The Lake District is England’s largest National Park and was recently granted World Heritage status. It is home to Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain, famous for people such as Wordsworth and Wainwright and home to some of the most well known foods such as Kendal Mint Cake, Grasmere Gingerbread and Cumberland Sausage. Yet to the outsider or visitor it all might seem a little strange with the sheep and hills, the odd bit of rain and sometimes indecipherable local dialect but one thing is for sure, we are a cheery and friendly bunch! If you want to impress the locals with your knowledge then here are a few random facts about the lovely Lake District.
You would be hard-pushed to spend a day in the fells without coming across a few sheep and it takes a special sort to brave the sometimes extreme weather conditions. The Herdwick (affectionately known as Herdys) with their distinctive grey woolen coats are thought to have been brought to the area by the Vikings and their grazing is essential to stop the fells from being covered in trees and scrub.
Can’t find Cumberland or Westmorland on the map?
These places technically no longer exist but were the original names of the two counties within which the Lake District belonged. Back in 1974 they were merged with parts of Yorkshire and Lancashire to become the collective county we know today as Cumbria. The names still live on through the Cumberland Sausage, the traditional sport of Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling and of course one of the local newspapers the Westmorland Gazette.
The one and only lake
If you want to earn bonus brownie points then knowing what the official ‘lake’ in the Lake District is called will definitely impress. Lake Bassenthwaite is the only lake in the Lake District everything else is either a water, mere or tarn but Windermere is still England’s longest body of water at 10.5 miles long.
We like our hills
Not only do we have the longest ‘lake’ (or body of water!) we also have the steepest road, a title shared with Yorkshire. Hardknott Pass in Eskdale at its steepest has a gradient of one in three and thousands of crazy cyclists drag themselves up it every year on the now very famous Fred Whitton Cycle Challenge.
Lake District language
Many areas have their own dialect and the Lake District is no exception with many of the phrases still used today. Here are some of the more common ones;
- Tup - ram
- Brossen - you’ve eaten until you’re fit to burst
- As garn yam - I’m going home
- Gurning - pulling a face (the Gurning World Championships - yes it is an actual thing - are held at Egremont Apple Fair each year in West Cumbria)
- Lig about - to lay around
We also have some really interesting place names including; Dollywagon Pike, Pudding Beck, Peelplace Noodle and Captain Whelter Bog.
There is so much more to discover about the weird and wonderful Lake District so why not come and visit this beautiful and quirky place. you can be assured of the warmest and friendliest welcome.