Through the District of the Lakes

By Morgan Halane

One of my reasons for settling on Lancaster University after researching study abroad opportunities was travel.  Lancaster is situated on a primary rail line, so travel to places such as London and Manchester is quick and easy.  At Lancaster, I chose to take a course entitled British Culture and Society 1800-2000, which offers many travel opportunities built into the course as field trips.  During the first week of the program we focused primarily on William Wordsworth and the other Romantic poets.  While many American students have heard of Wordsworth and Coleridge, not as many have likely heard of Robert Southey, another Lake Poet who was actually considered more famous during the time he was producing his works than his more recognizable friends.

A welcoming sign we encountered

Our first field trip was to the Lake District, just north of Lancashire in the county of Cumbria.  We began our Lake District excursion with a hike in the White Moss Woods and Meadow.  The clear, sparkling water, surrounded by verdant hills capped with fog provided stunning scenery.  Although the Lake District is a tourist attraction with many visitors, there was still something pristine about it.  The area where we hiked was a considerable distance from the nearest road, and the absence of the noise of cars driving past gave the vicinity an isolated feeling.

After our lakeshore hike we visited Dove Cottage, famously known as one of the homes of William and Dorothy Wordsworth.  Dove Cottage is located on the edge of the quaint village of Grasmere.  I was surprised at how well-preserved the little white house was, and the former dwelling appeared to be an excellent representation of life in the early 19th century for Wordsworth and his sister.

Clear waters and green hills

To conclude our trip to the Lake District we ventured into the town of Grasmere itself, stopping by the grave of Wordsworth.  Before we left we were advised to sample some of Grasmere’s gingerbread.  The smell wafting from the little gingerbread shop was mouthwatering, like warm sugar cookies with a hint of ginger.  The texture of the gingerbread itself was like eating a cookie which has a crisp and crumbly outside and a warm, soft inside.  I regret not buying more gingerbread.

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