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Thursday, 3 October 2013

A family journey

In my garage I switch on the light - the fuse for all downstairs lights trips. I am already mildly stressed preparing a meal for my visiting elder brother (RR) and his wife after an epic, but enjoyable drive round The Lakes. We have arrived home late. After a temporary solution lights are restored, and we enjoy our meal and the evening passes with wide ranging conversation. RR being my senior and equipped with astonishing memory always, at these meetings, seems able to recount previously unheard memories of our childhood, sometimes, painful, sometimes amusing, but consolidating and linking enigmatic gaps in my own memory.

RR completed a four week Outward Bound course at Eskdale in the late fifties.  Our tour was jointly nostalgic,  and provided the catalyst for many anecdotes, particularly about RR’s OB course which I had not heard before. 

Finding the location of a river bridge the Outward Bounders leaped from each morning proved to be as challenging, after more than fifty years, as RR’s determination to make that leap. I would likely not have done that voluntarily, but in a group situation you are pushed beyond your comfort zone. How tough is OB nowadays? Back then it was a seriously demanding experience.

Next day we drive separately to Harrogate to visit our junior brother who is sadly not well. Circumstances have contrived to see we three living almost as far apart as possible: Hereford, South Cumbria and Harrogate.

We have a jolly lunch at The Fat Badger. RR and wife carry on to York to celebrate their fifty somethingth wedding anniversary, and I drive back to Arnside to solve the problem of my downstairs electricals with a mixture of family reflections and sadness at junior brother’s situation.


The Lakes drive Itinerary:
Lyth (Damson) Valley

Windermere, ferry crossing

New to me, exciting, partly unsurfaced road up western shore of Windermere


Dunmail Raise

Back road round Thirlmere. Hills above provided wettest walk ever with my old climbing partner Tony. Splendid view across to St John’s in the Vale and Castle Rock

Passing Dalebottom where Yorkshire Mountaineering Club had a cottage - scene of many a wild weekend climbing and carousing with the naivety of youth

Keswick, Borrowdale - proliferating with climbing memories. Our ascent of The Bowderstone

Honister Pass - part of a multi-pass hiking test to the limits for RR on his OB course

Buttermere and Crummockwater - recent, incident filled Buttermere Horseshoe round for me. Lunch at The Fish Inn

Drive to the end of Ennerdale - memories of several Ennerdale Horseshoe rounds, (the best walk in The Lakes ?)

Wastwater Screes. Scene of a desperate gully climb in the sixties with my commenter "gimmer". We finished in the dark

Eskdale Green etc - Plenty here for RR, especially the bridge (NY 172 004)

Hardknotts Pass

Dunnerdale - more climbing nostalgia - especially Wallowbarrow Crag.

Booths at Milnthorpe to replenish certain supplies consumed the previous evening.

On Windermere ferry - any ideas about "authentic walking" definition?

The Bowderstone

Ennerdale Lake

Distant nuclear Sellafield and the sea

Wastwater Screes

RR wondering how he dared to leap off this bridge over fifty years ago

RR, NR and CR

At The Fat Badger


John J said...

What a lovely nostalgic and pleasant report....a bit of a bugger about your lights though. Hope you got it sorted...JJ Electrical Support Services is currently operating from it's Trans-Atlantic base so can't be much use to you.


Roderick Robinson said...

A minor correction to ensure I'm not seen as some hard-trucking superman. I only jumped once off that bridge. However, early each morning at the OBMS in Eskdale, we were required to jump off the end of a pier into the freezing cold lake there. And, to delay our return, we were required to bring out a largish stone from the lake bottom. Contrary to popular belief these lake jumps didn't become more bearable via repetition, rather the reverse. Another month at the school and I mght well have had serious difficulty meeting this requirement.

Sir Hugh said...

JJ - Thanks for your comment. What are you up to in the US of A ? Is there likely to be a related post?


RR - Thanks for the correction, but it's too late. Like the lawyer asking a leading question - the result is fixed in the the jurors' minds. You are now a superman.