The Lake District

When I started the drive to Nottingham it was raining. Not too badly but bad enough that it caused some other drivers to go slowly. Should have seen that as an omen of what was to come. Instead I was thinking that once I was on the dual carriageways I’d be on my way. Turned out not to work quite like that. Just after I reached the end of the A1(M) near Peterborough the rain turned to snow and the chaos began. The A1 was slow. The slow lane was well very slow. Relatively clear of snow thanks to all the cars but full of people going too slow. The fast lane on the other hand had quite a lot of snow. More than I though my small light weight rental could really handle. So it was the slow lane for me. But eventually I made it to where I was turning of the A1 to get to Nottingham…

And then the “fun” really begun. Well when I say fun what I really mean is going nowhere for two hours. It all started when I hit a queue of traffic. It was moving a bit so I eventually decided to go past the gap in the central reservation where I could’ve turned round which was a bad move. Turns out I got about 4 cars beyond the gap, and just over the brow of a hill, and stopped again and this was where I spent the next two hours. Well I say it was a bad move. Maybe it wasn’t. I have no idea what might have happened if I’d tried to find a different way. Anyway eventually I got out of the car to see what was going on. At the bottom of the hill two cars had been in a small accident. Both cars were drivable but even with the police there telling them what to do they were still taking for ever to swap their details etc. Half way up the hill was a car at right angles to the road. He was quite happy to drive off but, not unreasonably, didn’t fancy trying the chicane created by the two crashed cars at the bottom. So we all got to wait around a bit.

Talking to the police it turns out they’d asked for the hill to be gritted so weren’t best pleased it hadn’t been. The gritter was on it’s way and did eventually turn up but couldn’t get down my carriage way to the parked cars were moved. And some drivers were refusing to move – I don’t know what they were thinking they were going to do, wait until it melted? Anyway eventually the police persuade the people ahead of me to move, one at a time to reduce the risk, and I was on my way again. Very slowly as the person in front of me was being extremely cautious. I eventually made it to Nottingham over two hours later than planned. Given the conditions, and the steep drive to the CC hut where we were meant to stay we decided it was better to take up the offer from her in-laws of staying there. Which was a little odd!

Next day Jen had me up nice and early to drive up to the Lake District as we now had a fair bit further to go then we had planned. The drive up want well and we were soon at the Rheged discovery center just off the M6. I’d stopped there for petrol/gas before but had never realised there was such a big center there as well, with a small outdoor clothing store, a cafe and a few other bits as well. Jen was quite amazed I hadn’t been there before.

Not long after we were walking up Blencathra. It was a bit of a slog in places but it was nice to get pout and stretch the legs. There’s not a whole lot of photos as we entered the cloud near the top and didn’t come out again until we were on our way down. The cloud meant we weren’t even entirely certain we’d technically reached the top, although we definitely reached the summit plateau. There was also snow on the tops which made it all quite pretty – when we could see! We were down again really quite early so went into Keswick for some shopping, then to a pub for dinner before heading to the CC hut for the night.

Next morning we were up nice and early again as we had a reasonably big day ahead of us. I wanted to do Scafell Pike – the highest point in England – as I’d never done it before and Jen kindly agreed. The walk up went well until we were nearing the top where there were a couple of sections of boulders to cross. Turns out that both my knees and my ankle weren’t particularly happy with this. I think I need to do my physio exercises again! Jen made it to the top a few minutes before me and got to see the view for longer as it disappeared in cloud about a minute after I got to the top. Still just enough time to get some photos and we saw a cool rainbow thing. It was the people arriving a little after me that I felt sorry for.

Jen had a desire to go over Glaramara on the way back. I was thinking I may not be up to that but crossing the boulders went better on the way down – it seems I hadn’t found the best route on the way up – and so I somehow talked myself into doing it with her. Quite glad I did as the weather got nice again and I enjoy really pushing myself. We made it down to the road just as it was getting properly dark and we were soon back at the car. We headed into Keswick for fish and chips before back to the CC hut again.

Next morning was another early start as Jen wanted to get a hill in before we drove to Sheffield where we were seeing friends that evening. This time the plan was Skiddaw. Except I didn’t make it. I got a fair way up it before deciding that the last two days had taken their toll and I should turn round. Glad I did as I was extremely slow on the way down with my knees. I popped into Keswick to get a drink and by the time I was back Jen was already down and walking down the road towards me. She certainly made good time without me slowing her down!

We then started the drive to Sheffield stopping off at the discovery centre again for a toilet break and to get a couple of thank you presents for Adam and Kate who we were staying with that night. More amazement followed when I realised what a good selection real ale they sold there. I can definitely see me stopping there more often now! Thus ended our time in the Lake District. This post is already longer than I was expecting so I’m going to end this one there and write about the rest of my time in England in another post. Photos from the Lake District are here.

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