WHEN TO GO
Spring and summer are the best times to visit the Lake District, when it's warmer and sunny and there's (a bit) less chance of rainthough be prepared for the wet stuff at any time of year in this part of Northern England. Always take warm, protective, waterproof clothing when out on the mountains, as the weather can change dramatically from one minute to the next.
HOW TO GET THERE
Though there are no major airports in Cumbria itself, the Lake District lies within a few hours' train ride of the airports at Newcastle, to the east, and Blackpool, to the south. A bit farther out, but served by many more flights (including transatlantic ones), are the big airports at Manchester, to the southeast, and Glasgow, to the north.
Reading: Hazard's Way by Roger Hubank (The Ernest Press) is a novel set around Wasdale at the turn of the 19th century. The Lake District, An Anthology, compiled by poet Norman Nicholson, is also worth reading, as are Nicholson's own poems. The First Tigers, by Alan Hankinson, describes the experiences of Wasdale's Victorian pioneers. The last two titles are out of print, but you may well find a secondhand copy at Michael Moon's Bookshop (19 Lowther St., Whitehaven, 01946/599010).
The Cumbria Tourist Board (01539/44444, www.golakes.co.uk) is at Ashleigh, Holly Rd., Windermere.View England Factsheet