This morning, as I was cleaning the bedrooms, I heard something go ‘Boom!’ There was a pause; then ‘Boom, boom!’; another pause, then ‘Boom . . . boom, boom . . . boom, boom, boom, boom!’ Trying to figure out what the noise was and where it was coming from, I peered out of several room windows but could see nothing, although the racket continued for a good hour or more. Then a little lightbulb flashed in my brain: the sound was coming from The Glebe, where likely there was some practice or work taking place in preparation for tomorrow’s concerts by the shores of Windermere. The stillness of the air had allowed the sound to carry from the Lake uphill to our Lodge. I can only imagine how loud it must actually have been at The Glebe itself!
These sounds set me thinking about the more natural sounds of the Lake District. At Blenheim Lodge, the predominant sounds of nature we hear are birds singing in the morning and evening; owls hooting in the night; wind soughing through the leaves on windy days; rain or hail pattering against our window panes when stormy weather appears; our dogs snoring, whining or barking as they will; neighbours’ dogs barking and yipping when disputing territory; and cats yowling when they fight. Sometimes when the cows are in the fields behind our house, we hear contented mooing; and when the sheep are gathered in the same place but at a different time, we hear baaing.
Mostly, however, it is the sound of silence that encapsulates and breathes through our guest house, so that one can think and hear one’s thoughts, and enjoy the peacefulness that accompanies restful contemplation. In Wintertime, especially when snow carpets the ground and surrounding hills and vales, there is a kind of enchantment that is not easily replicated in the bright lights of city life: it is that feeling of home and safety, being cocooned in a warm and special place, whilst outside the elements add another insulating layer to this very precious sound of silence.
The lovely sounds of the Lake District have been recorded by Cumbria Tourism (www.cumbriatourism.org) to help people fight the Winter blues, when the clocks go back and it gets dark earlier in the day. Launched in October 2006, the Lake District Escape Line ‘connects people to the countryside where they can listen to seven sounds aimed at reminding them of all the things they can still enjoy about the outdoors when the clocks go back.’ (www.cwherald.com/archive/archive/banish-winter-blues-with-the-sounds-of-lakeland-20061028270540.htm)
The recordings include: the sound of Windermere lapping against a jetty; the gush of Aira Force Waterfall in spate, near Ullswater; the sound of fresh air blowing across England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike; the crunch of leaves on a Lake District walk; a reading of Wordsworth’s Daffodils . . . ; and a Cumberland sausage sizzling in a pan.
To complete this prescription of Lake District sounds which will hopefully banish the Winter blues and replace them with smiles and laughter, why not listen to The Baarmy Sheep of the Lake District singing ‘Jingle Bells’? The song was released in 2005, and received 146,000 downloads. However, due to public demand in 2006, The Baarmy Sheep were brought out of retirement and their version of ‘Jingle Bells’ has been re-released.
Consequently, Cumbria Tourism is making the single available again free of charge here where people can download it, and watch the video.
A spokesman for Cumbria Tourism said: “We really had no intention of releasing this single again and the plan had been to quietly retire the Baarmy Sheep for good. We have been amazed by the amount of people who have been in touch wanting to hear the Baarmy Sheep at Christmas, so we are making it available again on our website absolutely free.”
The sheep received national and international coverage around the world last year, appearing on all the major television stations, Jonathan Ross and in the media in America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.
The sheep were recorded baaing at several locations around the Lake District and the sounds were then mixed by local record producer Charley Darbishire.
Now, on the count of one, two, three! And sing: ‘Enr, enr, enr; enr, enr, enr; enr enr enr enr ennrrr . . .’ (It sounds a little different from ‘baa, baa, baa’ etc. Have a listen – it’s great fun!)
Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’
Visit our website: www.blenheim-lodge.com