Autumn in Derwentwater

Autumn in Derwentwater - digital drawing by Nancy Farmer
“Autumn in Derwentwater” – digital drawing by Nancy Farmer
Derwentwater from Calf Close Bay, with Catbells in the background.

Autumn has been a long time coming.

I finally made it back to Cumbria, a place that I’ve visited most years since I was old enough to walk.

It was my father who first inflicted fell walking on our family; as children we were dragged up and down the mountains until we liked it. My sister is attempting to pass on the family trait: “a successful walk, nobody cried!” she declared the other day. It was peeing down, intermittently. I am fine with getting soaking wet, but I think that this is better done for short periods, whilst appropriately attired: bikini, hat, and goggles.

And so instead of walking, I had met up with Rosie and Margaret earlier that morning, and we’d swum in grey light and autumn leaves. It’s a curious thing, but the light is never grey beneath the surface of a lake.

Margaret, in truth, had got out some time before we did. Having waited thigh-deep in cold water for some considerable time whilst Rosie and I faffed before even getting in, she did not actually stand there catching leaves, she was on the shore and sensibly dry. And so was I, by the time Rosie returned. She’s made of sterner stuff is Rosie, when she eventually gets in the water.

But I wanted this drawing to include everyone who swam, be they only a distant blur of colour. It’s been some years since I have swum with Rosie and Margaret, and too long since I was even here at all.

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