Places gather stories, creating narratives which merge with specific locations to produce conceptions of the past which form a large part of the cultural meaning of local landscapes. Nowhere is this more true than in iconic areas such as national parks. This lecture takes three elements of the Lake District story and uses them to explore the relationship between popular myth and historical reality. Was it the Vikings who first settled the Lakeland valleys? How much truth is there in Wordsworth’s vision of the ‘otherness’ of the ‘statesmen’ farmers of his day? Were Herdwick sheep really brought here by the Vikings? In each case, the historical truth is more complex than popular ideas of Lakeland heritage would suggest.