What I did in my holidays – the Ice District

It turns out that the Lake District is quite the stunning place to be at Christmas.  Or at least it is when the weather is being a little crazy.  We spoke to a few locals who said that they'd never seen anything quite like what we were experiencing up there this year.  It may have been unusual, but it was stunning to look at.

Fortunately the Scarlet Girl is quite the dab hand with the camera.  So I thought I'd pass on a few photographs of what we got to see when the -18 temperatures hit Keswick.

Derwentwater covered in ice

Derwentwater covered in ice

Now that may look like water, but rest assured that's ice – solid, solid ice.  Catbells is the mountain in the background.

If you're interested in seeing more of the pretty, follow on after the jump.

Catbells across a frozen Lake

Catbells across a frozen Lake

The white speckles on the surface of the water are caused by that great human obsession – "Here's something odd, let's throw stuff at it and see what happens".  Naturally if you see a frozen lake you're going to skim and slide rocks and chunks of ice across the surface… just to see.  But I have to say that the sound of a large rock hitting a massive, completely frozen, lake, that is otherwise silent – a very particular 'Donk' sound that resonates across everything – will stay with me for a long time.

The Solstice Sun across Derwentwater

The Solstice Sun across Derwentwater

This was taken pretty close to noon on the Solstice.  The Sun really doesn't get very high at this time of year, does it?  Still, the evenings are getting longer now…

Rock on top of a Lake

Rock on top of a Lake

The skies are one of my favourite things in the Lakes… this gives an indication of why.  Sometimes the sky seems to be just trying to show off.

Ice crystals

Ice crystals

Ice crystals are just great.

Finally I'm walking on water

Finally I'm walking on water

At first, we experimented very tentatively with walking out onto the ice…  I mean, everyone knows it's a foolhardy thing to do.  But when it's going down to -15 every night and never getting above freezing during daylight you realise that actually there's 6 inches of ice across the lake, and that's quite enough to bear your weight.  It's ice then water under that dusting of snow.

Everyone out for a strole on Derwentwater

Everyone out for a strole on Derwentwater

By Christmas day there had been a collective decision – walking on Derwentwater was not to be missed.  Many, many people decided to take a stroll across the Lake…  It was a deeply peculiar, and incredibly enjoyable experience.  There's a bit of your brain that is still worrying it might be dangerous (although apparently not for the guy who decided to ride his bike across) but there's an even bigger part of you delighted that you're doing something that you just shouldn't be able to do.

By Boxing day we were sharing our walk across the lake with a number of skaters, strollers and people walking dogs.  See an over-excited spaniel playing fetch on sheet ice is one of the most entertaining things I've seen in a long while.  Imagine a spaniel running full pelt to catch up with a stick, stooping to take it in it's mouth, dropping its body to control its speed… and finding it's just going, and going, and going… revolving slightly as it slides twenty yards across the lake.  It still got the stick though, and seemed happy to run even harder the next time.

Shadows from the top of Latrigg

Shadows from the top of Latrigg

I think we can be forgiven for not having done too much fell walking on this particular trip – but we did take a walk up Latrigg.  Even at this lowly height we found 6 inches or more of snow at the top, and an icy wind to greet us.  But as with any such walk the view immediately reminds you of why you bother.

Friars crag in ice

Friars crag in ice

Just in case there's any doubt that this was a stunning place to spend a few days.  I am convinced beyond doubt that being surrounded by such breathtaking natural beauty is just good for the soul… good for every part of you.

2 Responses to "What I did in my holidays – the Ice District"

  1. Scarlet Girl says:

    Why are all my photo's wonky? Am I wonky? is one leg longer than the other?

    Am off to rotate all my pictures slightly in phoshop and fix those horizons and water lines… should definitely be horizontal…

    (Thanks for showcasing my pictures!)

Leave a Reply to warlock

CommentLuv badge