Thursday, 29 September 2011

Freshly pressed walking trousers.

No, not what I'm wearing, but something that bothers me when I see it on the fells.  I suppose I should confess at this point that there are things in my wardrobe which I haven't worn for over a year because I can't be bothered to iron them.  I don't do ironing.  I am to ironing what Richard Dawkins is to bible study.  That said, I admire well turned out people and wish, on occasion, that I could be a little better groomed, but it's just not in my nature.  I am happiest with my hair hauled into pigtails, careering around the fells in my most practical attire and generally looking like something the cat dragged in,  which possibly explains why I find immaculate and freshly pressed walking trousers so intimidating.

My stylish over trousers.
I understand that people want to look their best on occasion, but is hiking on a fell really one of those occasions?  We passed a lady near Wast Water last week who looked as if she'd just stepped out of the pages of a hiking goods magazine, everything was immaculate, trousers freshly pressed and make-up fully applied.  Do these people never sweat?  Never step in a puddle?  Have they never dropped a lump of scotch egg down their pristine t-shirts or splashed their well earned flask of tea?  Whilst I loathe ironing myself, I can understand why people press clothes for the office, or for parties, but walking trousers? Is there a whole singles scene going on out there that I'm oblivious to?

Not that we ever see that many women anyway, certainly not on the more challenging hikes.  We bump into the odd one or two up there with their partners and whilst we've seen many all male walking groups, we've not yet found their female equivalent.  I have to confess I do chuckle at the ones who are being hauled up the smaller fells by their well meaning partners when it's clearly the last place on earth they want to be.  Usually with perfect nails and spectacularly trendy but utterly useless gear on, they huff, puff and moan their way up. 

What's not sexy about this?
Last year we saw a woman near the top of Cat Bells who simply sat down and refused point blank to budge another inch.  Maybe they'd rather get their exercise inside an airconditioned gym than in the great outdoors, though why anyone would prefer pounding away on a running machine inside an expensive, smelly, gym crammed with several dozen other people, as opposed to scampering around the fells is beyond me. 

We've been busy this week planning our route up Blencathra which we hope to tackle some time over the next few days.  We're planning to go up via Sharp Edge which I've heard is a bit of a challenge and quite scary in places, but we've done Striding Edge and Swirral Edge in the past (on the same day!) so I reckon I can make it.  It strikes me as the sort of hike that should only really be attempted with good weather conditions so we're taking advantage of our Indian Summer to get the climb in before the autumn realises it's mistake and finally arrives. 

Having just Googled the phrase "Indian Summer" to see where it came from, I notice that it's most likely origin is from the native American Indians hunting prey lured out by the unseasonally warm weather.  Hmmm, a hunting season, maybe we should expect to see more immaculately turned out women this weekend, lying in wait in their freshly pressed trousers, ready to pounce on the first unsuspecting lone male to wander past.  Looks like I'd best keep my eye on Steve then in case he decides to trade in his crumpled, muddy, egg and tea covered banshee for something a little more sophisticated.