We’ve learned quite a few new words while hiking in the Lake District.
Fell: a high and barren landscape such as a highland moor.
Even though the “mountains” here in the Lake District are under 3000 feet, they are virtually treeless and open landscapes, covered with bracken (ferns) and grass.
Stone walls divide the sheep pastures, all the way to the top of the mountains. It’s amazingly quiet, with just a few birds singing, soft ground that completely muffles your footsteps, even the sheep don’t complain about our being there.
Trails go off in every direction, but it’s pretty easy to find your way from one spot to another, if you just keep walking in the desired direction.
Rain (of which there is a good amount here in the Lake District) runs off the bare, rocky slopes of the mountains, and some drains into the numerous creeks that feed the big lakes for which the area is named.
Beck: a swiftly flowing stream, such as “cross the beck and proceed west through the kissing gate” (directions on one of our maps which we had no idea how to interpret.)
Some becks tumble down steep cliffs and become waterfalls.
Some of the rainfall accumulates in small lakes up in the fells. That’s called a “tarn”.
And finally — the kissing gate.
Kissing gates are U- or V- shaped enclosures that permit only one person through at a time — and no animals. Why a “kissing” gate? There are probably several explanations, but here is one. If a romantic couple were out walking, a gentleman would allow his lady to pass through the gate first, but as she turned to let the gate swing back to admit him, she would have the opportunity to face him, demanding a kiss to permit him to pass through.