Cumbrians, lucky Cumbrians.
Who are these people who inhabit the most stunning part of the United Kingdom?
Originally, they were the Vikings, Norsemen, who came and pillaged, raped, took over the lands and settled there. Followed closely by the Roman legionnaires who stayed for several hundred years.
Those majestic hills echoed to the songs of praise to their Gods, I suppose because, even then they recognized the earthly Valhalla, a place where their Gods chose to live.
Their descendants still inhabit those quiet valleys, scan the lakes, walk the tops and farm their sheep. This becomes a form of praise for the county they all love.
The modern Cumbrian has inherited the strength, resolve and fortitude of their forebears although their deities might have changed slightly to less violent forms of God. It is part of human nature to quietly absorb the beauty that surrounds them. Completely confident in its stature, lakes, mountains, fellside cottages, magical villages, rural customs and great food and ale that keep them firmly situated between those magnificent earthly monuments.
Cumbrians are indeed lucky.
The County has for many centuries attracted some of the best poets, writers, artists and philosophers more than almost anywhere else in the country. What attracts them? Perhaps it is the solitude, room to think, to gather their thoughts, to convey those thoughts to the wider world. Perhaps it is to capture on canvas the supreme and understated beauty of their surroundings. Whatever it is the County has been a magnet for some of the great thinkers, such as John Ruskin, and artists for centuries and one may ask oneself why.
It is because it never changes. It is all still there and carefully managed by the present incumbents helped and supported by organisations such as the National Trust, conservation projects such as the Cumbria wildlife trust and the Cumbrian Tourist board. Ancient families who maintain their historic homes and gardens for all to enjoy and the quiet hard work carried on daily by the inn keepers and their staff, small shops selling local delicacies as well as farmers who keep the hillsides trim and the astounding and unsung work of the generations of skilled drystone wallers. An artistic and functional feature that encapsulates the remoteness yet the ordered lifestyle for all who are lucky to live in this blessed county of Cumbria.
Needless to say, I am one.