If you spoke to some people who know me and asked them what my favourite things are, they’re likely to say football and Formula One. This weekend there’s the Monaco Grand Prix, arguably the most exciting race of the season, and a pre-tournament friendly between England and Norway in Oslo. This weekend I will be watching neither of these. I’m off to The Lake District.
I personally don’t think the Monaco race is ever up to much and please remind me the last time England played a properly good friendly game (OK, that Ghana game last year was alright, but apart from that…?). However, I’m not going to The Lakes to avoid these events (I’ll be listening on the radio), I’m going because a couple of years ago Emma and I drove through the Newlands Valley to Buttermere and I fell in love with it.
Setting off from Huddersfield, I’ll drive to Keswick, catch a bus to Braithwaite then walk to Buttermere, taking in the peaks of Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, Eel Crag, Grasmoor, Wandope and Whiteless Pike on the way. I’m camping at Hassness on the bank of Buttermere and setting off to Hawse End landing stage via Robinson, Hindscarth, Dale Head, High Spy, Maiden Moor and Cat Bells to catch the boat back to Keswick. I can’t wait!
I do a reasonable amount of walking on my own as Emma works on Saturdays. I spent my 30th birthday at the top of a coastal hill in Mull. I walked over 14 miles in 5 hours in the South Pennines a few weeks ago but this is the longest walk I’ve ever done on my own, over 20 miles in 2 days with higher climbs and steeper descents than I’m used to. I’ve got a tent, sleeping bag, food and other gear to carry around with me (I went out with it all on that 14 miler recently to see if I could cope!) so it’s not going to be a stroll but I’ve got all day to get from Braithwaite to Buttermere (12ish miles via my route) and all day to get back to Keswick (8ish miles) so a gentle pace will do, especially as this lovely weather’s meant to continue. The main thing I’m worried about is that I might get to the campsite at 4pm or something and have nothing to do!
I’ve not camped since I was 14 when I was at an international scout camp called CampDowne ’96 and I’ve never stayed at a campsite. I’ve got a little one-man tent which I put up in the garden easily enough then it rained for over a week and I couldn’t take it down. Then when it dried out, I put it in the shed and some mice have moved into it! I’ve got to get them out tonight while hiding The Cat from them.
I’ll be writing about the walk when I get back on walkingabout.co.uk, though I’ve got a couple of others to write up first, that 14 mile one amongst them.
Wish me luck and safety! I might tweet a pic or two on my way, battery/network depending so follow me @scottbrown_14 if you like.
Emma and I always go away in January. It’s cheaper than going away during the summer, there are no kids about and Emma works all over Christmas so it’s a good time for her to recharge her batteries. Once again, we’re off to the Lake District for the 4th time in 5 years, Hawkshead for the third time in three.
If you’ve never been to The Lakes, you must go. There’s no more stunning a place I have ever seen. Every corner you go round on their fantastic roads, you’ll see a different thing. It may be a deep valley, large lake, small tarn, high waterfall, one of England’s highest mountains or that pub you knew was around there somewhere, you just weren’t sure where. Once you get out of your car, of course, there is some fantastic walking to be found. More on that later.
Hawkshead itself is a fantastic place for a holiday, especially at this time of year. There are 4 pubs all within a 2 minute stroll of each other, ideal for when the nights come early and the weather’s cold! Log fires and real ale abound. The place is packed full of little stone streets and wonky cottages, there’s a lovely church, a co-op, a few outdoorwear shops and a couple of eating places. It’s a bit of a honeypot town in the summer but you really get to enjoy the place in the winter when there’s less people around. The pubs can get fairly busy even at this time of year so I wouldn’t like to think what they’re like in the summer.
Just down the road is Grizedale Forest, a place with walks for people of all abilities. Emma and I usually do one or two of the walks during our stay (I’m trying to persuade her to do the longer one this time round… she’s not having it!).
The walking is the main thing we go away for. This Christmas, I bought Emma a collection of Wainwright’s Walks. We had a go at Catbells last year but the weather was pretty poor, it was quite misty and Emma really didn’t fancy the full walk. We got most of the way there, though. So, Emma’s task is to look through the books to find walks she likes the look of.
If you’ve never heard of Wainwright’s guides, they’re handwritten, hand-illustrated guides to walks on each of Lakeland’s fells. They’re very detailed and although they were originally written some time ago, the version’s Emma’s got are up-to-date with current paths and sights.
Also, he explains what you can see from the summit of each fell, which is great. Despite the fact we’ve been going for years, I still can’t tell which fell’s what and I often cannot tell which lake is which, from a distance.
I’m sure I’ll be putting a few photos of the holiday on Twitter, as we go along. Follow me at @scottbrown_14 if you like, I’ll try to make you jealous! Looks like we’ll have to get any serious stuff done early in the week, though.
I can’t wait to go, now. Just half a day at work then that’s it!