10 things you probably didn’t know about the Lake District

Famous for its stunning scenery, lakes and mountains, the Lake District in Cumbria is England’s most popular National Park.

Ten things you probably didn’t know about the Lake District include:

1.The family of George Washington

The father, uncle and two half-brothers of the first American president, George Washington, all went to Appleby Grammar School.

2. Piped water in Hilton

The village of Hilton had the first piped water supply in the country. The stone drinking troughs and pumps on the green were installed by the Quaker-owned London Lead Company.

3. Old Corpse Road Ambleside

For many years St Anne's Chapel was Ambleside's only place of worship, but it was not registered to record marriages and deaths. As the chapel was in the parish of Grasmere, the deceased were carried nearly 4 miles along the old ‘corpse road' to St Oswald's Church in Grasmere for burial. Once St Mary's Church was built and consecrated in 1854 this long trek was no longer necessary.

4. The Struggle out of Ambleside

The steep climb out of Ambleside reaches Kirkstone Inn, said to be one of the highest pubs in the UK.

5. Bassenthwaite Lake

Bassenthwaite Lake is the only body of the water in the Lake District that is officially called a ‘lake' - all the others are ‘waters', ‘meres' or ‘tarns'.

6. The Bishop of Barf

In 1783 the newly appointed Bishop of Derry was on his way to Whitehaven to take a boat to Ireland. He stopped for the night at an inn beside Bassenthwaite Lake and, after consuming several drinks, wagered that he could ride his pony to the top of Barf, a nearby hill. Halfway up the pony stumbled at a large rock and fell, killing both horse and rider. The large rock (known as Bishop Rock) is painted white in remembrance of this futile act, while at the foot of the slope is another white-painted rock known as The Clerk where the bishop and his pony were buried.

7. Bassenthwaite Regatta

The first Cumbrian Regatta was held on Bassenthwaite in 1780. Regattas featuring mock battles, races and decorated boats became a craze which lasted well into the nineteenth century. The best known regattas were those staged by Keswick museum owner and former gunboat commander Captain Peter Crosthwaite and wealthy eccentric Joseph Pocklington on Derwentwater in the late 18th Century.

8. The Buttermere Beauty

Mary Robinson was the daughter of the innkeeper at the Fish Inn (now the Fish Hotel), and she was so famed for her beauty that people came from far and wide to capture her beauty on canvas and in verse. At the age of 18, she caught the eye of the Honourable Alexander Augustus Hope, MP for Linlithgow, who was staying at the inn and, after a brief courtship, they were married at Lorton in 1802.

But, on return from their honeymoon, Hope was exposed as John Hatfield, a notorious swindler and bigamist. Hatfield was arrested and stood trial at Carlisle where he was found guilty, not of bigamy, but for posing as a Member of Parliament for which he was subsequently hanged in 1803. Mary went on to marry farmer Richard Harrison, by whom she had several children. She died in 1834 and is buried in Caldbeck churchyard.

9. The Slave Trade at Storr´s Hall

Storrs Hall, Windermere, was built by John Bolton, a wealthy shipowner who dealt in the slavery trade. It is said that the slaves were kept in the cellars of Storrs Hall until buyers could be found for them.

10. Electric lighting in Windermere

Windermere and Bowness were the second towns in England to have electric street lighting, which was supplied from a hydro-electric plant at Troutbeck Bridge.

Wherever you decide to stay in the Lake District, you will find a wealth of things to see and do in this stunning region. Why not pamper yourself and book a spa hotel in Windermere for a weekend break?