Difference between revisions of "Lake District National Park"
Revision as of 11:28, 18 December 2006
Lake District National Park is in the north west of England in the county of Cumbria. It is the largest National Park in the country (occupying 885 sq. miles) and is considered one of its most scenic regions and England's premier destination for hiking and climbing.
Cities, towns and villages
The Lake District comprises of 16 lakes, 53 tarns, and several “waters”. All possess their own unique features and provide a comforting sense of permanence, standing as they do, framed by glorious backdrops of mountains, fells, and woodland.
The main attraction is the lakes and fells carved by glacial erosion and providing dramatic and inspiring scenery although much modified by man's intervention mainly by farming. It is the former home of cultural luminaries such as William Wordsworth and John Ruskin, and the walks and fells are famously documented by Alfred Wainwright.
First settled in the Stone Age (some residents still exist) and occupied by the Romans the area was heavily influenced by the Norse in their occupation circa 900A.D. They cleared the woods to produce charcoal to smelt lead in Glenridding and copper in the Borrowdale Valley and Coniston. They introduced the Herdwick sheep to the fells and left a legacy of language such as 'gill' gorge, 'beck' stream, 'tarn' lake, 'dale' valley and 'force' waterfall; of them all 'thwaite', a clearing in a wood, is the most common.
The Agricultural Revolution and the Enclosure Acts in the 18th century saw the erection of the dry stone walls which are a predominant feature on the fellsides. The 19th Century saw the advent of tourism with the arrival of the railway in the town of Windermere where it terminates.
The destination is popular with national and international visitors and this can easily cause congestion in busy periods at the most popular locations. Visitor attractions are numerous and not limited to scenic attractions.
Isolated by its geography, the inhabitants developed a strong regional accent and language commonly called 'Westmerian' after the former county name of Westmorland. Shepherds used their own vocabulary to count sheep yan, tyan, tetherie, peddera, gip (one to five) and local pronunciation of words include the phonetic sound of reeakk meaning rook (the bird) and yakk meaning oak. Even within the area variations exist. In particular there are different words for numbers. However foreign people speaking straightforward english will not have a problem making themselves undersood.
Windermere station is most conveniently located for the Southern Lakes. The train from here travels to Oxenholme station on the main West Coast line. The Leeds-Settle-Carslile line also links the lakes to Yorkshire.
For the northern lakes, it is best to travel to Penrith, from where it is possible to catch a bus to Keswick.
M6 motorway. A590, Junction 36 for the South Lakes, A66, Junction 40 for the North Lakes. Alternatively the A65 links the Lakes with Leeds, Yorkshire and the East Coast.
The area is served by multiple bus routes, many of them operated by Stagecoach. However, as this is a rural area, and routes are necessarily limited to the roads in the valleys, it is sensible to plan your travel in advance.
See also: Hikes in the Lake District
Traditional pubs tend to be more prevalent than restaurants in this region, and most of them will serve traditional english food at lunch and dinner time. With so much sheep farming in the hills of the lake district, roast lamb is a favourite local dish. Cumberland sausage is a speciality throughout Cumbria
The Youth Hostelling Association maintains many youth hostels throughout the area. Self catering cottages are available at Lakeland Hideaways. This is a great way to see the Lake District and accommodation facilities include Pets Welcome.
The mountains of the Lake District are by no means the largest or most extreme mountains of the world, but they can still present a serious threat to safety for walkers, and underestimating them can be fatal. Be sure to follow sensible safety precautions while walking. Clearly other outdoor sports have different risks associated with them.