Many famous authors have been inspired by the spectacular landscape of the English Lake District. The most famous are the Romantic poets of the late eighteenth and nineteenth century: William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas de Quincey.
Several children’s authors have also set their much loved stories in the world of the Lake District, most famously Beatrix Potter (1866 – 1943), Arthur Ransome (1884 – 1967) and even John Cunliffe (1933 – 2018) the creator of Postman Pat.
Spylark is very much set against the backdrop of Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons adventures and continues the tradition of inventive children having epic adventures in the Lakeland wilds. Beady eyed fans of Arthur Ransome will enjoy spotting a number of references and allusions in the book.
Unlike Spylark, which is set in a very real world setting, Swallows and Amazons seems to have been set on an imaginary lake that was a mixture of Coniston and Windermere.
Possible locations in Swallows and Amazons:
- Wild Cat Island is almost certainly Peel Island on Coniston Water – including the secret harbour
- Rio is believed to be Bowness-on-Windermere
- Kanchenjunga is probably the Old Man of Coniston
- Cormorant Island was inspired by Silver Holme on Windermere
- The Peak of Darien may be Friar’s Crag on Derwent Water
“The island had come to seem one of those places seen from the train that belong to a life in which we shall never take part. And now, suddenly, it was real. It was to be their island after all. They were to be allowed to use the sailing boat by themselves. They were to be allowed to sail out from the little sheltered bay, and round the point, and down the lake to the island. They were to be allowed to land on the island, and to live there until it was time to pack up again and go home to town and school and lessons. The news was so good that it made them solemn. They ate their bread and marmalade in silence.”
Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome