The lines of William Wordsworth echoed through my mind as I took in the vista below: Who come not hither ne’er shall know how beautiful the world below”
Hang on. The writings of the Lake District’s favourite son were the last thing to echo through my mind as I was about to jump into the Washing Machine and discover the true meaning of a rinse cycle. Plunging into a pool 3m below only to surface with a waterfall cascading over the top of me, I knew what it felt like to be squeaky clean.

It was perhaps ironic that Wordsworth, a poet laureate, enjoyed the Lake District for the tranquility it provided. He found the majestic mountains and picturesque lakes a constant source of inspiration for his writing. He might be horrified to find today, though, that as many as 12 million people converge on the beautiful area annually to takes in its heather, hills and history. While the blue rinse brigade descend on all manner of museums from ones devoted to pencils, steamboats, mining, Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth, others prefer to feast on one of the many adventure activities on offer. From ghyll scrambling to sailing, quad biking to hiking and climbing to abseiling, the area could rightly lay claim to being the adventure capital of the UK.”

Ghyll scrambling
If the wetsuit and helmet weren’t enough of a giveaway, then the sodden individuals traipsing back to the car who look more like a cat that’s been thrown in a river confirms it. Also known as canyoning or gorge scrambling, the premise is simple: scramble through, in and over a river. It’s a wild ride on natural waterslides, but the highlight is undoubtedly leaping off waterfalls into narrow pools below. With names like the Corkscrew and Washing Machine, you know what you’re getting your- self in for and, if it was wasn’t for the fact the water feels like it’s come directly from the Arctic, it’s something you could happily do all day.
n For more information, contact Derwent Water Marina (01768-772 912; www.derwentwater

Sailing, canoeing, kayaking
This month, a 10mph speed limit will be enforced on all of the Lake District’s waterways. While this might spell the end for speed demons, it’s music to the ears of sailors, canoeists and kayakers. It’s not called the Lake District for nothing, and what better way to take in the majestic surroundings or journey to one of the many forested islands than on a boat? There are a number of hire places around, and many also provide tuition if you don’t know your port from your paddle.
n For more information, contact Derwent Water Marina (01768-772 912; www.derwentwater

Hiking, climbing, abseiling
It’s hardly the Himalayas, but the Lake District is home to England’s highest mountains. Standing at 978m (3210ft), Scafell Pike is an achievable peak for most hikers and there are a number of other walks which afford brilliant views of the surrounding area. For the more adventurous, there are a number of technically demanding rock climbs or abseiling faces to traverse, or you could just throw yourself off a peak – with a paraglide attached, of course.

Quad biking, archery, shooting, horse riding
If you’re more Peter Pan than Peter Rabbit, there are a number of places throughout the Lake District to get the testosterone pumping. Fox hunting might be now out of the question, but big and small kids alike can get their kicks with guns or bows shooting at pigeons (clay ones, that is) or targets. You can also climb aboard to wander with a trusty steed among the rolling hills to search for Jemima Puddleduck and (another Potter character other than Peter Rabbit) – just take extra padding.
n For more information, contact Rookin House Farm (01768-483 561;