Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Wanderer Returns

I'm back.

Having trekked across fell and mountain, I have returned to civilisation. All things considering the weather was pretty good while we were up there. I only needed to use the hood on my waterproof once. Mr Mike provided us with sturdy transport and a hearty breakfast to set us up for each walk. Steve provided the planning and direction... i just provided the comic relief!

Most of our walks were set in the Duddon Valley. The first day's walking we spent largely in a cloud bank, where we bumped into a grumpy farmer. We weren't on a prescribed walk, but we were on a permissible way that went through his land. He didn't seem to like that. The next day we spent walking round a reservoir on very changeable ground one minute it was a rocky path, the next we were in marshland. It was this day that we managed o confirm that Mike's shoes were in fact letting in more water than the Suez Canal.

The evening was spent at the pub where we jokingly squabbled as to which of us the barmaid fancied (I personally think she was just highly aware of her attractiveness and just knew how to use it in her job).

The next day we were going great guns. We discovered a strange site on top of a mountain. It was a little lake in a dip at the crest of a hill. Either side of this lake there were small standing stones... raised about a foot and a half vertically. While I stood by it, I had a scripture in my heart. "Cast your bread on to the waters" from Ecclesiastes. I thought this was mega strange, so I broke a crumb off my cheese sandwich and threw it in. When the lads caught me up, we mucked about a bit... trying to find more of the stones. Then we figured it might be a dodgy shrine or something. Steve made a slate cross and I etched the Alpha and Omega, a cross and John 3:16 into a prominent rock face... I wonder how long it will last?

We sat down to eat lunch at one point on the way down, and saw all the sheep responding to a distant shepherds voice... we couldn't see him though. At some point upon our descent, we lost the path. This resulted in us having to wade through bracken and trees along a steep bank. Finally though, we managed to break on to the road below us. We spent the rest of the afternoon skimming stones, damming up the river and snoozing on giant slabs of rock... all jolly good fun!

Steve suffered from a Migraine that afternoon so we decided not to go to a pub. Instead we went to the local pizza takeaway. The chap behind the counter was friendly enough, but his maths wasn't great. Steve being an accountant managed to sort it all out, we managed to wrangle a free bottle of coke out of it so that was an awesome bargain.

Our final big walk was up Black Combe mountain. It is the oldest of the mountains in the Lake District because it is volcanic in origin and not glacial. This was the wettest walk, it was also the hardest going early on. However we were highly motivated... someone else we knew had been up there and had to turn back halfway up. We were determined to surpass that, and we did.

The best part for me was getting above the low cloud bank and looking down on the world below us... it was like having an angelic eye's view. there we were stood atop the clouds staring down at the tiny dots of cars passing by, it was truly beautiful. Further on up and we saw a cairn. Upon further investigation it became apparent that some kind of military installation had been located there at some point, but had been demolished/destroyed. Steve wondered if maybe it had been bombed. I think this is possible, because the cairn could have been laid down as a memorial to whoever was stationed there upon it's destruction.

On our way back down from the summit, we saw the Isle of Man, Wales and Ireland briefly, before the mists shrouded them once more. Steve showed us where the locals erect giant crosses over Easter.

We spent our final night at the pub again... no attractive waitresses this time... just a dutch guy (I reckon he was South African though), who looked like Mike's brother. In the morning we ambled round a nature reserve and then strolled along the beach before returning to the flat to pick up our belongings. The heavens opened on our return journey. Apparently the rest of the UK had been submerged in water while we were enjoying ourselves. Traffic was heavy particularly on the northbound carriage opposite us (bad weather + people trying to get to an England match = solid traffic). Southbound for us wasn't that bad though, and we tumbled through the door at 8:30pm. Plenty of time for me to catch Lost on Channel 4! Mum taped CSI Miami for me as well, while I was away; so I'll be watching that today.

Much fun was had so thank you very much to the guys!

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