The Lake Poets: Hill Farming, Mountaineering and Politics Back

The spectacular fells of the Lake District, the home of Wordsworth’s ‘statesmen’, have inspired writers, artists and adventurers the world over. We have invited Philippa Harrison, author of Mountain Republic: A Lake District Parish – Eighteen Men, The Lake Poets and the National Trust, and Professor Simon Bainbridge, author of Mountaineering and British Romanticism: The Literary Cultures of Climbing, 1770-1836, to speak about their new books and the evolution of mountaineering in the Lake District from poetry to protest.

Philippa Harrison will explore Wordsworth and Southey’s influence on the great changes in Lake District society from the French Wars to the Latrigg Mass Trespass, England’s largest successful popular action to retain public access, which was seen at the time as a test case about whether a private owner could ‘block out the public from a mountain’.

Simon Bainbridge will discuss the early development of mountaineering in the Lake District as well as pioneering mountaineers, including Joseph Budworth, the Smith sisters of Coniston and Ann Radcliffe. He will also explore the relationships between literature and ascent, especially in the writing of Dorothy and William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Keats.