Arthur Ransome Wiki

The Peak in Darien is a steep wooded promontory located on the eastern shore of the Lake. It forms the southern side of the bay where Holly Howe lies. It is shown simply as 'Darien' on the map of the Lake.

The Swallows have a picnic on Darien 10 days after their first arrival at Holly Howe in 1930 (SA1), during which they receive the 'Better drowned than duffers' telegram.

The phrase 'a peak in Darien' is taken from the poem On First Looking into Chapman's Homer by John Keats:

like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific — and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise —
Silent, upon a peak in Darien

Titty had given the place its name. She had heard the sonnet read aloud at school, and forgotten eveything except the picture of the explorers looking at the Pacific Ocean for the first time. She had called the promontory Darien (SA1).

The poem refers to an (imagined) moment of revelation when the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortes saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time, from a mountaintop in the Darien region of Panama. The Swallows are inspired to name the Peak in Darien because it offers a similarly fine view over the Lake.

The Swallows are illustrated Making Ship’s Papers on the Peak in Darien, and the text said that day after day the children had been camping on the Peak of Darien by day ...., using of not in (SA1).