National Geographic : 1956 Apr
unforgettable impression of lofty majesty, / though the highest, Scafell Pike, rises only 3,210 feet (map, page 514). A characteristic feature of Lakeland is that one is never conscious of its smallness. It is as if Nature, before creating the Rockies and the Great Lakes, had designed a scale model that should contain a hint of all their splendor. Nowhere has more variety been packed into so small a space.* . The climate of the area is notorious. Seath waite in Borrowdale has the reputation of being the wettest place in England. But 10 minutes in the lake country will prove that rain has never kept visitors from going there. Indeed, abundant rain is recognized as a nat ural, and not unhealthful, feature of a holiday in the Lake District. Another peculiarity is that Lakeland, com 517 Maynard Owen Williams (above) + Sparkling Derwent Water Laps the Foot of Wooded Friar's Crag One of the most frequented spots in the Lake District is this low "crag," a small promontory. Entire busloads of "trippers" leave their seats and walk out to the point. From it they glimpse towering Grisedale Pike and Witch's Hand, the r scarred terrain on the hillside below. Boys on the lake row a rented boat; the cox swain steers with the ropes over his shoulder. "The first thing which I remember as an event in life," wrote the critic John Ruskin, "was being taken by my nurse to the brow of Friar's Crag on Derwentwater." Ruskin's view, shown above, looks into a val ley mouth called the Jaws of Borrowdale. pared with the rest of England, has little history. The district's chief contribution to the regal matters of the English past is Catherine Parr, the sixth and last queen of Henry VIII. She was a Westmorland girl, born at Kendal. On the other hand, few places in Eng land are more packed with literary associ ations. Since the 18th century the lakes have cast a spell over English writers. In 1799 William Wordsworth decided to seek refuge in Lakeland from what he considered to be the ugliness of an indus trialized and revolutionary world. The tall, rawboned young man with the York * See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "Informal Salute to the English Lakes," by May nard Owen Williams, April, 1936; and "Through the English Lake District Afoot and Awheel," by Ralph A. Graves, May, 1929.