button to main menu   West's Guide to the Lakes, 1778/1821

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Page 101:-
dispositions are entirely new. The crystal surface of the Lake reflecting waving woods and rocks, backed by the finest arrangement of lofty mountains, intersecting and rising above each other, in great variety of forms, is a scene not to be equalled elsewhere. The whole ride down the western side is pleasant, though the road is but indifferent.
Borrowdale to Ambleside
Whoever chooses an Alpine journey of a very extraordinary nature, may return thro' Borrowdale to Ambleside, or Hawkshead.- A guide will be necessary from Rosthwaite, over the Stake of Borrowdale (a steep mountain so called) to Langdale Chapel. This ride is the wildest that can be imagined, for the space of eight miles [1]. Above the culti-
[1] Every part of nature has something to recommend it to the observation of the susceptible and ingenious. A walk or ride, on the summits of mountains, will afford a species of ideas, which, though often neither of the social or luxuriant kind, will, nevertheless, greatly affect and entertain. The large unvariegated features of these hills, their elevation, and even their desolate appearance, are all sources of the sublime. And, in a publication of this kind, a word or two respecting their nature and characteristic properties, seems as requisite as on several other subjects which are here discussed at some length.
The mountains, among which these lakes are situated, are formed in general of two sorts of rock, or stone. The most prevailing kind is a blue rag, and where it appears, the pasturage which is found among it is generally inclined to be mossy, lingy, and wet. These particulars, and a number of swampy patches, or pits of turbary, give the face of these mountains a rather savage and depressing look; and the indisposition of their soils readily to imbibe the waters which fall in rains is the occasion of the number of temporary cataracts which channel their sides.
The other kind of hills consist of limestone: and though generally of inferior height, their surface is infinitely more pleasing. They are perfectly dry, and the bent, or grass, which covers their glades, is peculiarly fine. Where this is not found, the bare rocks take place, and appear in every fantastic form, which may be supposed to have arisen from some violent concussion, to which the earth has heretofore been subject. But, the whiteness and neatness of these rocks take off every idea of horror that might be suggested by their bulk or form. From the nature of the soil, and the number of communicating clefts in the rock underground, they become dry soon after the heaviest rains; and though they discover no streams of water issuing from their sides, a number of the most pellucid ones imaginable are seen bubbling out among the inclosures round their bases. On these accounts, the face of such hills always appear singularly lightsome and cheerful. And, on a fine summer day, there is little doubt but that the curious stranger would find a walk or ride on the summits (though consisting of nothing but stone and turf, attended with uncommon pleasure. If he be of a poetical turn, he will see some of the serenest haunts for the shepherd, that ever fancy formed; if of a philosophic turn, he may be equally delighted with contemplating several evident signs of the Mosaic deluge, and of the once-soft slate of the calcarious matter which is now hardened into rock.- But our limits will not permit us to pursue the subject.
The greatest quantity of limestone hills contained in this tour lie within the district bounded by Kendal, Witherslack, Kellet, and Hutton roof. And the most beautiful of them, as seen at a distance, are Farlton and Arnside knots, Witherslack-scar, and Warton-crag. The two first have their highest parts, which are neatly rounded, covered in a great measure with small fragments of limestone (called shillow) which gives them at all times an uncommon and beautiful appearance. But at the latter end of the year, when the foliage of the copses on their sides, and the grass which is interspersed along their glades near their tops, have gained an olive hue, no objects of the kind can appear more elegantly coloured. Farlton knot, especially at that time of year, as seen from Burton church-yard, exhibits a brightness and harmony of colouring, which could little be expected to result from a mixture of grass, wood, and stone.
A travelling party desirous of being gratified with the pleasure of one of these rides, may have it in perfection by going upon Farlton-knot, from Burton, through Claythorp, or traversing the heights of Warton-crag; both of which mountains, besides the particulars here mentioned, afford very extensive views, including part of the ocean, of a country abounding with agreeable images of rural nature.
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gazetteer links
button -- "Arnside Knot" -- Arnside Knott
button -- "Farlton Knot" -- Farleton Knott
button -- Langdale Pikes
button -- Pavey Ark
button -- Keswick to Borrowdale
button -- "Stake of Borrowdale" -- Stake Pass

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