Last of the Lakes

My friend George was just about to graduate from Wildlife Media, and during his time at university he wanted to visit all the lakes in the Lake District. Technically, only Bassenthwaite is considered a true lake, while all the others are classed as waters, meres and tarns. Still, we set technicalities aside.

The last on his list was Wastwater, England’s deepest ‘lake’ and lying west of the National Park. As he couldn’t get there without a car, I drove him and Zahrah there. Although the route was lengthy, it was worth every minute when we arrived.

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Like so many other of my visits to the Lake District, I felt like I’d been transported to Canada or another exotic faraway destination. It always amazes me just how beautiful England can be – places such as Wastwater are a lot closer than similar locations abroad, and often just as incredible to see.

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We wandered along beside the lake through a wooded area that kept the blinding sun out of our eyes. A Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) chirruped high up in the trees, silhouetted alongside the shadow-tipped leaves. By the shore a lone Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) hopped over the rocks.

It was refreshing to see an area of the Lake District National Park that hadn’t been overwhelmed by tourists. During our day at Wastwater we only saw a handful of people, most of them either dog walkers or cyclists. When the wind died down there was a deafening silence like time had stood still.

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After a while we reached a quaint little bridge running over a stream. The only way to get down was to sneak underneath – it felt like entering a different world. On the other side we perched on the rocks and dipped our feet. The water was ice cold but we felt like characters from the Wind in the Willows, blissful and carefree.

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I’m very glad George suggested going to Wastwater; it’s a beautiful location without much disturbance. During our lunch break we watched two wild swimmers bobbing about in the lake, something Zahrah and I would love to try. It’s sad that George will soon be graduating and leaving to continue his study in Salford; I hope we can still meet up during summer holidays and go on other adventures!

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