Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Life in the sloe lane.

View from the train
You may have noticed a distinct lack of hiking blogs over recent months - this is mainly due to the fact I've had a spectacularly busy summer working as well, of course, of all my Glasgow shenanigans.

View from the station
Wonderful though it's all been so far as paying the mortgage is concerned, I've not been doing very well from a "new and better balanced life" standpoint.  Days have been a blur of train journeys up and down the country tapping  away on my laptop to meet another print deadline.  Fair to say I've been getting my hiking kicks vicariously via Steve who is still doing really well on his 214 fells in 214 days adventure (he's behind on the blog as he's using all the good weather days to get up the hills).

Just one reason to visit Morecambe Bay
Things have thankfully slowed a little over the past couple of weeks allowing me to take stock.  I've made a couple of big decisions - I turned down a big contract working overseas as although it would have been gloriously well paid, it would have taken me away from home far too much.  It's no good having values unless you're going to stick to them.  I've also trimmed some other work out which didn't tie in to the work life balance principle.  I'm still questioning my sanity a little, but I know deep down it was exactly the right thing to do.

So what have I been doing instead?  Well I've been getting more involved with the group promoting Morecambe Bay as a tourist destination, taking the time to walk to appointments instead of just jumping on a bus or taking the car and yes, finally getting a bit of hiking in.

Morecambe Bay Sunset

Morecambe Moonrise

Funny how no one walks these days - not like they used to.  With more and more cars on the road the emphasis is always on how fast you can get there rather than enjoying the journey.  I had a meeting at the Lancaster House Hotel last week and though I could have taken a bus from the city centre, I decided to walk instead.  The few miles there along the A6 weren't the most picturesque, but when the meeting was over I took the pretty way back along the canal - took a lot longer than driving, but I saw so much more.

Beautiful hedgerows

Lancaster Canal

Lancaster Canal

Then yesterday I finally got my hiking boots back on again.  Steve nabbed the car and was off conquering most of the Crinkle Crags range so I decided to explore more local paths and found a rather lovely route winding away from Grange, over the far side of Hampsfell and around the fields near Cartmel.  Utterly stunning and I didn't see another person until the end of the route back up by the hospice.

Finally back out hiking

Curious ramp

The views were glorious, the weather spectacular and the hedgerow laden with sloes.  I already have 2 litres of sloe gin on the go, plus a litre of damson gin and 4 jars of damson jam - but it seemed a sin to leave them there and the "scratched to ribbons arms" were a small price to pay.  But the very best part about it all was that I had the time to do it.  No rushing, no racing and no nagging worry at the back of my mind that I really should be getting a move on.

Ripe for the picking!

I've heard many people wondering where this year has gone, it's flown by so fast and how can it be September already?  But so did last year, and the year before that.  Before we know it we'll be old and grey and wondering how it all went by so quickly without us even noticing. You may question my sanity for turning down a big contract, I could have bought a lot of nice stuff with the money I made - but turning it down has bought me the one thing the contract never could - time - and for me that's more important than pretty much anything else.

Beautiful Morecambe Bay

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