Saturday, 15 December 2007

early footsteps

Well, I just had to do it. Ater months off the hill, complications with surgery and slow recovery time. Doubts where starting to creep in, was I still up for it? Was the old enthusiasm still there? Could I still manage? Ignoring a lousy weather forecast I headed mid week for the lakes. As much as I dislike campsites, there are times when prudence prevails. My intention was to head in to Stonethwaite, the campsite allowed winter pitches. However, on arrival, it was closed, the first time I had known it to do that. I was to find out later others had been caught out to.
this was not good, light was fading fast, it was wet and finding somewhere to wild camp was going to be tricky. In the end I managed, with some difficulty and just about in the last gasp of light. Tent up, rain hammering down and wind rising. Not to worry, I was snug in my sleeping bag. Later that night it became obvious all was not well. My theramrest had sprung a leak and left me with little in the way of isulation underneath. Not good. Next morning I headed up Langstrath. Carrying tent and all the other bits had not been my original intention. It had just been my plan to get a few miles in. With the rain still hammering down the scenery was awsome. Foaming torrents hurtling down the hillsides in cascading white ribbons. The river, swollen and in spate with thundering waterfalls roared down the valley. It had been crossing my mind about heading up to Styehead. However, looking at the last pull up on to the ridge and the fact that it would involve a tricky river crossing, I did an about turn and ambled down again. Content really just to amble. heading back through Stonethwaite my main concern was where on earth I was going to pitch for the night. Eventually, somewhere opposite Rosthwaite, half way up a hillside I found a spot that would have to do. My energy levels had run out and just had to stop, also the light was fading. It was flattish and out of the way. the downside was that it was right next to a gully, the tent sat less than a foot from the edge. The rain actually increased during the night and the temperature dropped too. It was quite something lying there listening to boulders being tumbled down the roaring beck. Next moring I was heading out for Keswick.There are some pleasant walks down the valley, however, after ages of paddling through floods and mud I eventually took to the road. A couple gave me a startled look as I amerged the other side of Grange, mud spattered and dishevelled. A few weeks previously some new shoes had caused blisters and now I was having problems with a deep seated sore spot. Things not helped by wearing a heavier pair of boots. My winter boots have had little wear and I thought given the conditions they may be the better option. bad mistake. By the time I reached Keswick I was done, totally knackered to put it bluntly. heading south on the train I tried to doze but the train was too busy. On reaching london I found that I had seized up totally and had to wait until the carriage was almost empty befor moving/shuffling off. it is good to see the old insanity has not been quelled. My next party piece is even more crazy.

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