“Surely there is no other place in this whole wonderful world quite like Lakeland … no other so exquisitely lovely, no other so charming, no other that calls so insistently across a gulf of distance. All who truly love Lakeland are exiles when away from it.” A.Wainwright
Hello! I hope this finds you well and that everything is ticking along nicely in your world. It’s amazing to think it’s 2nd November today – standing outside, gazing out to sea with the warm (yes, properly warm) sun on my face this morning, it could have been September. There are still bees and other insects buzzing about in the garden, making the most of these golden autumnal days. There is still colour from zinnias and nasturtiums and cosmos – perky annuals boldly ignoring the fact that winter is coming. It’s a gift of a day.
I quickly wanted to share a few photos from our trip to the Lake District last week. October half term is when we hot-foot it to Cumbria if we can – although we have never lived there, we’ve been visiting and walking in the Lakes for years, BC (Before Children) and AC, and we do, as Wainwright says, almost feel like exiles when we’re not there. October is a beautiful time of year to visit and if we’re lucky with the weather there are enough hours of daylight to go on long expeditions into the mountains. The weather wasn’t great this year but we didn’t mind too much. We were all very tired and used the excuse of the heavy wind and rain (storm Brian) to sleep in, curl up and read, watch films and have long lunches. By Wednesday, though, we were restored enough and the weather was calm enough for us to head out for a Big Walk. David’s sister joined us from Warrington and his brother, his wife and one of his daughters drove from Norfolk for a couple of days – they all grew up in the north-west and often walked in the Lakes, so it’s almost become a mini annual pilgrimage.
We set off – 5 adults, 4 teenagers, 2 dogs – with pockets and rucksacks bulging with supplies, following the route David had planned the night before from our cottage in Patterdale, into Grisedale Valley, up to Grisedale Tarn, then a steep scramble up to the top of Fairfield (2863ft). The summit of Fairfield is a grassy plateau; Wainwright says, “Mention should be made of the excellent turf on this wide top: weary feet will judge it delightful.” Our weary feet were very grateful for it and the views were certainly worth the effort of getting there. The walk home to Patterdale wasn’t all downhill. We climbed down to Cofa Pike then up and across a ridge to St Sunday Crag (what a great name) and followed the ridge up and down, along and back down to the village with the magnificent view of Ullswater before us. This route was, as Wainwright remarks, “…an exhilarating and beautiful walk.”
We didn’t get lost in clouds, we didn’t get soaked, we had enough food, no-one went off in a strop (it has been known), the dogs didn’t try to chase the sheep (firm hands on leads) – seven and a half hours after setting off, we were all back at the cottage, smiling and tired, slightly sore-footed and looking forward to a slap-up meal in the pub. It may have been the last Big Walk we will do as a family for a while – this time next year my eldest son will hopefully be at university, a fact that wasn’t lost on him and may have been why he seemed to enjoy it so much.
Thank you very much for your thoughtful comments on my previous post; sorry I haven’t replied individually yet. I am still mulling it all over 🙂 More soon.
Have a lovely weekend.