Tuesday, September 18, 2018


We've just come back from a long weekend in the (English) Lake District with our walking friends. On the first day, our friend Brian suggested that we climb Catbells. The internet tells you that it's an easy climb, suitable for the whole family from grannies to infants.


It kind of depends on the grannies. And an infant who was destined to become an Olympic athlete might have coped well.

Catbells isn't that high - 1480 feet - but it's often steep, and at the top there are quite a few scrambly bits that require somewhat longer legs than some of us possess. You know when you have to put one leg up at full stretch, and then you have to push off with the lower leg, with no handholds on the smooth, slippery rock face? Hmm, yes. Fortunately, there were some helpful chaps in the party who did a bit of pushing and pulling and we all got there. It was not always dignified. True enough, we almost all were actually grannies (and grandpas) and we all made it, but it wasn't exactly a gentle stroll.

This bit was fine, though we'd been climbing for quite a while at this point (puff puff) and yes, that's the false summit of Catbells in the middle of the picture. The actual summit was cruelly hiding behind it.

(Puff puff).

You get some idea from this how far we'd come from the fields down below. I don't have photos of the hardest bits which come next, since I was too busy trying not to fall backwards on to rock at that point.

At the top were lots of other people, mostly at least thirty years younger than us. There was a sudden cheer from another group - a chap had just proposed to his girlfriend and she'd accepted! They then produced champagne. It was just as well that she said yes: it would have been a dismal walk down if she hadn't.

And talking about the downward journey - in some ways it was harder. We descended on the other side, which was much less steep - but still quite steep. After an hour of bending your knees to go down and down you're aware that they're not as young as they used to be.

But the views were lovely and we all enjoyed it, especially in retrospect.

The following day we decided on a less hilly walk, round Loweswater. In fact it again turned out to be slightly more climby than we'd thought - though nothing in comparison to Catbells.

You can see that we've ascended quite a bit here, but it was much easier walking.

Again, the views were spectacular.

Both walks were about six miles on the map, but some of them were considerably less horizontal than others so it felt a lot further.

And then, the next day...


  1. That looks absolutely wonderful (and makes my 8 mile meander along the Tweed at the weekend look positively pathetic by comparison!) I notice that some of your party use walking poles - do they find them helpful? I am considering investing in a pair to help my increasingly dodgy knees on hills (both going up and even more so coming down) and wonder if other walkers would recommend.....

  2. These are stunning photos! It makes me want to go to that area (while my knees are in relatively decent shape), although I don't care for heights. Great job on the walk, er, climb!

  3. Wonderful scenery (I'm in the Lakes at the weekend for a yoga retreat) and well done all the climbing and walking. I certainly couldn't have managed it with my degenerated foot bones. And I'd be anxious about the absence of, erm, facilities.

  4. The local hills sre enough for me. Husband goes straight up from just across the road from us. I can do the up but my knees aren't up to the coming down. So I cheat and go along the side. Once you get to the ridge it undulates quite a lot but the paths aren't so slippery. I think poles might be a great help.

  5. Glorious views, but such walks are not for me at all! I rather did in my own knees (the last straw) with two days of hiking in the alps in 1998....

  6. I do know what you mean. It's the knees on the way down. I do a very slightly testing uphill walk quite regularly and it doesn't get any easier, especially with the skidding stones underfoot. I adopt a crab like method but I think it's poles next. I have become brazen about the absence of facilities and adept at finding concealment but it does rather rule out walking in a group.

  7. {Sigh}. I just want to chuck it all and move to Scotland and be in your walking group. I'd be in Heaven. Do they take visitors??? (Although, I might miss the new babies -- Oh, what to do, what to do...)

    1. Oh yes, we do take visitors. Come! (Mind you, this was England. But still lovely.)

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