Curbar Edge with Baslow Edge in the background

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Wastwater Revisited

My love affair with the British countryside probably started in earnest in the summer of 1969. When most of the world was watching Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, I was miles from a TV set at school camp - Strands, near the south west edge of Wastwater. The memories of glorious scenery that week and the awe inspiring manner in which my more experienced companions described Helvellyn left their mark. So much so that even now in trivia questions I still go for Helvellyn as the highest point in England even though I should know better.

So thirty years on I finally went back to stay in the Lake District. A fabulous week at Coniston but, for me a self-confessed sentimentalist, the return to Wastwater was anticipated as the highlight. Many things change over the passage of time - despite the postcards creating an image of "a place where time has stood still" with Austin 1100s and Ford Anglias in pristine condition. An image, incidentally, belied by the prices in the shops!

On this most glorious of English summer days, however, the early signs were encouraging. I mean literally the signs - road signs from yesteryear with red circles and triangles on top. The poignant moment arrived as I saw the lake and the screes and their faultless mirror image in the apparently never ending lake. This was what I had remembered! The view and the emotions evoked would need a better wordsmith than me to describe - but I was not disappointed!

Written by John Black, 2001

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