This year's birthday walk.Last year my daughter decided that for her birthday she wanted to get to the top of Ben Nevis, so that's what we did. This year we thought about a trip to Skye but the logistics of that proved to much for the limited time available so we plumped for Scafell Pike, highest spot in England. Daughter, friend Laura and I were joined by another of her friends Jax and off we went to Eskdale to stay a couple of nights in the YHA there. I had forgotten just how far away and slightly awkward Eskdale was to get to so we arrived rather late and in the dark which meant that the girls didn't get to see any of the amazing scenery, which may have been a good thing because when we got up on Saturday morning the sun was shining and Eskdale was there in all her glory for them to be amazed by.
After a very sturdy breakfast of porridge and bananas we set of for Wasdale. I deliberately chose the "easy - tourist" route, not wanting to be responsible for asking the girls to do anything too out of the ordinary or anything which may be risky. As it turned out, who exactly said this was the easy way up? I had done my homework, read all about Scafell Pike in my Wainwright's guide, checked out the various websites, printed out the maps, checked that we all had the right stuff in the backpacks, first aid kits, waterproofs, spare warm clothing all the usual stuff. When I head out it's like I'm off on holidays, we were passed by people who had nothing at all, which in my opinion is ok when the weather is lovely like it was on Saturday but why take the chance. Before I say anything I know fell runners are out there, but hopefully when training they at least take some of their light weight gear with them. Each to their own I suppose but I would hate to be caught out without and heaven forbid need to call out the Mountain Rescue and face the embarrassment of having been ill prepared.
Anyway here are some pictures charting the walk. I won't give a blow by blow account as I think they speak for themselves. It was hard, much more of a slog than the Ben, but WOW was it worth it.
Laura has now been christened Nanny Goat Smith, as her ability to skip up hills regardless of the terrain is quite phenomenal considering her inability to walk from my house to hers when there is a car available to transport her LOL. Jax did very well on her very first ever hill of any kind. Marissa struggled due to being less fit than last year and also suffering the after effects of a cold, but she made it albeit in a bit of a mood but she still made it.
We stopped for lunch at the Y junction where the route splits into two, we choose the straightforward way as opposed to the scramble over Mickeldore (that is definitely one for future) we watched several other walkers start to head up that way and I remembered that I'd read about his first ascent of Scafell by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in the book "Mountains of the Mind" by Robert McFarlane, it's funny that you can read something but it's like it's in black and white and then when you are actually there all the colour floods in.
The jounrey back down was quite interesting as Marissa and Laura were not speaking, Laura went down first with me following and the other two coming very slowly behind. When we got to the Lingmell Crossing I felt Laura would be fine on her own and waited for the other two. Jax was struggling a bit with sore feet, once I'd made sure they were fine I went ahead and joined Laura at the bottom, by this time she had worked it out in her head and was back to being happy. Once the others came down I offered to show them St. Olaf's but they just wanted to sit in the car, good grief, youngsters eh. I did my wee visit to the church alone and sat for a few minutes in contemplation, silently giving a sort of thanks.
I've always managed to find a chappie wherever I go to yap to, and this trip was no exception on the way up I met an older bloke who had been one of the founder members of the Wainwright Society, I met him again as I left the church we had a great chat about Wasdale, Jos Naylor and walking in general. When I got back to the car, all the girls were back to being friends again. Woop Woop.
We had a lovely meal that evening in the Hardknott Inn and were all back in bed at the YHA and asleep by eleven.
We had been very lucky with the weather because on Sunday dawned dull and very wet. I don't think I would have set out if the weather had been like that on Saturday, not much point really.
This trip however has made me even more determined to stretch myself further by learning the basics of climbing, so I'm looking into climbing walls so that I can give it a go. Not sure if I could do it but I want to at least try,
This trip has been useful as training for my Lakeland 50 event, other training is picking up slowly after my month off in Australia. I have a new road bike, of which I am extremely proud and have entered an event later in the year, so need to get out an practice. The running is proving to be slow going, I think I just need to stop stressing about it and go with the flow. I have also been toying with the idea of track work, but it's finding the time to get there..
Right I'm off to check out what hill I can go up next.