31 05 2012
Other Lake District Adventures…
I can’t believe a month has gone by so fast, and I’ve not even begun to scratch the surface of everything Cumbria and the Lake District have to offer. Some of the adventures over the past month have been big, others more modest, but I’m a firm believer that everything in life is an adventure if you approach it with the right mind-set. Before I bow out and hand over the Everyday Adventurer baton to the next worthy recipient I wanted to give you a quick blast of a few of the other adventures we’ve had since we moved here, hope you enjoy them!
Helvellyn in the Snow
This was our first attempt at proper hiking in the snow so we packed a spectacular amount of warm food and clothes and selected an easy route up Helvellyn. We kicked off at Dunmail Rise then headed up to Grisedale tarn before hanging a sharp left up onto Dollywagon Pike and along to the summit. The going was very tiring as once we were above the snowline we were wading knee deep in snow most of the time. As we reached the more popular sections of the walk the path was well trodden but frozen solid and, as we couldn’t afford spikes this year, we stuck to the snowy edges. If the jaw dropping scenery didn’t take your breath away then the freezing conditions did, so we didn’t hang around long before heading back down to the warmth of the car.
It’s not just the fells that are a source of adventure here; there are all those lovely lakes too. When we visited Keswick Mountain Festival we met up with the Lake District Open Water Swimmers who gave us a handy map of safe places for a dip so, making the most of the hot weather this week, off I went. My other mission on this adventure was to test out the underwater options on the fab Olympus TG-620 those lovely folks at Berghaus sent me. I wanted an easy option for starters so we headed for Fell Foot Park and after a long hot day, a dip in a cool fresh lake was perfect. The water was no colder than your average unheated outdoor pool and there was a clear and safe place to swim & test the camera. Of course now I’ve tried it I just want more so expect to see me bobbing around in many more lakes over the summer.
Navigating with a broken compass
On 5th November last year, while most people were enjoying their Bonfire Night celebrations, we were trying to figure out a way down off Wetherlam with a compass which refused to point north. Being helpful Steve quoted Jack Sparrow: “Aye, the compass doesn’t point north, but we’re not trying to find north, are we?” Pesky pirates! I was all for navigating using the stars and was keen to put to good use my accumulated celestial knowledge gleaned from many hours studying BBC’s Stargazing Live. But it was not to be; whilst I had been gazing upwards admiring the sunset and the heavens Steve had, rather more practically, been gazing down off Wetherlam and memorised the route we needed to take. He soon had us back at the beck we needed to follow down so all those hours of me watching Prof Brian Cox were wasted. Well, mostly wasted. One thing about night hiking which I’ve learned this year is that even with fabulous head torches paths are ridiculously hard to spot, especially those which are little more than well-trodden down grass. A compass, or a reliable GPS, is essential.
The fells are good for your health
Like most people I caught a cold last winter and by New Year I had full blown Sinusitis. Like many “outdoorsy” people I am a very bad patient and refused to stay put and let myself get better. Eventually Steve frog marched me to the doc where I told them I was fine and didn’t need antibiotics. They disagreed, prescribed 10 days’ worth and made me promise to go home and rest, which I did. That was Thursday afternoon. On Saturday morning we were blessed with a spectacularly crisp clear winter’s days and I was in no mood for resting. I convinced Steve a drive would do me no harm and he agreed. I spotted a nice route which included Wrynose Pass and suggested a wee picnic with a nice view would also not be detrimental to my health. Again he agreed. Several hours later we were sat on the top of Crinkle Crags with me trying to explain to him how it had happened in between gasping for breath like a 90 year old. In my defence it was one of the most perfect days we have ever spent in the fells and I’m convinced all the fresh air did me more good than hiding under a duvet. It also served to remind Steve that I’m a slippery character who’s not to be trusted when I set foot on the fells.
Taking a Leap of Faith
Our biggest adventure was, without a doubt, our decision to move here. I’d managed to get a job but we had nowhere to live and couldn’t sell our place down south. We left “home” on 2nd Jan 2011 in our trusty campervan (Delores) and pitched up in Silverdale where we’d got a great rate for a 3 month stay. I don’t think they were expecting us to live there. Living in a tiny van and working full time in unfamiliar territory was scary and a huge challenge at times but, as I said to those who questioned our sanity “It’s not a leap of faith if you know where you’re going to land.” Eventually we found a tiny bungalow we could afford and rented out our place in the south. We are without a shadow of a doubt a lot worse of financially than we have ever been but in every other respect we couldn’t be richer. We have a postcard on the wall in Delores which has been there for years and it’s the same Helen Keller quote Berghaus use: “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” Whether you prefer your adventures big or small, just get out there and have some fun!
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