We are fortunate in the Lake District in having a longer leafage of the trees than is found in the Midlands or the South. When November comes the woods have not yet waned and are full of Autumn glory, and though it may happen that a sudden frost, with a strong wind following, may rob us of this glory in a night, if we have the usually mild and calm weather that is our portion, our Lakeland woodlands are still in leaf as late as the middle of the month. (p. 203)….
For a man who loves solitude and silence, November is the time for fellside walking; he will neither hear bleat of sheep nor bark of raven, he will not be impeded by heavy snow-fall, for wherever on the tops he meets the snow, he finds it hard to his foot. Always in November as he gazes down into the quiet valleys, in strange contrast to the look of winter round about him, he sees an apparent springtide green beneath him, hears the pleasant sound of cock-crow from farm to farm, and notices the ruddy-coated rams and their mates in the pastures below. One other contrast he notes as he descends into the vale—the music of the brooks with their lack of melody on the higher moorlands. The runlets were frozen with dumbness up above, but in the valley they have found their tongues. (p. 205)
The silence and solitude of the upper fells seem to infect the whole Lake Country. The rush of tourist life has ceased. One may walk from Grasmere to Keswick—that main trunk road, loud all through the summer with noise of wheels and hoot of motor horns—and not pass a single vehicle. Truly, if one seeks for rest and silence, one will find them at the English Lakes in November. (p. 205)….
But on our lakes, though the boats are drawn ashore and humanity seems to have deserted their silver levels, there comes with November a wonderful gift of life from the wild bird world. Flotillas of the golden-eyed duck and flights of mallard and widgeon may be seen, and the quaint cry of the coot is heard among the reed-beds, while by every beck one’s eyes may be delighted with the antics of the Bessy Dooker—the starry-breasted curtseying water ouzel. (p. 206)
In the woodlands too, though the voice of the jay is the only loud voice heard by day, the whisperings of the schools of tits as they go from leafless larch to larch give a sound of content and winter happiness. While, if it is open weather, the squirrels leap from bough to bough, and the “little miracle of the forest,” as Ruskin called it, is an engaging companion for any lover of the woods, and the brown owls crow and hoot at dawn and eventide. (p. 206)….
Nor is November without its charms for the working man who ‘follows a last bit of fishing,’ at any rate in the Keswick neighbourhood. The River Greta is the latest salmon river in the north-western land. And though it cannot be said to be great sport to go forth with line and worm and take a black fish more dead than alive on its way to the spawning beds up the St. John’s Beck, or in the River Bure when a flood comes down, and the salmon, after long delay in Bassenthwaite, make up to the Greta Bridge and the weir beneath Greta Hall, the fisher folk go crazy with excitement as they watch the great fish moving in the pools or leaping up the amber-coloured torrent stair. (pp. 212-213)
November, with all its silence, its sombre sounds, and its lack of gaiety, has cheer for the sportsman at the Lakes, for if he be neither hunter nor fisher you may tell by the echo of his gun that the water-fowler is busy, and the teal and widgeon and wild duck and golden eye must needs be on the alert if they are to see December days. (p. 213)
November, it is true, has more of colour in the woods and on the fells than in the workaday life of the shepherd or the hind, but it is a cheery month for the children. Band of Hope meetings, parish room concerts, magic lantern entertainments and tea-drinkings to keep the hand of the village hostesses in for some great crowning effort at Christmas and in the New Year, prevent life being dull; and literary society lectures, ambulance classes, choral society practices, nursing aid courses, cookery classes, dress-making meetings, seem to give the lake-land dwellers a chance of mutual improvement at the only season of the year when, because the visitors have left the country, they feel that their hands are free or their heads have leisure. (pp. 213-214)
(Months at the Lakes, pp. 203-214)