I have never been a fan of the Romantic poets but you cannot escape them in the Lake District. Their poetry and images litter the tourist offices and busloads of foreign tourists are brought in for the day to see where Wordsworth et al lived and worked. Now, I’m not a reader who finds the idea of visiting an author’s home-turned-museum at all appealing (even for authors I love), so I happily gave those sights a miss, but I did still end up in Wordsworth country. One drizzly morning, we drove down to Grasmere and took a lovely walk along the old coffin road to Rydal village and then along the far side of Rydal water. It was such a gentle landscape compared to what we had already seen further north and even I had to admit that Wordsworth knew what he was about in settling there.
Another day, we headed north from the Lake District to visit Hadrian’s Wall. It was a place my parents had been particularly excited to visit, having both been fascinated by the Romans as children, and it more than lived up to their expectations. We walked along a portion of the wall and visited Housesteads Roman Fort, marvelling at it all and trying to imagine what it must have been like almost 2,000 years ago for the soldiers stationed there. Rather bleak, one suspects. It is a striking and beautiful landscape, but not a friendly one.