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The Land of Lakes and Adventure

The Land of Lakes and Adventure

Posted on 10 Jan 2024

“Water is the driving force of all nature.”  - Leonardo da Vinci

One of the most evocative and beautiful areas of the UK, famous for its pristine lakes, dramatic fells, lush valleys, and rich cultural heritage is nestled in the Northwestern English county of Cumbria. Stretching over 2,362 square kilometers, the Lake District has inspired generations of artists, adventurers and simply those wishing to escape their urban dwellings for a taste of what nature has to offer.

The Lake District is seen by many as a land of geological wonder, shaped by volcanic activity, glaciation, and erosion. The area's fells (or mountains), are amongst the highest in the UK, with the tallest, Scafell Pike, reaching 978 meters above sea level. These fells were carved and molded by glaciers during the last Ice Age, creating a landscape that is both rugged and breathtaking.

The lakes themselves were formed by glacial action and are renowned for their crystal-clear waters. Notable examples include Lake Windermere, Ullswater, and Derwentwater. These bodies of water are surrounded by picture-postcard villages and lush forests.

William Wordsworth, one of the Lake District's most celebrated poets, was profoundly influenced by its climate. His famous poem, "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," reflects the district's weather. 

In stark contrast to Wordsworth’s romantic writings, many adventurers have taken advantage of the long stretches of relatively still water to make their bid for water speed glory. In 1937, the legendary Sir Malcolm Campbell set a new water speed record of 141.74 mph on Coniston Water. Later in 1955, Donald Campbell broke his father's record, clocking an impressive 225 mph. Campbell went on to break the water speed record several more times in the Lake District, culminating in a speed of 276.33 mph in 1964. In 1993, Andy Green set a new water speed record of 328.767 mph - approaching half the speed of sound, at exactly the same stretch of water. 


The Lake District National Park, established in 1951, welcomes millions of visitors each year. The district's weather plays a crucial role in the annual influx of tourists. The summer months, characterized by milder temperatures and longer daylight hours, attract the highest number of visitors. However, the unpredictable weather often challenges outdoor enthusiasts who must be prepared for sudden changes, turning a sunny stroll into a dramatic rain-soaked adventure. 

The Lake District National Park Authority has launched initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable tourism. These efforts include encouraging visitors to use public transportation, protecting fragile ecosystems, and implementing green energy solutions to reduce the district's carbon footprint. This includes the West Windermere Way - a 5.6km multi-user trail connecting Newby Bridge and the Ferry line along the western shore of the iconic Lake Windermere.

The newly upgraded OpenWeather Road Risk API helps make informed decisions about travel by a comprehensive picture of the weather conditions. This would be especially useful for the agencies who manage safety within the park, and who would need to be aware of any hazardous conditions that tourists might encounter during their visit.

The Lake District Weather

Perhaps even more than poetic prose and daring speed attempts, the Lake District is most famous for its high levels of precipitation, mainly in the form of rain. The main reasons for this higher than average rainfall are:


The prevailing winds pick up moisture from the Atlantic Ocean that is forced to rise over the mountains of the district. As the air rises, it cools, and the moisture condenses to form clouds and rain, known as orographic rainfall. This rainfall is particularly high on the western side of the mountains, with the village of Seathwaite being the wettest place in England, receiving an average annual rainfall of 3,300mm. The village of Seathwaite, situated in Borrowdale, holds the record for the highest annual rainfall in England. In 2009, it received a staggering 314.4 mm of rain in just 24 hours, breaking all previous records.


The lakes warm up quicker than the surrounding land in the spring and summer, creating a temperature difference, which causes water vapor to rise from the lakes. The vapor then condenses to form clouds and ultimately rain. The lake effect is particularly pronounced in the spring and early summer, when the lakes are still relatively warm.

Climate change

Climate change also has an impact on the rainfall patterns in the UK. The warming atmosphere means that it can hold more water vapor, leading to more extreme weather events, including heavier rainfall.

The Lake District is particularly vulnerable due to its mountainous terrain and its location in the west of the UK. The region has already experienced a number of extreme rainfall events.

The floods of 2015 caused an estimated £1 billion worth of damage, and forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes and businesses. The floods also caused widespread damage to roads, bridges, and railways, leading to travel chaos and disruption to businesses. Towns such as Kendal and  Keswick have been especially affected by nearby rivers bursting their banks. 

Torrential rain can also have a significant impact on the natural ecosystems of the Lake District. Floods caused damage to salmon and sea trout spawning grounds, and also led to the spread of invasive species such as Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam.

How OpenWeather can help

OpenWeather products can help both locals and tourists to the Lake District understand the region’s famously wet weather.

Our updated One Call API 3.0 can give daily aggregated weather data up to 40 years previously, as well as an incredible long-term forecast for 1.5 years ahead. This can be used by tourists to the area to give accurate and instant weather forecast data for up to 8 days, with minute forecast granularity for up to an hour - perfect when planning a trip into the mountains, or to give them an insight into the weather that the lake district offers. Alternatively, The OpenWeather Global Weather Alerts product supplies timely and uniform weather alert push information, no matter the location. Perfect for timely warnings of bad weather. 

Misty lakeside calm,

Mountains wear a shroud of cloud,

Nature's soothing balm.


About OpenWeather:

OpenWeather provides weather data for any location on the globe using a proprietary hyperlocal forecasting model with a resolution from 500 m to 2 km, globally. More than 6,000,000 customers from logistics, agriculture, insurance, energy, retail, and many other sectors, are working with the company's weather products. 

OpenWeather cooperates with global meteorological agencies such as MetOffice and NOAA, and enhances its model with data from radars, weather stations and satellites. The company provides great availability of service at 99.9% for enterprise-level products. 

The products can be easily integrated into complex IT systems and are ideal for ML analytic systems. OpenWeather is a member of Royal Meteorological Society and an Achilles-certified supplier. OpenWeather ethical initiatives include support of educators and students, not-for-profit subscriptions for the general public to increase weather awareness, and recent Ukrainian donation programme.

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