It is true that it’s easy to overlook places that are on your doorstep for exotic and faraway lands. Whilst I haven’t necessarily overlooked them, some of the most stunning places in the UK for walking and climbing I am yet to visit. I hope this marks the beginning of changing that.
Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending a weekend with four fellow outdoors enthusiasts in the Lake District. It was my first time in the area and while I had expectations of it being beautiful I was not prepared for what I saw.
Being blessed with crisp, cool air, bright sunshine and huge blue sky, our walk couldn’t have been better timed. With enormous moss-covered boulders clinging to the lush green hills to our right, an ancient wall separating us from the spindly winter-touched trees on our left and with dominating snow-capped hills in the distance I felt we could have been anywhere but England.
A moderate ascent to sent us high up into the hills revealing the vast and magnificent landscape of the Lakes below us. Breathtaking. The sun rays shone through the clouds like the spread wings of an eagle casting delicate shadows over the valley below.
As we continued we reached the snowline and the landscape was transformed into a winter wonderland, with frozen pools, dramatic icicles and windswept snow fields like a desert of icy dunes.
Reaching our summit, the Old Man of Coniston, we stopped to admire our surroundings before commencing our somewhat treacherous descent in which we all had our turn slipping elegantly (some more than others) onto our backsides.
To wind up the day, the evening was spent in good old fashioned post-hill-walking style, at the pub for a hearty meal with a few Bluebirds and gin and tonics. We stumbled back to our hostel dorm just after 11pm and slept solidly (apart from the intermittent nocturnal toilet trips) until 8:30 the next morning when we were awoken with the gentle tones of the Rocky soundtrack, to get us moving downstairs for our classic English breakfast.
What a weekend.