Monday, 27 August 2007

The times they are a-changing

I was a late convert to walking for pleasure. I remember as a student thinking people must be mad to go into the country to walk - I mean, there were animals that might attack! And mud! And far more interesting things to do at home! As a postdoc in North Carolina I joined a group of colleagues hiking up a mountain one day; I thought I was pretty fit, having been going regularly to the gym and religiously doing my sit-ups - but after 20 minutes forced march uphill in 98% humidity I thought my time had come.

Anyway, we went with Mum & Dad to a little time share place in the Lake District shortly after we came back to the UK in 1999, and decided to do some very gentle walks. We started with Tarn Hows (easy peasy) and then did Wansfell Pike - rather tougher but eminently do-able and very rewarding. And that was it. Since then we've tried to get up to the Lakes every couple of years. One year we made it up Helvellyn - utterly wonderful - then the following year we tackled Snowdonia and ate Cornish (Welsh?) pasties on top of Cadair Idris. I have really been enjoying Griff Rhys Jones Mountain recently (though I would have preferred more mountain and less padding) and the Wainwright Walks that have been following them on BBC Four. Sad, I know.

And now we have our lovely little ones. We had a pause of a few years when Elsie was a baby; then when I was pregnant with Millie we ventured up to the Lakes again and Bear would hare off for speed fell walking while we had a nap. Now this year we've had them doing some short but reasonably challenging walks - bits of a Langdale Pikes walk, the start of Wansfell, some rock scrambling. All fun stuff because we don't want to put them off and anyway, when they get tired we know we'll end up carrying them. But still, standing on the edge of Buttermere and looking up at Haystacks, or driving past Keswick and being watched over by Skiddaw I can hear those peaks calling again ...


  1. Helvellyn via Striding Edge was my first serious walk - a memorable starter!

    Sadly, Oxfordshire is far away from any hills and our youngest is a lazy little tyke! Still wedded to his pushchair at three and a half...

  2. So great you've discovered and rediscovered the joys of a walking trip! Hopefully your girls will always enjoy such trips too. Lovely to see & read about your holiday break ((Hugs))

  3. Walking really is a lovely way to see the countryside and get some exercise much nicer than the inside of a gym.

  4. I like to see pictures of your country. I love walking in the countryside, through the cornfields and the forests and most of all through the dunes and on the beach, but not during tourist season.

  5. It looks wonderfully idyllic. I personally prefer flat walks (which rules out most of them, unless I want to saunter down the A1 or something) but that's just because I'm unfit. The times I have been to the Lakes, I did do the hilly walks, it nearly killed me, but the views were stunning.

  6. Great photo's in the last few posts!
    Alison x

  7. Such gorgeous photos you've got! We've love to go out on hikes, although we never seem to do it enough.

    Your vacation pictures are all stunning! Now I know who to contact for advice when I finally get to plan a UK vacation! Looks like a wonderful time...

  8. What a beautiful photo. I could walk all day - I love it. It really clears my head. It's great to be able to share it with the family too.
    Ki mx


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