2020: a year in review

  • Total hills climbed: 17 (I think) one of which was a repeat
  • Wainwrights: 13
  • Wainwrights now done: 147
  • Wainwrights left to do: 67
  • Marilyns (outside the Lakes): 4 (including one repeat)
  • 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: Don’t ask.

Well where do I start with this one?!

Let’s start with the positives I guess. Despite a global pandemic, this wasn’t actually my worst year of hill bagging – it also wasn’t even my worst year for Wainwright bagging since I started making more of an effort to do them; that was back in 2016 where I did 13 hills in total, 11 of which were Wainwrights. Included in the 13 Wainwrights I managed to do this year were a couple of really good days on the hill, although for the most part I was picking off hills as singles or pairs. I’m getting to the point where I’ve already done a lot of the walks where you can pick off four or five in one go, and those that I have left to do are in the more obscure/ inaccessible parts of the Lakes, mostly in the far West. This is a direct consequence of me having tried to do a lot of my Lakes walking via public transport with the far West being pretty much impossible to do that way – the far East still has its areas where public transport is a pain but is generally more accessible thanks to things like bus links around Glenridding, Pooley Bridge and Penrith.

It would be impossible for me to carry on with this post without getting diverted into a rant and I’m not even going to try. As of the date of writing, and in spite of the fact the vaccine roll out seems – rather surprisingly – to be going pretty well, there is no suggestion of the easing off of lockdown measures any time soon. Schools in March, non-essential shops in April and pubs/ restaurants/ accommodation in May seems to be what everyone is saying despite there being no real evidence pubs are a vector for transmission in any real way. Whilst COVID is clearly a very nasty bug indeed, the repeated lockdowns, and particularly this one, are starting to get to people and this one in particular is hard; during the first one I spent some time discovering things closer to home, such as that we had a bluebell wood near us and some rather nice artificial lakes, all of which helped. But now everywhere is under a sea of mud, a lot of the paths are impassable and it’s too cold to sit drinking wine in the garden in the evening and feel like you have been somewhere. The days all blend into one; get up, have breakfast, do some work, have lunch, do some work, have dinner, drink some Malbec/ Shiraz/ Merlot/ Pinot Grigio/ gin and tonic (strike out drink which does not apply) go to sleep, and repeat… I’ve no idea when I’ll be able to get back into the hills and even the South Downs (which is actually quite nice) is probably too far to really be justifiable for a walk during the current restrictions. Let’s just hope that the end of all this is in sight.

Continue reading

Mountains minus Malbec: thoughts on Dry January

To be strictly accurate this post contains no mountains either! No walking since Sandwood Bay, and unlikely to be any for another month or so. I am trying not to get too jealous of all the posts of snowy hills popping up in my Facebook feed – and failing miserably.

As to dry January – I decided to do it largely to try and kick start getting myself back into some sort of decent physical condition. There have been pluses and minuses so far. The pluses – I have lost 4lb; my skin is clearer; I’m generally sleeping better; and my brain seems sharper, I’m definitely getting more done.I have managed to start going swimming again, although not as often as I had hoped. I’ve also spent less than usual, although the price of soft drinks in pubs is pretty shocking. Plus there is the obvious one of no hangovers (which these days take less and less Malbec to induce) Continue reading

Wainwright Walks 15: I’ll Raise you some odd socks on White Side..

Hills: White Side, Raise, Stybarrow Dodd, Watson’s Dodd
Wainwrights: ditto
When: 15 May 2015
Who: just me and the mountaineering minion (again)
Mid walk drink: back to non-alcoholic (capri-sun) on grounds of good sense
Post walk drink: Malbec
Post walk watering hole: The Golden Lion, Keswick

I commented on my last post that often finding the start point of the walk can be the trickiest bit and today was to be a case of same old same old. Given I was starting the walk from Thirlspot, a popular start point for the ascent of Helvellyn, I was expecting the start to be rather more obvious than it was, and having wandered through a farm and confirmed that I was actually looking at something purporting to be an aqueduct which was on my map and was a point of reference, there still seemed to be loads of paths.. one of the issues I find when navigating in the Lake District is that there can sometimes be too many paths and it is ridiculously easy to take the wrong one. Of course I should simply have realised that after the smooth and highly enjoyable short poddle up Latrigg the previous evening it was time for business as usual i.e. for things to be a tad less smooth!

The morning hadn’t got off to the greatest of starts. Having had a nice relaxed evening in Keswick I slept appallingly. Whilst I often don’t sleep well when my husband isn’t there this was worse than usual and I probably got about 4 hours sleep if I was lucky. I woke up to glorious sunshine at 5am but without a car there was no chance to capitalise on this and get an early start. At about 6.30 I gave up trying to get back to sleep and instead sorted out my gear before going for a shower. I came out of the shower to find my hydration bladder had emptied itself all over my socks! Now there is nothing worse than starting a walk with wet feet and I was delighted I had another pair in the case… which of course turned out to be two purple socks, but from two different pairs of purple socks one of which was slightly thicker than the other. I did not want to wait until the shops in Keswick opened as I had planned to get the 9.26 bus that heads to Grasmere, so decided reluctantly to wear the odd socks as a better option than the wet socks or the slightly whiffy (if dry) ones from the day before. Nevertheless I was starting to feel a certain amount of foreboding about the walk. Continue reading