Incident Report #99 2010

A Canadian family of 5 with a very young child were reported about 5 hours overdue from what should have been a relatively short walk. A search of their route and possible alternatives was quickly organised. Thankfully the family were located quickly (in the centre of Ambleside!). Their route was to recreate a well known tragic walk from Grasmere to Langdale taken by the Green family in March 1808, where the parent died in a blizzard, leaving 6 children to be cared for by members of the Grasmere community, including Dorothy Wordsworth.

William Wordsworth wrote the following poem about the incident. If I have reproduced it here without appropriate permission, I apologise. Let us know and I'll remove it

Who weeps for strangers? ­ Many wept
For George and Sarah Green;
Wept for that Pair's unhappy end,
Whose grave may here be seen.

By night upon these stormy Heights
Did Wife and Husband roam;
Six little-ones the pair had left
And could not find their Home.

For any Dwelling-place of men
As vainly did they seek. ---
He perish'd; and a voice was heard
The Widow's lonely shriek.

Down the dark precipice he fell,
And she was left alone,
Not long to think of children dear,
Not long to pray or groan!

A few wild steps ­ she too was left
A body without life!
The chain of but a few wild steps
Now lodge they in one grave, this Grave
A house with two­fold roof,
Two hillocks but one Grave, their own,
A covert tempest­proof

And from all agony of mind
It keeps them safe and far;
From fear, and from all need of hope,
From sun, or guiding star.

Our peace is of the immortal Soul,
Our anguish is of clay;
Such bounty is in Heaven, so pass
The bitterest pangs away.

Three days did teach the Mother's babe
Forgetfully to rest,
In reconcilement how serene!
Upon another's breast.

The trouble of the elder brood
I know not that it stay'd
So long ­ they seiz'd their joy, and they
Have sung, and danc'd, and play'd

Now do those sternly-featur'd Hills,
Look gently on this Grave,
And quiet now is the depth of air
As a sea without a wave.

But deeper lies the heart of peace
In shelter more profound;
The heart of quietness is here,
Within this Church­yard ground.

O Darkness of the Grave! How calm
After that living night,
That last and dreary living one
Of sorrow and affright!

O sacred Marriage­bed of Death
That holds them side by side,
In bond of love, in bond of God,
Which may not be untied!

William Wordworth, 1808.

Man Hours
24 team members for 1 hour
Incident Type
OS Grid Reference
Unique Incident ID