Sir Simon Jenkins on Lake District photography

PUBLISHED: 09:27 27 November 2013 | UPDATED: 09:27 27 November 2013

Lakeland in repose: Buttermeres Sentinels beneath Haystacks. Photo: Olimpio Fantuz/SIME/4 Corners Images.

Lakeland in repose: Buttermeres Sentinels beneath Haystacks. Photo: Olimpio Fantuz/SIME/4 Corners Images.

Not Archant

Sir Simon Jenkins’s verdict on one of our most magnificent views, captured in his latest book. Barbara Waite reports

Castlerigg circle with Catbells in the distance. Photo: Anthony West/CorbisCastlerigg circle with Catbells in the distance. Photo: Anthony West/Corbis

The English landscape is as diverse as the people who live in it. From rugged moors and rocky peaks to the rolling lowland valleys with meandering rivers, there are marvellous views to delight the eye.

In the north west we are blessed with wild places and sweeping vistas which would surely be in anyone’s list of favourites. Choosing 100 from the whole country made author Sir Simon Jenkins evaluate what was just a pretty picture and what was a ‘view’.

As chairman of the National Trust he spends time seeking out churches and houses and that made his realise the setting of these buildings was an ever more important part of his enjoyment. It is one man’s choice but few would argue with his selection of Borrowdale or Derwentwater.

His favourite? A late summer’s afternoon on Gummer’s How described by Alfred Wainwright as ‘an old man’s mountain’ because by Lake District standards it is reached by a small climb, but has panoramic views.

Sir Simon says: ‘Windermere was glistening at my feet. The heights of the Lake District and the Pennines were spread on either side and the Lancashire plain lay as a foil to the south. It is surely the classic English view. It made me feel I never wanted to be anywhere else, in a landscape exhilarating, consoling, desperately precious and, above all, alive.’

We’ve chosen two more contrasting images from the Lake District section of this beautiful book - Buttermere and Castlerigg Stone Circle

‘The ideal view of the lake is from above the church a short walk onto Buttermere Moss. The row of Scots pines at the left end of the lake, known as the Sentinels, must be the most photographed trees in England. Each stands separate along the shoreline, with a personality of its own. The favourite picture is of the trees reflected in the still water of the lake,’ writes Sir Simon.

Above Derwentwater lies Castlerigg dating back to 3,000 years BC where 33 of an estimated 42 original stones stand erect. ’It is impossible to stand in this place and think its builders blind to its beauty. They must have sensed the genius of the place. This is a spot of strange intensity, where the whole Lake District seems to gather in one composite view, to be honoured in a ring of stone,’ he writes.

Visitors to the region are often said to have ‘spoiled’ the Lakes but Sir Simon believes the opposite to be true that the area has been preserved because of its champions. He concludes: ‘This is everyone’s England, to be protected in everyone’s name.’

Top Lancashire views

What would be included in your top views of Lancashire and the Lake District? Tell us a

England’s 100 Best Views by Simon Jenkins is published by Profile Books, priced £25.

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