Paul Rose reveals his top three activities in the Lake District
PUBLISHED: 00:00 10 September 2018
Making a television programme about the Lakes has re-affirmed Paul Rose's deep affection for the area
He has commanded an Antarctic research station, been the first across Greenland ice caps, led the way up a number of remote mountains and dived in clear blue seas all over the world but his latest assignment was a little closer to home. In fact, he could see the landscape he’d be exploring from his bedroom window.
Paul Rose may have been born in Romford, Essex, but there can be few more passionate advocates for the Lakes. His new series which will be broadcast this month, follows him as he rediscovers the Lake District and falls in love with the area all over again.
‘I have lived in the Lake District for 20 years and have been visiting since I was 16 but making this programme made me realise how little I know,’ he said.
‘I have discovered things about the Lake District and about myself. I can see Scafell from my house but to go up there and experience it in a new way was great.
‘I often walk to the top and there’s a sense of competition – I try to get to the summit more quickly than before – but by telling the stories of these places we have to slow down and that way you notice more.
‘Although I have been up Scafell many times, I had never camped up there. For the programme I was to bivouac just below the summit then walk in the silvery moonlight and watch the world’s greatest sunrise.
‘I thought the weather wouldn’t allow all that, but it did. It was magical and to see something I’m so familiar with in a new way was great.’
And the 67-year-old explorer, who lives in Windermere, added: ‘I am often working all over the world in remote places and to be able to work from home was wonderful. It made me really fall in love with the place again. I’m never going to move.’
In the four-part BBC Two programme, The Lakes with Paul Rose, he looks at Windermere and the roots of the region’s tourism industry; Borrowdale and how the climate has shaped the area; Coniston and the spirit of adventure on the fells and the waters; and the less visited parts of the western Lakes.
But with 18 million tourists heading to the Lake District every year, surely there can’t be anything new to say or to show?
‘Everyone knows the Lake District but I think people come with preconceived ideas,’ Paul said. ‘They think they’ve seen it all and it’s not geographically very big and they can whizz round it in a few weekends.
‘I get into a bit of a habit, too. I like to be moving fast and beating my previous times for walks but doing this programme has taught me how to slow down and study and think.
‘It’s about going up to a field you would normally drive past and realising there’s a dog race there that’s been held for hundreds of years and finding out who’s there and why the race is important. It’s about making those connections with history and traditions.’
Among the traditions he connects with in the programme are hound trailing and Cumberland Wrestling – ‘I lost, naturally, but it was great fun’.
And he added: ‘Making this programme really helped me learn to appreciate the Lake District and how valuable and important it is. I hope that’s the effect it has on people who watch it as well.’
Three to do
Paul’s suggestions for things to do in the Lakes, however long you’re staying
Wansfell: ‘For an easy but satisfying walk which can be done in all weathers. The views are fantastic and you can make it as challenging as you want.’ Try our Wansfell walk
Eskdale: Take the beautiful Ravenglass railway and if time allows, do the big walks. Go up Scafell and maybe camp up near the summit, then take the railway back and visit Muncaster Castle. ‘After filming there, my partner adopted the vulture Moriarty for me as a birthday present’. Try our Eskdale walk
Wild swimming: ‘There is nothing like it. If it’s cold, bring a wet suit, or just have a swimming costume with you. I often go for a walk, then reach a tarn, have a look round to see there’s no-one around and take my kit off and jump in. It’s the most wonderful thing to do.’ Read more about extreme swimming in the Lake District