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A smartphone app described by one early user as ‘a breath of fresh air’ has been launched by a Lake District visitor attraction determined to give breathe life into 2012’s tourism season within the county. Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere has created a unique, free app, available for both i-phone and android users, inspired by the Museum’s current exhibition.
This app is a world first, as it allows an indoor exhibition to be taken outdoors into the landscape – something no other museum has ever attempted.
Produced by specialist app writers, Pocket Places, the app adds an exciting new dynamic to the ‘Pen, Paint and Pixels, Touring the English Lakes across 250 years’ exhibition, running until January 6, 2013. This features descriptions taken from the 1769 ‘travel journal’ of Thomas Gray, in which he eloquently detailed the beauty of various locations around the mountainous and stunning Lake District, copies of paintings by Joseph Farington, who visited the same places a few years later, and digital photographs of the views by John Murray, taken in the 21st century.
The app lays down a challenge, inviting users to outdo Murray and be truer to Farington. It features all 28 Lakes locations and the watercolours (and sometimes engravings) painted in those places and uses GPS technology to guide people to these spots, via an interactive map. The truly well prepared will have already seen the paintings and photos hung side by side in the exhibition and bought Murray’s book, ‘A Tour of the English Lakes’, which gives them tips on getting a good likeness of each painting.
Those who only have the app can line up two markers on the interactive map, when in location, and take a photograph based on this. Either way, if not entirely convinced that this is the best place from which to take a picture, the app user can explore the vicinity, using the hints provided, and select another spot from which to shoot.
Alternatively, once in the right location you could sketch the view, describe it in your own words, rather than those of Gray, or even paint it! You can submit your images or descriptions to email@example.com to get them published to the internet.
Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum’s head of marketing, Paul Kleian, says: “This is a difficult tourism season for Cumbria, with the competition of the Olympics and the inclement weather. We think our app is an ideal tool with which to escape from 24-hour sport on the TV and it really doesn’t matter whether it is raining or sunny when your quest is based around becoming a latter day Farington! The app will encourage you to go outdoors, give you some exercise, provide hours of entertainment and teach children skills such as creativity and map reading.
“Several days of fun can be enjoyed exploring Farington and Murray’s views, depending on how much time you have. The views cover much of the Lake District and we hope hoteliers and B&B owners will pick up on this and promote this Northquest Challenge, as we are calling it, to try to entice people to book and get out exploring the Cumbrian landscape in this unique and exciting way”.
Farington’s views are, in the main, helpfully clustered around four major locations: Windermere, Ullswater, Derwentwater and Rydal and Ambleside, with some locations easier to access than others. Photographers young and old can head to the nearest cluster and spend some time hopping between the individual locations.
The view furthest north is ‘Bassenthwaite Lake from the North’ and that furthest south is ‘Windermere from Gill Head’ – a location three miles below Bowness.
Those who do not have a smartphone, can visit the exhibition and request Ordnance Survey map co-ordinates for the locations.
The Wordsworth Trust is inviting people to submit their photos to its Flickr page, so it can showcase the best, so head to the exhibition, buy the book, download the app and start your mission. The app – A Tour of the English Lakes - can be downloaded at the Apple App Store or from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.phonegap.englishlakes for android phones. ENDS
The views featured on the app and taken from paintings within the exhibition are:
Bassenthwaite Lake from the North
Windermere from Gill Head
Windermere from the west shore
Windermere from above Rayrigg
Brathay Bridge near Ambleside
The road from Clappergate to Ambleside
Stock-Gill Force, Ambleside
Lower Waterfall, Rydal
Looking south towards Windermere
Looking across Grasmere to Holm Crag
View from the upper end of Ullswater
The ‘Palace of Patterdale’
Across the lake to Patterdale
Watermillock looking south
Ullswater from Pooley Bridge
The lower reach of Ullswater
Looking north-west down Thirlmere
View looking north from Six-mile-stone
Looking across Grange in Borrowdale
Derwentwater and Skiddaw from Lodore
View over Derwentwater to Bassenthwaite Lake
Looking south to Lodore Falls
View of Skiddaw down Derwentwater
Derwentwater looking south
North entrance to Keswick