It is strange to think that before 1778, when Thomas West’s Guide to the Lake District was published, the perception of the Lake District, a mountainous region in north-west England, was one of a savage wilderness. In 1724, Daniel Defoe had described the Lakes as the “wildest, the most barren and frightful” place he had ever seen. West, who had travelled widely abroad and witnessed the popularity of the scenic beauty of the Alps and Apennines, was among the first to challenge this idea. “Such exhibitions of sublime and beautiful objects cannot but excite at once both rapture and reverence,” he wrote in his guide, which featured various stations or viewpoints where tourists were encouraged to appreciate the views.
Not long after in the 1790s, a group of poets that came to be known as the Lake Poets – William Wordsworth, who was born in the area, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey – migrated to the region and its beautiful landscape made its way into poems such as “Daffodils”.
It was Coleridge who is said to have made the first recreational rock climb – ascending Broad Stand, between Scafell and Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. Befitting its name, the region also features the deepest and longest lakes in England, Wastwater and Windermere.
Photographer Stuart Holmes, who has lived in the Lake District all of his life and photographed it for over 30 years, writes in his new book Photographing the Lake District “Today 15 million people visit the Lake District every year. They come to enjoy one of the most beautifully scenic areas in the world. The
geology, climate and man’s influence on the landscape over the years have crafted a stunning juxtaposition of mountain, valley, lake, river, fell and forest. Not forgetting the cultural aspect of the area with its white painted cottages and stone built hill farmhouses, stone arch bridges and dry stone walls.”
Stuart’s book, published by fotoVUE, features seasonal advice, travel tips and suggestions on how to improve your photography and get the best from a location, as well as over 350 stunning photographs of the inspirational region. The book is priced at £22.95 and available to buy online. Here, Stuart has shared a few of his autumnal favourites with Discover Britain…