travel

Haweswater | The drowned village that gave me the weird feels

Sometimes a place can give you the feels in the weirdest of ways.  Haweswater was one of those places.

I’m rather fond of the Lake District,if you hadn’t noticed.  I quite like it.  (Read: my no.1 place ever).  However, despite the fact that I go on and on about the Lakes both here and on my Instagram, there are SO many parts of it I’ve yet to explore.  So many.  It’s been a wee while since my last jaunt to the North Lakes though, so a day trip was in order.

Somewhere my mum and I both wanted to check out was Haweswater.  We’d heard the history behind it and wanted to see the place for ourselves.  I mean, it looks like any other reservoir at first, but still.  Knowing there’s a drowned village at the bottom makes it that bit different.

The village of Mardale was drowned in the 1930s when Manchester’s ever growing demand for water resulted in the valley being flooded to form Haweswater reservoir.

We parked up on the side of the (very quiet) road and had a brew from our industrial sized flask and a munch on our snacks.  M&S Percy Pigs, road trip essential FYI.  Then we just kind of wandered around a little and looked out over the reservoir, trying to figure out where the village might lie.

Googling wasn’t an option – phone signal is non-existent round those parts.  I quite liked the enforced digital detox tbh.  Even cracked out the good old fashioned map book for the occasion.  To the tune of complete silence too, might I add – literally the only sounds were my ticking watch and chirping birds.  How very cliche.

It wasn’t a natural disaster of course and was managed in a very controlled way, but still seems unthinkable.  What must those residents have gone through?  Relocating from country to town.  Finding new employment.  The last service in the church (which apparently 3000 people or so attended).  Nobody died, but it’s still kind of eerie.  You can’t help but sympathise as you look over the water.  I wonder if any of the residents are still alive and remember the events?

In times of drought the bridge and roads re-emerge, and I imagine the experience is even stranger then.  One that I’d like to see nonetheless.  Googling throws up old and new maps, and after comparing them we think the village is right about here – just near where we parked.

My mum and I ended up watching videos about a load of other drowned villages when we got home too.  Scary that this is by no means an isolated case.  I can only imagine the uproar and social media storm that would follow now if it was announced a whole village was going to be submerged.

We took the long way home via Ullswater and Kirkstone Pass – there are many a scenic route in the Lakes and this is definitely one of them!  I remember travelling this road once at night in the densest fog and horrendous visibility.  Slightly scary.  Beautiful views on a sunny day though.  And Ullswater is lovely.

I don’t always dedicate whole posts to single daytrips on the blog anymore, but this one felt a little different and deserving of a mention.  If you’re heading to the Lakes this summer, I suggest swinging by Haweswater – let me know if it gives you the same feels as me!

Lily Kate x

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