button to main menu  Gents Mag 1900 part 2 p.356

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Gentleman's Magazine 1900 part 2 p.356

  The Lakes

Nights in Lakeland


TO understand a district properly it must be seen under widely varying conditions of weather and season. Probably few of the crowds who annually visit the English Lakes have any adequate idea what their surroundings are like when the last gleam of purple has died in the west, and the grey of the distance has thickened into night. To some, natives as well as visitors, the district is as interesting during the hours between sunset and sunrise as when the sunshine renders every detail of hill and valley clear and distinct. If you are not likely to be nervous, and are not afraid of loneliness, cross the width of the district, say by the coach road from Windermere to Keswick, under cover of night, and you will fully understand the beauty of darkness. It was at one o'clock on a semi-dark June morning when I walked through Windermere village on this trip. Once clear of the houses, the rustle of the rabbits as they plunged deeper into the woods, the endless craik-craik-craik of the landrail, the occasional deep whistle of an otter from the beck or the lake, were the only sounds to break the silence. The lake was without a ripple as I passed along its shores at Lowwood, the night-glow reflected on its steel-like bosom; a charfisher sat in a motionless boat towards the middle of the lake, a disturbed white-throat scolded from the reed beds. I felt inclined to go no further - to sit down on the low wall here and wait for daybreak. Surely it would be a noble sight to watch the early sunbeams stream over Kentmere fells and light up this beautiful lake. Not a soul was astir as I passed through the market-place at Ambleside, but a man walked stealthily from a side street a little further on, and set off towards Rydal. I tried hard to overhaul him, but could not; ultimately he evaded me by entering a copse near Rydal Hall. By two-thirty I reached White Moss; by this time the light had so much improved that the fell beyond Rydalmere was clearly visible. Here the first skylark sang, and as I struck along the old road to Grasmere, birds rose from every meadow and mountain-pasture, and the air rapidly filled with warblings. Looking towards Seat Sandal I noticed the upper clouds
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