Sunday, 7 October 2012

Walking Lakeland Magic

00:00:00 Posted by Ashley Lister , , , , , 3 comments

 by 
 K D Grace
   
Surely there is no other place in this whole wonderful world quite like Lakeland...no other so exquisitely lovely, no other so charming, no other that calls so insistently across a gulf of distance. All who truly love Lakeland are exiles when away from it.
    
--Alfred Wainwright

It was difficult to write this post and keep it under ten thousand words. The insistent call of Lakeland that Wainwright talks about is, for me, a rather wordy call – a trilogy’s worth so far, not counting all the blog posts and emails and stories still in my head to be written.

As a walker, I’ve come to believe that one can never truly know the soul of a place until one walks it. A car can never take you to the heart of the land. I know of streams and springs in Lakeland where the water tastes better than the best wine. At Rannerdale Knots, I’ve walked in a valley that was once secret. Every spring it’s awash in bluebells. According to the legend, each flower represents a fallen Norse invader defeated by the local Cumbrians in the late 11th or early 12th century. There are lots of ghosts in Lakeland, and some take such lovely forms. I’ve been on the roof of England at the summit of Scafell Pike, and I’ve been into the bowels of Cumbria in the slate mines beneath Fleetwith Pike. And always on foot, because there’s something about putting one foot in front of the other that brings the landscape and it’s magic into me and transforms it to story.

One of the things I love best about the Lakeland fells is what can be seen from high places. From the fell tops, I can view a landscape I could never see from the valley below. A big part of magic, and a big part of writing, is to find that place where I can see differently, where I can understand differently than I have before. Sometimes that means not seeing with my eyes.

I got caught in the mist once while walking the Newland Horseshoe, which is a ridge walk near Keswick. Suddenly everything that was familiar was gone. Walking in the mist is like being in another world, an ether-world, a place where any kind of magic could happen. It wasn’t that difficult to imagine ghosts and witches and demons. It was a familiar walk, an area I knew well, a safe place, and yet suddenly, in the mist, it was an alien landscape.
 
The magic of the land is in the people as well, and in what they’ve left behind. Much of Lakeland is a manmade landscape. Forests have been stripped away in ancient times to make way for sheep. Great gouges and mountains of tailings scar the fell sides from a long history of mining and quarrying. Against all odds nature has still taken back her own, reclaimed it and transformed it into bones laid bare, yet still alive and flourishing and achingly beautiful.

I’ve walked the perimeter of Castlerigg stone circle at both sunrise and sunset. Castlerigg is a circle embraced by a greater circle, a circle of fells, a reminder that people were practicing magic in the thrall of Lakeland long before I magicked a story set there. 
I understand why. I understand it with my feet, and somehow understanding it with my feet makes it fit closer to my heart.

***  
K D Grace is a celebrated author of erotic fiction. Her most recent titles have  been set firmly in a magical version of the Lakes and include: Body Temperature & Rising and Riding the Ether - available from all good book shops. 

For more information about K D Grace, and her alter ego Grace Marshall, visit: 


Reactions:

3 comments:

K D Grace said...

Thanks so much for inviting me to talk about one of my favourite places. And to share a few of my piccies.

It's a real pleasure to be here.

K D Grace

Ashley R Lister said...

KD,

Thanks for visiting us here today. Your post is a reminder of how inspirational the lakes can be.

(And for those who've not yet read KD Grace's titles - check them out because they're a very well-written, erotic read).

Ash

vicky ellis said...

Well, what more could I want? A beautiful post and some new erotica to look up.

Thanks for sharing with us Grace, I completely agree about knowing a place by walking it. If you feel like sharing the location of the bluebell valley, I rather fancy exploring that place.