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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Walking in God's Own Country

Climbing the path from Hartsop, up the steep gradient to Boredale Hause, looking west the farms and fields nestled below Dollywagon Pike in the Deepdale Valley are an idyllic vista.  The kind of place in which people live and love without reference to the outside world.  Let the global issues rage, and our corrupt leaders, bankers and brokers line their pockets with our hard-earned pittance.  Wealth can't buy beauty and tranquility like this - and its free for all who wish to put a raincoat and a sandwich in their pack, stretch their legs for a few hours, and head off over the Lakeland Fells.  Its one of God's blessings that most of humankind has forgotten.  Perhaps that too is a blessing? 

Walking west down the path from The Knott (2423ft), along the banks of Hayeswater Gill, a lone stone cottage sits under the shadow of 2 Oaks.  It's been slowly 'absorbed' into the surrounding pasture, the stones that it's built from have blended with the neighbouring dry stone walls that stretch for mile after mile across the hills and valleys.  Testament to the determination and sheer hard work that the poor folk of Cumbria were capable of more than a century ago.  The mosses and lichens that have taken root on the roof have long since fused with  slate tiles below, and jointly they work to keep the old cottage dry.  When sudden winter blizzards howl down the valley, this old stone cottage will shelter sheep that are unable to head down the valley in time to get back to the farm that they came from a few hours before when the sun was shining in the blue morning sky.

Hayeswater Gill runs down to Goldrill Beck which in turn feeds the Ullswater Lake emerging just above Patterdale.  Freezing, clear water, babbling along and twisting past the huge boulders that have rolled down the valley and ended up like big stone jewels decorating the river's run.  Thanks to ice-age sculpting there is always natural artistry to be marvelled at in these valleys and hills.  Waking in the morning surrounded by such beauty and emptiness gives Lakeland dwellers (as it gave the Lake Poets) a charge of peaceful energy..........the power of tranquillity that holds you firmly in its grasp.  No advertising copy, no hoardings, no politician's latest claims, no anger and angst amidst the daily grind.  It's devoid of any bullshit other than that made by cattle.  You don't need to escape anything in the peace of the pasture!

Chris is picking her way up the valley between Middle Dodd (2150ft) and Little Hart Crag (2089ft), heading for an ancient crossroads at 1500ft.  Its the point where 2 old drover's tracks, one running roughly North-South and the other East-West, cross each other at the Scandale Pass.  From that point she'll take her artist's kit out of her pack and spend a few hours capturing the wonderful vistas in colour and line.  There are 50 miles of absolute heaven sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the upper part of the M6 motorway.  Don't tell anyone, because its just perfect just like it is now.  If you want man-made entertainment, Hollywood style plastic crap or a media-led spectacle just go the OTHER way, thanks!