Vincent Lowe Photography - Lake District index
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The Lake District National Park is the largest national park in Britain, established in 1951 and covering 2,292 sq km (885 sq mi).  It is an area of glaciated mountains - including Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England at 978 m (3,209 ft).  The northern ranges consist of Ordovician slate, about 500 million years old; the central ranges of younger volcanic rock; and a southern range of limestone and other Silurian rock about 440 million years old.  These highlands are dissected by U-shaped valleys, known as dales, containing the lakes, some of which are artificial and all but one of which do not have the word “lake” in their names, being known instead as “meres” (Windermere, Grasmere, Thirlmere) or “waters” (Ullswater, Wastwater, Coniston Water); the exception is Bassenthwaite Lake.  The animal life of the Lake District includes three unique species of fish: the schelly, the vendace, and the char; and a number of golden eagles.

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Human settlement began in the Lake District at least 5,000 years ago, when Pike o'Stickle and other mountains became the source of stone for axes, and also the sites of stone circles at Castlerigg and elsewhere.  Later inhabitants dug parts of the Lake District for copper, iron-ore, graphite, and green slate.  Celts, Romans, Angles, and Vikings in succession settled among the lakes, and it was the last of these who provided such place-name elements as “-thwaite” (clearing), “fell” (mountain with grazing), “gill” (ravine), “force” (waterfall), and also introduced the local Herdwick sheep, which are born black and become white.

The Lakes began to attract wider attention after the publication, in 1835, of a Guide to the Lakes, written by one of the area's most famous residents, the poet William Wordsworth.  He suggested that the Lake District should become “a sort of national property”, but objected to the building of the railways and roads, which have since allowed ever-increasing numbers of people to visit it.  The largest single owner of land within the Lake District is now the National Trust.  Its first members included Beatrix Potter, an artist and writer of children's books who became a sheep farmer in the Lake District and left many of her paintings as well as her home and land to the Trust.

See all my images of the Lake District at alamy
Some others originally sold through another agency, now on alamy

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Leaney's Lakeland Fells
Wasdale Head Inn
Lakeland Cam
The Westmorland Gazette
Mad about Mountains
lake-district .com
Wordsworth Country
Walking Forum

Further reading

The Lakeland Fells  Sir Chris Bonington

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