I wonder whether people who live in areas of outstanding natural beauty ever get sick of people wandering around with their mouths open, pointing and gasping. I only ask because that's what we spent most of last week doing: gasping with awe at the scale of Lakeland scenery and the wide open spaces of the Solway Firth. It's very difficult to write in any meaningful way that conveys the scale of the stuff that gave Wordsworth, Ruskin and, more recently, Wainwright their words; but striding out around Brothers Water, looking up at the bulk of Skiddaw or gazing across the shimmering reaches of the Firth I can imagine them wrestling with words, tearing up sheet after sheet of paper in exasperation saying
"No that's not it..."
And the wildlife was equally enchanting: we watched a Weasel ferreting (sorry!) around in undergrowth only feet from our feet; watched a Peregrine Falcon soaring across a Lakeland fellside where it was mobbed by Rooks and saw so many Treecreepers, Nutchatches and Woodpeckers that they became commonplace.
In all we had a lovely, lovely week which made it all the harder to come back to work (and earth).
I've added some photographs to a slideshow below that I hope give some idea of what it was like, but before I go I was reminded, on returning to work, of a colleagues comment recently that just about sums it up in typical Northern fashion, and I wonder if it mirrors the view of Lakeland dwellers who must grow tired of people telling them how lucky they are to live surrounded by all that majesty:
"What the Lake District be without the lakes eh?"
Reply: "The District".