Gazette columnist Andrew Thomas is talking all things Westmorland....

ON a visit to Kendal’s twin town Rinteln some years ago a German friend who was showing me around indicated a statue of Kaiser Wilhelm 1 and he said whenever he returned to the area it was seeing the monument on a hill that made him realise he was home again.

Which local landmarks or characteristics about the place where we live give us a real sense of belonging?

Over the years when I have returned to Kendal from other parts of the country or from abroad it is the sight of Farleton Knott, rising above me to my right as I drive along the M6, that makes me feel I am back home.

At night it is the view of the illuminated cross at St Patrick’s Church at Preston Patrick, which seems to hang, disembodied, in the air.

At the moment lockdown restricts travel, but perhaps that makes us think even more about why we love where we live.

I rang around some contacts to ask them what cements their feeling of home.

What was it that triggered their mind into flooding with thoughts of home?

For Cllr Roger Bingham, of Ackenthwaite, it is the sight of Heversham Head that brought him back home.

His first school - Heversham Church of England School - backs on to it and Heversham Grammar School’s playing fields, Tristram’s, are at its foot.

“I was once told to go up there and touch the trig point for talking on the playing fields, rather than concentrating on playing rugby!” said Roger.

When he is away from the area the smell of a coal fire makes him think instantly of Milnthorpe. “Being in a valley, smoke from chimneys in the 1940s and 50s could not rise out of it,” he said.

Cumbria’s High Sheriff Julie Barton, who lives near Ulverston, told me: “When my children were growing up, we would always look out for the Hoad Monument as we drove along the A590, to see who could see it first.

"You can see it in glimpses from Haverthwaite.

"As you get closer it seems like it is sinking into the ground and then pops up again in full view near Booth’s.

"It was a sign you were nearly home when you could see the monument.”