There’s a simple reason why the Lake District is so popular – it’s lovely!
Mountains, lakes, tarns, valleys, towns and villages come together to form a unique landscape that draws walkers and holidaymakers to recharge their batteries. Plus, there’s the history to enjoy, especially those links with literature. BBC TV’s Walks of Life series featured the Lake District in the first episode – now on iPlayer – and it prompted a host of happy memories for the TOG team.
Mehreen Baig explored the beautiful Lake District in a spiritual journey inspired by the work of the region’s most famous son, William Wordsworth, born in Cockermouth. Dove Cottage, Wordsworth’s home for several years, is a favourite stop on the edge of Grasmere along the easy walk from Ambleside, returning via Rydal Water. It’s where he wrote ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’, which seems appropriate in the walkers’ paradise of The Lakes.
Dove Cottage was her destination on her journey, as she started out crossing Morecambe Bay, inspired by Wordsworth’s epic poem, ‘The Prelude’. It’s an exciting walk that should only be tackled with a guide.
Having made the perilous hike, she joined the southern section of The Cumbria Way, a long distance trail, that runs for over 70 miles through the heart of the World Heritage designated English Lake District, from the market town of Ulverston in south Cumbria to the city of Carlisle, close to the Scottish Border.
Arriving at Coniston Water, she discovers how lovely the Lakeland landscape can be even when the sun isn’t shining. Rain, mist and clouds add to the drama of the stunning scenery and form part of unforgettable memories of exploring the trails on foot.
A trip on the Coniston Launch is more leisurely than that of the powerboat Bluebird before its tragic fate for Donald Campbell. On a lighter note, Arthur Ransome took inspiration for ‘Swallow and Amazons’ from his time here and it’s lovely to peek into the famous Wildcat Island’s hidden harbour.
Victorian writer and artist John Ruskin lived at Brantwood, which overlooks the Water; the Garden and Estate are now owned by the National Trust. Visiting in the Spring, it’s lovely to see swathes of daffodils and recite Wordsworth’s most famous poem.
Living most of his life in the Lake District, Wordsworth referred to it as a ‘national property’ and his poetry references many places and aspects of this unique area. In a way, he foresaw the emergence of the National Trust.
Ending up at the church in Grasmere, Mehreen reflected on her journey with the words, “Be in the present and really enjoy it.” It’s how we all feel when we’re outdoors, especially around the many faces of the Lake District.
You can take inspiration for your own walking in Cumbria and The Lakes from our suggestions:
Work your way through them all and you’ll have more than just a taste of this very special place!
If you’re new to walking, then we would love you to consider the benefits of being active outdoors – physical, mental and spiritual: