Sunday, 30 October 2011

How Many Lakes?

You might have noticed that during the last week there has been a little less interaction from me than usual.  Even though there has been a new post every day, scheduled in advance, I wasn't able to respond to the comments that people have left.  The reason for this is that I have been away visiting the English Lake District, in Cumbria, for a week. 

Let's just say for now that communications are not as easy in that area as they are in the rest of the country!  See the small skeptical note at the end.

For the next few days most of my posts will be based on this holiday - but rest assured, they will not be a straight-forward account of a holiday.  Skepticism, humour (and possibly a little atheism) will creep in somehow!

The amount of rain in these mountains - the highest mountains in England - brings a certain elegance and beauty that has inspired the poets throughout the ages. You  hardly go anywhere without seeing the names of Tennyson, Wordsworth, Shelley or Ruskin, or the more ubiquitous modern writers such as Beatrix Potter or Arthur Ransome. 

Even if there is temporarily no water in the air, you can be fairly sure that there soon will be.  As it turned out we were very fortunate that we only had one rainy day but the overnight precipitation was enough to keep the waterfalls running beautifully.

Travelling through the valleys enjoying the scenery I was reminded of the age old question. 

How many lakes are there in the Lake District? 

Walking in the mountains and valleys you find bodies of water with poetic and evocative names: Crummock Water; Grassmere, Buttermere, Blea Tarn.  But among these meres, waters and tarns you find no lakes.  Or do you?

Yes - there is one!  Bassenthwaite Lake is the only actual lake in the Lake District.  Actually I would almost argue it is not even the most beautiful lake, even if you accept that it is the only one!

Small note:  I'm not saying that mobile communications in Cumbria are not up to the standard that I would have hoped to find, but one day I was surprised to get three text messages, welcoming me to the Isle of Man!  That means that the phone signal from an island 40km (25 miles) away was stronger than the local signal and I had the opportunity to make an international call.  In our house in Langdale I could send and receive text messages only by holding the phone at arm's length out of the upstairs window!  The very concept of mobile broadband represented the triumph of hope over experience!


Dobbin said...

Great photos P.E. Especially the second one. Reminds me I must go back to the Lake District soon. Didn't appreciate being frogmarched by parents on 10-mile hikes around the lakes in my younger days (I'm sure your kids are better behaved). But I was up there for the IOP meeting a couple of years back and really enjoyed a rainy morning walking round Grasmere. Long overdue a proper visit.

Anonymous said...

Er, what about Lake Windermere?

Derby Sceptic said...

Anonymous. It's correct title is simply Windermere, and as such is a mere. Plasma Engineer is perfectly correct and Bassenthwaite is the only lake.

Plasma Engineer said...

At the anonymous commenter - er, try looking at a map!

Thank you to DS.

Anonymous said...

I was born in the Lake District 69 years ago and to all those who think there is more than one lake there, I can categorically say that there is and that is BASSENTHWAITE LAKE. The rest are all meres, waters or tarns