Tuesday, 22 December 2015

#LakeDistrictBid Advent Calendar Day 22 - Because of the folklore...

Yesterday it was all about the history so today it's the arch enemy of history - folklore.  When we were researching the book one of the biggest headaches was figuring out where the truth ended and the folklore began.  If you take a story, any story, and only hand down verbal versions of it, pretty soon it's going to get embroidered with things that didn't happen while the things that did happen get lost in the mists of time.  To be fair writing a story down doesn't always do much to preserve it or ensure its accuracy, just take a look at most of the daily newspapers...

As there are, in most cases, small nuggets of truth hiding behind these stories, it's essential that we preserve them and the regions they relate to.

Let's start small with coin logs...  So far as I've been able to work out these are wishing posts - you push your coin in and make a wish.  Other versions suggest that they're for improving bad luck or curing ailments - if you push a coin in it will alleviate whatever has befallen you and, if you were to try stealing a coin, you will be struck down with whatever misfortune affected the person who originally put it there.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Coin log & friend at Aira Force
Then there's Hugh's Cave in Riggindale where supposedly the first king of Mardale sheltered after fleeing from Kind John.

Riggindale valley - there are worse places to hide...

How about Buttermere and Rannerdale where a fearsome Norseman lead a battle against the Normans with the Rannerdale Bluebells springing from their spilled blood.

"Bloody" lovely.
And perhaps the most famous piece of folklore in the Lake District - Dunmail Raise - where stories abound about vast battles and King Dunmail casting his crown into Grisedale Tarn before his body was buried beneath the pile of stones that mark the summit of Dunmail Raise.  Took a lot of digging to get close to the truth on that one and, if you want to know what we found out you'll just have to buy the book. :-)

Looking along Thirlmere toward Dunmail Raise
To learn more about the Lake District's bid for UNESCO World Heritage Site Status please click here - where you can also register your support for the bid with a couple of clicks of your mouse (or prods of your screen).

And if you've only just found this click here to go back to day 1 and catch up with all the other great reasons.