The Lake District is one of the most popular areas in Britain, famous for its mountains, forests and lakes offering a peaceful environment with appeal to all ages. Here, within a compact area of less than one thousand square miles, are to be found some of the most challenging and spectacular walking and climbing routes in England and equally a wealth of roadside and elevated locations to satisfy the objectives of even the most demanding artist.
The character of the region owes much to its geology, which is complex. The rock formations, although not as ancient as those to be found in the Scottish Highlands, have been similarly folded and uplifted before being subjected to the actions of glaciers and meltwater. The valleys and lakes radiate outwards like the spokes of a wheel and at its rocky heart stands England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, 978m (3,210ft) overlooking its deepest lake, Wastwater, perhaps the most awe-inspiring and most visited of all the lakes and embraced by an amphitheatre of peaks including Great Gable, Lingmell and Yewbarrow.
Equally magnificent and only slightly lower in stature are Helvellyn, 950m (3,116ft) and Skiddaw, 931m (3,054ft) rising above the lakes of Ullswater and Derwentwater respectively. Some might consider the Helvellyn range to be the backbone of the Lake District, extending as it does, north to south, for nearly ten miles never dropping below six hundred metres. Its famous cirque of ridges, Striding and Swirral Edge, offer some of the finest scrambling expeditions in the region.
The most westerly of all the lakes and set in the shade of their narrow valleys, Buttermere, and particularly the roadless Ennerdale, offer a slightly more tranquil scene. Rising high above, and overlooking both these valleys is one of my personal favourite Lakeland viewpoints, Fleetwith Pike. Whilst other mountains may reign supreme, few are as immediately identifiable nor offer such an excellent and expansive view of a significant part of this entire region from just one location.