
Basildon Park
Calke Abbey
Castle Drogo
Clumber Park
Coleton Fishacre
Dunham Massey
Fell Foot
Gunby Hall
Houghton Mill
Kinver Edge
Lyme Park
Lytes Cary Manor
Oxburgh Hall
Penrhyn Castle
Powis Castle
Scotney Castle
Sutton Hoo
Waddesdon Manor
Wentworth Castle Gardens
Wightwick Manor

Finally, a huge THANK YOU to everyone that voted and to everyone that has continued to send in scone pictures this year. 

With a fair wind, 2020 will be the final year of this National Trust Scone Quest, so keep your photos coming - I love to see where you've been (and what you've eaten). 

Look out for the National Trust Scone Blogger's Scone of 2019 - I'll be announcing my honours list next week!

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Books for National Trust Fans - A Christmas Gift Guide

If you're looking for gift ideas for Christmas, look no further! I've compiled a list of my favourite books that are connected to National Trust properties, thus giving you some inspiration for the readers/history fans in your life.

The recipients of these books don't have to have visited the properties by the way - many are rip-roaring factual historical reads that don't need a setting (Wedlock, Galloper Jack, and The Greatest Traitor in particular).

I've only included books below that are still in print. There are some other corkers that are out of print but you might be able to find them: Not The Whole Truth (autobiography of society photographer Lord Lichfield, one-time resident at Shugborough) and The Man Who Was Frankenstein (about the one-time owner of Fyne Court) are two excellent examples.

The Book of Scones
Obviously I wasn't going to do a list of books without mentioning the official Book of Scones. It's the perfect gift! I am a bit disappointed that the National Trust hasn't asked me to do an annual like the ones I used to get in my stocking every Christmas, whether for Blue Peter or Smash Hits or Wham! But in the breathy words of the great George Michael: " year".

Wedlock: How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met His Match by Wendy Moore
I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that this is my favourite book of all time. It's a shocking, can't-put-it-down read about Mary Eleanor Bowes, great-great-great-great grandmother to the Queen, who had a lovely dad, a dull first marriage, and then managed to end up with the most awful man in the world as her second husband, at which point it becomes a horror story. Why they haven't made a film/TV adaptation of it is beyond me. Wendy Moore has also written a couple of other excellent books if you've already exhausted this as a gift option. You can also read about the scones at Gibside, Mary Eleanor Bowes' childhood home.

The Greatest Traitor by Ian Mortimer
I read this book thinking it was about the Roger Mortimer who built Chirk Castle. It's actually about his nephew, but the pair of them were a force to be reckoned with in the early 14th century. Nephew Rog went on to have an affair with Queen Isabella and was potentially responsible for the extremely grisly death that is believed to have been meted out to her husband, Edward II. Read more about Chirk and the book.

Galloper Jack by Brough Scott
I loved this book. Jack Seely, 1st Baron Mottistone, and one-time owner of Mottistone Gardens on the Isle of Wight (which makes him a relation of Benedict Cumberbatch by marriage) had more near-death experiences than any other human, as far as I can make out. He also owned a real-life war horse called Warrior. An amazing story.

A Circle of Sisters by Judith Flanders
It's incredible to think that four sisters from a relatively ordinary family became Alice Kipling (mother of Rudyard), Louisa Baldwin (mother of Stanley), Georgiana Burne-Jones (wife of Edward), and Agnes Poynter (wife of Edward). A very interesting read about their lives and times.

A Scandal at Felbrigg by Trevor Heaton
In these woke times, it's unlikely that a man would be known as 'Mad' Windham but that was the case for the one-time owner of Felbrigg Hall (read about my trip to Felbrigg). He met a woman called Agnes Willoughby at Ascot and fell head-over-heels in love with her, which led to disaster.

A Very British Family - The Trevelyans and Their World by Laura Trevelyan
Laura Trevelyan, BBC correspondent, is the great-great-great granddaughter of Charles Edward Trevelyan, who is name-checked in the song The Fields of Athenry (and not in a good way). She wrote this fascinating book about his failure to provide aid to Ireland during the Potato Famine and about the generations that followed him to live at Wallington - read more about my trip to Wallington.

William Armstrong: Magician of the North by Henrietta Heald
Born in 1810, William Armstrong was the inventor of hydraulic cranes that were used in shipyards around the world, as well as cannons, warships, and other weapons. With his vast wealth he built Cragside on "a lunatic site for a house". A fascinating man.  

The Housekeeper's Tale by Tessa Boase
This book covers the stories of several women who worked as housekeepers in stately homes around the country. It's worth reading purely for the engrossing chapter about Ellen Penketh, who worked at Erddig from 1902-1907. It all went horribly wrong and she was prosecuted for stealing - you can read more in my story of Erddig. There's also a section about Sarah Wells, mother of H.G., who worked at Uppark.

Sissinghurst: An Unfinished History by Adam Nicolson
Adam is the grandson of Vita Sackville-West and he tells some fascinating stories in this book. It's also a fascinating insight into what happens when the National Trust takes over a property. Read more about my trip to Sissinghurst.

A Lady of Cotton by David Sekers
If you liked the TV series The Mill then you'll really like this book. It tells the story of Hannah Greg, who married the enlightened mill owner who ran Quarry Bank. All things are relative though - she might have believed in education and healthcare, but the family was still forcing children to work 12 hour days in dangerous conditions. Anyway. You can read more about Hannah and my adventures at Quarry Bank Mill.

Society's Queen by Anne de Courcy
Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry, is not the most famous inhabitant of Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland (read more about the notorious Viscount Castlereagh) but she ran the show in 'society' for 50 years from 1899. 

Mistress of Charlecote by Alice Fairfax-Lucy
Mary Elizabeth Lucy wrote her memoirs for her grandchildren, but it didn't stop her from including bits about how she didn't want to marry their grandfather. She's more interesting than you'd expect, put it that way - read about the Charlecote scones.

Moondial by Helen Cresswell
It's a children's book but does that matter? NO. It's still a great read and is set at Belton House - read about the scones at Belton and my encounter with the eponymous moondial.

So there you have it! Inspiration galore for Christmas gifts! You're welcome!

If you can think of any others, tweet us at @nt_scones or stick a picture up on Instagram and tag @nt_scones in it!!

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Podcast: The Christmas Pudding Scone at Treasurers House

It's time to get your earphones ready everyone, and brace yourself for me outing my pronunciation of the word 'scone' (please don't abandon me if it's different to yours - we're in this together).

I'm pleased to share a 15 minute podcast with you that I recorded at Treasurers House in York, home to the most memorable scone that I've had in the whole six years of the blog: the Christmas Pudding Scone with Brandy Butter.

You can tune in to the podcast here and and hear about:

  • The ghosts of Treasurers House - which one would you prefer to meet?
  • The history of the Christmas Pudding Scone with Brandy Butter 
  • The secret to how National Trust scones in York are all 5-star
  • How Monsieur Viande, the French chef of former owner Frank Green, is inspiring dishes in the cafe (warning: you will be hungry after this)

Monsieur Viande, the chef of one-time Treasurers owner Frank Green

Remember: you have until December 21st to try the Christmas Pudding Scone for yourself. Read the Christmas Pudding Scone Tour of York Intinerary that I lovingly prepared for you.

A huge thank you to Karla Simpson and Devon Allen for taking part in the podcast. Karla runs the food and beverage operation for Treasurers House, Goddards, and Beningbrough Hall so we have her and her team to thank for York's clean sweep when it comes to NT scones - every property has delivered a 5-star specimen.

Karla and Devon - stars of this podcast episode
Devon is the Visitor Experience Manager who is responsible for the stunning Christmas decorations that adorn Treasurers House until 21 December:

The full podcast series is on ice for now but stay tuned - we'll soon be entering the final year of the National Trust Scone Blog and I'm aiming for a series finale that surpasses Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, even Brookside.

Full link to podcast:

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Horsey Windpump

The late, great Whitney Houston said it best; I believe that children are our future. Teach them well about National Trust scones and hopefully they'll remember to come and visit you in the nursing home and take you out for a cream tea every now and again (I'm paraphrasing a bit there).

I've been taking the education of junior scone fans very, very seriously over the past few months. I'm nearing the end of the National Trust Scone Odyssey (I have to be finished by December 2020) and before I collapse over the finish line in a clotted cream coma, I'm hoping to have inspired the next generation to start a similar project. Otherwise what are we all going to read?

I decided that a field trip was in order. Luckily, I've spent the last twenty years working in marketing so I was able to create a tantalising itinerary for several of my youngest friends; we would get on a boat and sail down the Norfolk Broads to the National Trust property with the very best name (Horsey Windpump), we'd carry out a thorough review of the scones, then we'd head into nearby Great Yarmouth where we'd spend several aeons putting £5 of coppers into a slot machine in the hope of winning a unicorn keyring worth about 10p. There would potentially be doughnuts and a lot of chips. Were they in? Readers, they were in.

Horsey Windpump

An early start was needed, so I booked accommodation. I was insanely pleased with myself here; back in the day, I would spend many a Friday night drinking alcoholic beverages with my school pals in a pub called The Cherry Tree. And now here I was, on a Friday night with those same school pals drinking alcoholic beverages and saying things like "did anyone bring any toilet rolls?" in a static caravan on the Cherry Tree Holiday Park! See what I did there? It was completely lost on everyone but I remain delighted with myself.

ANYWAY - let's get on with the tale of Horsey Windpump. If there had been a Carry on Farming film, then the Kenneth Williams character would surely have been called Horsey Windpump. It's such a great name. When I first started this quest, HW didn't serve scones and so I had resigned myself to never visiting. And then earlier this year I got the nod that scones were now on the menu. Usually this kind of news causes me all sorts of trauma, as I have to add another property to my endless list, but in Horsey's case I was overjoyed.

Here are some historical facts:
  • There has been a drainage mill on the site since the early 1700s
  • There are similar mills dotted all around this part of Norfolk - by draining the land using wind power, landowners could make more area available for farming 
  • Drainage continues today - there's an electric pump doing all the work these days, but if it wasn't there then the area would be flooded:
  • The area used to be an island used for grazing or keeping horses (hence the name), with one access road that regularly flooded
  • The current windpump structure was built in 1912 on the foundations of the 19th century mill
  • Horsey Windpump was working until 1943 when it was struck by lightning 
  • It was acquired by the National Trust and has been restored - its sails were set in motion for the first time in 76 years in May this year, which must have been a great moment
  • As with all mills, it's not the most accessible property - there are several floors and 61 steps to negotiate to get right to the top, most of which are very narrow (I can report that the young sconepals cared not a jot about this and were scampering up the stairs like squirrels)
  • If you have time and the right footwear (it goes without saying that I didn't), there's a three mile walk from the windpump down to Horsey beach where you might be able to see grey seals
We had taken full advantage of the windpump's location on the Broads by hiring a boat and arriving in style via the water.

Amalia demonstrating some exceptional, possibly genetic, sea-faring skills
John also showing considerable sailing expertise 
We were also treated to a bizarre Rawhide moment when a herd of cattle suddenly appeared and came running down the road. Maybe they'd heard that we were in town and eating all the scones. Whatever - I was just glad that I was safely inside the windpump at the time or I'd have run screaming down the path, pushing small children out of my way as I went.
Rollin', rollin', rollin'
But let's move on to the Horsey Windpump scones. The tea room at Horsey is tiny but the staff were very friendly and tasty beverages and scones were soon served to the team:
Horsey Windpump Tearoom
The young apprentices hard at work - from L-R: Olivia, Amalia, John, Amy and Lara
The scones weren't home-made:

Horsey Windpump scone

But everyone enjoyed them - below you can see Olivia and Amy demonstrating their advanced scone preparation skills, which were honed on a previous outing to Overbecks back in the summer:

And so our National Trust scone field trip came to a close and we headed off to the Pleasure Beach in Great Yarmouth. It had been a resounding success though, and five young sconeoisseurs have moved closer to their black belts in National Trust scone appreciation.
Lara raising funds for the next field trip

Horsey Windpump: 5 out of 5
My scone score: 3.5 out of 5
Average scone score from my young apprentices: 3.8 out of 5 (I've trained them well)
Average scone score from their mothers: 4.2 out of 5 (way off - embarrassing really)
Arriving by boat: 500 out of 5 - I highly recommend hiring a boat 

A special thank you goes to eight year-old Sconepal Amy, who also provided some lovely photos of Horsey Windpump from her collection. I'm thinking of making her my official photographer.

Photographer: Amy King

Photographer: Amy King