Saturday 7th July 2018, 11.25am (day 2,508)
Hard to find much to complain about today, photographically or otherwise. And certainly no need to take further shots of toilets.
“Come on a walk up Scafell Pike, son. It’ll be fun. You can have the pleasure of attaining the highest point in England,” says I, a few weeks back. I’m sure there were points today when Joe cursed me for letting me talk him into this particular hike — particularly here on Ill Crag, one of the subsidiary peaks nearby, and the first outrageous excrescence of boulders into the journey. This picture can also be presented with the benefit of hindsight and knowing that in fact, there’s worse still to come before the summit — all 3,210 feet of it (978 metres) — is attained.
But he made it. And it was a beautiful day.
On a day of ideal walking weather, the Lake District was not a place to go to for the solitude — at least, not the parts of it that I hung out in, namely Great Langdale and the 2816 feet (858m) summit of Crinkle Crags, one of Wainwright’s “Top SIx Fells”. But I cannot begrudge anyone else their enjoyment of the fine conditions today. We are just the same, after all.
There was a time when I thought I would not get out on a Lake District walk in this Easter break but the weather seems to be relenting after the icebox that was March 2018. Today was dry and bright, but bloody windy. Still, the lambs are enjoying it, anyway. The mountain in the background is Skiddaw, at 3,053 feet the fourth-highest peak in England. If you would like to see more pictures from the day check out my other blog.
I also note that this is the 100th Lake District shot to appear on the blog.
Back in the foul summer of 2012, on 23rd August 2012 in fact, I pictured a walker up in the wilds south of Great Langdale with Pike o’Blisco in the background. Well, here is another walker, actually up on the summit of that fell; and as you can see, the weather was thankfully rather better today. (That is Wetherlam in the background.) I did speculate today about how many nice photos like this I might feature on, unknowingly.
I was keen to get out for some exercise today. It seemed also that I had duties, previously unsuspected, as an object of worship for the sheep of Cumbria — on two separate occasions a flock of them followed me for some minutes. It was like a game of ‘Mr Wolf’: when I turned around and looked at them they stopped — looking (appropriately) sheepish — but then returned to follow in my footsteps when I walked on. I kept telling them I had nothing to give them. Strangely, I don’t think they understood.
Commercial forestry is not inherently a bad thing: there are many beautiful and well-managed plantations in England. But there are prices to pay, and when you see a ravaged landscape like this one — well, it does make you realise that this is not nurtured land. More like arboreal strip-mining, take the products and leave a wasteland behind. In this mist it looks almost apocalyptic, like the zombies are just over the horizon. Maybe one day Treebeard will stomp out of the remaining woods, like he does in The Two Towers, and swear vengeance against the human despoilers.
I had a book to read for work. I read it today. Did I need to be in an office to do this? No, I didn’t.
There are actually two other people (who had the same idea as me) visible on this photo. While away a pleasant couple of minutes seeing if you can locate them.
And lo, in this very telephone box on the edge of the village of Bampton, Cumbria, Richard E Grant screamed his lines, “No, I’m not in London! Penrith….. PENRITH!” and ever since, mildly sad Withnail and I aficionados (like Joe and I) have visited to pay homage and write our names in a little visitor’s book inside. Well, it’s a beautiful part of the country too, and worth visiting.
Catching up after a two-day trip to the Lake District to give Joe something to do during this week’s half-term holiday. (And me, a break from work.) As we are both fans of the movie Withnail and I (who isn’t?), motivation and interest could be added to the walking by cheaply visiting a location or two. The first is here — what you see here is the gate that Withnail forgot to shut, thus leading to “I”‘s encounter with the bull. “Run at it, shouting!” “That can’t be right! Bastard’s about to run at ME!”