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Introducing Ullswater & Around

Stretching in a glassy arc for 7½ miles between Pooley Bridge in the north and Glenridding and Patterdale in the south, the tranquil lake of Ullswater is the second-largest in the Lakes after Windermere, and was one of Wordsworth’s favourites. During an afternoon walk along the wooded shores of Ullswater with his sister Dorothy, William was inspired to write the work for which he is perhaps best remembered – the so-called ‘Daffodils’ poem, which begins with the immortal refrain, ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud...’ It’s still a beautiful and inspiring place, where quaint steamers chug along the lake against a backdrop of majestic hills and woodland groves, and although the western edge gets busy in summer, you can usually escape the traffic along the eastern side.

Ullswater ‘Steamers’ (82229; www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk; adult return £7.40-10.30) ply the lake from Pooley Bridge to Glenridding via Howtown. The first paddle steamers were launched on Ullswater in 1859 but the current vessels, Lady (in operation since 1887) and Raven (since 1889), have been converted to conventional power. A new steamer, the Lady Dorothy, has recently been brought over from Guernsey and was to be launched in September 2006.