December

 

Position

The last hour of the clock, eleven-twelve o’clock segment, is 330 – 360 degrees from the centre. Browse the map to explore the area.

Landscape

This segment of land widens out from Grasmere with the rise of land over Dunmail Raise, reportedly holding the remains of King Dunmail, the legendary last king of Cumberland, and the Thirlmere Valley: the reservoir was created here by extending a natural lake, which meant flooding the villages of Amboth and Wythburn, at the end of the nineteenth century. The valley sides are heavily wooded, hemmed in by the Dodds which rise in the east, and Amboth fell to the west. The main road through the central lakes, the A591, runs alongside Thirlmere to link Grasmere and Keswick, passing by St John’s in the Vale, and Castlerigg – the most famous of Cumbria’s many stone circles. Keswick, the largest town in the north lakes and a hub for climbers and hill walkers, sits at the northern end of Derwent Water, under the watchful eyes of Skiddaw. To the northwest of Keswick,  Blencathra looms above the main A66 trunk road; this fell seems to have several pleats, like a spread-out skirt, and never catches the light in the same way twice. To the north of Skiddaw and Blencathra, the rolling land is relatively unexplored by tourists; quiet areas slope towards lower land and the Solway Firth, where shifting tides make perfect habitat for wading birds, and Hadrian’s Wall comes to its westernmost point. 

Weather

For several years December has been uncannily mild, and frequently wet. There’s a chance it could hold days or weeks of freezing temperatures though; we’ll take what we get and be sure to have our thermals ready. 

The December Issue ~ Adaptation

For the month of December we’ll be focusing our attention on adaptation. We’ll bring together the stories and conversations, and the information that’s come to light as we’ve followed our curiosity and walked with other people, and consider adaptation: what is being planned, what is hoped for, what is possible. We’ll be thinking about the sustainability of this region as a lived-in area where humans want to flourish and enjoy life, and there is also a rich range of habitats and an abundance of wildlife. There’s an old proverb that goes something along the lines of: ‘there’s nothing as certain as change’. What’s interesting is the balance between enforced change and intentional change. How do we choose to make adaptations?

Right now the pace of change in environmental terms is unprecedented, and there’s wide agreement that if appropriate actions are not taken, a situation of climate and environmental crisis is imminent. Is it relevant to look at this bigger picture from the point of view of such a small region as the Lake District? We believe it is: each act matters and England’s largest national park offers lessons that can be taken heed of elsewhere (that includes how to do things well and how to learn from mistakes).

While uncertainty may seem daunting, there are many lessons to be learned from the past, and predictions about the future based on scientific modelling offer useful guidance. Without losing sight of the importance of wonder and the love for a place that inspires a motivation to care for it, we’ll take a look at practical measures that are making a difference, from individuals who care for small patches of land or make their impact felt through lifestyle choices, to organisations who have the capacity to affect widespread land use. 

Walking, Camping & the Canvas

For more detail on where we’ve been walking and camping, who we’ve been talking to, and the December Canvas, check the map and the December blog posts.

A winter fall below Blencathra

 

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