Sunday, 10 September 2017

Spirit Trail Day 9 - Going our separate ways

Don't worry - we haven't had a major falling
out - it's just that today I took one route to Keswick and Karen took another.

We've always said that this trail should be a hike for those who want to hike but for those that don't there are buses, boats and Twizzies (more of these tomorrow!) Today the weather forecast was foul so Karen (who doesn't enjoy hiking in the rain) gallantly offered to check out the bus route while Beth (who is clearly unhinged and thought a 13 mile hike in the rain would be a "fun adventure") yomped the whole way from Grasmere to Keswick.

I was driven by 2 main things - firstly I knew the route would pass 4 of my favourite viewpoints in Cumbria (Thirlmere, Surprise View, Ashness Bridge and Friar's Crag). Secondly I have a very odd desire to remind myself what it was like for folks "back in the day" - when "hiking" wasn't a thing but "walking over the fells whatever the weather" was.  I am strangely fascinated by it - today the weather was inescapably vile but I was snug warm and dry in my Aku boots, Montaine waterproof, Arcteryx down jacket, Berghaus "legs" and Sealskinz gloves - I can't even imagine how challenging it would have been for folks in basic animal skins and rough wool clothes braving the fells to sell produce in a neighbouring village or bury their dead (I love a good coffin trail too!)


Surprise View

Ashness Bridge

Friars Crag
I also decided that we have been lied to about the origins of the word "fell".  History books insist it goes back to the vikings but I disagree.  Having landed on my backside twice on the descent to Wantendlath (if you've done it, you know the part I mean) and skidded/ glisaded along for 100m or so I reckon the word "fell" derives from the verb not the noun.

Descent to Wantendlath
Picture the scene: Cumbria circa 1100 - a man in an ancient village sees his friend arriving after a long walk over the hill, but he's looking a little dishevelled. "What on earth happened?" he asks. "Fell" replies his friend, gesturing to the hill behind him. I rest my case.

The plus side of the foul weather was that I got to see some beautiful rainbows and Ashness Bridge was deserted!

Rainbow over Blea Tarn
When I finally squelched into Keswick I headed straight for my fab friends at Keswick Boot Company who immediately sat me down & bought me a coffee (Alex, you are a SAINT!). I also drooled a little over the new Aku boots they had in but was too tired to even try them on.  I'll definitely be back! (I'm wearing Aku boots from Keswick Boot Co for this trip & they've kept my feet toasty warm & dry!)

Click here to visit Keswick Boot Co site
I also got to pick up a couple of fab mementoes which the Twig Pen People had made for us - I adore their pens & keyrings and knew they'd be the perfect reminder of this wonderful trip.

Click here to visit their website

"Where's the gin today?" I hear you cry? Well, no distilleries visited today but I did buy a small bottle of Lakes Distillery Damson Gin to help ease my aching bones. I also took a couple of pain killers so, if I don't finish this blog very soon, things could get interesting. And that's another thing about our ancestors - imagine hiking in the days before ibuprofen and codeine? Scary stuff!

You know what's coming next but PLEASE, if you haven't done so already, spare a moment to "like" and "follow" our supporters. They had faith in us when this was nothing more than a mad idea. 😀

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