Blea Tarn, Cumbria, England

Leaving England, weighing up its bewildering mix of the beguiling and the off-putting.

On the beguiling side of the scales: Family. Winding lanes and cobbled alleys. Array of language and nationality. Bridleways and footpaths ubiquitous across fields and fens and fells. Green (a cliché, I know, but still startlingly true). Sheep. Stone cottages and stone walls. Elegant, evocative ruins littering the countryside. Pubs and pub suppers. Villages and village greens.

On the off-putting side: Crowds. Traffic.

So the beguiling seem to outweigh the off-putting.

Except that the crowdedness is overwhelming, a reminder of the original impetus to leave. Simply – seeking space.

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