Stories from Lakeland

Registered: 17th April 1961
Duration: 26 minutes
Feet: 2340 feet
Board of Trade Certificate number: ​​BR/E26276
Produced for:​ United Artists
Production Company: ​Harold Baim Film Productions (London) Limited

More Film Stills: ​at baimfilms.com (opens in new window)
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This is a tour of the renowned Lake District, a visual delight that captures the tranquillity and drama of this quite outstanding scenery.

KENNETH MacLEOD Tells you...

Director of Eastmancolor Photography: Eric Owen
Musical Arrangements:  M De Wolfe
Editors: ​Jack Sharpe, Arthur Walters
Recordists:​ W. Milner, T. Meyer
Processed by:​ Rank Laboratories, Denham, England
Directed by: ​Paul Weld Dixon
Produced by: Harold Baim


“He who would bring back the riches of the Indies, must carry with him the riches of the Indies. He who would travel with knowledge must take knowledge with him.”    

Throw a stone into the water and watch the ripples make an ever-widening circle. Imagine a circle about ninety miles around and within it the whole English lake district which belongs to the three counties of Westmorland, Cumberland and Lancashire. The meeting place of these three counties is marked by the Stone of Three Shires.     

Keswick, one of the important lake towns with its busy square and clock tower and winding narrow streets. Derwentwater close by.     

Windermere over ten miles long, the longest natural stretch of water in England.     

Bowness stands on Windermere’s east bank. Blue water lies before the distant mountains and fells.     

At the northern end of Windermere nestles the town of Ambleside.     

If you would really see the land of lakes in all its splendour, leave the highways and byways behind you and take to the hills on foot or on a pony. All around are the ever-changing views of faraway hills.     

A quicker way of getting around is by the narrow-gauge railway affectionately known as ‘Ratty’. All aboard!     

To the north Great Gable, to the south, the trees point tall fingers towards the sky.     

To the west, You Barrow and Wastwater, deepest and most mystical of them all.     

Be lavish with time and watch the water for an hour or a day, silence for a companion and blueness before your eyes.     

Now runs wind down the valley, white-tipped waves chase each other across the water.    

And with the dying down of the wind comes the rain, so soft you would hardly know it.     

And after, the blue sky looks down upon the dark-faced water, turning it once more to blue.     

It is as if the very stars were shining in the daytime.     

Writer of children’s books, Beatrix Potter, creator of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck and Tom Kitten lived for many years in Near Sawrey, at Hilltop Farm. When she wrote, she looked about her and placed the little creatures of her imagination in the real settings of her home.     

You’ve all seen a dog beg, have you ever seen a tame vixen? This one goes some evenings with her owner to the local inn for a snack. And she’s thinking of something stronger than beer. That may be alright, but there’s nothing better than a bit jacket and a little of what you fancy does you good. Well even a lady fox can change her mind.     

Look out over the mountains and up the Duddon Valley. Look at the hills echoing back in the grim and breathless hour of noon the thunder’s greeting. 

Coniston Water, where Donald Campbell won for Britain the water speed record.     

So compact is the location of Lakeland that by travelling only short distances, many of the lakes in their infinite variety, can be visited. Kirkstone Pass leads down to Ullswater, in some places two hundred feet deep and seven miles long.     

Through Borrowdale, one of the loveliest valleys in England.     

And Bassenthwaite, third largest of them all.     

Thirlmere lies beside the main road from Keswick to Ambleside. Dense forest covers the hillside right down to the water’s edge.     

In the Forestry Commission’s nursery at Grizedale, trees are grown from seed. These are one year old. These are two years old.     

Like wheat or barley, timber is a crop too. A crop which takes many years before it can be reaped. Years of patient attention from foresters whose lives are spent with trees.     

Here, the horse comes into his own.     

Deep in the forest, fifteen year-olds have been cut and left for George and his horse, Dragon. These two can go places where it would be impossible to drive a tractor.     

Forestry horses are very knowing, choosing their own paths and obeying spoken words of command.     

Small timber such as this may be used in the making of bobbins. The wood has been cut into short lengths and is drilled. Many of these machines are seventy and eighty years old.     

He has worked all his life in a bobbin mill. The finishing machine completely fashions the bobbin which may be used for storing wire or cotton.     

These misty shores have through the years held a fascination for artists writers and poets.     

John Ruskin lived in this house on the shores of Coniston Water.     

Hugh Walpole, author of The Herries Chronicles, lived here beside Derwentwater.     

But best-remembered and loved of all is William Wordsworth, poet laureate of England. Wordsworth was born in this house at Cockermouth in seventeen seventy. At the age of eight, he went away to school at Hawkshead and lodged at the cottage of Anne Tyson. In her cashbook is this entry.

Each day he walked through the village to the grammar school, where he studied for six years and sat at this desk at Greek grammar, from which he would have been taught.    

Sometimes when the lesson was too dull or too difficult, to him the sun’s shadow would hardly move around the sundial; and then just as all boys do, the young Wordsworth carved his name in the desk before him.     

In later years he returned to Grasmere and lived at Dove Cottage from eighteen hundred and two until eighteen eleven. Eventually moving to his beloved Rydal Mount where he died in eighteen fifty.     

These steps lead up to the terrace where he would endlessly walk as he composed his unforgettable poetry.     

“Love had he found in huts where poor men lie,
His daily teachers had been Woods and Rills, 
The silence that is in the starry sky, 
The sleep that is in the lonely hills.”    

William Wordsworth lies at peace in the little churchyard at Grasmere.     

Mountain passes link together the valleys of the lakes. What are these passes like? Lets go over Hardknott and find out. At the lowest point there’s nothing to it. A little way up the going gets tougher. If you dare to take your eyes from the road for a moment, splendour is all around you. The summit is twelve hundred and ninety one feet above sea level.     

Hundreds of feet below, stand the remains of Hardknott Castle, a Roman fort.     

Older still is this stone circle, thought to have been here for almost four thousand years. Two stones point to the sunrise on Midsummer’s Day and two to the sunset.     

Bang up to date is water-skiing, particularly when it’s done like this. It’s easy to get a slipped disc. It’s an exhilarating feeling skimming over the top of the water at thirty five miles an hour.     

Skis of a different kind. This fell sledge, rather like a toboggan is still used by fell farmers.     

Down in the valleys, the talk is all of sheep and rams. Sheep must be sheared, a skilled job because if the fleece is not removed intact, the wool will bring a lower price.     

The sheep’s haircut is nearly finished and there goes a first class piece of fleece.     

Identification marks ensure that a strayed animal can be traced.     

Where there are sheep, there are sheepdogs to help round up the flocks.    

The sheep roam free over the fell, but two or three times a year they are driven down to the farm for counting, dipping and shearing.    

Incredibly hardy, special breeds such as Herdwick and Swaledale have been developed to withstand living on the fells during cold winter months. Each year the young lambs are sent to winter in warmer pastures.     

A command of ‘go away out’ and the dogs are off to round up a group that has strayed away from the main flock.   And now eight or nine hundred sheep are safely gathered off the fell and into the pen behind the farm.     

To the outward bound school, come boys from all walks of life. Boys from universities, boys from industry, to join together that they may learn to live together and gain confidence to become resourceful under adverse conditions.     

Outdoor activities are the order of the day. Canoeing and learning to read a map and work a compass; with rock climbing thrown in for good measure. 

The instructor belays and pulls in the slack on his nylon rope. The student commences to climb and under expert instruction, it’s a thrilling and perfectly safe sport. But even walking in these hills without taking care can be very dangerous.    

This technique is known as ‘layback’.     

A call for help goes to the Mountain Rescue Service, which swings into action.     

All over the land of the lakes, men of the Mountain Rescue Service will turn out by day or night to search for the lost and bring help to the injured. The last man comes down. And in the dusk, the stretcher party makes its slow return.    

In the valleys, life goes quietly on. Women and men working at things they know. Charlie Brown, John Armstrong, George Braithwaite, Wilson Pharaoh. They and those who come after them will hold this magic land of rocks and fell and water until the end of time.      

[End Credit]

All music should be cleared with 

De Wolfe Music 
Queen’s House 
180-182 Tottenham Court Road