Ullswater lies in the northwest of England, amidst the charm of Lake District National Park. Renowned for its stunning natural beauty, the Lake District has inspired many a young poet and artist. But in the eyes of many, Ullswater is the jewel in the crown. My journey began on the shores of Lake Windermere, England's biggest expanse of water.
Winter was merging into spring and a crisp breeze ran across the shoreline. A distinct smell of dinner drifted from the restaurant built over the water. The building appeared to float and gave a duck's eye view of the lake. Seagulls bellowed overhead, their songs reverberating around the town. "Boat hire?" queried an elderly gentleman, his appearance befitting that of an old sea dog.
His weathered skin bore testament to a lifetime's exposure to the elements. He had obviously had a good life. "Not today thanks," I replied and headed for my car. I headed north along the A592; the steep incline almost slowed my car to a standstill. As the landscape unfolded before me, a huge valley opened up to my right.
The land gave way and sank to the valley floor before gaining momentum and stretching way up to the mountain peaks on the other side. The road continued to an outpost known as Kirkstone Pass. The remotest of public houses offered an opportunity to park the car and absorb the scenery. Facing southwest, the land descended almost to the horizon before eventually levelling out. In the distance lay the elegant Rydal Water surrounded by rolling green hills.
Shadows raced across the land as the sun burrowed behind the clouds. All was tranquil. Following a leisurely decline, the road continued to the sleepy village of Patterdale. The postman went about his daily rounds; bread was cooking in the baker's oven. Everything moved at its own gentle pace. The road snaked out of Patterdale and observed the summit of Place Fell.
As the route arched its way to the right, the south-western tip of Ullswater emerged from behind the trees and commanded full attention. Across the water, land seemed to bank almost vertically, concealing the sun and casting a broad shadow beyond the facing shoreline. I stood alone on the shore; water gently rippled against my feet.
Complete solitude embraced me and administered an inner calm. I felt at home here, as one with the land. It seemed a pity to leave. .
By: Steven Cronin