There’s plenty of literature around these days that can make motorists feel that they are gas guzzling galumphs bent on desecrating the landscape. Especially in places of outstanding beauty like the Lake District. It’s refreshing, therefore, to find a publication that is dedicated simply to the wonder of what can be discovered when using bus, bicycle, boat and boots – without lashings of guilt trip on the side.
Poet in Motion
Kirstie Pelling, travel writer and poet, collaborated with GoLakes Travel to become Poet in Motion around Central Lake District and the result is See More, a beautifully illustrated coffee table book full of observations from her travels and adventures.
Because I didn’t need to concentrate on the road, my speed, other traffic or the map, I began to notice things about my journeys that I simply wouldn’t have seen in a car. And because all I had in my hands was time and a pen, my imagination roamed much further than my lifts.
The flight of her imagination has resulted in some great poems and prose that reflect life in the Lakes. An elderly woman on the infamous 555 bus service comes to life in ‘Old Lady of the Lakes’
Old Lady of the Lakes by Kirstie Pelling
Some might say she looks as old as the hills,
I’d say she’s older, from a time before
The limestone wall was shaped from ancient bones
Like hers. Before shepherds pushed weary limbs
Up steep include in dwindling winter light
To help broken Herdwick recalibrate
And scamper back home, she owned this place
I trace her journey in her contoured face.
Celebration of Local Life and Culture
These are uncomplicated poems written with depth, warmth and recognisable respect for traditional ways and ordinary folk. Through the pages of the book there’s a visual feast of photographs taken by Stuart Wickes, complementing perfectly the poetry and prose.
Kirstie muses how different the poems of Wordsworth and contemporaries would have been if they’d had the opportunity to drive rather than amble their way around their inspirational environment. Her roaming imagination also includes the possibility of edible mountains, sightings of Bownessie, an electric Twizy superhero and HRH Queen Elizabeth waiting at the bus stop in Grasmere.
See More captures some of the characters that visitors to the Lake District will come across in their travels and Kirstie includes a trio of poems dedicated to the ‘Captains of Windermere’ – Windermere Lake Cruises skippers, one of them an author in his own right, one who runs up and down Helvellyn every day in the winter as a Fell Top Assessor and the other a keen Lakeland historian.
My favourite little poem accompanies a fantastic double page photo of dew filled sheep’s wool hanging from barbed wire, like little shirts hanging out to dry.
Laundry Day by Kirstie Pelling
A sun damaged cloud,
Singed, scorched, burnt dry
Scrubbed, rinsed and hung out
On barbed wire sky
Dark, tarnished raindrop
Our weeping earth’s tear,
Buffed up like crystal.
See your future here.
Start your Own Creative Journey
Kirstie, together with her husband Stuart and their children, are passionate about family travel and adventure and have their own award winning website, The Family Adventure Project. Having cycled over 17,000 km in more than 20 countries, Kirstie leaves the reader with a challenge to start their own creative journey and declares,
wherever you are, there is poetry around your right now.
Using green cross code principles, she encourages us all to Stop, Look and Listen and to use our imaginations to play with words, letters and ideas and have a go at expressing ourselves and our experience.
To help you get inspired, guests of English Lakes hotels can find a copy of See More in the lounge at Low Wood Bay, Waterhead and The Wild Boar. We’d love to read the results of whatever word path your imagination takes you on!