The Lake District
Articles in ‘The Lake District’
December 18th, 2010
In August 1802, poet, scholar and journalist Samuel Taylor Coleridge set off on a tough 9-day walking and climbing tour of the Lake District, which would include Scafell, the second highest peak in England. It’s interesting to see how he went equipped. For a walking stick he dismantled a broom, to the annoyance of his wife. His knapsack was made of a square of green oilskin, closed by string, and inside
. . . he carried a spare shirt, stockings, cravat, and night-cap (which seems to have been Coleridge’s equivalent of a sleeping bag), together with paper twists of tea and sugar, his Notebook, and half a dozen quills with a portable inkwell.” – Early Visions by Richard Holmes
Coleridge is said to be the first “outsider” to climb Scafell and his descent is hailed as the first ever recreational rock climb. It was a memorable piece of improvisation. Threatened by an approaching storm, he chose a way down, without any idea of what lay below. He found himself descending a series of ledges, a kind of giant’s staircase, known today as Broad Stand. As the ledges grew further apart, he lowered himself over them and let himself drop. The succession of jolts soon “put my whole Limbs in a Tremble, and . . . I began to suspect that I ought not to go on . . ” Read the rest of this entry
November 23rd, 2009
The Guardian’s Country Diary has a vivid description of the recent torrential rain in the Lake District, which resulted in the catastrophic flooding of the Cockermouth area. Here’s an extract:
Sheets of precipitation ran off the waterlogged ground and into the becks and rivers, which stampeded downhill causing landslides and destroying bridges and collapsing embankments. . . . few Lakeland valleys escaped. Waterfalls cascaded down crags, sweeping scree on to roads so that rocks litter the tarmac, some big enough to have smashed through drystone walls and leave gouges in the fellsides in their wake.
About 25 cm of rain fell in 24 hours, making it the wettest day ever recorded in Cumbria. This quantity is the equivalent of the rainfall usually experienced in the Southeast of England over 5-6 months. Newcastle University researchers have found that rainstorms in the UK have doubled in intensity over the last 40 years, due in part to increased water evaporation from warmer seas.
November 6th, 2009
One of the pleasures of walking is knowing the history of your path, why it exists and who walked there before.
The need for Corpse Roads disappeared centuries ago, though a few are still known by that name. When population was low and villages were widely scattered, the nearest consecrated ground could be miles away, across harsh and inhospitable terrain. Sometimes coffins had to be abandoned in blizzards, miles from anywhere. When weather improved, they would be picked up and the journey resumed. Coffin-bearing horses bolted with fright during storms, never to be seen again, but living on in legends and ghost stories. Read the rest of this entry
August 5th, 2009
Unique architect-designed woodland hideaway, designed with both eco-consciousness and comfort in mind with views overlooking Windermere. The sleek cabin occupies its own small woodland where you can watch red squirrels from the windows. A short walk to the pubs and shop at Sawrey. From £500 for the week (low season – and only sleeps two). Visit the Love shack (not sure about that name)
Also check out this barn for rent in Cumbra
July 24th, 2009
The location is hard to beat – a few minutes walk from Wastwater, England’s deepest lake, and at the foot of Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain. Wasdale campsite is in a perfect location for walkers or those simply looking to escape crowds and trappings of civilisation (no mobile signal). Good facilities and friendly staff. More information at the National Trust.
July 23rd, 2009
In the mysterious depths of Scotland’s lochs lurk legendary and elusive monsters. At the bottom of England’s deepest lake there are gnomes. Read the rest of this entry
July 12th, 2009
The area we now call the Lakes was once much wilder. Read the rest of this entry
July 10th, 2009
Another painting by Sidney Richard Percy (1821 – 1886). This one is entitled Grizedale, Westmorland. Read the rest of this entry