Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Orrest Head - what a view!

This small hill, only 784 feet, is above the town of Windermere, but, despite it's small height, it's thought by many to be the very best viewpoint over the lake. The only explanation of the name I've been able to find is that Orrest comes from the Norse word 'orrusta' meaning battle, so maybe two warring Viking tribes had a battle here back in the tenth century.

It is a fairly short climb from near Windermere Railway Station – and there are plenty of benches at the top where you can sit and admire the wonderful view.

On a clear day, there is a 360 degree view, from the Yorkshire fells in the east to the Langdale Valley in the west. Even Morecambe Bay can be seen clearly to the south.

Near the end of the climb is a metal gate known as a ‘kissing gate’. The name is said to derive from the fact that the straight part of the gate has to touch (or ‘kiss’) each side of the curved part of the gate in order for a person to go through. The legend has arisen that the first person through the gate can demand a kiss in return from the second person before allowing them through the gate.

In the past, Orrest Head was a popular walk for day-trippers from the Lancashire mill-towns, because of its proximity to the railway station. In 1930 it was the first ‘climb' that Alfred Wainwright did on his visit to Lakeland from his home town of Blackburn. Later he said “God was in his heaven that day, and I a humble worshipper.” He fell in love with the view of the lake, and this gave him his lifelong love of the fells which led eventually to him producing his guide books. These contain hundreds of walks and climbs, all hand-written in his neat writing, and accompanied by his own pen-and-ink drawings.


  1. Another great post, Paula. We used to spend a lot of time walking in the Lake District when the children were little, but I'm beginning to realise we hardly scratched the surface!

  2. A beautiful view. I love kissing gates - we have some in the countryside too.

  3. Great post and even more breathtaking pictures.

    Nice work here!


  4. Beautiful place. Reminds me a little of Asheville, NC.

  5. oh what a charming post--loving the gate

  6. Paula every post....makes me want to visit EVERY PLACE!!!

  7. Jenny, I've only scratched the surface too, as I've never done any walking in the northern part of the Lakes.

    Thanks, Claudia.

    Rosemary - I mentioned the 'kissing gate' espeically, because when I used the term in my current WIP, my American beta-reader had no idea what I meant.

    Thanks, Mena.

    I've never been to NC, Tamara, but I took a quick look online, and yes, I can see similarities.

    Lynn, we have a lot of this kind of gate on farmland where animals are kept. It's the kind of gate which can't be left open for animals to escape.

    LOL, Brenda, and there's still more to come!

  8. Absolutely gorgeous views. What a great explanation of the gate, too.

  9. That view does look wonderful. I really love the quote by Wainwright too!! Great share!!

    Cheers, Jenn

  10. As always your posts make me want to climb into them. In this case, I also thought who I might bring to the Kissing Gate! LOL.

    Thanks for continuing to intrigue me during the A to Z Challenge!

    Julie Jordan Scott
    Fellow A to Z Challenge Writer
    twitter: @juliejordanscot
    O is for Octavia
    On a Mission to Spread Word-Love Throughout the World

  11. That really is a gorgeous view!!


  12. I'm getting addicted to these posts, Paula, and am daydreaming about these places a lot.

  13. Wow! I loved this piece. It's an area I would love to add to my list for places to go and things to see. You write beautifully. I'm just A to Z-ing it. Nice to meet you.

  14. Thanks for visiting my blog and your comment :) This seems like a very scenic place to visit/live. I think I would have to sit on one of those benches and enjoy the view :) (and snap a picture of the bench for my blog :)

    enjoy the rest of the challenge!


  15. Thanks, Susan - describing a kissing gate to someone who's never seen one is not easy!

    LOL, Julie, hope you decided!

    Kathy, the photo doesn't really do it justice, I would need a 360 degree panorama shot to do that.

    Damyanti, KSC and That corgi - many thanks for your comments, and for visiting my blog :-)

  16. Любовь к женщине имеет для нас великое ничем не заменимое значение