button to main menu  Gents Mag 1805 p.1011

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Gentleman's Magazine 1805 p.1011
On the 22nd we stopped at Rydal, in our route to Keswick, and lingered away an hour in the rich woods of Sir Michael. Ascending under a close covert shade, about 200 yards from the mansion-house, our progress was suddenly arrested by the broad bed of the Rothay dashing with a foamy fury over the precipitous sides of a tremendous gill, "bosomed high in tufted trees." After tumbling with a horrid roar, nearly an hundred perpendicular feet, it is hurried down a gradual declivity into a current perpetually agitated by smaller impediments. Hence we dived into a narrower glen, which the rampant boughs have wrapped in almost Cimmerian gloom. After walking some steps, the guide who preceeded us flung open the door of a small summer-house in ruins, nodding over the brink of the river. The momentary effect was electrical! and we drew back with involuntary surprize. The suddenness and velocity of these impressions defy every attempt to describe the effect they produce upon the sensations of the spectator. The water of a small bason, hollowed in a bed of stone, and darkened by the impending foliage is thrown into a tremendous agitation by two small steams falling six or eight feet from the clefts of a small shelf of rock. One of them is a broad ribband torrent, fretting itself into a white foam; the other a little rippling stream. whose current disperses as it falls. The fine marble slabs that form the sides of the bason, are carpeted by a thick brown moss; and the light which is denied admittance through the trees, is ushered in at the arch of a small wooden bridge above the falls, and reflected from the surface of the water.
This finished miniature, the beauties of which are elegantly delineated by the pen of Mr. Mason, affords every effect that is striking in the arrangement of light and shade, and all that is exquisite in the delicacies of contrast.
Nothing can exceed the interest of the ride form Ambleside to Keswick. From the bridge of Grasmere the eye ranges with rapture over its secluded valley, and contemplates with astonishment the awful grandeur of the mountains by which it is environed. At the foot of Helme Crag, an immense broken pile, which, like the ruins of some giant citadel, guards the North East side of the valley, the road winds through the romantic vales of Legberthwaite and St. John.
We now ascended Dunmail Raise, so named from Dunmail, the last King of Cumberland, who was defeated and buried here by Edward the Saxon. The place of his interment, marked by a rude heap of stones, is still retained as the line of demarkation between the counties. On the right of the road Helvellyn lifts its awful form, a mountain of tremendous grandeur, upon whose brow the snow hangs as upon a glacier. The cottagers, nestling at its base, pride themselves in the shelter of this impenetrable rampire, and stoutly repel the imputation of the Keswick peasantry, who assert the greater altitude of their native Skiddaw. Here we passed the little modest chapel of Wythburn, noticed by Mr. Gray. The antient salary of its Curate, we were credibly informed, amounted to 2l. 10s. per annum! Leathes-water is a picturesque expanse in the bosom of the valley. The surrounding mountains fling a deep shade over the surface of the water, and a narrow peninsula jutting from the margin, affords an easy intercourse to the shepherds of the opposite border. The Western edge swells into a little promontory, decorated with a neat manor-house shrouded in trees. But the objects of greatest beauty are a group of Rocks, which raise the closing screen of the landscape. These wear a variety of figure and ornament; some of them are pyramidal, and dressed in green wood to the very summit; other magnificently turreted, project boldly, as if to display their naked sides of silver grey. In the back ground are seen the broad gloomy ridges of Saddleback and Threlkeld Fells, hung with a pall of the deepest sable. On Castle Rigg, an eminence, distant about a mile from Keswick, we rested to examine the prospect which has been distinguished by the rapturous encomiums of Mr. Gray. It is a bird's-eye view of the vale, discovering a large extent of variegated enclosure, to the exclusion of those points from which is derived its particular and prominent character.
Of the Lake of Derwent by much the finer part lies concealed; the poor town of Keswick is an unassimilated and discordant feature in the bottom; nor is there any picture in the naked object of Crossthwaite church. The
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gazetteer links
button -- Dunmail Raise Stones
button -- Helvellyn
button -- High Fall
button -- Low Fall
button -- Ambleside to Keswick
button -- Skiddaw
button -- "Castle Rigg" -- (station, Castlerigg)
button -- "Leathes Water" -- Thirlmere
button -- Wythburn Chapel

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