Until the mid-eighteenth century, Britain’s barren mountains were regarded with fear by all thoughtful people. The romantic movement, with its cult of the ‘sublime’ and of the ‘picturesque’, modified this perception, and the mountainous regions of Wales, the Lake District, and even Scotland, became fashionable to visit and to admire for their ‘beauty, horror and immensity’.
But these tourists never left the well-beaten and recommended path. They did not venture into the hills themselves. Only miners and quarrymen, or shepherds with sheep to find, or pack-horse drivers did that. And when the first eccentric visitors asked to be guided to the summits the locals were amazed and bemused.
When Coleridge, wild, unconventional and physically fearless, arrived to join the Wordsworths in the Lakes in 1799, he immediately set out onto the high fells on his own. His records of these explorations, in his notes and in letters, particularly to his beloved but unattainable Sara Hutchinson,
provide a totally new and modern appreciation and understanding of the mountain landscape.
Helvellyn, Skiddaw and most of the now popular summits were visited by him alone, without maps or any equipment beyond his notebook in which he scribbled his impressions and his reactions‘O joy for me’ he jotted on first seeing Ullswater from the top of Great Dodd. It was not till the very end of the nineteenth century that solitary walking on the fells became acceptable, and then, almost overnight, universally popular and fashionable.
This book explores and explains the experiences of a true pioneer and one of Britain’s greatest and most remarkable creative spirits.
|Publisher:||Bitter Lemon Press, Ltd|
|Product dimensions:||6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
1 Establishing the 'Picturesque Tour' of the Lakes: 1755-1769 1
2 Exploring the 'wild scenes of Nature": 1792-1802 31
3 'Pedestrian Tours' and 'Peregrinations': Coleridge's Early Walks, 1794-1799 59
'Pedestrian Tour' of North Wales, July-August 1794
Walks around Nether Stowey, Somerset, June 1797-July 1798
Tour of the Harz Mountains, Germany, May 1799
4 'Gentleman-poet and Philosopher in a Mist': Coleridge in the Lake District, 1799 and 1800 72
The 'pikteresk Toor' with William Wordsworth, October-November 1799
'At Home': Coleridge at Greta Hall, Keswick, 1800
5|'O Joy for me!': Coleridge's Lake District Walks, 1800 101
Dungeon Ghyll Force
Ascent of Skiddaw, June
Saddleback, July/August, and Bannerdale Crags, August
Helvellyn Ridge to Grasmere, August
Coledale Fells, September
'Back o'Skidda' and Carrock Fell, October
6 'To wander & wander for ever and ever': Coleridge's Lake District Walks, 1802 131
Walla Crag, April
Nab Scar, April
Nine-day Walk to the Coast and back via the summit of Scafell, August
7 'That poor, mad poet, Coleridge': The final Walks, 1803 162
The 'Walking Tour' with Southey, September
Walk with Southey and Hazlitt through Borrowdale into Watendlath, October
Coleridge's later reputation and the emergence of Fell-walking as a popular pastime
'The Fellwanderer' : Alfred Wainwright
Bibliography and Abbreviations 187