Two years ago, Helen Ivison published River Derwent: From Sea to Source (Amberley Publishing).
The promotional puff declares this book ‘brings to light tales and stories of fascinating events, landmarks and people. River Derwent: From Sea to Source is essential reading for anyone who knows this river well, and also for those who are visiting the River Derwent for the first time.’ But what is the author referring to?
Hers is the Derwent River in the Cumbrian region of England which flows from the mountainous Lakes District in two strands, one of which starts near Styhead Tarn. The two strands meet at Grains Gill, and continue in a north easterly direction as a single river towards an expanse known as Derwent Water. The river passes through this ‘lake’ then eases into a north westerly direction across country before flowing onwards through Bassenthwaite Lake. Finally, the English Derwent River turns westwards and empties into the Irish Sea.
By contrast Tasmania’s Derwent River flows generally in a south easterly direction from Lake St Clair, through steep narrow gorges, curving around farmlands, before passing between the two sides of the Greater Hobart Area into Storm Bay. The man-made lakes of Lake King William, Wayatinah Lagoon, Lake Catagunya, Lake Repulse, Cluny Lagoon and Meadowbank Lake all disrupt the progress of the River. These lakes have resulted from dam building as part of hydro-electricity generating projects over the past century.