"Oh damn," said Julia Hedge, "why didn't they leave room for an Eliot or a Bronte?"
Wednesday, 18 September 2013
Waterworld. . .
Last Sunday was the day when I felt I had truly become a proper British walker.
There was no ambiguity about the weather forecast. Heavy rain and gusty winds were called for and we were headed for the Lake District where every puff and drop is magnified. I could have stayed at home with my knitting and book and a nice pot of tea, but no - I chose to go walking! And I actually enjoyed myself even though, sure enough, it was pouring when we got off the coach in Torver, a tiny village not far from Coniston. This was a part of the Lakes that I hadn't visited before and I'm really glad I went because I definitely want to return. We had to cut the walk short because of the weather and we had to abort any attempts to climb up Old Man Coniston because the wind was just too strong. We were hanging onto rocks in a blustery gale and we weren't even half way up.
This walk was all about water. The water that seeped into the leak in my boots about ten minutes into the hike leaving me with soggy socks for four hours. The water that the wind blew down all of our necks and into our waterproofs so that everyone in the group - despite being prepared with all the gear - was thoroughly drenched by the end. The water that made the paths (fortunately very good and not slippery or muddy) like mini-rivers. And the gorgeous water that cascaded powerfully over the landscape in every direction, both vertically and horizontally.
Unlike my last sodden walk in Wales where it was so misty that I couldn't see more than a few feet in front of me, I could actually see the outlines of most of the hills surrounding us and this makes all the difference when the weather is so nasty. You can't beat the camaraderie of a group of soaked walkers trying to find a decent place to have lunch.
As luck would have it, of course the sun came out just as we were approaching Coniston, having had to cut our walk by about two hours.
But without the rain, you wouldn't have rainbows.
A quick visit to St. Andrew's church to see John Ruskin's grave (he lived not far from here) and back on the coach for the drive home through the scenery, now in all its visible and sunny glory.
And yes, I'd go again. I'm a true British walker now.