Manchester: Of poets, shepherd and haunted houses
Just outside the gates of the metropolis of Manchester lies the beautiful, pristine countryside of the Lake District. The region boasts both the deepest lakes and the highest mountains in all of England. In the 18th and 19th centuries, “The Lakes“ became a popular travel destination, and the most famous poets of the time found inspiration in its craggy wilderness, its huge herds of sheep and its simple cottages. Many corners of the national park still retain that quintessential English charm that inspired Wordsworth, Coleridge and the other Lake Poets.
Lakes, ponds, and pools. Countless bodies of water give the Lake District – often shortened to simply “The Lakes” – its name. Windermere, which measures 17 kilometers from north to south, is England’s largest lake. A steamer cruise on Windermere is at the top of every tourist’s to-do list!
Of course the Lake District is also a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts, be it canoeing, rowing, or sailing. For nit-pickers, though, there is only one true “lake” in the region. All of the others are called “mere,” “water,” or “tarn.”
The Lake District or the Cumbrian Mountains? Don’t be confused, it’s the same region. The Lake District National Park encompasses the highest mountains in England. The highest point in the country is on Scafell Pike, which is why a trek to the top is a must for many vacationers. Depending on the path, the hike to the top of the 978-meter-high mountain can be quite strenuous, but it’s not technically difficult – unlike the climb up craggy Sca Fell (964 meters). Great Gable (899 meters) even has steep cliffs suitable for rock climbing.
Just like in the picture books. An authentic holiday experience can be had by lodging in one of the classic, often centuries-old cottages – complete with their very own ghost stories. Although millions of visitors come here every year, time seems to have stood still in the Lake District. As a national park, the region enjoys special protection. After tourism, agriculture is still the most important source of income, and even today, there are more sheep living in The Lakes than people.
Lake District: www.lakedistrict.gov.uk
Photos: Corbis (4)