Last week a bunch of us went to the Lake District to climb Scafell Pike, the tallest mountain in England (3205ft) as preparation for Three Peaks which is now of uncertain date as we’re all getting busy with work. Still. Not really knowing what to expect and getting freaked out at driving there between increasingly big peaks we gave it a go. And it was fine.

The final stetch of Scafell Pike

Got up and down in just over 4 hrs which is pretty good considering we weren’t rushing and rested for 20 mins, shivering with the bracing wind on the summit. Nice view and a wonderfully clear day to climb, which is apparently a bit of a rarity. Look how happy we all look (and ignore my terrible walking get up and rolled up trousers):

Us on Scafell Pike

We met a few guys doing Three Peaks and chatted to their drivers as they raced up. I think it’s possible for us to do it in 24hrs though more stamina training wouldn’t go amiss.

Anyway, we hung out, arsing around in a boat on Windermere on Sunday:

Windermere

And walked a gentle route on the Monday, looking around some very cool caves. All inter-spaced with time spent in places such as:

Pub

I really need to learn to like beer. Not for the first time have I thought this. It would make life so much easier sometimes. I don’t want to ‘acquire’ the taste though. I want it from the beginning. That’s why I drink wine and whisky and gin. All taste great naturally.

After that, the guys went back and I stayed up there for the week to relax. I’ve mentioned before about being really stressed at the moment. Work has been hectic recently and we’ve got some bad family stuff at the moment so I needed to get away from it all. And I’ve discovered (much like Wordsworth before me (but far less eloquent)) that the Lake District is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I’ve had the best week.

It helped that the weather has been great (even better that it’s rained back here). Spent the entire week hiking, climbing mountains, spending time outside and generally being quite active. After trekking in Nepal I really grew to love walking, especially as a way to escape and find peace but never considered England could compare. Ok, so height wise…not so much, but scenery and splendour: absolutely. The rugged, wild and open spaces, the mountains and peaks and tarns, the solitude of the long distance walker, the brief but friendly interactions you have with complete strangers 5 miles from anywhere up a mountain. It’s all just perfect. I’ve found it to be a form of mobile meditation. I can let my mind go and just enjoy being out, walking, concentrating on the experience as it happens rather than going back and dissecting it later. It’s been really good for me.

So, some space to myself, relaxation and fresh air. I’m really getting old! Ha ha. I’ve even bought walking poles (saving my knees). One step closer to joining the ramblers.

Stayed in Grasmere and climbed Helm Crag:

Grasmere from Helm Crag

Before completing a 12 mile ridge walk to Pavey Ark and Harrison Sickle:

Stickle Tarn seen from Harrison Stickle

and arsing around with ducks:

Lakeside friends

Went to Grizedale Forest and saw a lot of the natural sculptures scattered throughout. Some favourites:

White picket fence Ferns

But I think my absolute favourite over the week was the penultimate day climbing Helvellyn, the third tallest mountain in England. Favourite why? Because to get up to it you have to walk along the awesomely fun and scary Striding Edge Ridge:

 

Striding Edge

It really is narrow and steep, with the edges just dropping away both sides. You have to scramble over the ridge top, carefully picking your way from outcrop to boulder, trying not to get blown over by the wind or trip. It really was fun. From the other side with shitty zoom it looks even better – look at the tiny people:

See the little people

 

I had to turn around very carefully to take this:

 

Note the less hairy me

And now I’m home.

So, yeah. I had fun and really surprised myself. So much so that I’ve decided not to go diving in July but to go back to the Lake District and climb even more mountains. It was that good! If you want to see all the other photos, go to the usual place.

Later.

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