Have just returned from the Lake District, where we were lucky enough to have enjoyed a week of sunshine – almost impossible to believe, I know, but the weather gods were smiling on us!
The area is, of course, well-connected in literary terms. We saw Wordsworth’s birthplace in Cockermouth, his school in Hawkshead, and drove past dear old Dove Cottage many times on our various jaunts. We also visited Hill Top Farm – Beatrix Potter’s first property purchase in the Lakes. (Have to say, I feel more empathy with a writer who later turned to farming and sheep breeding – she sounds like a woman after my own heart!)
So, was treading (or possibly, wandering) in the footsteps of these literary greats hugely inspirational? Probably not (though very enjoyable – and I did like Beatrix’s veg garden!). Nor can I say I found soaking up the glorious scenery particularly inspirational either. (In fact, I suspect I wouldn’t write much if I lived there, because I’d just be gazing at the view instead.) But what was inspirational was the walking. We climbed Latterbarrow from Hawkshead, Silver Howe from Grasmere, and later challenged ourselves with Great Gable and Skiddaw. Walking (especially the sort which leaves you gasping for breath and feeling pain from muscles you didn’t know you had) is excellent for clearing the mind – and then in this fresh new space, ideas grow.
So I’ve come home with a few aches and pains, but also a huge feeling of accomplishment – as well as a short story drafted. All in all, a tremendous week.