Wednesday, July 19, 2006



The ‘big stuff’ Alec had promised we were doing the next day wasn’t the only thing that had me tossing and turning that night.  I wondered how Jamie was coping; there was no sign of him returning and time was running out.  As soon as we knew about Jamie’s grand-father’s death I had written to my parents to beg them to let me bring Jamie home after the Lakes, for the couple of days I had before returning to hospital.  The difficulty was that that was precisely when it was Wakes week
And – as surely as day follows night – when they themselves would be going on holiday.  Even after my parents had retired they stuck rigidly to these dates – possibly because then, the valley became like a valley of death.

Of course my parents would never agree to us staying in the house alone {Gran was in the States visiting Auntie Janet) so I wrote to Maddie, who was at the aunts, to ask if she would come home to chaperone us.  It seemed so cruel that we should be separated at this special time

And then there was Andrew.  These last few days everything had become crystal clear
And I had to tell him.  But I couldn’t just write a ‘dear John’ letter
I had to tell him in person and I dreaded it.

Before we left the hostel I asked the warden to please be sure he posted the letter to Jamie and then concentrated on what Alec had in store for us.  We went over Brandreth and Green Gable and then Great Gable and Alec showed us how to scree run down Great Gable (see photo July 4th).  It really was awesome but we trusted Alec implicitly; you were really using the mountain as an escalator –  and digging your heels in and the zigzagging from side to side, more or less ensured you didn’t go hurtling off  the mountain.  Now it is considered a danger to the environment and is banned in some countries. (Guyana-Gyal pointed out that it could be considered dangerous to the perpetrator)

There is a memorial on Great Gable to twenty four members of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club of the English Lake District who died in WW1 and a service is held there every year on Remembrance Sunday,

Then there was Black Sail Pass where we met up with, by now, familiar hostellers who told us they had seen Ben on Great Gable – having a snack as usual and no hint of how he had got his portly frame there.  Somehow we found the energy to race up Scarth Gap and then dropped down into Buttermere (not literally) going very fast.  Buttermere is an enchanting little lake; we had seen so much beauty in one day that it would surely help us to survive the rest of the year in the Manchester environs.
Alec was frightfully pleased with us and when we found a welcoming farm for tea happiness reigned.  We ate lashings of bread, butter and jam followed by scones and then a nice old man gave us his.  We walked swiftly over Buttermere singing and all but fainting by the wayside.  When we reached the hostel, which had the nicest wardens yet, Alec told me all we had done so I could copy it in my diary whilst we waited for supper.  After an overcast day the sun came out at night.  Slept like tops!


R. Sherman said...

BTW, I meant to ask you about the photo posted earlier of you and your friend in skirts.

You weren't hiking and climbing in that, were you?

If so, you'll become an illustration in my upcoming "How To" entitled, "Bad Clothing Choices In The Outdoors."


Cheers, dear.

PI said...

I'm glad you mentioned that Randall as I've been dying to say that the great wodge over my hip is skirt material - not me. From my list of things in my rucksack I did have shorts but a soft woollen skirt was quite practical - plenty of freedom, both warm and airy and so much easier for comfort stops. We didn't really go in for trousers. Ladies you see! Also running down hill very fast it has a parachute effect. Now Ginny's - I agree is too atraight.

Guyana-Gyal said...

What is it about hot bread with butter melting...mmmm...

Gosh, you had a lovely youth.

PI said...

GG: somehow Flora and brown bread just doesn't do it.