Many regard Ullswater as the most beautiful of the English lakes: it has been compared to Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. It is a typical Lake District narrow "ribbon lake" formed after the last ice age when a glacier scooped out the valley floor, the deepened section filled with meltwater when the glacier retreated, and it became a lake. The surrounding mountains give Ullswater the shape of an elongated "Z" giving it three separate segments (or "reaches") that wend their way through the surrounding hills.
The origin of the name "Ullswater" is uncertain. Some say it comes from the name of a Nordic chief 'Ulf' who ruled over the area; however, there was a Saxon Lord of Greystoke called 'Ulphu's whose land bordered the lake. The lake may have been named Ulf's Water in honour of either of these or it may be named after the Norse god Ullr, also known as Ull.
The village of Glenridding, situated at the southern end of the lake, is popular with tourists of all kinds but especially mountain walkers who can scale England's third highest mountain, Helvellyn, and many other challenging peaks from there. The village has ample accommodation including two Youth Hostels and camp sites. The village of Pooley Bridge is at the northern extremity of the lake. Its narrow 16th-century bridge straddles the River Eamont as it flows out of Ullswater, it is overlooked by Dunmallard Hill which was the site of an Iron Age fort. For much of its length Ullswater forms the border between the ancient counties of Cumberland and Westmorland.
Ullswater's attractions include the Ullswater 'Steamers' which offer trips around the lake calling at Pooley Bridge, Glenridding, and Howtown. The 'Steamers' operate all year round and were originally working boats which from the 1850s moved mail, workers and goods to and from the Greenside lead mine at Glenridding which closed in 1962. Today there are four 'Steamers' plying the waters of Ullswater, "Raven", "Lady of the Lake", "Lady Dorothy" and , since April 2007, Lady Wakefield. Although known by many as the Ullswater "Steamers", all the boats are now powered by diesel, with the two older boats, Lady of the Lake and Raven having been converted in the 1930s. People often catch the 'Steamer' from Glenridding to Howtown and then return on foot back along the lakeshore to complete one of the most popular and scenic low level walks in the Lake District.
Ullswater is very popular as a sailing location with sailing marinas situated around the lake for example the Glennridding Sailing Centre and the [[Ullswater Caravan and Camping Marine Park (Fairfield Marine)] ] At weekends especially the lake is dotted with many yachts but there are facilities also for diving, rowing and motorboats. Another of Ullswater's attractions is the spectacular waterfall of Aira Force midway along the lake on the western side. (Ullswater lies partly within the National Trust's Ullswater and Aira Force property.) Close to the falls is Lyulph's Tower, a pele tower or castellated building, built by a former Duke of Norfolk as a shooting box.
Just south of Pooley Bridge on the lake's eastern shore is Eusemere, where anti-slavery campaigner Thomas Clarkson (1760–1846) lived; the house gives one of the best views of the lower reach of Ullswater. William and Dorothy Wordsworth were friends of Clarkson and visited on many occasions. After visiting Clarkson in April 1802 Wordsworth was inspired to write the poem "Daffodils" after seeing daffodils growing on the shores of Ullswater on his journey back to Grasmere. Wordsworth once wrote of Ullswater: "it is the happiest combination of beauty and grandeur, which any of the lakes affords".
Ullswater is the home to Ullswater Yacht Club, and the prestigious Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy, which is held annually on the first weekend in July. This regularly attracts upwards of 200 sailing boats and comprises 2 races, both of which cover the full length of the lake.
Lakeside Luxury Inspired by Wordsworth's Poetry, Inspired by Wordsworth's Poetry, KAREN WILSON Takes a Break in Scenic Ullswater
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