More of the Lake District
Tuesday 18 June 1901 - Tuesday 25 June 1901
Mr. Hatch is quickly discovering that writing to his wife Nelly every day will soon become near impossible. The staggering amount of activities he undertakes and sites he visits is almost too much to recount properly in writing. I am finding the sheer volume of his words difficult to deal with as well; to date, this blog is now nearly a full month behind Mr. Hatch's journal entries with regards to chronology. My aspirations to publish an entry each week reflecting William's journal entries for that same week of his trip is quickly becoming but a pipe dream.
Owing to this difficulty I will begin to move more quickly through Hatch's reflections on the Lake District in order to get closer to following directly in his footsteps throughout the remainder of his journey. This blog entry will cover the remainder of his days spent in the Lake District from June 18th to the 25th.
If traveling thousands of mile to a new country isn't enough to convince us that William Hatch was an adventurous, curious, and strongly independent person, his accounts of the days spent exploring the Lake District certainly will. On numerous occasions he tells about walking ahead or hanging back from his companions in order to indulge his curiosity. Whether climbing uphill faster in order to have a solitary view of Lake Windemere, or breaking away from Mr. and Mrs. Harper to investigate a grubby pub, William Hatch was clearly someone not afraid to "get off the beaten trail". If you have ever traveled - especially if you are interested in the history, art, food, music, or other cultural aspect of the place you are visiting - then you have likely experienced moments like the one William describes below:
Individual excursions like this are typical of Mr. Hatch - he clearly enjoyed exploring and experiencing as much as he could. Nevertheless, he made sure to include his friends (and wife) whenever possible. Even in conditions that were less than ideal, Hatch felt drawn to continue tramping off on his own. In the first weeks of their travels he and the Harpers were lucky to have wonderful weather. He mentions their "first experience with a steady rain" for which the British Isles are renowned on June 19th - more than a full week after they landed in England! With this first rain continuing throughout the day the Harpers decided to stay back, but William continued on his own:
Some of the most enjoyable parts of the trip for Mr. Hatch, as we have already seen, include any chance he has to indulge in poetry. He clearly also thoroughly enjoyed the many hikes and climbs through the Lake District. Serendipity conspired on June 21st, 1901 to bring both of these together for him in a most entertaining way. While hiking yet another mountain pass above the serene forests and glass-smooth lakes of the District, Hatch and Mrs. Harper happened upon an inn:
It is clear from his delighted recollection of the poem he found at the Inn that William allowed himself to time and again be surprised by this beautiful country and its hard-working, fun-loving inhabitants. The fact that he either remembered the poem or took the time to write it down illustrates just how struck with amusement, joy, and wonder by it that he was. This wonder continues throughout the remainder of his days spent in Grasmere and the Lake District. Even simple things, such as a horse and buggy, seem to be items of great interest to William Hatch.
The passage above is one of the final entries which Hatch wrote while still in the Lake District. He and his companions spent nearly two full weeks exploring its furthest reaches. They followed the paths of Wordsworth and other Romantics. They climbed mountains and boated across England's largest lake. Most of all, they met incredible people along the way - shepherds, carters, and cooks - with stories that fascinated William Hatch to no end. We shall see whether their next destination of Glasgow, Scotland will resonate so deeply with the intrepid Mr. Hatch.
Until next time, cheers!
Interim Director, Rockford Area Historical Society