Before I post about my trip to the Lake District, and add some photos, here is something about how different the experience was for me.
I have known my friend Antony for a very long time. We used to work together in the same Ambulance Station in London, so share the unique experience of emergency work in a crowded and hostile environment. Some years later he left the city and moved to the Lake District, where he lived for three years. He has always been energetic and fit, and embraced hill-walking, mountain climbing, cycling, and many other outdoor pursuits. For my part, I was embracing politics, red wine drinking, and eating in London’s amazing choice of restaurants.
A few years later, he returned to London and I suggested a job where I was working at the time, with the Metropolitan Police. He eventually became my partner in a police control room, where he still works to this day. He continued to be interested in all manner of sporting and challenging activities, and I continued my love of fine dining and fine drinking.We remained good friends, albeit with very different hobbies, and totally opposite outlooks on life.
When I retired and moved to Norfolk in 2012, he came to visit me some time later. We walked along the Norfolk Coast path to Brancaster, and he was impressed with my new found levels of activity, and outdoor interests. Although he is twelve years younger than me, our similar experiences and attitudes have always ensured that we would be like-minded, in most things. He suggested that we could go to Cumbria, and visit the western lakes. I was surprised, and sure that I would never manage the hills, or the difficult walks, so declined. He persisted the following year, so I finally agreed, wondering what I had let myself in for!
I soon discovered that I would need a lot of stuff. Soft-shell trousers, hiking boots, and a good coat too. He would lend me a rucksack, something that I had not carried since I was sixteen, and he would arrange suitable accommodation for us, to include bringing Ollie along. We decided to take my car, as it is large enough for all the luggage and has ample room in the rear section for Ollie to recline on his large bed. The arrangements were made, and the booking confirmed.
Then I really started to worry.
How was I ever going to manage the hills, or the long days of constant walking across rough terrain? Would Ollie cope? Would I hold Antony back, or fail completely? I set my jaw, and determined to do my best. All too soon, the day loomed. As I packed the stuff ready for the trip, I was still concerned about my ability to actually do all this. But I just went with it, and I am pleased to say that I did manage what was required.
As an aside, I was really pleased with the things I bought for the trip. With no prejudice, I can wholeheartedly recommend the following items for anyone considering something similar.
For a rucksack, I used one that Antony lent me, and I later discovered that ‘technical’ T-shirts are the thing too.
So go prepared, and make the best of it. Posts with photos will follow soon.