A mountain or fell, like the sea, reveals all. It demands your strengths and magnifies your weaknesses both physical and of the mind. Nature does not care how much your gortex, hyper thin jacket which transforms into a tent cost or how much you paid for that Nineplus long board or all singing all dancing wetsuit. Nature does not care if you talk the talk, she is only interested in if you can walk the walk. Believe me, during my weekend in the Lake District, I certainly walked.
On day one I was tricked into going up Fairfield Horseshoe by a whiley wayed mountain goat . As a local fell runner, these peaks are mere hills to him, to me they might aswell have been Everest.
When I first saw what we were about to do doubt kicked in immediately. Walk Lakes website declares,
Do not underestimate the seriousness of this walk
In total it was a four hour ascent. I struggled in parts, especially the steep start. I threw a hissy fit and hurled abuse at The Goat and Long Legs . ( read about my surf strops here) I also laughed a lot, made it to the top with a huge sense of achievement, enjoyed spectacular views, saw some cool ninja sheep and slid down some of the two hour decent on my arse which was fantastic fun.
A Collection of Photos of my friends backs as i try to keep up
Afterwards, when we were in the pub sinking a few pints I felt exhausted and exhilarated. The Guinness tasted like the finest liquid to ever pass my lips. I had worked for it, I’d got up the highest peak I have ever been up under my own steam. After meeting up with the Friday night arrivals, a belly full of food and beer and neat rum back at the hostel somehow I managed to get up and walk another 14 miles the next day. I had no idea I enjoyed walking so much.
Climbing the peaks of The Lake District showed me a few things about myself in exactly the same way that surfing does, mother nature and her incessant lessons eh? Firstly, it showed me that my weakness is not in my body but, in my head. My weakness is self-doubt. It also showed me that I am stronger and fitter than I think but, I still have a way to go.
I spent most of the day looking at two backs in the distance and I found it really disheartening at times but, I have to remember that three years ago I wouldn’t have been able to do a quarter of this height.
Perhaps most importantly this trip showed me that I need to start seeing myself as I am now. I’ve been what I’d consider an active person for just a few years. I was everyone’s fat, daft, drinking buddy who couldn’t really do much in the way of activities for most of my late 20’s and 30’s. It’s time to stop saying I can’t do things and realise I am actually walking the walk, albeit not as steadily, quickly or skillfully as the others but, I’m bloody doing it.
I came home from this trip with a similar feeling I get after a surf trip. I felt the best kind of tired, a bit grubby, slightly hung over and very satisfied. I also felt a comforting amity with the group of old and new friends that I’d shared the weekend with.
I highly recommend that you get yourself up a mountain this spring and walk the walk. Get a blister, throw a strop, sit down and refuse to move if you must. But, also breath in the fresh air, take in a spectacular view, enjoy overcoming something you thought you couldn’t do and come down just a little different to when you went up.
Some Useful Links for Getting Out and About
Join the National Trust for free entry and parking to heaps of cool places around the Uk
2016 is Wales’ year of Adventure explore the vast mountains and coastline and find #yourepic
Join YHA for budget friendly accommodation in spectacular locations around the Uk
Visit trekking Great Britain for inspiration on walks, hikes and climbs
If it all seems a bit much read Wild by Chery Strayed from the comfort of your sofa