Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The terrible shame of getting lost.

Just taking photos of the view...
Recently I was enjoying a rather long low level solo hike around Millom - trust me, it's a lovely spot with some cracking views - when I arrived at a stile which was about 50 metres down the road from where it should have been.  I double checked my map and surveyed the area.  It looked as if the path used to run between some farm buildings but had since been diverted to go around them instead.  I was 99% sure of this fact until I spotted the farmer walking across the field looking in my direction, at which point I became massively self conscious and took a number of fake photos of the view until he was safely out of sight.

Is it a British thing?  Or perhaps it's just me.  If I'm out with Steve and we're having a difference of opinion about the route we hush right up if someone else comes along - especially if they're striding confidently in a "I come this way every day" kind of way.  We also tend to duck and scurry around farmhouses where we fear our confusion over the route may leave us open to ridicule, even though we know the path passes directly through the farm and they just haven't bothered to label it.  This usually results in us hiding behind a wall while we squint at our map ever more closely to figure out whether the path goes behind the second or third building from the right.

Sheep. Watching and silently judging...
I'm not averse to asking directions if I'm properly lost, but if I'm just a bit unsure there's a nagging worry at the back of my head that the other person will mock my woeful map reading abilities - I've seen folks on social media and they can be harsh.  What if they knew me?  The shame of a "I met that Cumbrian Rambler woman the other day and she didn't have a flipping clue where she was" comment.  We all make mistakes and we all get lost sometimes, that's just life, but why do we feel embarrassed about it?  (Or maybe it is just me?)

For the same reason I always get irked at "No Turning" signs on driveways - and I say this as someone who's driveway is a very popular turning spot.  I wonder if the owners of such places have never been lost and needed to turn around?  I can understand that they don't want their driveway blocked or damaged, but why not allow people to turn around and get back on the right route? Seems a bit rude to me.

Found by mistake
Sometimes there's a joy in getting lost - not in an irresponsible "help I'm stuck on a mountain and I've no idea what it's called as I haven't even brought a map with me" kind of a way - but in a "ooohhh - I thought we were on that path but we're not we're on this one and isn't that a lovely view?" kind of a way.  I've found some lovely places when I've got a little bit lost - hidden gardens behind churches in London, interesting sculptures climbing the walls in Manchester and, on this walk, a rather lovely bench with fantastic views down over Millom and out towards Barrow.

Excellent surprise bench!
I'm sure I'm not the only person who has discovered something new by getting a little bit lost so post your stories below and tell me all about it.  And if you happen to see me out and about looking a little bit bemused just give me a wide berth - I'm sure I'll get there in the end, I usually do.  😀

One place you can always get lost safely is in a good book!  (You see what I did there?)  Click the pic to find out more about our books & order yours.  😀

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Sunday, 21 January 2018

Gin with ice

One of the best things about doing the Spirit Trail walk with Karen last September is that I now get a lot of gin themed gifts and invites.  I acquired two spectacular bottles of small batch gin for Christmas (thank you Ruth and Phil) and earlier in the month an invite popped into my inbox to go and visit The Lakes Distillery to enjoy one of their "Ginuary" afternoon teas.  How could I refuse?  (Well, technically I did refuse the first time on account of the fact that I had a migraine and had to cancel our original booking - Steve knew I was really ill when I cancelled my date with gin!)

The Lake District looked magnificent as we wound our way through and obviously we had to stop to take a few photos.

Actually, we didn't even stop for this next photo, I just hung out of the window and managed to get a lucky shot.

Once at the distillery we were ushered into the Boardroom ready for the fun to begin.  First up we got to learn a bit about how they make their gin and sample the regular Lakes Gin, as well as the stronger Explorer Edition which was gloriously smooth and a lot more earthy.  ("I'm getting heather and herbs" said a voice at the back "I'm getting gin and I'm getting tipsy" I muttered to Steve.  Thankfully he was driving home.)

Apparently, in the good old days, gin and lime was served on ships to ward off scurvy and gin and tonic helps with ailments such as malaria and restless legs thanks to the quinine in the tonic. Technically I think the gin could be omitted from both those things with no detrimental effect to the health benefits, but why take that chance?

The food arrived next, accompanied by a Gin Sparkle cocktail - the food was fabulous although we did have a minor debate about which order to eat it in.  Whenever I'm presented with afternoon tea, or a buffet, I can still hear my mum telling me "no sweets until you've had your sandwiches!"

They made it all look so pretty and then we went and did this to it...

By now we were stuffed to the gills so took off on a short walk to admire the alpacas in the field between the Distillery and the Derwent.

This, of course, lead to an increasingly silly conversation in the car on the way home "if the farmer had decided on llamas instead of alpacas, would that have made him a llama farmer?"  Things rapidly deteriorated when I asked the question on Twitter - you can follow the silliness here

On the drive home and we both noticed how the nights are beginning to draw out again.- it's tempting to say "not long till summer" but I don't want to wish the year away.  Plus in the summer there'll be a lot less chance of snow.  Not zero chance, of course, this is still Cumbria.

The Ginary afternoon teas are only available in January but The Lakes Distillery Bistro is open all year - find out more and make your booking here.

NEVER MIND GIN AND TONIC - what about Gin and a Good Book?  Click the pic to find out more about our books & order yours.  😀

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FINALLY - here's the earworm I've had running around my head ever since we booked this trip - I'm not saying it's responsible for my earlier migraine but it certainly didn't help! 😁