Thursday, 4 August 2022

Homage to Cumbria


For most of the last five decades, Haweswater was the only place in England where golden eagles resided. They returned in 1969 thanks to a healthy and expanding population in Southern Scotland. The Haweswater pair nested on Harter Fell which overlooks its southern end (shown above). After a few years they then moved over into neighbouring Riggindale, where a short lineage remained until the demise of the last male in 2015. Sadly Cumbria and England as a whole, has been without golden eagles ever since.

The Lake District, as she always does, worked her special magic on us - a green haven of beauty, peace and tranquility.

Her nineteen freshwater lakes sparkle like strings of diamonds, some fringed by ancient deciduous trees, others wild moorland. 
The stonewalled fields sit beneath a dramatic backdrop of rolling hills and fells whose azure shades change minute by minute throughout the day. The fields and the fells are cropped by the local Herdwick sheep. Beatrix Potter was a passionate and respected breeder of them. In 1943 she was the first women to be voted President-elect of the Herdwick Sheep Breeds Association.


Like our own Cotswold landscape, the Lake District is covered in thousands of miles of handmade drystone walls, built, maintained and renewed by generations of farmers and drystone wallers.

The merry sounds of gurgling water flowing over stones as it travels along the becks on its journey from the high fells down into the lakes. The weather can be fickle, but it is that very mercurial nature which makes it what it is - a verdant, lush beautiful landscape. A place beloved over the centuries by poets, painters, locals and visitors alike.

The stonewalls, barns, and properties are built from limestone that formed 320 million years ago in a shallow tropical sea. England then lay close to the Equator. The limestone contains fossils, corals and shells - look carefully you will find them.
   "The loveliest spot that man hath ever found."
William Wordsworth - born 1770 in Cockermouth, Cumbria

14 comments:

  1. It is imposing and gentle at the same time, Rosemary, with a serene beauty all its own. If ever I am lucky enough to return to Britain I will be sure to spend a few days there - without the company of a Golden Eagle, unfortunately, although one never knows when these mighty predators may return.

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    1. Having visited many times across the years on each visit we have discovered new valleys, pathways and charming locations. Visiting some of the dales requires nerves of steel when you find yourself on a very narrow road with just the occasional passing place with a long drop down on one side of the road, but luckily we have always made it.

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  2. What surprised me when I first visited all the UK mountain districts is how uniquely different they all are. The Lake District is really special for the amount and quality of scenery it packs in. Never ascended a boring hill down there yet and every walk, high or low level, is a gem.

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    1. Your observations are spot on Bob. It is surprising just how different the Lake District is to say Scotland or Wales, which are themselves absolutely stunning.
      Each valley in the Lake District is distinctly unique and totally different from the one just over the next fell - I love it there and am always happy to visit.

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  3. Idyllic! And I didn't know that Beatrix Potter was a sheep breeder!

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    1. When she moved upto the Lake District from London, she bought herself a litte farm called Hill Top and based seven of her books there. Later she bought another farm called Troutbeck Farm where she began breeding Herdwick sheep, winning many prizes with them at country shows. She bought many more farms and when she died she left fourteen farms and 4000 acres of land to the National Trust, together with her flocks of Herdwick sheep. Much of the land in the Lake District is now held by the National Trust - this was her gift to the nation, her own beloved countryside for all to enjoy.

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  4. Loved these photos...of terrain I'll never visit, but enjoy through others! Those sheep are a hoot! So sorry to hear about the golden eagles...they are a majestic bird indeed.

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    1. Glad you enjoy seeing the photos Barbara.

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  5. I must agree with William Wordsworth...a lovely spot indeed!! Beautiful pictures from a beautiful place!
    Titti

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    1. Thanks Titti - whenever we arrive in the Lake District we always fall in love with again, and then wonder why we left it so long to remake a visit.

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  6. That post was a cool green oasis to a rather hot islander. Rainfall; love it or hate it makes such a difference to a landscape. Your photos are very special. B x

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    1. I wouldn't believe how excited we were to see a beautiful green Lake District having just left behind our yellow lawns and landscape. It was if we had entered another world completely. Like you, I imagine, we are really, really, desperate for some rain.
      Thank you for your very kind comment re: the photos x

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  7. Your pictures are beautiful.

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