Sunday, April 10, 2005

Going North 

It’s going to be quiet (okay, even quieter – I don’t exactly make a lot of noise) around here for a bit. I’ll be off into the hills of the English Lake District tomorrow for a few days much-needed break away from it all, camping at a beautiful spot at the head of Wasdale, at a site run by the National Trust. According to the website, "Camping at Wasdale … is the ultimate escape from modern day living". I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, but it is quite remote; the site lies near the end of a quiet road that runs along beside Wastwater - the deepest lake in the UK - up to the head of the valley, so there’s no passing traffic. Half a mile further on at the very end of the road, Wasdale Head is a hamlet with just a handful of buildings; beyond that, footpaths leading steeply upwards are the only way onwards, and fell-tops are the only destination. I’ll be very happy to abandon the car for a couple of days and rely on more traditional means of locomotion.

It’ll only be a short break – my two lads are coming with me, and the only way we could get all three diaries to coordinate was to limit the trip to four days: one spent travelling there, two for walking in the hills, and one coming back. It worries me a little that with such a flying visit I’ll be so intent on making the most of the time that I wont stop rushing around; wont allow time to relax and allow peace and serenity to soak in. Maybe awareness of that risk will help to defuse it. I had a taste of the slower pace that prevails there a moment ago when I rang the warden to confirm that the site is open. I expected a simple “Yes” - the polite but hurried response of someone anxious to close the conversation, forever under pressure of too much to do. But instead, he seemed in no hurry and opened a conversation about weather prospects.

Talking of which, there could be other things soaking in – the weather forecast suggests that the question isn’t whether it will rain, but when and how much. That’s hardly surprising given that we’ll only be a few miles from Seathwaite, supposedly the wettest place in England. And with near-freezing strong to gale force winds potentially on the agenda for the hilltops, there may not be much meteorological peace or serenity either. But that’s all part and parcel of hillwalking in the UK, whatever the season.

See y'all in a while - I’ll back on Thursday, probably physically exhausted but hopefully also spiritually replenished. If the view that awaits us when we emerge from our tent looks like it did last time we stayed there, there’ll be a good chance of the latter:

Back to current posts