For they know this mere and its oft changing moods
, know they must treat it with respect and will urge you to do likewise. Talk to them and you will come away with more lake lore than is found in any book. Their knowledge is strangely parochial and confined to their own waters, but of these they know it all. Not much change here then. Even the boats are the same, some of them fifty and sixty years old. The self drive motor boat with modest engine power has arrived, and the typical Windermere built 65 seater launches have been joined by fibre glass 'observation' cruisers which lend a Swiss touch to this most English of scenes.
One must look carefully to find the most significant reminder of the times in which we live. Across the lake, on Claife Heights, stands quite unobtrusively the mast of the BBC television and radio relay station, bringing monologues and moonshots, Bartok and Benny Hill to parts of southern Lakeland. Its audience would have been greater, and such was its purpose, had it been erected to its intended height. But there were those in Lakeland who felt that the height was too great, too much of an intrusion on the scene, and many feet were 'lopped off'. A fatuous decision, resulting in many hopeful residents some a mere few miles from the mast being disappointed.
The environmentalists won a ridiculous victory here. Bowness Bay is a good place to be, just as winter shows signs of losing its struggle against the urgencies of a new spring, but before homo sapiens in his various guises moves in and takes over, and before the litterbins overflow, or are ignored completely.
It was time for a beer and a cheese sandwich before showing my friend a lake of entirely different character, and an ancient road which would take us to it. In doing so I could indulge in one of my favourite methods of enjoying and showing off the Lake District, the aim of which is to offer to friends with limited time to spare as many of Lakeland's features as possible within that time; what my architect colleagues would call, though in another context, a typical section .
Thus we have no fear of either moral or economical mischief to the region from the opening of railways into it. On the contrary we hope for much good .... We hope for the introduction of arts and conveniences which are elsewhere already at the command of men of the same quality as the residents here. We hope for a quickening of intellect and education of taste, which cannot be more wanted than they are here.
Meantime we cannot believe that any inhabitant of the valleys would, if seriously asked, say that his happiness has been impaired by the sight of parties who arrive by steamboat or railway ... to have their minds opened and their hearts softened by a spectacle of beauty which gives them for a time a new existence. . .. The new class of visitors have better manners than those who could afford to come by other means. Of this new class we would say let them come; and the more the better.
Certainly, in the sheer quality of the views gained from the few vantage points available, we have compensation in some degree for the lack of quantity, and at least one major landowner exhibits understanding by lowering the heights of old stone walls which baulk potential views and by reducing them to low parapets open up often unexpected, and always delightful vistas. I refer of course to The National Trust whose local officers are to be congratulated and thanked for their appreciation of what is required.
by: Adrian Vultur
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