So yesterday I got to climb a volcano, and today I got to ride a camel. The volcano was fun, the camel wasn’t. Smelly, hairy and very big, I would describe it as. The camel, strangely enough was on another volcano, this one a big one, after yesterday’s little one, if you’re still with me. Oh and there were like hundreds of them – camels that is!

Today’s volcano was an organized trip. Yes a coach trip, full of old people, of which there are copious quantities around here. I’m not sure that some of them knew where they were going. Maybe they thought the bus was taking them to the bingo or something. Maybe not, they wouldn’t have paid a king’s ransom (£50 I ask you) to go on it.

I have to say though it was great. And it involved all sorts of other places than just the volcano. The tour guide was very ‘educational’ too, so I learned lots of good stuff. One of the most amazing things was about the viniculture (and agriculture generally) on the island, which thrives due to the agroscopic way in which things are planted. Volcanic ash is apparently seven times more water retaining than any soil or clay. I like that! The vines for example (of which there are thousands, planted individually) attempt for the roots to reach down to where the earth was before it was covered in lava (or if they don’t then the above agroscopy takes effect), and the little pits that they are planted in let the morning dew run down to where it needs to get.  It basically never rains on Lanzarote, and they never need to water the vines due to this method – this is true ethical/ecological farming right here:

the vines grow in sort of mini-craters

The volcanos themselves were fantastic. They basically destroyed about a third of the island in the 18th and 19th century, and are still, as I understand it, officially ‘active’ even if there hasn’t been an eruption since then. The eruptions were the second biggest anywhere on earth in the last 500 years apparently. The areas are called locally the ‘Badlands’ – nothing can grow other than lichens until they have prepared the magma, and this takes apparently about 500 years or more.

I don’t know how many volcanos  there are (should have been paying more attention!), but I’d guess at 100 or so. The landscape is incredible – over a quarter of the whole island, over 200 sq. km, basically looks like this, taken from the seat of my camel:

A view from my camel...

So I also got to learn some of the stuff and properties of volcanoes. They apparently are quite violent affairs:). And apparently one of them is going to burst out of the Atlantic Ocean one day and cause the biggest tsunami ever which will destroy the eastern seaboard of the USA, amongst other things. Sobering stuff – had me headed to the bar right away.

Oh and speaking of camels, here are a couple of pictures of them from the camel journey up one of the volcanoes.

Firstly, here is what I think is technically called a bunch of camels:

Anyone seen my camel?

Oh and I learned after that they are not camels at all, but dromedaries, but hey who’s counting humps?

On the way up to Timanfeya volcano

At the top we were served up with various demonstrations of earth, fire, water and air. All were fantastic. The temperature of the rock about 12 inches under the surface is around 80 degrees C, too hot to touch – we tried it. About six feet under the surface the temperature reaches 250 C, enough to set fire to a dried bush, spontaneously as it were:

Anyone remember the Life of Brian scene?

Then there was water, and geysers and stuff. They even cook all of the food for the restaurant over a big hole they have dug and so the earth cooks it for them.

On the way back from the volcano tour the coach stopped at two other great places. One, ‘El Golfo’ is an example of a subterranean volcano, which had basically sprung up at the edge of the sea:

El Golfo volcano

The other place was where a whole field of lava had ended up streaming down into the sea, and had actually increased the size of the island by about 20%. Difficult to see from the photo, but basically everything that you see here for about three miles (apart from me) is magma, in what was a colossal (5 cubic km of lava flow apparently) displacement of whatever was there before (about 20 villages were destroyed):

I am at least not quite as pale as the guy behind me.....

So anyway, that was part of my day, and all that I am going to post for now, as I have the need to go out on the town, it after all being Friday night, and me being on my holidays.

However, when I got back I went, for the first time in my life, SCUBA DIVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I like Lanzarote, a lot in fact…………


I woke (or shortly after I woke) today happy for the first time in I do not know how long.

And then today I notched up a first – I climbed a volcano!

I am thinking that the next time that it happens that it will be Kilimanjaro. Here’s hoping then.

This was a little one though, but absolutely fantastic:

The Volcano is the one on the left...

I’ll find out what it is called (the volcano that is) tomorrow. The guy from the bike hire shop (Hubs and Tubs in Playa Blanca – go there if you are ever in the area is all I can say) suggested I do it, so I did. Legs are knackered! You can see how rugged the rest of the terrain is – I am told that Planet of the Apes was filmed on the island and I can see why!

I got about three quarters of the way up on the mountain bike, after which the terrain just became too rough (ok too steep for me:)) to make progress. The top was amazing, my first time in a crater:

The rim, looking towards Fuerteventura

The actual crater was huge – amazing for such a small volcano:

Inside the crater

After the volcano I rode all the way around it, and then along the coastal path along the south of the island. I reckon I did about 10 or 11 miles in total. Some of it was very hard, especially as the sun was pretty intense.

So a great great day. As it is the fourth Thursday in November I should say that I am enormously proud and thankful to have Dan and Becca as my children – I sort of don’t like to call them children, as they are not any more, but no matter how old they get they are still my son and daughter. They both make me outrageously proud and happy and I miss them.

Happy Thanksgiving.

More Lanzarote

So this is my fourth day here now I think. Probably, at least. Days sort of blend into one.

This is my fourth time to the Canary Islands. That is a really sad statistic. Unfortunately in the winter if you want a flight of no more than four hours or so, and you want guaranteed sun and warmth, there is almost nowhere else you can go.

I have been to Gran Canaria once. It was very ‘gay’ and very “German’ as I remember it. Not that either of those are bad things at all (in fact the reverse) – they were just my overriding impressions. I also got ridiculously ripped off buying a video camera. I was the one they saw coming. I started buying this thing for about £100, and ended up spending about £600 for the same thing, plus a few silly lenses that were crap and that I didn’t need, and never used, as they didn’t work. They are probably still laughing at me now, 15 or so years later. Lesson learned, as they say, albeit an expensive one.

I have also been to Tenerife twice. Once to Los Gigantes, which was quite nice, and once (in fact earlier this very year) to Playa de las Americas. I am not even sure how to describe Playa. Let’s just say that “Linekers Bar” is one of the best things about it, and about as Spanish as it gets. I went there with my son, his girlfriend and my daughter, and we even resorted to going to Hooters. OK, maybe that was my idea. Probably makes me a bad parent in fact. I was never an “earth Dad” if there is such a phrase, come to think of it. The chicken wings were crap too:)

So anyway, on to Lanzarote.

I am in the quiet bit. Apparently you can go to Arraciefe, or to Puerto del Carmen, for Linekers Bar and the like. Or you can come here, where I am, to Playa Blanca. God’s waiting room. I believe that I am the youngest person in the resort, and apparently there are 10,000 tourists here on average! I don’t think I have seen so many wheelchairs in my life.

Playa Blanca beach

The hotel is fine however, even if I have to climb over the wheelchairs at feeding time. I got told off on the first night for not wearing long trousers! Give me a break! I have however walked for Queen and country, the ‘promenade’ (shit, I must be getting old) is 11km long altogether, and I have done the stretch of it twice. I have also been to the gym twice, swum a lot (even if the water in the pool is “brass monkey” cold), and tomorrow I have hired a mountain bike. There is a nearby volcano, and apparently you can cycle most of the way up it in about four hours. I am going for it – bike is hired and ready, my adventure starts at whatever time I arise tomorrow.

Bring it on!


So there is a very strange thing happening here. I am on holiday on my own for the first time in my life. I guess that the second time will be the time I get to go to Kili – not that I am viewing that as a holiday by any means.

The one good thing about being where I am is that the Hotel has a gym. I have to say that I would have never ever have thought those words would ever come out of my mouth until a few months ago. When I have seen gyms at hotels I have stayed at in the past I have thought that anyone sad enough to go to the gym should really get a life and get into the bar. Now I have changed my mind. I think that now you can go to the gym and then go to the bar afterwards and drink even more than you would have done anyway!

I wanted this week just to get away anywhere warm so I could chill. I have worked hard recently, relentlessly even. I have had one half day off since April, and that is probably not healthy for me. I started looking a week or so ago (all a bit I know) for places anywhere on the planet that would give me some heat, some relaxation, were not too full of the “Lager & Kebab” brigade, that didn’t involve a 12 hour flight, but also that gave me something to do. Tough challenge!

I thought of the Caribbean, but decided that for seven days in an untried place that I just didn’t know where to start. And of course if you fly west then coming back you have the east/west redeye/jetlag to cope with the next day. Sad to think of work before you even go, but there you have it. For a 7 day break I thought I’d rather not worry about it. I then had some advice/thoughts from people at work who suggested the Far East. I duly googled Koh Samui/Phuket/Krabi/Bali until they all made my head spin (the places, not the people at work). I haven’t got time to think about all of this. I then worried, honestly, that as a single person going to Thailand that I may be viewed as a sex tourist. How scary is that? I also decided that (in conjunction with the above) that 15 hours or so travel time was not what I wanted to do.

So then I got it – the Red Sea! I love snorkeling, and so googled the only place I have ever heard of over there, Sharm El Sheikh. Perfect! Guaranteed dry, about 80 degrees F this time of year, and I can snorkel to my heart’s content. I therefore get some good exercise too, and so duly go about finding me a place. After way too many hours on Tripadvisor and the like, I settle on Sharks Bay, a resort just a little out of the “commercialism” of Sharm. I hate commercialized by the way. Passionately. Although Sharm at this time of year seems overrun by overeager (and always overhungry) Russians, whom I have had the slightly dubious pleasure of seeing before on holiday (although I am sure they say equally adverse things about us Brits), I go for it, and pay my money. Hilton Hotel is #8 of 39 hotels in Sharm El Sheikh on Tripadvisor. I’m off!

So flippers, snorkel, mask and the works packed, I head off at 5 am on Saturday morning, mildly trepidacious, totally knackered, to Gatwick airport, about a two hour drive from me. Sadly, that ended up being  the most exciting part of the day. I had even booked premier valet parking, so you can drive up to the front door and just get out, and leave some nutter to go and thrash your Porsche anywhere they like without you knowing it. Good luck to them – have fun!

Anyway, having got to the check in desk, they tell me that as my passport runs out early next year, (I knew this), that the “Egyptian authorities are unlikely to let you in”. WHAT?!! Unlikely to let me in for a week’s holiday in their diarrhoea-ridden country? FINE! I of course didn’t think that at the time. I stood there dumbstruck, disbelieving that I had worked up to this, got packed, got up at 4.30am, and would now have to drive back home with nothing. Paid a grand for it too. Gutted. So I duly got my car back from the valet park and drove back home, unbelievably depressed.

That afternoon I went into Oxford to see if I could find a travel agent (fed up with online options) to get me something quickly. I went to Trailfinders (with whom I booked my Tanzania flights for Kili, and who were very good), but they sort of looked at me strangely when I said I would like a holiday that same day to anywhere on the planet. They said they weren’t that sort of company. I don’t blame them. I ended up walking along the main shopping drag, and stumbled into WH Smith. As I walk upstairs, very low key, I stumble upon a book signing. It is Sir Steve Redgrave, signing copies of his new book “Inspired”

Now I would say if you asked me to name three sporting heroes, that I would have Steve Redgrave in my top three. Probably alongside Muhammad Ali and Jack Nicklaus. Don’t get me started on Ali. He may have his own bigotry, but my God he succeeded, and in a very dignified manner, when the bigotry and racism of the USA would have knocked down many a lesser man. Nicklaus inspired the sport of my youth, my golf, and he is as far as I am concerned the greatest sporting “gentleman” that ever lived. He epitomised fair play, courtesy and respect, as well as being the greatest golfer ever, Tiger Woods included. Redgrave however, gave me one of my greatest three most exciting and emotional moments in sport.

In case you are interested, the other two were were Sunderland winning the 1973 FA Cup Final, and then England winning the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup Final.

Redgrave, 2nd from left, Sydney 2000

So above is a picture of the victorious British Rowing Coxless Fours. Redgrave, second from left became the only person to win a Gold medal in five consecutive Olympic games. I watched every one of them live (Los Angeles, Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney). The aftermath of that moment in Sydney is of course immortal and timeless for anyone who watched it. I punched the air with the ecstacy of every guy in this country and others who wishes that they had a tenth of the guts, determination and desire of Sir Steve Redgrave. Especially when you consider that he is a Type 2 diabetic.

Anyway, I find myself buying (delightedly) a copy of “Inspired”, and asking Steve to sign it for me. He talks to me freely and easily, and I tell him I need some inspiration for my forthcoming climb to Kilimanjaro. He tells me to do lots of running if I can, but in any case to really concentrate on stamina, for the slog up Kili is “long, slow and very very hard”. “Work at it” he says, and “good luck”. He signs my book “Good luck for Kilimanjaro….”. I feel like a groupie at a rock gig who has just been kissed or touched by her hero and never wants to wash again. The book therefore will not just be read by me, but will be coming up the mountain, hardback or not.

Digression over, I do eventually find a holiday leaving the next morning from Birmingham, to go to the Canary Islands. I would probably have chosen anywhere else but here, and to tell you what an exciting time I am having, I have spent most of this, my third night here, typing this. They at least let me onto the plane, which was my first criteria after the fiasco the day before.

I am getting some good exercise here, walking and in the gym. Not as much fun as snorkelling, but the weather is perfect – 80 degrees or so every day and cloudless, so that works for me.

More of this and my exploits later in the week……

The Fairfield Horseshoe, nearly…

So we are here in the Lake District! I honestly thought I’d never make it.

Firstly the last week has been horribly hectic and I have been away in London (work) for four days. Therefore, just keeping up with life, the universe and everything is about as much as I can manage – being a reasonably newly single person these days is taking it’s toll! Secondly, the weather is utterly atrocious, yes even for the Lake District.

Before I left yesterday the forecast said that we could expect “the biggest storm of the year” with torrential rain and winds of 70-80mph. Perhaps not the day to tackle Striding Edge then! But I was undeterred by any of this, and I have been looking forward to it incredibly. Me and my daughter are away for the weekend together for the first time – I will be happy regardless of anything you want to throw at me.

I didn’t however bargain on the road conditions. Now the Lakes from where I live is about 250 miles or so, and should take around 4 hours with no traffic. Alllowing for picking up Becca along the way (and that it is a Friday evening) this should still mean that if I set off at about 3.30 then I should be there comfortably for 8.30-ish. Time for a bite to eat, and a pint of something nice in my favourite pub, The Golden Rule then. Wrong! As I set off in my very unpractical (for the conditions, in fact for most things) car, the rain is horrible. Nasty, wet rain it is. Then there is an accident, then there is another, and just to get onto the motorway (should be 20 minutes) takes an hour and a half. I ring the traffic update service and am told that there is another hour and half delay on the motorway due to a four car pile-up, and decide that this is almost doomed already. I therefore take a detour cross country to try to get to the M1 from the M40, and then there is another accident – a lorry has overturned in the high winds – the road ahead is closed! So to cut a long story short, three hours after I leave I am actually further away than when I started! Oh yes, and it is Friday 13th!

After a while I seriously consider turning round and heading home. I tell myself however how much I want this weekend, and what a ridiculous waste it would be to drive for four five hours just to get back where you started from and put those thoughts out of my head. I shall cut an even longer story short, and tell you that I got to pick Becca up at about 8pm, and we get to the Lakes shortly after 11pm. The rest of the journey actually wasn’t too bad – the winds were really strong and when we eventually got to the Lakes there was an awful lot of standing water on the roads, and I was so tired by that time, but we made it and that is all that matters.

So straight to bed then! No Golden Rule, no dinner (actually a snatched sausage roll and a bag of Minstrels from a motorway service station when I stopped for petrol), and not even a drink of any kind (which is let’s just say a shock to the system for my body, but I suppose I will have to get used to that by the time Kili comes around).

I woke up on Saturday morning way too early (where is my headache?:)), and half expecting to see blue skies, views of the fells and smell that lovely clear Lakeland autumn air. Who am I kidding? The clouds are so thick that you can just about see across the street, the rain is stotting (good old North eastern term that one) off the pavements, and we could be in Burnley for all I know.

Anyway, after a hearty and very tasty breakfast we asked the landlord as to what he reckoned the weather would like on Fairfield today. He said, very very straight faced, “do you have a map and a compass?”. I said I had neither, and he gave me one of those “mmmmmm, I can’t recommend this to you, because if you die up there it’ll be my fault” sort of looks. Or that is what it looked like anyway. So after going to buy a map (a compass I decided is beyond me if I am in blanket cloud, I’ll just get on my hands and knees or something and hope for the best), and stocking up on Mars Bars, sandwiches and water etc., we duly headed for the hills.

So the route was the Fairfield Horseshoe, an outline map of which is below:


Fairfield Horseshoe thumb

We decided to do the route clockwise, starting up the western flank, but by the time we had been walking a mile or so I realised that I was slightly lost (so much for the map then), and was off even the eastern flank by a good few hundred yards. This made it interesting, as it meant we were above a very full flowing beck, or stream, which is on the far right of the map above. The water was coming down in torrents:

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This also meant (I found out afterwards) that this would add another 900ft of ascent and about a mile and half to the walk – which at 10 miles and 3,500ft of ascent was already going to be a challenge – oh well, in for a penny….

So my main concern for the day (apart from not getting lost and drowned and swept away by 65mph winds and keeping Becca safe (which should be the other way round I reckon:)) was whether my feet would hold up! My new boots were being christened after all!

As we led our way up the path out of Ambleside the weather sort of calmed down, and it became almost warm. This was obviously (as it would later prove) to lull us into a false sense of security. So here is me at the start – note my nice new ‘waterproof’ jacket:

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And this is the path at the start out of the village of Ambleside itself:

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Which looking back to the village looks like this:

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And so we tracked on for a while and were rewarded by some quite nice, and indeed better than expected views back down towards Ambleside and also Rydal Water:

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The hills are alive.......

That is Becca towards Ambleside, and here is a shot of Rydal Water:

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Rydal Water

After a mile or two it started to rain, but we didn’t mind much. Here is a picture as we sort of reach the start of the horseshoe – the ridge in the distance over my left shoulder is the start of the Western flank of the horseshoe, and the lower ridge over my left shoulder is the start of the Eastern ridge, showing you how much we missed it by!

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The rain cometh...

So after this bit the path opens out and we were headed for the start of the ridges and peaks themselves. The rocky bit at the top of the picture below is the bit which you cab see on the map earlier in this section below Low Pike, so it will probably be at about 1200ft or so:

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Move out of my way, I am coming through....

Becca and I were the only ones on the path. In fact in about five hours altogether, we saw I think three other people all day – perhaps they had read the weather forecast…..

The next picture is of Low Pike in the foreground, with High Pike in the background. High pike is at about 2,000 feet, and you can see how wet the path was getting. We know now why this area is called the Lake Dictrict – these fells are there to make the lakes!

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Low Pike and High Pike...

The looking from here to the west is a better view of Rydal Water, showing that we had climbed a fair way already:

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High Pike was a good ‘pull’, pretty steep in places, and with water running at you from every direction (up as well as down) it was a challenge. It is 2,155ft (or 656m) and here is a view looking back towards Low Pike. You can see how the weather was starting to really close in on us:

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From the top of High Pike - the weather beckons...

As we then turned from High Pike towards Dove Crag, we were then into the clouds, and it started closing in on us. This is about as far as we could see, and I think my camera could see more than me:

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There may be trouble ahead.....

It was at this point that I was glad that the wall was there, for it was becoming obvious that we were not going to see the summit, even if we stumbled upon it, as the rain started to lash us, and the wind began to really blow hard, hail and all sorts were coming at us. This is my brave face:

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"Where did you say the pub is the pub again?....."

Shortly after this we made to Dove Crag, at 2,600ft the 47th highest mountain in England apparently. Had we made it to Fairfield, we would have been only 260ft higher, on the 17th highest mountain, but this here was going to be the end of our upward travels. The wind now was gale force, the rain and sleet in our eyes, it was freezing, my map had turned into a ball of mush, and we could not see a thing at all. Apart from that it was plain sailing up there! We had no choice but to turn round and head back the way we came. There was literally no other choice to make – to go on would have been reckless at best, especially as the time was already past 1pm, we were not halfway, and had probably only three hours of daylight left.

Coming down was very hard going at first. As we had gone up the wind was at our backs, but now it was straight in our faces, and blowing furiously. Thankfully it was not long before we had made it past Low Pike again, and from there the worst of it was over. In fact from there the wind just dropped suddenly, and the walk down from there was much calmer, to the point when we got back to Ambleside it had almost stopped altogether. Here is a shot on the way down:

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Heading the right way this time, i.e. down!


There was nearly a nasty moment on the way down, as Becca lost her footing on a slippery steep part, and did what she later called a “sonic happy slappy death slide” (or something like that – I am sure she will correct me later). Anyway she did go about twenty feet, and ended up putting a hole in her waterproofs:

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Apparently rocks are sharper than plastic....

As we got back to close to the bottom we stopped for a quick breather by a bridge – you can see how much of a torrent the stream is, and also you might notice that I am holding on to the fence as my legs are a bit wobbly after doing 9 miles for the first time in ages – the smile is in fact a grimace!

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"..So how far is the pub now?..."

So as we got to approach Ambleside it was very much calmer, and the clouds started lifting again:

I can almost taste the beer from here....


So shortly after this we got back to base. Tired and happy, (very) wet and happy. I was really pleased for one thing, in that my new boots held up brilliantly. It wasn’t perhaps the most sensible thing to break in an entirely new pair of pretty stiff walking boots for the first time on a nine mile walk up Fairfield in a gale and the rain, but hey were outstanding. Despite being in water several times up to three quarters of the way up my boots, my feet were bone dry, and more importantly blister free.

A lot lot more importantly than this was that me and Becca did our first big walk together, just me and her. There have been lots of other walks in lots of places, but this was the first one just the two of us. It was the first weekend away together that we had had just me and her. We had a great time, and it was perfect in every way.

So we didn’t make it all the way round the Fairfield Horshoe. So we got soaked. Does that matter? Not a bit of it. It was all part of the adventure, the experience, and for me the togetherness.

We both vowed to do it again, and that is a certainty. No matter how many walks I go on though, wherever they are, and whoever they are with, they may never be as special as this one.

So thank you Becca – for making your old Dad very proud, and ridiculously happy. I love you.






The Lake District Beckons…

So my daughter and I are talking on Skype the other day as she has recently finished her Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award, for which I should say here a hearty “well done”. I am slightly guilty of not knowing exactly all that she went through to get it completed, but I know it was really hard work. I intend to talk about it with her a lot next weekend, as she and I are going to spend our first ever weekend with ‘only’ each other, i.e. just her and me and nobody else – how exciting is that?

The Skype conversation basically went as follows: {Becca} “Dad – will you take me up to the Lake District?” {Me} “Yes!!!” I should put this in context and tell you why I mention this here as I have. For the last 16 years she has almost never asked me for anything, even when prompted. Every Christmas it is usually “what would you like for Christmas?” followed by “Umm, I don’t know…”, then birthdays “Umm, I don’t know”, and when we are in a restaurant the question “what would you like to eat?” is almost invariably followed by the same answer. Now some Dads would find this frustrating, but as I know she gets it from me (I am as indecisive as all get up) then I really don’t complain or mind. So given the fact that she actually came and asked me for something must mean she really wants it, so how could I say no? I have to say that I wouldn’t have even considered saying no for a whole host of reasons, the most important one being that I love her with all of my heart, and therefore to spend a whole weekend just me and her is like a dream come true.

Plus she wants to go walking in the fells! I think I said in a previous post that I dearly wanted to get back up to the Lakes after some years in the wilderness, plus I haven’t actually put my new boots on yet, despite having bought them over 6 weeks ago, and so this is the best excuse that I could get to go and christen them.

Now the Lake District, for all of you that know it, is most certainly known for its weather. It certainly gets lots of it. Walk past any typical touristy shop in the Lakes with postcards outside, and you will see the ubiquitous postcard entitled “summer in the lakes” and the front of the card will be just plain black. In fact here is a statistic that I just found when googling:

“..The Lake District is England’s wettest region. This is because of its location on the north western coast of England and the mountainous geography of the region. The average annual rainfall for the Lake District is more than 2,000 mm; there is, however, a great local variation with some areas of the region receiving considerably more rainfall than others. For example Seathwaite in Borrowdale receives on average of 3,300 mm of rainfall a year, making it the wettest inhabited town in the United Kingdom; whereas Keswick situated at the end of Borrowdale receives 1,470 mm of rainfall every year; and Penrith receives only 870 mm annual rainfall.

Sprinkling Tarn is the wettest area of the Lake District and receives over 5,000 mm of rainfall every year. The wettest months of the year are October through January and the driest are March through June, but the low level areas show little difference in rainfall between months…”

OK, so we are going to get wet it seems, but I don’t really mind – you sort of get to accept it there. We are going to stay in Ambleside, which is my favourite place in the Lakes. It also contains my favourite pub in the whole world, The Golden Rule, of which more in a subsequent post. Oh and the Lakes has many other things that I love – one of which is my favourite shop (which sells my favourite thing to eat:)):

Anyone who has ever had Sarah Nelson’s gingerbread (actually with only one exception that I know of personally) just wolfs it down and cannot get enough of the stuff – I absolutely love it. Seems my son does too, as he made a point of asking me to bring some back for him, and he was probably 7 years old the last time he was there as far as I can remember, and is now 18.

Oh and then there is my favourite artist – Alfred Heaton Cooper. His family (there are several of the Heaton Coopers) studio is in Grasmere, which I also love. Here is the website:

In fact if you look at the first page there there is a picture in the middle of the screen of Ullswater (which happens to be my favourite Lake:)), and that same picture has been in my possession for as long as I can possibly remember.

So anyway, enough of my ramblings for now – I will save more on the Lakes for another day. The trip is booked, we will be there next weekend. The question is which walk to take? I think that perhaps the Fairfield Horseshoe awaits. Or maybe we should do Hellvelyn, or the Langdale Pikes, or Scafell? In fact, Ummm, I don’t really know………:)