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The Atlantis of the Lake District

Once upon a time, in the valley of Mardale (Cumbria), there were two beautiful, small villages - Measand and Mardale Green.

There was a small church, local pub, main road, few houses and a bridge leading from one shore of the small lake to another.

Then, in 1929, the Parliament has made the decision to flood it all.

Naturally, the decision caused public uproar, since all the inhabitants needing to be relocated. Since the reservoir was to supply water for Manchester, the villagers did not stand a chance.

The building of the dam raised the water level by 29 metres and created a reservoir six kilometres long. The dam itself, at the time of construction, was considered to be cutting-edge technology as it was the world's first hollow buttress dam. Occasionally, when the water in the reservoir is very low, the remains of the submerged village of Mardale Green can still be seen.

A new main road was built along the eastern side of the reservoir and the Haweswater Hotel was constructed as a replacement for the Dun Bull Pub. And that is where our adventure starts. The best way to describe the Haweswater Hotel? It is a beautiful, old, secluded hotel in the middle of nowhere with a stunning view of the reservoir.

Obviously, the rain followed us everywhere we went, however, thanks to the lovely lounge area, with a large variety of board games, a warm fireplace, a stunning garden, a restaurant and bar area, we had everything we needed right under our noses. This place isn't maybe the best destination for a family holiday but it is definitely a great place for a romantic getaway. This is also a perfect spot if you just want to get away from everyone and finally have some peace and quiet. The place attracts also a lot of the bird watchers, since the Golden Eagles can be seen in the area.

As to the footpaths in the area, there are a number of them open to the public. However, a large amount of them is not accessible from November till April due to heavy rain and high water level.

The main road runs along the the eastern and western side of the reservoir and leads to a main car park, which is a popular starting point for a path to the Harter Fell, Branstree and High Street.

The most popular and easiest walk is the circular walk around the reservoir. Where you start the walk is entirely up to you. We decided to walk from the hotel but you can also leave your car at the Brunbanks car park and follow the path to Upper Mardale. The main attraction on this section of the path is the Forces Waterfall. There is also a picnic area near the waterfall at Whelter Beck.

As I already mentioned, we started our walk from the hotel. A lovely surprise was waiting for us already in the garden. A sudden movement in the trees caught our attention and soon after a lovely red squirrel was playing with us 'hide and seek'. The rain was still pouring but it did not matter. We followed the main road and kept stopping all the time to enjoy the lovely views.

This path is great if you want to see the Mardale waterfall and take a good look at The Rigg, which looks especially beautiful in Autumn. When you reach the car park you can either carry on and explore the shores of the reservoir or choose one of the footpaths leading towards the mountains.

The summits hidden in the rain clouds, the water flowing from the waterfalls into the reservoir, the whole pallet of reds, yellows and greens and the overall feeling of solitude - it was all simply magical. I absolutely fell in love with this place and definitely plan to return here soon to explore the numerous hiking trails around the area.

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