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A Haunting Time in The Lake District National Park

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

To be fair, I've had a lovely time researching and illustrating my series of National Park wall maps. Hugely enjoyable in fact, but knowing what to put on and leave out leaves me in a bit of a spin. How do I keep everyone happy while keeping the maps as uncluttered as these amazing spaces actually are? I look at the 'finished' map numerous times, debating whether to include that ancient rock formation, because if I do, will people query why haven't marked other rock formations? The doubts are endless and I start hearing the murmurs of discontent when I finally post my latest offering. Granted, these murmurs are probably, mostly, hopefully in my head.

My quest for a complete collection of National Park wall maps have reminded me of my experiences of holidays here in the past. Some of them scary, some of them painful (physically) but most of them extremely enjoyable. These I have put into written form for your entertainment dear readers. I’ll start with:

The Lake District

Memories of this holiday are mainly haunted by the cottage that myself and my partner rented in Staveley, not far from Windermere. It was an old cottage with views of the local hills. Warm and cosy downstairs, but upstairs it had a rather unwelcoming feeling, especially on the small landing at the top of the stairs. I’d lay in bed at night and feel I was being watched from the landing. I didn’t mention this to my skeptical partner until we’d returned home. I expected raised eyebrows and a quizzical look as I told him my experience of the cottage, but instead he nodded his head in agreement and said “especially from the landing at the top of the stairs.” I nearly fell over.

But apart from this goulish experience, the main ambition of the holiday was to visit the farmhouse where Withnail and I was filmed. This was a remote location near Shap. So remote that we had to leave the car and walk the rest of the way around a reservoir. luckily, we enlisted the help of a local farmer who was kind enough to give us a lift on his trailer all the way to the cottage. I got the impression that he had done this before with other lost and weary Withnail and I enthusiasts. We were beside ourselves when we finally arrived. We climbed in through a back window and walked around the dark, empty farmhouse by torchlight, working out which rooms were in what scene. As I walked around the rooms, laughing at the funny sayings from the film that previous visitors had scribbled on walls and doors, my thoughts turned to the future of this cottage. This was a museum to a classic English cult film. Would it be protected and kept exactly the way it was?

I wouldn’t be able to play a part in protecting this place, I wish I was able to protect places that mean things to me, so that I can keep them exactly the way they are. This made me think of a certain person who had been able to protect something that had been special to her, but on a much larger scale. This person was the other reason that I was in the Lake District I was here to visit the former home of the famous Victorian Illustrator Beatrix Potter. I was studying her for my final illustration exam and felt the need to see for myself what was so special about her fondness of the Lake District and why she protected vast areas of this National Park so that we could get the same enjoyment from this place as she did. It wasn’t difficult to see why this place was so special, it was spectacular, even in the rain. This experience and the success of the Lake District Map have made it easy to see why the Lake District is the front runner in the Nation's favourite

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