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Why it’s time to visit THE LAKES

The Lake District has long been a magnet for seekers of natural beauty. Now it’s a destination for food lovers too. The region had more than its share of weather-based challenges last year but, as Susan Low discovers, the community has rallied round to recover and there’s never been a better time to go
ARTISTIC NATURE Sunset over Derwentwater

The Lake District has a stark beauty. The wildness of the fells and lakes is thrilling and humbling – you can feel small here. No wonder generations of artists and poets have been inspired by the landscape.

This is a place where talk about weather isn’t just a pleasantry. Misread the clouds and you can put life and limb at risk – as a series of devastating storms proved in the run-up to Christmas last year, when record rainfall washed away bridges and roads and flooded towns and villages throughout Cumbria.

Yet the Lakes draw nearly 16 million visitors each year. While the weather can’t be guaranteed to be warm, you can be sure the hospitality will be. The locals are resilient, and justly proud of their landscape and the food it supports.

COOKING THE COUNTRYSIDE

Chefs throughout the region (see box p119) have put the Lake District on the culinary map, making much of the local produce, from hedgerow to seaside. The hardy herdwick sheep that dot the Lakeland fells are more than just part of the landscape; they provide some of the best meat around. Anyone who’s not tried the deep flavours of herdwick hogget (lamb that’s 1-2 years old) is in for a treat – and Mark Teasdale, chef at Sharrow Bay, who comes from a family of sheep farmers, is a big fan.

“My parents had herdwicks and swaledales,” he says. “Herdwicks are not so commercially viable because they take much longer to mature, but they have incredible flavour. It’s possibly the most commented-on ingredient on our menu.”

There’s so much to inspire and enjoy in this windswept beauty of a landscape… Come for the views – and stay for the food.

SHARROW BAY

Ullswater, Cumbria (sharrowbay.co.uk)

View from Sharrow Bay across Ullswater
PHOTOGRAPHS: ISTOCK, JOAN RANSLEY, SARAH KAY
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About delicious. Magazine

The new September issue of delicious. sees out the summer with healthy recipes from the sunny Med and dishes that keep the holiday feeling going. Diana Henry shares her simple cooking philosophy, Simon Hulstone adapts Michelin-star cooking for the home kitchen and we get the gossip and recipes from the Great British Bake Off stars. Plus, improve your cooking with a bagel masterclass, our sweet pastry guide and all our invaluable tips and advice.