This county has been home to me since before I was born; my roots are here. Both sides of my family live here and my husband and his family are all rooted in the area.
There is a term that people give to the upland fell Herdwick sheep here; ‘hefted’ - meaning that they are rooted to an area of the landscape, they do not wander from where they are born and have a natural ability to stay where their flock is. Sometimes I feel like that has happened to us; our collective histories are woven richly into these landscapes, and our souls both find happiness in the fells.
In a time when we are globally so connected, and when travel is so easy and regular, it feels like an antidote to the crazy rush of life to be so connected to a place to still. It’s like having an anchor point, somewhere to go to recalibrate, somewhere to remind you of the seasons, of the drama of open spaces.
My earliest memories of spending time in the Lake District are family trips to Coniston in the summer sunshine, swimming in fresh water here in the lakes, regular weekend walks as a family, Christmas’s in the frosty surrounding fells.
I have lived for many years away from the area; my studies into textiles took me down to the south of England and to Winchester School of Art to study textiles, specialising in knitwear. I welcomed the change with open arms then;, wanting to stretch myself away and find my own path. The surrounding fields in Hampshire were beautiful, but they didn’t carry the drama of the landscapes that I was used to surrounding myself with. It gave me a perspective on home. After living in Winchester I moved to South Wales to work for Toast; their light open plan offices looked up into the Brecons and from my desk I could look all the way up the Welsh valleys to them. At the weekend I spent my days exploring the hills and the surrounding waterfalls, and whenever I drove home, I did so up the valleys, enjoying a winding journey through mid Wales, avoiding motorways and meeting the busy rush of the M56 at Chester.
After a couple of years in Wales, Cumbria drew me back, and I moved back here to begin Oubas. I live just outside of the National Park now, and have settled here in this beautiful Northern County. Over the past six years of living back in this area I have come to value the immense talent that lives within Cumbria; there are so many creatives who have also been drawn to live in this quiet land.
Some of my favourite places to visit are High Dam Tarn in Finsthwaite (above) walking in either the quiet Dunnerdale or Kentmere valleys, and swimming in Coniston Water, on the eastern shore on a summer evening, so you catch the last of the evening light.