THE Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has today begun a two-day tour of Cumbria by meeting the Christian community at Rydal Hall in the Lake District.

After enjoying a tour of the hall and grounds, parts of which date back to the 16th Century, he reflected on previous visits to the Lake District.

“When our children were very small we used to come here every other year,” he said.

“A vicar I knew in Windermere had been chaplain at Selwyn College, Cambridge, when I was there so we used to visit the Lakes, which is a wonderful place.

“Driving down and seeing the place brought back many memories. I came to Rydal Hall twice in 1981. It was a very lovely place but compared to what it is now, it is something else.”

The Archbishop was led around the grounds by manager Jonathon Green, looking particularly at the popular tea shop and newly-renovated youth centre.

Appropriately for his visit, he looked at The Angel sculpture in the hall’s Quiet Garden, crafted from limestone taken from York Minster.

He also enjoyed a walk down to the ‘Grot’, a small stone building built to take advantage of the views of the lower Rydal Beck falls.

And during a prayer session with members of the Rydal Hall community, the Archbishop had a surprise meeting. “Three members of the community here are from Uganda, including one from my own Buffalo Clan,” he said.

“Life is full of surprises. That’s why I always say you should try and get on with everybody, because you never know who you are going to meet where you go.”

This afternoon he also visited the Priory Church in Cartmel before meeting with directors and apprentices at the Lake District National Park Authority’s headquarters in Kendal.

Tomorrow (Thursday), he will visit a farm in Kirkoswald to hear about the work of the Ecumenical Auction Mart Chaplaincy Team.

That will be followed by a visit to Carlisle’s Trinity School to see newly finished building work and to meet with staff and pupils.

Dr Sentamu’s visit will end at the University of Cumbria’s Fusehill campus, where he will take part in a question and answer session with students.