This is an extract from the website of Rookin House Farm Equestrian & Activity Centre at Troutbeck in Cumbria:

‘Rookin House is an established adventure venue in Cumbria, the Lake District and has been offering a wide variety of outdoor activities for over 20 years. Family owned and operated, Rookin House has a strong focus on both fun and safety.

The centre is just 4 miles from Ullswater, and 8 miles from both Keswick and Penrith and easily accessible from the A66. All of the activities (unless otherwise stated) are based on one site with Blencathra providing a spectacular Lakeland backdrop. 

Whilst we do have self-catering accommodation here at Rookin House, you don’t have to stay on site to take part in activity sessions with us. You don’t have to be part of a larger group either (although minimum numbers do apply to some activities).’

I have photographic evidence that the establishment is at least twenty four and a half years old. This comes in the form of a set of colour negatives made on 17th August 1992. I am not a fan of the facility for dating each frame, but on this occasion it was perhaps fortunate that I didn’t turn it off. When scanning these images today, where possible, I cropped out the offending numbers.

The pictures represent a trip to the quad bike school at Rookin House. Louisa is in the red outfit, and Sam is in yellow. Friend James is barely discernible in his white helmet in the shots including the instructor. It is lovely to see the children’s growing confidence; and interesting to witness the nonchalance of the normally curious sheep.

The three unhelmeted friends posed after the event.

The visit was made during a holiday at Towcett, in a cottage owned by one of Jessica’s cousins. Louisa has fond memories of sleeping on the sofa so she could set the alarm to go off at 5 a.m. without disturbing the rest of us. She would then go to the farm next door, round up the cattle on the farmer’s quad bike, assist with the milking, and bring back warm milk for breakfast.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla in Lymington. My main meal was Goan king prawns, and Jackie’s was chicken dupiaza. We shared special fried rice and an egg paratha.

The rain pounding the pavement as we left the restaurant was so fiercely vertical as to ensure than what missed us on the way down caught us on the rebound.


  1. That looks like so much fun and the kids are adorable and happy!! Very nice vibe from these pictures, seems like a simpler time… loved your description of the rain! Good one. 🙂 Michelle

  2. Yay Louisa – I have much respect for a girl who has fond memories of getting up at 5:00 am to milk cows. Most excellent. These days, I get up at 6:00 am to play Sudoku.

  3. There’s a 5 o’clock in the morning too is there? Interesting…

    Dates on photos sometimes have uses, as I do have trouble remembering dates. (I found one recently showing that in 2009 I had no white in my beard.)

  4. Young ones appear to be loving the adventures at Rookin House. The eatery seems to have been owned by an Indian. ‘Lal Quilla’ –the Red Fort– is a historical fort in Delhi.

  5. Oh, how special you captured the kids having a fantastic, fun outing on the quads! Wearing thick protective overalls outfits (gear) with helmets made me proud they did this. The business is at least careful! 🙂
    I liked the kids leaning together with their flushed and joyous faces. Sam and Louisa are really beautiful children. We are blessed! (Although, some bittersweet in life can be overwhelming, people can overcome their sorrow in the company of family.)

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