Different Walks, Different People
From before Christmas, through twixtmas and beyond New Year I’ve walked.
Only in Cumbria. But this little county has shown it’s many different guises, landscapes and weathers.
And different people.
First there was fog! Before Christmas the county was bathed in still, mild moisture. A grey fug hung over the hills with little to see. In sheer desperation to be outside I wandered round Arnside, on my own.
Outside can still be enjoyed.
Eventually the grey lifted. The sun started to shine and on Boxing Day I managed a walk in the sunshine with friends who didn’t want to hike up a mountain. Just enough to walk off the surfeit of food, which suited me just fine.
A local stroll in the South of the county with a mild sunny day and mud! Both evocative of a spring thaw. Global warming does not exist? Discuss!
But it was good. Now I’m not trying to achieve even more ‘Mountain Days’ I’ve certainly taken a step back and relaxed into walking where and when I want to walk, not clocking up the kms and height in every condition nature can throw.
Middle Dodd from Red Screes
A few more days of sunshine and a smattering of snow on the hills graced us in that middle week. The steps up Red Screes from Kirkstone had turned into a frozen water fall. Spikes added to my feet, and those of a like minded friend, made it an easy negotiation.
Then it was almost New Year. I was working. Four days of leading, guiding, accompanying, being responsible for, call it what you will, groups on a walking holiday in Langdale who wanted to wander without a map. Without the stress of needing to know.
The weather wasn’t great, but there were plenty of stops in cafes, tea shops. Almost invariably ending in a pub. I admit to a wry smile when I thought of the ‘steep ground training’ and ‘night navigation’ I’d had to endure to become ‘qualified’ to ‘lead’.
But it takes all sorts. All sorts of walks with all sorts of people. People who don’t have that confidence just to head up a hill. Who if released from the confines of Tarmacadam and paving slabs really would flounder and wonder which direction to go in. They, and the walks, were no less enjoyable than many I have done with friends who will hike a hill in all weathers.
On the 2nd there was slightly more of a challenge. The last day of the NY Langdale trip and a rather wet Wansfell. That smallish Wainwright which rises out of the back of Ambleside. But with the fickle weather it is perfectly capable of hiding its head in the murk.
Which it did. Being able to ‘pick my days’, I probably wouldn’t have bothered, but we had a group of seven ready for an adventure.
It was, in the end, my best day of the New Year break. Taking those who would not have gone up a hill in wind, rain, mist and murk. Up the steps from Ambleside. Pausing frequently to allow those less conditioned to catch their breath.
Almost at the top we met one of the next generation of Mountain Leaders, giving inspiration to continue. There was noting else to do but hunker down behind a wall, for a while. There was no view.
Top of Wansfell
Then we came down. A route down I’d taken many times on my own and with other groups in less inclement weather.
For the uninitiated, wet rocks, wind, rain and cross country bog provided, if not an assault course challenge a mini adventure. And for me, the satisfaction of enabling others to enjoy.