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site name:- Derwent Water
parish Keswick parish, once in Cumberland
county:- Cumbria
viewpoint; station
10Km square:- NY22

descriptive text:- Ford 1839 (3rd edn 1843)

Description of Scenery in the Lake District, by William Ford, published by Charles Thurnham, London, et al, 1839; published 1839-52.
Page 57:-
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The boating on the lake presents the same grand objects from a different surface and point of view. We should, therefore, recommend the excursion to be left to the discretion of the boatmen, who are also guides. If it could be made by moonlight, the gratification would be intense.
date:- 1839
period:- 19th century, early; 1830s

descriptive text:- West 1778 (11th edn 1821)

Guide book, A Guide to the Lakes, by Thomas West, published by William Pennington, Kendal, Cumbria once Westmorland, and in London, 1778 to 1821.
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Page 112:-
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Sailing round the lake opens a new province for Landscape. Mr. Gray neglected it, and Mr. Mason thought he judged well. Messrs. Young and Pennant tried it, and admired it. Dr. Brown prefers sailing, and advises landing on every promontory, and anchoring in every bay [1]. The transparent
[1] The whole of Dr. Brown's descriptive letter is inserted in the Addenda, Article I.
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Page 113:-
beauty of the lake is only seen in the boat, and it is very surprising. The bottom resembles a mosaic pavement of party-coloured stone. The fragments of spar at the depth of seven yards either shine like diamonds, or glitter in diversity of colour; and such is the purity of the water, that no mud or ooze defiles its bottom. Mr. Pennant navigated the lake; and as his description is more compressed than any other, and gives a distinct idea of its appearances, I shall here subjoin it.
'The views on every side are very different; here all the possible variety of Alpine scenery is exhibited, with the horror of precipice, broken crag, overhanging rock, or insulated pyramidal hills, contrasted with others, whose smooth and verdant sides, swelling into immense aerial heights, at once please and surprise the eye.
'The two extremities of the lake afford most discordant prospects: the southern is a composition of all that is horrible; an immense chasm opens, whose entrance is divided by a rude conic hill, once topt with a castle, the habitation of the tyrant of the rocks; beyond, a series of broken mountainous crags, now patched with snow, soar one above the other, overshadowing the dark winding deep of Borrowdale. In the recesses are lodged a variety of minerals &c.
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'But the opposite, or northern view, is in all respects a strong and beautiful contrast. Skiddaw shows its vast base, and, bounding all that part of the vale, rises gently to a height that sinks the neighbouring hills; opens a pleasing front, smooth and verdant, smiling over the country like a gentle generous lord, while the fells of Borrowdale frown on it like a hardened tyrant.
'Each boundary of the lake seems to take part with the extremities, and emulate their appearance: the southern varies in rocks of different forms, from the tremendous precipice of Lady's-leap, the broken front of Falcon's-nest, to the more distant concave curvature of Lowdore, an extent of precipitous rock, with trees vegetating from their numerous fissures, and the foam of a cataract precipitating amidst.
'The entrance to Borrowdale divides the scene, and the northern side alters into milder forms; a salt-spring, once the property of the monks of Furness, trickles along the shore; hills (the resort of shepherds) with downy fronts, and lofty summits, succeed, with wood clothing their bases to the water's edge.
'Not far from hence the environs appear to the navigator of the lake to the greatest
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'advantage, for, on every side, mountains close the prospects, and form an amphitheatre almost matchless.
'The isles that decorate this water are finely disposed, and very distinct, rise with gentle and regular curvatures above the surface, consist of verdant turf, or are planted with various trees. The principal is Lord's-island, above five acres, where the Ratcliff family had some time its residence, and, from this lake, took the title of Derwent-water.
'St. Herbert's-isle was noted for the residence of that saint, the bosom friend of St. Cuthbert, who wished, and obtained his desire of departing this life on the same day, hour, and minute, with that holy man.
'The water of Derwent-water is subject to violent agitations, and often without any apparent cause, as was the case this day; the weather was calm, yet the waves ran a great height, and the boat was tossed violently, with what is called bottom wind.'
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Addendum; Dr Brown's Letter describing the Vale and Lake of Keswick
Page 195:-
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... Were I not afraid of being tiresome, I could now dwell as long on its varying or accidental beauties, I would sail round the lake, anchor in every bay, and land you on every promontory and island. I would point out the perpetual change of prospects; the woods, rocks, cliffs, and mountains, by turns vanishing or rising into view: now gaining on the sight, hanging over our heads in their full dimensions, beautifully dreadful; and now by change of situation, assuming new romantic shapes, retiring and lessening on the eye, and insensibly losing themselves in an azure mist. I would remark the contrast of light and shade, produced by the morning and evening sun; the one gilding the western, and the other the eastern side of this immense amphitheatre; while the vast shadow projected by the mountains, buries the opposite part in deep and purple gloom, which the eye can hardly penetrate: the natural variety of colouring which the several objects produce, is no less wonderful and pleasing; the ruling tints in the valley being those of azure, green, and gold, yet ever various, arising from an intermixture of the lake, the woods, the grass, and corn-fields; these are finely contrasted by the grey rocks and cliffs; and the whole heightened by the yellow streams of light, the purple hues, and misty azure of the mountains. Sometimes a serene air and clear sky disclose the tops of the highest hills; at others you see the clouds in-
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[in]volving their summits, resting on their sides, or descending to their base, and rolling among the vallies, as in a vast furnace.- When the winds are high, they roar among the cliffs and caverns, like a peal of thunder; then too the clouds are seen in vast bodies, sweeping along the hills in gloomy greatness, while the lake joins the tumult and tosses like a sea. But in calm weather, the whole scene becomes new; the lake is a perfect mirror; and the landscape in all its beauty, islands, fields, woods, rocks, and mountains, is seen inverted and floating on its surface.- ...
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Addendum; Mr Gray's Journal, 1769
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[1] The picturesque point is always ... low in all prospects: ... Yet when I say this I would not be thought to mean that a drawing should be made from the lowest point possible; as for instance in this very view, from the lake itself, for then a fore-ground would be wanting. On this account, when I sailed at Derwent-water, I did not receive so much pleasure from the superb amphitheatre of mountains round me, as when, like Mr. Gray, I traversed its margin; and therefore think he did not loose much by not taking boat.
person:- : Brown, Mr
person:- : Pennant, Thomas
date:- 1769; 1778
period:- 18th century, late; 1760s; 1770s

Old Cumbria Gazetteer - JandMN: 2013

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