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Countrystride #91: GEOLOGY of the LAKE DISTRICT which we brave dark skies for a windy wander over Sale Fell to unearth the history of rock and glaciation in the Lake District. Setting out from cloistered Wythop vale with author, geologist and local lad Ian Francis, we learn about the three rock groups that form the backbone of Lakeland, as identified by Keswick geology pioneer Jonathan Otley. Passing some of the oldest rock in England – Skiddaw Slate – we look north to Galloway across a former continental divide. As we descend, we consider the fraught debates around glaciation that challenged generations of Great Flood-believing geologists; we discover a hillside stretch of Napoleonic 'rigg and furrow' where crops were planted in the toughest of landscapes; and we hear from Ian about why the best view in Lakeland is from lowly Low Fell.

Skiddaw from the summit of Sale Fell.

Local lad Ian Francis climbing out of Wythop valley with Dave.

Skiddaw Slate near the summit of Sale Fell.

The Sale Fell 'Minette' outcrop of igneous rock.

Rigg and furrow - evidence of crop cultivation from Napoleonic times.

The view of Skiddaw and Bassenthewaite Lake from Sale Fell - in better weather than on our ascent!

Annotated map of our short wander.


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