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Pictures of Brothers Water

in the town of Patterdale, in the county of Cumbria

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About Brothers Water

Dorothy Wordsworth (c.1771-1855, diarist, poet, sister of William ) referred to it as "..the glittering lively lake..".
The lake was once known as 'Broad Water' but its name was changed during the 19th century after 2 brothers drowned there. Owned by the National Trust, Brothers Lake is one of the smallest of the English Lakes at under half a mile long and a quarter of a mile wide. Not very popular with tourists as the lake itself is shallow, full of reeds, and no boating allowed, although this gives chance for water lilies to bloom in the summer months. The lake can be found at the northern end of Kirkstone Pass, towards Patterdale. To the south leads to Ambleside on the mighty Windermere. The village of Hartsop sits at the north-east corner of the lake.

The following is an extract from Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal , 16th of April 1802:

"Friday, 16th April (Good Friday).—... When we came to the foot of Brothers Water, I left William sitting on the bridge, and went along the path on the right side of the lake through the wood. I was delighted with what I saw: the water under the boughs of the bare old trees, the simplicity of the mountains, and the exquisite beauty of the path. There was one grey cottage. I repeated The Glowworm as I walked along. I hung over the gate, and thought I could have stayed for ever. When I returned, I found William writing a poem descriptive of the sights and sounds we saw and heard. There was the gentle flowing of the stream, the glittering lively lake, green fields, without a living creature to be seen on them; behind us, a flat pasture with forty-two cattle feeding; to our left, the road leading to the hamlet. No smoke there, the sun shone on the bare roofs. The people were at work, ploughing, harrowing, and sowing; lasses working; a dog barking now and then; cocks crowing, birds twittering; the snow in patches at the top of the highest hills; yellow palms, purple and green twigs on the birches, ashes with their glittering stems quite bare. The hawthorn a bright green, with black stems under the oak. The moss of the oaks glossy.... As we went up the vale of Brothers Water, more and more cattle feeding, a hundred of them. William finished his poem before we got to the foot of Kirkstone. There were hundreds of cattle in the vale.... The walk up Kirkstone was very interesting. The becks among the rocks were all alive. William shewed me the little mossy streamlet which he had before loved, when he saw its bright green track in the snow. The view above Ambleside very beautiful. There we sate, and looked down on the green vale. We watched the crows at a little distance from us become white as silver, as they flew in the sunshine; and, when they went still farther, they looked like shapes of water passing over the green fields."

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