Welcome to my website 🙂  I’ve started this blog to chronicle my somewhat erratic and mishap prone hill walking.. Not to mention the inevitable post walk drinks! Some nice views and hopefully amusing anecdotes will be thrown in for good measure..

Wainwright Walks 89: Two crags, a Worm and a whole lot of bog

  • Hills: Green Crag, Great Worm Crag
  • Classification: Wainwright (164) Outlying Wainwright (4)
  • When: Thursday 15 September
  • Who: Me, the mountaineering minion, and Tiny Paddington
  • Distance: About 6 miles, though felt like a lot more
  • Weather: Generally ok, one light shower
  • Conditions underfoot: Aaargh. Don’t ask.
  • Post walk drink: Merlot
  • Post walk watering hole: The Piel Castle pub, Ulverston
  • MAMBA factor: High. Saw 2 other people (plus a dog) on Great Worm Crag. Otherwise nobody else was daft enough to be out there.
  • Uses of the arse crampon: One, though not where I thought I would need it
  • Mishaps: Oh dear… read on.

After my last Wainwright walk, up Hindscarth and Dale Head, this blog has basically been on hiatus for a couple of reasons. Firstly, a particularly manic period at work, secondly a 2 week holiday overseas and as a consequence of both, no walking as such. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if this walk would happen, for the various reasons set out below. My regular readers have probably been a bit baffled at the lack of recent mishaps; a classic feature of my walks being the presence of transport related mishaps, alcohol related mishaps, trouser or other gear mishaps and miscellaneous mishaps that defy categorisation. Well this walk contained pretty much the whole lot.

We were due to travel up on Tuesday 13th after work, staying overnight in Penrith before picking up a hire car the following morning then heading off for a few days in Ulverston, the logic being this might be a good place to try and pick off some of the Southern fells and there being more to do in the town than in (say) Eskdale in the event of bad weather. However as of the previous Friday I was unsure whether the trip either would or should be happening as I ended up spending the whole day firstly at the doctors and then at the local hospital with a sore and swollen leg being scanned. The eventual diagnosis after various examinations and an ultrasound was a blood clot in my leg, fortunately not in a deep vein and treatable with medication. Fortunately as I was not looking at a 6 hour drive to the Lakes but instead a shorter train trip with a hire car pickup at the other end, the hospital was happy for me to go ahead with our break – and in fact exercise was positively encouraged – but the whole thing had frankly thrown me badly and my confidence as to what I might be able to manage in terms of hills had taken a serious knock. So the starter for ten in terms of mishaps was a health related one and even before I got to Cumbria the break looked likely to be more about chilling out and wild swimming rather than making any serious inroads into my remaining Wainwrights.

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Wainwright walks 88: All hail Hindscarth!

  • Hills: Hindscarth; Dale Head (a repeat)
  • Classification: Wainwright (163)
  • When: Thursday 2 June
  • Who: Me, the mountaineering minion, and Tiny Paddington
  • Distance: About 6 miles (at a guess)
  • Weather: Generally ok apart from the random heavy hail shower at the summit!
  • Conditions underfoot: Generally pretty good – no bog to speak of
  • Post walk drink: Various real ales
  • Post walk watering hole: The Fox Tap, Keswick followed by Keswick Beer Festival sponsors party
  • MAMBA factor: Saw quite a few people but not really surprising given where I was.
  • Uses of the arse crampon: One, on an unexpected bit of exposure
  • One that got away: Robinson
  • Mishaps: Unless you count the unexpected bit of exposure, or the hail storm, none as such.

For various reasons, this one has taken a while to crawl out of the subconscious. Work has – yet again – been manic, and although I thought of the title ages ago (it being rather obvious given the weather that I encountered on the summit) I was a bit lacking in inspiration for the post itself. Yes it was another annoying outlier dealt with (always a good thing) but that still leaves me with 3 of the North-Western fells to do – all of them with a reasonable amount of ascent and 2 that look like they might be tricky, given my general dislike of exposure and anything too scrambly, particularly on descent.

After our walk up Harter Fell on the previous Sunday, I think it was fair to say that the cumulative effect of 2 horrible drives plus a hill walk hit me quite hard so the Monday ended up being a day of pottering around museums. Tuesday there was torrential rain much of the day though we did manage to see another Hadrian’s Wall site (Corbridge Roman Town) in a brief break from the downpours. On Wednesday we left Carlisle for a few days in an AirB&B in Keswick with the weather forecast changing every 5 minutes or so (or at least it felt like it).

On arriving in Keswick, the weather was actually ok (if a bit pothery) but it was too late to start up a hill so in the end we walked down to Derwentwater where inevitably I decided to go for a swim. I think I’ve said it before but at the moment I am probably enjoying the outdoor swimming more than the hill walking. There is less pressure as there is not a list of lakes etc I am trying to work my way through (though there are various places I want to visit) and the impact on wild swimming of my post pandemic fitness issues is far less than the impact on hill walking – I haven’t done a hill with 700m plus of ascent for over two years. Whilst I know that the pressure regarding hill walking is largely self imposed, it still exists. It was a nice swim, but the rocks underfoot are both slippy and exactly the wrong size for your feet! Stuart elected to stay on shore and take action shots, thankfully not taking a picture at the point where I fell over and therefore started my swim in somewhat shallower water than intended!

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Wainwright walks 87: The journey from hell, and a sunny Harter Fell

  • Hills: Harter Fell (Mardale); Kentmere Pike (a repeat)
  • Classification: Wainwright (162)
  • When: Sunday 29 May
  • Who: Me, Stuart, the mountaineering minion, and Tiny Paddington
  • Distance: About 7 miles
  • Weather: Sunny but quite windy; the odd light shower
  • Conditions underfoot: Generally pretty good – any bog was more or less dry
  • Post walk drink: Sauvignon Blanc
  • Post walk watering hole: The Kings Head, Carlisle
  • MAMBA factor: Medium. A few people on the way up and down but generally very quiet.
  • Uses of the arse crampon: Missing in action (again)
  • Mishaps: Traffic (the days before); worrying about parking, general knackeredness

Sunday 29th May; the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and I’m crawling out of bed feeling completely zonked. Why? Well there will not be any Covid related rant at the beginning of this post, but clearly there has to be a rant about something! It is inevitable when I plan a walk that something will not go entirely to plan, and in the absence of that being self inflicted (e.g. too much Malbec) it is usually a lottery as to exactly what. Usually it will be one or the other out of transport issues, parking issues, forgetting the right map, forgetting gear and so forth!

This time it was the turn of transport. Given there was a rather important event happening on the 4th of June we had booked a week off work. No not the Queen’s jubilee but my birthday (53 – eek!) and the long awaited return of the Keswick Beer Festival where we were sponsoring a barrel. However given the aforementioned Jubilee an extra bank holiday made it daft not to take advantage and get 5 days off work for the price of 3 days of annual leave taken (well 2 ½ as yet again I ended up having to work a half day). We decided to stay in Carlisle for 4 nights and then move on to Keswick, using AirB&B both times; we are now doing this a lot as it is generally cheaper than hotels and allows you to self cater, with more flexibility than using a traditional cottage holiday let. We had both worked from home on Friday 27th the idea being to try and finish early and make good time up the road. Well at least that was the theory!

I hate the M6. Even at the best of times it seems to go on forever. I hate the M25 as well and can certainly see why in Neil Gaiman’s novel ‘Good Omens’ it is described as being in the form of a demonic sigil (and Hell’s finest achievement). But the M6 runs it close for sheer volume of traffic at times. I didn’t help myself by taking the advice of the AA website to go round the south bit of the M25 to the M40 and then M42/M6 rather than what I usually do which is head through the Dartford Tunnel then for the M1, before hitting the M6 and the toll road. The only time I’ve tried the southern route before I ended up taking nearly 9 hours to get to Ambleside and history was about to repeat itself! We were staying the night in a Travelodge near Stoke on Trent – a journey which was meant to take about 3 ½ hours with a clear run. We got anything but a clear run and by the time we got to Stoke 7 hours had passed of grim motorway driving, constant tail backs and roadworks. Needless to say a few wines were sunk once we finally got to our hotel and with it being too late to get any serious food it was crisps and instant soup for dinner – and the realisation that although the following day was meant to be glorious not much was likely to happen apart from more driving.

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Wainwright Walks 86: Hart Side and the bog of semi-doom

  • Hills: Hart Side
  • Classification: Wainwright (161)
  • When: Saturday 26 March
  • Who: Me, Squiz, the mountaineering minion, and Tiny Paddington
  • Sadly absent: Hils
  • Distance: 7 miles approx. (again)
  • Weather: Sunny and quite warm (again – honest!)
  • Conditions underfoot: A bogfest for much of it
  • Post walk drink: Keswick Brewery ‘Park Yerself’ – later Shiraz
  • Post walk watering hole: The Fox Tap, Keswick Brewery
  • MAMBA factor: Medium – saw hardly anyone till nearly at the summit, but then quite a few people about
  • Uses of the arse crampon: Still MIA
  • Mishaps: Sort of Covid related..

Regular readers will be wondering where the now traditional opening rant has got to. For once, this report does not really contain any serious ranting, although the odd grumble will no doubt sneak in from time to time!

After my walk the previous day, we met up with the Scottish Hills crew in Wetherspoons in Keswick. In hindsight this was a bit of a bad idea – the food was not great and the noise level was ridiculous. Maybe I am getting old but when I go to a pub I actually want to be able to talk to people rather than listen to loud piped music. To be honest I was the same even when younger and ever since my accident when I broke my back, finding a seat in a pub has become a worry as I can’t stand up in a crowded bar for much more than half an hour without my back starting to grumble. Given it often doesn’t on a hill walk, I can only conclude it is to do with standing up without moving, as the same thing happens if I ever fail to get a seat on a train in to the office (if the train is full on turning up at my station, then unless I have an early meeting I’d usually wait for the next one). Food and noise notwithstanding we had a good blether and several plans were made for the following day – specifically I would meet up with Hils and Squiz to do Hart Side, which would be a new hill for all of us and also had the advantage of a high start point – I don’t have many of those left!

Unfortunately a sort of mishap ensued the following morning. We had arranged to all meet at 10 where Hils’ car was parked. However on getting up I got a text from Hils saying she wasn’t feeling well and wouldn’t be able to join us as she wanted to get a LFT to be on the safe side. The chemist in Keswick didn’t have any so this necessitated a drive to Cockermouth as with the things about to stop being free they were becoming like gold dust. I sent a text to Squiz which then didn’t seem to be delivered so was wondering what was going on and whether the whole thing was going to collapse. Fortunately a message on Facebook did get through and Squiz met me at our AirB&B shortly after 9.30 as I had offered to do the driving having been at least vaguely sensible the night before and therefore not hung over! Stuart decided that instead of coming with us he was going to do the circular walk around Derwentwater which he’s wanted to do for ages.

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Wainwright Walks 85 – Sunshine on Sheffield (Pike)

  • Hills: Sheffield Pike
  • Classification: Wainwright (160)
  • When: Friday 25 March
  • Who: Me and the mountaineering minion, plus his new friend Tiny Paddington
  • Distance: 7 miles
  • Weather: Sunny and quite warm
  • Conditions underfoot: Mostly fine, a few bits of bog near the summit
  • Post walk drink: Keswick Brewery Thirst Quencher
  • Post walk watering hole: The Fox Tap, Keswick Brewery
  • MAMBA factor: Surprisingly high – saw about 4 other people on the way up.
  • Uses of the arse crampon: Missing in action (again)
  • Mishaps: None to speak of. Mildly hung over – if that counts.

These days it seems as though I spend almost as much time thinking about the rant at the beginning of the blog than I do about the blog itself. Is the rant going to be about work, Covid, working during Covid, parking, public transport delays or something else? I really do need to get a new list of topics to bang on about!

I suppose I could rant about Boris Johnson or Vladimir Putin but ranting about the latter is frankly too depressing and ranting about the former, or at least the Conservative Party in general, is probably too easy a target. I guess I could philosophise about what constitutes a party (and sort of agree that if your party consists of one glass of wine and a cake and lasts 15 minutes it is probably not a very good one) but having actually gone to university with some of the incumbents, albeit not Boris himself, it is also too depressing to rant about. My mum’s observation about why wasn’t I running the country instead didn’t help – quite frankly I wouldn’t have wanted to but at university my main focus was on partying (ironically enough) discovering new experiences (curry / booze) and actually getting a decent degree (honest!) rather than politics. I rather doubt that having a state school background and (at the time anyway) a Brummie accent would have helped in any event.

Anyway, on with the walk! We had booked a long weekend in Keswick for the first Scottish Hills Lakes meet since 2019 and for once, the weather forecast was really good. However, booking a long weekend inevitably means having to cram 5 days work into 4. Another aspect of the return to something vaguely approaching normality meant that Stuart was working away in Manchester, so we would be meeting up in a hotel in Penrith on the Thursday night before picking up a hire car in the morning. A combo of work and a couple of nights of not great sleep meant that I was pretty wiped by the time I got to the Thursday afternoon but fortunately there were no significant delays on the train. As usual though I was carrying far too much stuff and lugging the case to the hotel was a bit of a pain – for once though I got a nice surprise as our hotel room had been upgraded and was lovely! Stuart was a bit later getting to Penrith than I was so I met him in the Board and Elbow for a few jars, although not too many given the weather forecast!

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Wainwright Walks 84: Snow going in Kentmere

  • Hills: Shipman Knotts, Kentmere Pike
  • Classification: Wainwrights (157 to 159)
  • When: Friday 25 February
  • Who: Me and the mountaineering minion
  • Distance: Would guess about 6 miles
  • Weather: Glorious sunshine – quite windy at height
  • Conditions underfoot: Snow (mostly quite soft) – megabog on the descent
  • Post walk drink: Malbec
  • Post walk watering hole: The Golden Rule, Ambleside
  • MAMBA factor: High. Saw about 3 other people.
  • Uses of the arse crampon: One minor use on a slippy bit of the descent.
  • Mishaps: More like near misses – almost a parking mishap, almost a gear mishap, and a minor navigational issue

I did wonder whether I should try and turn over a new leaf in 2022. No not some sort of whizzy fitness programme / Dry January / going vegan or anything else, but not starting every single blog post I do with a rant. Then I wondered how on earth I would start the post! I guess I could start it with the mishap list, or with some sort of transport tale of woe, but the transport this time went pretty smoothly after the storm induced fiasco of our last trip to the Lakes at the end of last year.

I guess the days of Covid related rants may be coming to an end as the thing becomes endemic, though there are still things that frustrate me about it, including, as per my previous post, friends who are still so scared of it that they hardly ever leave the house except to get basic essentials such as food and drink, and a certain section of society who seem to think that stuff like mask wearing should be in place more or less in perpetuity to protect vulnerable people. Life is for living and there has to come a point where people need to balance the risks from what now seems to be a pretty mild virus unless you are not vaccinated or are very unlucky, against risks to mental health and indeed to sheer quality of life. Not least given we now have a war in Europe and who knows what will come out of that so we may as well try and live our lives as best as we can. All of that said, I can’t say that some aspects of the return to ‘normality’ such as packed trains and tubes, huge queues in Pret or nearly being flattened by cyclists when crossing the road to the office are necessarily that welcome!

Anyway, enough of the mini-rant and on with the walk. It is fair to say that after the last, mishap ridden trip where I failed to do a new hill (albeit for very good reasons) that I had lost my confidence a bit and as a result was pretty nervous about the trip. The weather forecast was a bit mixed too, with snow forecast on the tops and possibly to lower levels, and the possibility of some strong winds too. Inevitably this means packing extra gear, not only warm layers but also the winter kit, which always seems to weigh more, and take up far more space, than it really should. I also dithered about whether to take the swimming gear and in the end decided to chuck it in the case, the logic being that if I failed to get a hill in but managed to get a swim, I wouldn’t feel as though I had had a wasted trip. Of course, this meant that I was lugging around the case of doom, as well as a rather well stuffed rucksack, and also my laptop as I was going to need to work on the train, as well as possibly log in at some point over the trip (again).

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2021 – a year in review

  • Total hills climbed: 16 (I think)
  • Wainwrights: 10
  • Wainwrights done by end of year: 157
  • Wainwrights left to do by end of year: 57
  • Number of ascents of Orrest Head: 2
  • Beer festivals attended in the Lake District: None
  • Beer festivals attended elsewhere: None
  • Trips cancelled due to COVID-19: None, though only due to not wanting to book trips in case they had to be cancelled.

Well once again where do I start with this one?

In some ways it feels a bit daft to do a review of 2021 when we are well into 2022. There are reasons for this. Not necessarily good reasons but nonetheless reasons of sorts. Partly it was simple lack of inspiration but also I wasn’t really sure I actually wanted to do a blog post for what was, quite simply, my worst ever year hill walking in terms of numbers.

There are some obvious reasons for this. The first four months of the year disappeared due to the third, and quite frankly interminable, national lockdown where the weather was for the most part awful and most of my local walks turned into a sea of mud. I was also quite frankly bored to tears with them having more or less worn a groove in my local green space during lockdowns 1 and 2. I found lockdown 3 really hard – the novelty factor of the first one and the time limit on the second were not present and it just seemed to drag on… and on… and on. There was no point in planning any trips until we had some idea of when we were going to be able to get back to being able to leave our local areas and actually have some sort of a life again.

To say that once the road map to ‘freedom’ was announced I was raring to go was an understatement. We actually took a half day off work to go to the pub the day the pubs reopened, which given they were only allowed to serve outside meant trying to sit as close as possible to a patio heater whilst wearing a warm coat and trying to hold my glass of wine whilst wearing gloves and not drop it in the process. The next step of course was to try and book a trip away which required a bit of lateral thinking given we were sorting it pretty last minute. In the end we opted for an AirB&B in Lancaster which would give us reasonable access to the Lakes and also a few other places which might be of interest. We booked to go for the bank holiday weekend at the beginning of May (another reason not to plump for somewhere in the Lakes itself given it is always heaving on bank holiday weekends). I usually start my hill walking campaign for the year in February or March… it was probably inevitable that not being able to start until May would result in a numerically poor year.

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Arctic on Latrigg!

  • Hills: Latrigg
  • Classification: Wainwright (a repeat)
  • When: Monday 29 November
  • Who: Me and the mountaineering minion
  • Distance: About 4 miles
  • Weather: Absolutely freezing.
  • Post walk drink: Merlot (again)
  • Post walk watering hole: The Board and Elbow, Penrith
  • Uses of the ar*e crampon: Not required, though this had more to do with the choice of hill than the conditions. Microspikes however were definitely required.
  • Mishaps: It might be easier to say what mishaps didn’t happen. Transport, weather, weather induced transport, hire car, insomnia…about the only one missing was an alcohol related mishap.

Well where to start with this one? For once, it will not start with a Covid related rant, though this is not for any particular reason of having nothing Covid related to rant about and more because of the sheer catalogue of completely non Covid related disasters that ensued! Someone once commented on one of my posts that at some point, given the relative lack of mishaps over the last couple of years (Covid aside) there would probably be one colossal string of mishaps all in one go. Well this is that report!

Having had a great trip to Wasdale in September, I still had some holiday to use up before the end of the year – but a very limited window in terms of when I could actually use it due to lots of commitments at work (mainly presenting training courses). The only realistic time I could take it was right at the end of November. Having had a great time in December 2020 on my trip to Sedbergh, when I did one Wainwright, one of the Howgills and a fantastic snowy repeat ascent of Pen-y-Ghent, I decided to take a punt and booked an AirB&B in Penrith. Stuart decided to come with me this time (he had to make a work trip to Manchester which is easy enough to get to from Penrith). The slight fly in the ointment was that we were attending a business dinner for my work on the Friday evening but I booked a hotel close to Euston for that night the idea being to crash over there and then get a train the following morning.

Unfortunately, as the trip got closer the weather forecast got worse and worse, and it became clear that our trip was going to coincide with the first named storm of 2021. However, on the Friday the trains were still running and still expecting to run the following day. I should probably have taken it as a bad omen that our pre booked taxi took forever to get in to London – we were carting around an inordinate amount of gear given we needed to not only carry walking gear (including the full winter kit) but also black tie gear for the business dinner including Stuart’s full kilt get up. As a result the suitcase we had was big enough to be ridiculously unwieldy. We were running horribly late for the dinner by the time we got to the hotel and had to stuff ourselves into our glad rags and then get a tube as we totally failed to get a taxi. We did manage to get one back after the dinner finished and collapsed into the hotel having already decided it would make sense to get an earlier train on the Saturday than the one we had booked seats on  if at all possible.

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A walk that went swimmingly (and a small hill thrown in)

  • Hills: Irton Pike
  • Classification: Outlying Wainwright (only my 2nd!)
  • Swim spots: Tongue Pot and Kail Pot, River Esk: Wast Water: Gill Force (near Boot)
  • When: Friday 17 and Saturday 18 September
  • Who: Me and the mountaineering minion (at least for the walking bit – he doesn’t swim)
  • Distance: No idea
  • Weather: Bit mixed, but lovely for the 2nd swim.
  • Post walk drink: Pale ale, followed by Merlot (again)
  • Post walk watering hole: The Strands Inn, Wasdale (again)
  • MAMBA factor: Surprisingly high given where I was
  • Uses of the arse crampon: Came in pretty useful for getting in and out of the water.
  • Mishaps: None to speak of, though the straight up the front route up Irton Pike was a bit brutal. Almost a car mishap.

Apologies in advance to my usual readers: this blog post does not contain much in the way of hill walking. It does contain a bit of hill walking, and definitely contains plenty of photos of the Lake District, but the hill walking was a peripheral part of this walk – well walks really as it was spread over 2 days – rather than the prime focus.

My usual readers are probably also wondering where the now inevitable opening rant is! At the time of actually doing the walk / swim, there didn’t really seem to be a lot to rant about – for once on the Friday work managed not to intrude on my supposed day off, and I was able to just enjoy the day without stressing about being pulled into conference calls whilst either on or only just off the hill. That said, at the time of writing I am still reading news posts suggesting impending doom; increasing case rates of the Omicron variant which may yet lead to us all being locked up again in the not too distant future, despite that (at the moment anyway) it seems to be significantly milder than previous variants and not to be translating into increasing numbers of people actually dying. I suppose we can only wait and see but the whole thing seems to be never ending and staring into a Covid- hit 2022 when I haven’t really mentally processed 2020, never mind 2021, yet is frankly just depressing. A scientist friend thinks it might be another five years in a worst case scenario before we are out the other side of this which is even more depressing. We have got to find a way to live alongside this and try and get back to something approaching normality before it is gone for good.

Anyway, back to the walking / swimming! Where this all started dates back to summer 2020 and Stuart giving me a voucher for Swim the Lakes which runs guided wild swims in and around Ambleside. I’d wanted to try wild swimming for ages – I used to swim in the sea in Wales when on holiday as a kid / teenager and always enjoyed it but had never really swum in rivers or lakes. Suffice it to say that I loved the swim in Windermere and have now found a managed open water swimming venue in a lake about 2 miles from my house which I go to regularly. It’s fair to say that I now have even more kit to store as what started off with a swimming costume last Autumn then led to the acquisition of increasing amounts of neoprene in order to enable me to carry on swimming in the winter (lockdowns permitting). Stuart also started coming along and we both now swim at the lake including a rather bracing dip on Christmas Day. In some ways, I’m probably enjoying the swimming more than hill walking at the moment – as I’ve said in a previous blog, as I’ve come closer to finishing the Wainwrights I’ve started to put increasing amounts of pressure on myself which given I am prone to getting stressed anyway is not particularly helpful. That stress doesn’t really exist for the swimming, and it’s actually a brilliant way to de-stress, as well as a fabulous cure for a mild hangover (it isn’t sensible to go cold water swimming with a stinker of a hangover though, as you can lose the ability to regulate your temperature). 

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Wainwright walks 83: Up and down in Wasdale

  • Hills: Middle Fell, Seatallan, Buckbarrow
  • Classification: Wainwrights (155 to 157)
  • When: Thursday 16 September
  • Who: Me and the mountaineering minion
  • Distance: About 7 miles at a guess.
  • Weather: Glorious sunshine for most of it, cloud blowing in and out on Seatallan
  • Post walk drink: Pale ale, followed by Merlot (again)
  • Post walk watering hole: The Strands Inn, Wasdale (again)
  • MAMBA factor: Pretty high. Wasdale can be heaving on a good day but these are some of the lesser frequented hills in the area.
  • Uses of the arse crampon: Still MIA.
  • Mishaps: Does work count? (again..)

I said in my last blog post that one of these days one of my blog posts would not start with a rant. At some point, this might even be true – however once again this is not that post. At least the rant is a bit shorter this time than it was for my last blog post which consisted of more ranting than description of the actual walk! The ratio is at least not quite so skewed as the last time. It is however beginning to occur to me that the rant to walk ratio being skewed seems to be taking the place of either (a) the mishap to walk ratio being skewed or (b) the  time/ distance to get to the hill versus the actual time on the hill being completely skewed as it has been in the past. At least on this walk nothing really went that wrong with no mishaps to speak of on the walk itself, unless the absolute bugger of a steep ascent of Seatallan counts as one!

As regards the rant – once again work managed to get in the way of my supposed time off, although this time the impact was more limited than it had been in the past. This time it consisted of getting a message just as I was getting off the hill asking if there was any way I could be on a conference call over Zoom in an hour’s time. Unfortunately this was something that couldn’t wait till I got back to London so I negotiated an extra 15 minutes to at least allow me time to get back to the hill, get out of hill walking gear and make myself at least vaguely presentable but it was certainly not ideal! Had this not happened I would probably have thought about going for an open water swim, which I did the following day instead. Even going to somewhere with very little mobile signal doesn’t seem to work these days for getting away from work as whilst there is no phone signal in Nether Wasdale there is WiFi in the pub…

After my lovely walk in the Far Eastern Fells the previous day, the forecast was once again excellent and it would have been a good day to do a big walk. However the mix of lockdown related lack of fitness and work induced tiredness meant that an epic was still not an option, plus given parking issues in Wasdale on a previous visit I did not need the stress of worrying about whether I would be able to find a parking space! Going for Middle Fell gave me the option to extend to two other hills if I felt up to it, I knew there was a reasonable amount of parking and the views looked as though they would be great. Decision made in the bar the night before about what walk to do, I had some excellent pub grub at the Inn (portions are huge) and turned in for an early night.  

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