Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Cumbria and the Lake District

by Paul Anthony (writer), Cumbria, United Kingdom, December 31, 2013

From Batholith to the jewel in a crown...

Cumbria and the Lake District.


The mountains of England’s Lake District are also known as the Cumbrian Mountains or the Lakeland Fells. The area measures about forty square miles and was formed from a large emplacement of igneous intrusive rock called a batholith that formed millions of years ago from cooled magma deep in the Earth’s crust.

It’s one of England’s most beautiful places and was designated a National Park on 9 May 1951. The Lake District is situated in the County of Cumbria in North West England. There are 19 lakes in the area. They are Bassenthwaite Lake, which is the only one with the word ‘lake’ in its name; Brotherswater, Buttermere, Coniston Water, Crummock Water, Derwent Water, Devoke Water, Elter Water, Ennerdale Water, Esthwaite Water, Grasmere, Haweswater Reservoir, Hayeswater, Loweswater, Rydal Water, Thirlmere, Ullswater, Wast Water, and Windermere. Wast Water is the deepest lake and Windermere in the longest lake. Devoke Water is probably the smallest and highest lake since it lies on Birker Fell in the Eskdale area.

All 19 lakes lie within the county of Cumbria which was created in 1974 from an amalgamation of the former counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, the Cumberland County Borough of Carlisle, the Furness part of Lancashire, and part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, (Sedbergh). It is situated in North West England. In the 2008 census Cumbria enjoyed a population of just under half a million people. It is one of the most sparsely populated counties in the United Kingdom and is bordered to the north by Dumfries and Galloway (Scotland), to the west by the Irish Sea, to the south by Lancashire, to the southeast by North Yorkshire, and to the east by County Durham and Northumberland.

Annually, the Lake District hosts about 23 million day visits making it one of the UK’s prime destinations for tourists from abroad.

Predominantly rural, the county contains the Lake District and the Lake District National Park. This mountainous area is considered one of England’s most outstanding areas of natural beauty and boasts Scafell Pike which stands at 3,209 feet and is the highest point in England. Close behind in height witness Scafell, Helvellyn and Skiddaw.

Cumbria’s history is characterised by war, peace, invasions, migration, and eventual peaceful settlement.

Historic sites in Cumbria which reveal its heritage include Carlisle Castle, Furness Abbey, and Hadrian’s Wall, (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Indeed, the Castlerigg stone circle, near Keswick, dates from the late Neolithic age and was constructed by some of Cumbria’s earliest inhabitants of Cumbria

At the end of Roman Britain (circa 410 AD) the inhabitants of Cumberland were Cumbric-speaking native Romano-Britons who were probably descendants of the Brigantes tribe that the Roman Empire had conquered.

During the Early Middle Ages, Cumberland formed the core of the Brythonic kingdom of Rheged. By the end of the 7th century most of Cumberland had been incorporated into the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria. Most of modern-day Cumbria was ruled by Scotland at the time of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.

In 1092 Cumberland was invaded by William II and incorporated into England. Nevertheless, the region was dominated by the many wars and border skirmishes between England and Scotland, and the associated Border Reivers who exploited the political situation of the region. There were at least three sieges of Carlisle fought between England and Scotland, and two further sieges during the Jacobite Risings.

Indeed, it is acknowledged by local historians that Carlisle has changed hands between England and Scotland on eleven separate occasions.

After the Jacobite Risings of the Eighteenth Century, Cumberland became a more stable place and, as in the rest of Northern England, the Industrial Revolution caused a large growth in urban populations. In particular, the west-coast towns of Workington, Millom and Barrow-in-Furness saw large iron and steelworks develop, with Barrow also developing a significant shipbuilding industry. The United Kingdom’s Trident submarines are ‘made in Barrow’, for example, and West Cumbria’s claim to manufacturing most of the world’s railways lines is factually correct.

Kendal, Keswick and Carlisle all became mill towns, with textiles, pencils and biscuits among the historic products manufactured in the region. The early nineteenth century saw the county gain fame as the Lake Poets such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, lived in the county. Later, the children’s writer Beatrix Potter also wrote in the region and became a major landowner.

It is no surprise that the County relies strongly on tourism as its prime source of income. It is, indeed, a jewel in the English crown.

Moreover, check out these images of the county in which I live and work at….

About the Writer

Paul Anthony is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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