The Lake Distict: English holiday destination par excellence, and favourite subject for armies of painters and poets. Wordsworth, who wandered ‘lonely as a cloud’, Coleridge, Southey – they’re known as the Lake Poets – drew inspiration from the area. Peter Rabbit’s stamping grounds, including Mr. McGregor’s vegetable patch, must have been near Windermere, where his creator, Beatrix Potter lived. JMW Turner’s one of thousands of painters who’ve been inspired by views of the Lakes. Batallions of holiday-makers, especially walkers, arrive in the area every week of the year.
In short, everyone loves the Lake District. Except me. I arrive under banks of mist and bucket-loads of rain (like everyone else). I tramp round pretty towns looking for evidence of ordinary every day life, and find nothing but outdoor shops, craft galleries and tea shops. I’m one of a crowd in an area I’d prefer to enjoy in solitude. So I tend to avoid it in favour of the Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland or the Peak District. Still, there we were last week, first for a magnificent birthday celebration, and then for a family weekend. And for the first time, despite lots of rain and even more mist, I enjoyed being there. I learnt to distinguish Swaledale sheep from their Herdwick cousins, who have black lambs: I enjoyed briskly walking with friends and family in the bracing cold, and finding daffodils and blossom, despite its being May: and at last I learnt to appreciate the famous scenery. An excellent holiday.