It was Monday morning, yesterday now. I woke up knowing exactly where my legs were. As the morning wore on I learned to identify every individual leg muscle. The big ones at the front – the quads. And yes, there were the hamstrings. And the calf muscles, especially the one just above the titanium-reinforced ankle. But ouch! The worst were the ones in my bum, the glutes. They made their presence felt every time I stood up from my chair. If it’s that sore, it must be girls’ weekend away time.
I have friends who do girls’ weekends. They go to Dublin or Barcelona to go shopping. They’ve been known to stretch a weekend into almost a week and go to Tenerife. They do spas and sensible things like that. And I’m sure I remember PitK taking home-made truffles to a posh hotel somewhere. We go to the Lake District (sort of mid way between Edinburgh, Manchester and Durham) and, as I told you last year (God, I’m getting so old and boring I’m repeating myself), we’ve been doing this for at least 16 or 17 years. There was a minor hiatus during the Foot & Mouth year when the dates got changed and somehow I was left out of the loop and turned up a week too early. There is a sort of special sinking feeling you get in your stomach when you turn up late at the B&B and it’s all dark and the door doesn’t open. Still, she did open up for me and give me a bed for the night and breakfast the next morning. Fortunately I’d brought my bike as we knew we wouldn’t be able to walk the fells and you can after all cycle quite happily on your own. The others had a good weekend too, just not quite so lonely!
But I digress. We had agreed this year that we wouldn’t do anything too ambitious, given my patent lack of fitness. And the weather forecast was atrocious so on Friday evening we discussed various low level walks we might do, how many tea shops we could fit it and, heaven forbid – what is our leader coming to? – even considered shopping in Keswick. Saturday morning arrived and with it came horizontal rain and the sort of wind that goes right through you. The perfect morning for a spot of exercising the credit card, you’d think. We ambled through breakfast – no point rushing – and then agreed we should at least go out for a small walk if only to justify the tea shop afterwards. Well-trained mothers all, we put a change of clothes in the car and bravely set off for the Bowder Stone in the pouring rain. From the Bowder Stone it was off up Borrowdale. And then the rain stopped! So, instead of cutting back down to Rosthwaite, we headed on over to Watendlath and back down by the Lodore Falls which were in spectacular form. It turned into a really good day but, of course, by the time we got back to the road it was too late to head for tea shops in Keswick. I don’t know why we were suprised – this happens every year, without fail! Fortunately we were saved by the Borrowdale Hotel.
Well, it was back to Barton Hall for a bath before finding food. The bath. You can float in this bath. You could swim lengths in it. It is worth staying at Barton Hall just for the bath. But do take a hot water bottle for the bed.
It wasn’t raining on Sunday but it was cold and there were strong winds forecast for the tops. Stay low, we thought and set off from Glenridding for Red Tarn, which nestles under the horseshoe crags of Striding and Swirral Edges on Helvellyn. Three of us had a fantastic day on the snow on Helvellyn a couple of years ago, coming back down Swirral Edge, but nothing so lofty this year. However, the anticipated gentle amble up to Red Tarn turned into – at least for me, with no haemoglobin worth talking about this week – a steep, high altitude-equivalent slog and I was really struggling by the time we got there. (If only I’d remembered to eat the chocolate in my bag). Lunch by the beck and then some of us went back the way we’d come – that would be me – while the others carried on over Birkhouse Moor. Just as well there are good tea shops in Glenridding! Another good day though, and it didn’t start raining until we left the tea shop. If you don’t count the hail storm on the way up, of course.
So there we are. That’s it for another year. Nothing ambitious, we said, but it was almost too ambitious for me; I’m so glad we didn’t break the habit, though, and just went and did it. We caught up with each other and had lots of talk and plenty of laughter. Bad mother that I am I missed the Showcase Concert, which was apparently as wonderful as usual. GP2 proclaimed that he’d reached the high B he’s been struggling with – timed the peak to perfection, I’d say. I also missed the badminton tournament where GP1 cleaned up and has 3 big trophies to show for his efforts. I can admire those. I don’t think they’re mortally wounded by my absence. After all, they know I always come home. What they don’t know is that the chocolate came home with me.