Planning: Is there anything to beat the anticipation of planning a good long hike? Pouring over maps (and couple of glasses of wine) and debating the pros and cons of each route? Perhaps checking out what others have done before and then arguing the toss before settling on a route that you may well change again at the last minute.
|The real reason they make waterproof maps.|
Preparation: Getting up early to make the sarnies and the flasks whilst gleefully stuffing chocolate into the rucksacks. Covering the maps with toast crumbs as you double check everything before heading off. Even last minute cries of "darling, where did you put my woolly hat?" fail to dampen the spirits. Double checking the weather reports even though you know they will bear little resemblance to reality...
Starting out: Nabbing a parking space and finally starting off. I love this bit as I know in my mind that several hours later I'll be returning to this very spot with a head full of wonderful memories. The first sight of the fell for the day and slowly settling into your stride.
|The view along Ennerdale|
|Elevenses. Essential on any hiking trip.|
|River Liza. Beautifully clear.|
|Hard to get to but worth every single step.|
And then there's the game of "name the fell" as you try to identify the many fells disappearing away into the distance.
|"But if that one's Haystacks then that MUST be Fleetwith Pike"|
The summit! You've made it, you've reached the summit! Often at exactly the same time as the mist... But don't worry, it won't last long, will it?
|Summit of Pillar|
|Haycock emerging from the mist.|
The walk back to the car: The flasks are empty, your feet are sore, assorted limbs are aching, your head is stuffed full of wonderful new memories and the topic of conversation flits between your favourite part of the day and just how large a portion of chips you're planning to demolish. Carling don't make days on the fells, but if they did...