”Imagination, which in truth
Is but another name for absolute power
And clearest insight, amplitude of mind,
And reason, in her most exalted mood.”
William Wordsworth (1770-1850), British poet. The Prelude.
A couple of weeks ago, Lee and I went on a weekend break. We live in the north west of England and we are lucky to have some great places around to visit. A great one is the Lake District, most commonly known as The Lakes.
The Lakes is a mountainous region famous not only for its lakes, forests and mountains but also for its associations with the early 19th century poetry and writings of William Wordsworth and other ‘Lake Poets’. The Lakes became a National Park on 9 May 1951, becoming only the second National Park in the UK with the Peak District. It is the most visited national park in the United Kingdom with 15.8 million annual visitors and over 23.1 million annual day visits.
All the land in England higher than three thousand feet above sea level lies within the National Park, including Scafell Mountain, the highest mountain in England. It also contains the deepest and longest lakes in England, Wastwater and Windermere.
Now that you know what I’m talking about and you can situate yourself using Google Maps, I have to tell you what the Lakes is all about. I have been there a few times and to different places and I can say that the place is amazing.
People walk around looking amazed by what they see, you can just tell by looking in their eyes. They know they are lucky to be there, being able to appreciate nature at its very best. It’s almost like nature is greeting you, smiling at you, welcoming you… ‘walk on my grass, sit by my lake, walk around my woods and feel the water of my waterfalls on your hands’. No wonder poets have been inspired to write great work when living or visiting the place.
On one of the days we were walking around Ambleside, for example, we were heading towards the lake and walking calmly, with not much rush. We were walking on this busy road where the back of a building faced the main road. On the back wall there was a sign facing the road, where all the cars were going past at great speed. The sign said…
I mean, this is the thing with the Lakes. When you least expect it, a little insight comes from nowhere. The sign above is badly placed if you asked me, but then if I think again, I would probably say that the sign is strategically positioned to reach those that need to read it. In that particular moment I was thinking abut something and that was really the answer. Listen to your heart… Again, the magic of the Lakes amazing me.
One of my favourite things in the Lakes are the little book sellers, mostly people that open up their house to the public to sell books. They make the books look so special, so carefully placed and it’s all so inviting. I absolutely love it.
And then there are the many lakes… stunning and glittery and calming…
And to box it all off, how is this for a sunset?
One of the most famous poets of the area is William Wordsworth. He once went to visit the Lakes and, on his visit, spotted a cottage up on the hills. He fell in love with it straight away and moved in there. The 8 years he lived in that cottage was when he produced the best of his entire work. Next to him was a big lake that goes all misty when it rains, giving that magical feel to it. It’s one of those places where you find yourself gazing into the sky and then realise it’s gone dark and you haven’t even noticed!
The Lakes have so many places to visit. So many waterfalls, walking trails, lakes, villages and also such nice people. If you are visiting England and are a nature fan, I’d highly recommend it.
I always say that visiting places is something very personal. There might be a place that you visit and just shrug your shoulders thinking: “Yeah, it’s alright”. But then, there are places where you just feel this sense of belonging and just feel so carried away walking and looking around that it feels amazing to just be there, inhaling the air and stepping on that ground. Travelling is amazing, but truly connecting with a place is surreal.