Wednesday, 29 November 2006

The Road Goes Ever On

After the Rain
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

J.R.R. Tolkien

This last weekend I spent walking in the Lake District with my friend Ratbert. She and I were at school together, travelled around Europe together when we were students, had children at almost the same time and are now turning into grumpy old women together.

We stayed in a cottage in the South Lakes, which had a lovely view of Wansfell Pike from its windows.View from our window
It was lovely to wake up and eat our breakfast looking out at that view. Although we have climbed Wansfell many times, the weather this weekend was wet and windy and not suitable for climbing the higher fells, so we walked at a lower level.

The first walk started out bright and sunny, and we reached the tarn at the summit and had our sandwiches with no more than a few spots of rain. We could see the weather racing towards us though, Rain Comingso we struggled into our waterproofs and started the descent. We were only a few yards down the path when the squall arrived, with driving rain, stinging hail and a strong wind which swept the waterproof cover off my rucsac and made me think I was going to be strangled by the map case. We were not very high, only about 300m, and the path we were on was not very exposed, but in those few minutes it was easy to see how you could end up in trouble in these conditions if you were higher up where it is colder and more exposed, and the visibility drops to almost nothing.

A few moments later the squall had passed and we were already lower down among the trees with more shelter. But look at the state of poor Ratbert!Drowned Ratbert not that I looked any better.
As we made our way down to the village and tea and cakes, I passed a bush with bright red berries and raindrops sparking among them which I just had to try and capture on film.

The next day was much calmer and brighter. We walked through the woods to Tarn Hows, which I had never visited before in twenty years of holidaying in the Lake District, despite its being one of the most noted beauty spots in the National Park, where we had lunch. The sun was shining and we sat on a rock by the lake. "This is the life", I thought.

After walking around the tarn we continued on through woods and fields to Coniston. On the way we passed a farm, in front of which were lots of sheep in a large pen. We stopped to look at them and Ratbert took a photo of them all looking at us.

We were wondering why the sheep were there, as it was the wrong time of the year for shearing and dipping, when I noticed some other sheep with horns in a separate part of the pen. Yes, dear reader, you have guessed it; the other sheep were in fact rams. Some of the rams had struck up a conversation with some of the ewes, the shameless hussies, but probably just as well, as I do believe those innocent ewes were there to be serviced, if you catch my drift.
As I was imagining I heard the rams leering and saying "Hello m'dear" to the ewes, a landrover drew up behind us, and two chaps looking like farmers jumped out. "Hello m'dears" they said on seeing us. "Meh!" we replied, and departed at a run up the footpath and back into the woods.

While I was away I not only walked but also, not having access to the internet to waste away my evenings, did quite a lot of knitting. I finished my own personal Knucks, knitted a hat out of the left overs of some sock wool and made great progress on my Clapotis. I also spent some time writing out the increases and decreases in rows on the front of Ivy. It doesn't seem as scary as I thought, so as soon as I have finished just a few more things I think I'll be ready to cast on. Photos of all that tomorrow, gentle reader.


Christina said...

I was there, I was there!!!! At tarn hows in september. we walked round the lake with dd in the pushchair and ds walked the whole way.

Am very jealous of your walking weekend. I've been trying to get out this last week or so, but high winds and driving rain are out, after my last escapade on the glyders in october!!!! I have no desire to be blown over 10 times in one day - again.

Christina said...

PS, meant to say, I love your photos ;)

Knitbert said...

LOL there were parents there last weekend with pushchairs and babies in those carrying rucsacs going round the tarn. Your DS did well to do the whole walk!
I love the Lake District and try to go walking there at least once a year.
Two years ago I went at exactly the same weekend and the weather was completely different, it had snowed and was freezing cold, and still.

Hawkesley said...

I really enjoyed reading about your walking weekend. Lovely photos and the scenery looks gorgeous. Would love to go there one day.

Knitbert said...

Thank you Hawkesley, it is really a lovely part of the country. I am thinking of combining some walking there with a visit to Woolfest in Cumbria next year.
Hill walking and fibre arts - does it get any better than that?