Following in the footsteps of William Wordsworth in the Lake District

Poetry in motion: The 250th anniversary of Wordsworth’s birth promises to make the Lake District even more appealing – eventually

  • The Daily Mail’s Harriet Sime visited the Lake District with her fiance and puppy 
  • Her base was The Samling in Windermere, which has an outdoor hot tub
  • Poet William Wordsworth would regularly walk around the hotel’s 67 acres

A portrait of William Wordsworth 

Admittedly, it’s a muted kind of celebration given the circumstances in which the whole nation finds itself.

But, long term, the crowds will return (often far too many of them) and normal service will resume to mark the 250th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s birth.

Of course, the great poet’s A Guide Through The District Of The Lakes In The North Of England, published in 1810, is partly responsible for the region’s worldwide popularity. Wordsworth had made little money out of his other writing, but his guide was an instant success and earned him enough to keep him comfortable.

Although Wordsworth wasn’t actually born in the Lake District, but just outside in the market town of Cockermouth, he spent much of his youth around the Lakes, gaining inspiration from the fells and valleys, and he later settled in the pretty village of Grasmere.

On my most recent visit with Dan, my fiance, and our puppy Pippin, we hiked up Gummer’s How, a hill on the eastern shore of Windermere.

Mist accompanied us up the lonely thickets as we navigated through marshy terrain, passing rotund cows scratching themselves on windswept trees, before scrambling on our hands and feet for the final ascent. At the top, we were rewarded with sweeping views of the sheep-flecked hills and lakes below. Sailing boats dotted the water, which shimmered like silver foil.

Of course, the Lake District has inspired writers and artists for many years. Alfred Wainwright devoted his life to mapping the area, and Beatrix Potter moved here after falling in love with the charming villages while holidaying as a child.

Hill Top, the wisteria-draped farmhouse that Potter owned for almost 40 years, has hardly changed since her death in 1943. The fireplace still roars and candles light up the myriad dark nooks and crannies. As Potter said herself: ‘I never saw such a place for hide and seek.’

Outside, Mr McGregor’s spade is firmly planted in the vegetable patch, and the rhubarb still grows where Jemima Puddle-Duck tried to hide her egg.

Luscious: Windermere, pictured, inspired Wordsworth

Drive along any road hugging Windermere and you’ll pass mansions with wooden jetties that look like they’ve come straight out of the pages of a Swallows And Amazons novel.

Our base for the weekend, The Samling, veered off the main road and up and onto a smart private drive.

Wordsworth would regularly walk around the hotel’s 67 acres to pay rent to his landlord, John Benson, who lived there (it was a large private home then).

The poet was so inspired by its views and the mix of deciduous woodland, vegetable gardens and hay meadows that it formed the basis of one of his poems, written following a romantic dalliance by the stream there.

Each evening, in the dwindling daylight, Dan and I massaged our aching legs in the bubbling outdoor hot tub overlooking boats which clanged against one of Windermere’s many tiny harbours.

The Lake District has inspired others writers, including Beatrix PotterBeatrix Potter – creator of Jemima Puddle-Duck

We swapped mountains for lakes on our last afternoon, and took turns captaining an electric boat from the thronging town of Ambleside. ‘Look back towards here as you get to the middle of the lake and you’ll see my favourite mountains,’ the local rental man shouted as he used his foot to push us off the harbour. Windermere’s gentle waves bobbed the boat up and down as we passed gulls perched on buoys and plucky children jumping off jetties. Sure enough, the mountain range slowly came into view, rearing up in the most dramatic display.

Back on land, we headed to The Yan, a former livestock shed recently converted into a cosy bistro, where we gorged on succulent lamb shoulder, chunky chips and sticky toffee pudding.

It felt like we’d entered a home; Pippin was warmly welcomed before grunting contentedly under our rustic wooden table close to a roaring fireplace.

The Yan is the sort of place where the charming waitresses — with Cumbrian accents — ask guests, ‘Are you happy?’ rather than the irritating and impersonal, ‘Everything OK with your meal?’

How sad that, for now, all this is off-limits. But its day will come again, and its beauty and wonderful people will shine once more. 

TRAVEL FACTS 

The Samling has B&B doubles from £280 (thesamlinghotel.co.uk). More information at theyan.co.uk, windermere-lakecruises.co.uk and cumbriatourism.org.

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Impact of Coronavirus on Travel Industry Job Losses Worsens

The U.S. Travel Association says that projections of job losses in the travel industry from the coronavirus outbreak are direr than previously thought.

The organization has revised projections, which now show a loss of 5.9 million jobs by the end of April due to declining travel, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Travel Association and Tourism Economics.

Last week, the data showed 4.6 million jobs lost to travel declines before May.

Travel supports 15.8 million American jobs in total—employment for one out of every 10 Americans and the loss of this many jobs will more than double the U.S. unemployment rate from 3.5 percent to 7.1 percent by the end of April.

“The coronavirus crisis is hitting the travel economy hard, and it’s also hitting fast,” said U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow. “These new figures underscore the extreme urgency of financial relief for travel businesses—83 percent of which are small businesses—so they can keep paying their employees. Not only are workers suffering right now, but if employers are forced to close their doors, it is unknown when or if those jobs will ever come back.”

The association is advocating for several measures in the “Phase III” coronavirus package that is currently being negotiated in Congress. Among their requests are:

—Access to more significant small business loans, and ensure immediate access to retain employees and cover basic costs during the shutdown.

—A Workforce Stabilization Fund to help medium and larger travel businesses retain their workers and remain solvent.

—Tax relief to help mitigate economic losses.

The new U.S. Travel Association data also forecasts an expected loss of $910 billion in travel-related economic output in 2020, which would be seven times the impact of 9/11 and the organization predicts that the slowdown in the travel sector alone will push the U.S. economy into a protracted recession.

“The health crisis deserves the government’s full attention, but the economic crisis will be worse and longer without aggressive action to confront it right now,” Dow said. “Businesses can’t keep their lights on if they don’t have any customers, and they don’t have any customers because of the actions that are necessary to stem the spread of coronavirus. The resulting closures will take the greatest toll on the frontline employees who can least afford to lose their jobs—wait staff, housekeepers, concession workers, etc.

“Robust intervention by the federal government is the only avenue to make sure those outcomes are minimized.”

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List of airlines refund policies coronavirus

Airlines have canceled enormous portions of their scheduled
flights for the remainder of March, April and going into May due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the U.S. carriers’
policies widely vary when it comes to refunds. 

The following is a list of the current refund policies of
the 10 largest U.S. airlines. The list is based upon the carriers’ explanation
of their policies to Travel Weekly and is augmented in some cases by the
airline’s contract of carriage. 

International carriers aren’t included here. Under European
Union law, carriers are required to refund passengers whose flights have been canceled,
according to Christian Nielsen, chief legal officer for Air Help. 

Aside from refunds, carriers around the world have largely
waived change fees and are issuing flight credits for cancellations initiated
by passengers, though the specific terms of those credits vary. This list
includes links to the policies of many large U.S. and foreign carriers. 

For those who want refunds, it’s important not to reschedule
travel until an airline formally cancels a flight. 

With refunds easily outpacing sales right now, some carriers
have begun managing all agent channel refunds themselves and are prohibiting
refunds through the GDSs or ARC. 

Alaska Airlines will refund international tickets for
flights that it cancels due to current network cuts. The carrier says it will
also refund tickets for the “majority” of canceled domestic flights.

American Airlines customers can receive a full refund in any
case in which a flight, domestic or international, is canceled. American’s
contract of carriage guarantees such refunds.

Allegiant says that when it cancels a flight, “we work with
each individual on best options for them, including re-accommodating to another
flight, providing a full credit voucher or a refund. This has not changed.”
Refunds are guaranteed as an option under Allegiant’s contract of carriage.

Delta customers are eligible for a refund if a flight is
canceled. Delta’s contract of a carriage guarantees refunds at the passenger’s
request for all cancellations, delays and diversions of more than 90 minutes.

Frontier said that if a customer’s flight is canceled due to
Covid-19, they are entitled to a refund or may opt for a future credit. 

Hawaiian Airlines customers can request refunds for all
flights canceled due to Covid-19 capacity cuts.

JetBlue said customers are eligible for waived cancellations
and change fees when flights are canceled. However, JetBlue’s Jan. 16, 2020
contract of carriage says that when a flight is canceled, passengers can opt
for a full refund. 

Southwest Airlines will provide refunds for impacted flights at the
customer’s request, but the carrier cautions that the policy is subject to
change. Refunds aren’t guaranteed in the Southwest contract of carriage.

Spirit Airlines answered questions about its refund policy
for canceled flights by referencing its website, which only says that travel
credits can be used to make bookings in the next six months (though the flights
themselves can be for beyond six months away.) However, Spirit’s contract of
carriage says customers have the option to get a refund for cancellations.

United Airlines customers whose travel is disrupted by more
than six hours because of schedule changes are eligible for a refund on
domestic flights. On international flights, United will provide a credit for
travel disrupted by 6 hours or more. The credit is good for 12 months from time
of purchase. Customers who don’t use the credit will get a refund at the end of
those 12 months.

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