• Karen Seiger

Adventures in Cumbria's Lake District

Author Solange Berchemin

by Solange Berchemin, Author, 111 Places in the Lake District That You Shouldn't Miss

111 Places guidebooks usually focus on cities and their environs, but sometimes a book will cover an entire region. 111 Places in the Lake District that You Shouldn’t Miss is one of those books that takes you across an entire geographic area. The benefit to me as the writer was having a larger choice of places, which felt like a blessing – at first. But was it really?

From the start, strong criteria governed my choice of places. I wanted Lakeland’s lovers to hear stories they had never heard before, and casual visitors to be drawn to places they would fall in love with. Food, sports, family walks, history, fauna, flora.... I was determined to include a little of everything and something for everyone. In that respect, the larger the area, the better.

The flip side of roaming the Lake District, though, is its topography. As the crow flies, it’s a mere 35 kilometres from Troutbeck, where you can admire Burne-Jones’ vitrails (stained glass windows), to the delightful Matty Benn’s Bridge by Egremont. In reality, the journey involves a 2-hour drive over the highest passes in England. A few poor souls never made it; hence the ghost stories you’ll hear at the Kirkstone Pass Inn.

The logistical planning of photo-shoots ended up defining the layout of the book. My editor, Alison Lester, and I decided against the traditional alphabetical order. Instead, we grouped places by their nearest and best-known location, offering readers a ready itinerary.

Burne-Jones Vitrail

Some discoveries were accidental. One example happened to me while doing a spot of swimming in Ullswater by Pooley Bridge. From the waters, my eyes were drawn to a strange looking memorial by a barn. Back in London, I embarked on a search that lead me to the trail of the abolitionists and the transatlantic slave trade. The black slate plaque I had spotted from afar was indeed a replica of the seal for the Society for Abolition of the Slave Trade. It was designed by none other than Josiah Wedgwood. I happily returned to the delightful Pooley Bridge to take the photo.

~Solange Berchemin

Visit these and many more places in Cumbria's glorious region in 111 Places in the Lake District that You Shouldn't Miss, written and photographed by Solange Berchemin. Now available in shops and online: