Posts Tagged ‘Lakes’

Walking in the footsteps of others

Monday, June 6th, 2016


footpathI recently spent an amazing week in the Lake District.  I wanted to explore some of the higher hills that I hadn’t visited before.  Technically they qualify as mountains, (and certainly felt that way!) but that term feels odd to apply to our English landscape.  I walk regularly, and certainly take sensible precautions, but these hills can be dangerous, especially to the inexperienced.  The thing about challenging yourself is that you can’t do it by doing things that you know you can do.  That makes this kind of venture intrinsically scary.  There are a number of challenges such as could I physically cope with it and could I find my way.  These routes mean you are slogging uphill for two to three hours and then, faced with an equally challenging descent.  A 7 mile walk can easily take 5 hours. 

One thing you can’t help noticing in the Lakes is how the landscape is scarred by people’s passage.  However, there are are also places which are totally unmarked and they make you very aware that you can very easily get lost.  These days people seem obsessed by doing their own thing and being original but actually there is an awful lot to be said for following in the footsteps of others.  When I saw these paths I knew that they worked; I didn’t know if they were easy, but I knew if I followed them I would get down.  Isaac Newton referred to “Standing on the shoulders of giants” as a positive that comes from following what others have done.  I have spent my life challenging the status quo and just repeating what others have done, but there are times, and fell walking is one of them, where you can appreciate why this can be a very smart option.

The end of the holiday–Bodnant and the Lakes

Monday, June 4th, 2012

I’d always heard of the laburnum arch,and wanted to see it, but never knew where it was; it turns out that it is in Bodnant Gardens which are in the Conwy Valley in north Wales, about an hour from where we were.   It was so worth the trip.  The drive through the Dee valley was lovely and Bodnant is the best garden I’ve ever seen.

The following day we were in the Lakes, I think my favourite place to be.  We went to Derwent water and walked from there to Ashness Bridge and Walla Crag.  From the top we had a wonderful view of the lake and Basenthwaite beyond.

On day two we trekked from Ashness to Watendlath, via Dock Tarn to Stoneybrook and Rosenthwaite to Grange.  It was fabulous.  As we got creative with our route, en route, we had to improvise getting home.  This involved climbing the hill behind Lodore Falls (which was reasonably steep) and hoping we’d reached the road home, which was on the other side of that hill.  When we thought we had got to the top, we discovered that well known Lake District phenomenon, of ‘the wandering peak’.  You think you have reached the top, and somehow it’s not there.  Where the road should be, there was just more woods.  We soldiered on… and on… and on!  We’d just hit the point of wondering if we had got it very wrong (and wondering how that was possible!) when I spotted a footbridge that I thought was on the map.  Then we saw people!  Then a sign but somehow none of the three options it offered were right.  We were just about to get upset when we heard a car… then saw it and it was a mere 20 yards above our heads.  The path was utterly invisible till you were almost on it.  I’m constantly surprised by how often not only when walking, but also in business how you can be 98% of the way there but still can’t see that one final, crucial step…  It is oh so easy when you know the way and almost impossible till you ‘get it’!