Sunday, August 19, 2007


For those of you who are familiar with the national treasure that was A.W. Wainwright, you will know all about his favourite walks, Haystacks. Well, we walked up there today.

The weather wasn't what it should be in August. We had low cloud and a good wind blowing. The forecast for The Lake District said that it was to clear from the west as the day went on, so we decided that it was "game on"! We wouldn't be put off by a bit of low cloud and drizzle.

Naturally, I took loads of photos so that I could share the walk with you.
Here is Haystacks as seen from the farm, just as we start our ascent. You can see the clouds are blanketing the top of the hill (this place is not quite tall enough to be called a mountain).

Henry and Pam looking up to Haystacks from the very beginning of the walk.
Yours truly plodding up the first part of the walk. You can see Lake Buttermere below. It was all very pretty. I have my head down because I am already out of puff and we've just started!

The heather is in bloom just now. It made our walk all the more delightful. It's a shame that it doesn't have a better perfume. Does heather have a perfume? I've never sniffed it.

We climbed up this place when George was all of 10 months old and in a baby backpack. As he is going to be 14 next month, you know how long its been since I did a major walk like this one. I decided that I was going to go at my own pace and not be intimidated by the fast walking fit people in our little group. By the way our group included me, The Man of the Place, George and our dear friends Kevin and Pam. Kevin and Pam live in Cierencester (down south) near where we used to live in Wiltshire. Kevin and Henry used to work together at a children's home and have always been very close friends.

Henry and Kevin


The first part of the walk is very uphill. I found myself having to stop quite often to let my heart rate come back down and allow my breathing to calm. The path up to the summit was pretty steep, but the footing was easy. Then got to a portion of the walk where we had to do a bit of scrambling over some daunting rocks.

See? The rocks are full of daunts!

It was very cloudy once we got past a certain height. The clouds rolled past us. Some were heavier than others. One cloud had a bit of sleet in it! That wasn't pleasant, but at least that cloud didn't stay for long. George, whose nickname for the day was Goat Boy was always above us, waiting for the old creaky adults to catch up. I don't think gravity works on him in the same way. When the clouds parted we were all awestruck with the glorious views.

During the ascent, it was George who had Polly's lead (leash) for the bulk of the time. Polly was wonderful and perfectly behaved the entire time. She hopped up and down those rocks like she has always lived on hills. Coming back down out of the clouds, the views were spectacular. It made all the red faced gasping of the ascent completely worth the effort. Look at that!

During hill walking and mountain climbing, more injuries occur during the descent. I completely understand why. The descent SUCKED! The path was covered in loose stone. Where the stone was not loose but fixed, it was greasy with the day's rain. I took a photo of the path going down so you could see just why I had to have a hot bath and take two paracetamol with codeine. I feel pretty stiff and leaden.

Would I do it again? You bet! It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The changing light from the cloud moving across made the vistas all the more dramatic. I bet if I did walks like this more often, it would get a lot easier.


In fact, this walk up Haystacks was much easier (knee stiffness aside) than the first time I went up. I have no blisters on my feet this time AND I wasn't pissed off with my family for not waiting for me.

There is something very demoralising about being the slowest person on a walk. Just when you reach the pack, they who have had a jolly nice rest are ready to go just as you make it to them. This time, everybody was really good about walking with me, the slowest person. If they walked ahead, they stopped after a bit and were merciful about waiting for me even more time for me to catch my breath.

On the way home, we had lovely fish and chips with loads of salt and vinegar for dinner. We ate them on our laps in the car. It was DEE-lish!

You can down load the walk details here.

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