The Lake District

The Skiddaw massif, town of Keswick and Derwent Water seen from Walla Crag. Photo by DAVID ILIFF. wikimedia License: CC-BY-SA 3.0


The Lake district became Coleridge’s home in 1800, when he moved his family to Greta Hall in Keswick. The view from the roof of his new house across Derwent Water was spectacular, and he was clearly delighted with the new arrangements… “I write to you from the Leads of Greta Hall, a Tenement in the possession of S. T. Coleridge, Esq. Gentleman-Poet & Philosopher in a mist […] Yes, my dear Sir! here I am – with Skiddaw at my back – on my right hand the Bassenthwait Water with it’s majestic Case of Mountains, – my Godl what a scene! Right before me is a great Camp of single mountains -each in shape resembles a Giant’s Tent! and to the left, […] is the lake of Keswick, with it’s Islands & white sails, & glossy Lights of Evening […] now I am enjoying the Godlikeness of the Place, in which I am settled…”

Coleridge’s passion for walking took on a new dimension in the Lakes. The terrain was more challenging – which Coleridge relished, and his regular walks from Keswick over Helvellyn to Grasmere, to visit the Wordsworths in Dove Cottage, were punctuated by some extremely risky fell-walking expoits. The most notable is the nine day tour of the high peaks which he undertook in August 1803.

Just as it is not possible always to follow Coleridge along the track of his metaphysical ramblings, it is equally challenging to follow the route of some of his outings without climbing experience and considerable athletic capability. The route Coleridge followed on this nine day hike will be posted in due course, but you must be clear that you undertake this walk entirely at your own risk.