Monday, 10 March 2014

Stream of Consciousness

Looking across Side Farm to Helvellyn

After the wettest winter on record I reckon we deserved today’s fabulous weather and I took full advantage with another training walk for the TGO Challenge which is exactly 2 months away. 

My Skod driven thought processes were active again as I packed my day sack ready for my walk.  I plundered the grocery cupboard and stuck loads of canned food in the bottom of my pack. Not to eat of course, just to add weight to give myself a better workout.  Nothing too odd about that.  But here’s the weird bit.  I spent some time deliberating over which cans to take.  I rejected baked beans in favour of kidney beans; tomato soup was put in and then taken out and replaced with chopped tomatoes. What was that all about then?  But in the end I was satisfied, and with 3 litres of water added and the bits of kit and food I would actually need for my walk, my pack weighed in at 11.7 kg which is a good old weight to start to get the shoulders ready for the backpacking gear I will be carrying across Scotland in May.

Perfect weather.  I parked in Patterdale and set off along the track to Side Farm and, ultimately, Howtown. Ullswater was still and calm when I began my walk, and the Helvellyn range, and later Gowbarrow were reflected perfectly in the lake. This is a curious path. One moment it runs at little more than a metre or so above the lake; then it will be 50 or 100 metres higher up, yet the ups and downs are barely noticeable as you walk. Perhaps it is the distracting beauty of the scenery that makes it pass so easily. This beauty was certainly the reason for the little incident that saw the humiliation of hyperdog.

Thed Helvellyn range and Sheffield Crag reflected in Ullswater

I had drunk several large mugs of tea before setting out today and it was not long before the consequences of this were apparent on my middle aged bladder. With no one about I was able to do the necessary, and I went about this business whilst staring distractedly across the lake from my hillside.  And then I looked down. Hyperdog was looking up at me with a puzzled face whilst a stream of almost neat Typhoo bounced off his back. He didn’t seem to have the gumption to move.  As we set off again little did I know that this dog can carry a grudge a long distance.

Hyperdog got his revenge as I sat on this bench looking down to Howtown

We reached Howtown. The Howtown Hotel, where I had planned to have a pit stop, was closed until the end of March so we set off  back to Patterdale with a diversion up lovely little Hallin Fell now in mind. On the way, just above Howtown, we found an old wrought iron seat on the fellside overlooking the lake on which I sat to eat my sandwich.  As I did this my back suddenly felt warm and wet. I turned to see Hyperdog behind the bench, leg cocked. I could have sworn he had a grin on his face. One all.

Hallin Fell

Hallin Fell is short and sweet. The cairn at the top is magnificent; the views more so. Then it was down to Sandwick and back on to the same path as the morning and an hour or so in the afternoon sunshine to Patterdale.

From Hallin Fell

Hyperdog on Hallin fell above Ullswater

21.1km, 798 metres climbed. 5 hours 50 minutes in total. A good workout.


  1. I hate you.
    You live in the Lakes and can go out to beautiful hills whenever you like.
    It is like so unfair init (modern speak).

    You are a thoroughly nice chap.
    You have to suffer hordes of Southern *****rs week after week all summer.
    You get far more horrid weather than us.
    You don't get our skies.
    You have a cute dog.

    OK, I don't hate you.

    But sometimes I am so jealous of where you live.

    See you on the Daunder Big Man :-)

    1. Hi Andy

      You do not need to hate me quite as much! I am no longer permanently in the Lakes. I used to live and work up here but am now based in NE Wales (still a lovely area). However, I was fortunate enough to be able to keep my house on in Cumbria (mortgaged to the hilt but it's worth it) so i do have a base and spend about a quarter of the year here I guess. It is a sod that it takes me 20 minutes to Keswick or Glenriddin, though :-) That might still lead to a bit of haterd...

      I do like the idea of the "big skies" you get down your way, and the open landscapes.

      Hyperdog is indeed cute, except when he is pissing on my back.

      Looking forward to the Daunder. Mine's a pint please.

  2. Oh brilliant! I think I love Hyperdog almost as much as Superdawg. Almost. Nice day for it? 11.7kg for practice? What do you intend to carry in May? That will be me all up. I hope. Unless I can fit in that little...

    1. Hi Lousie

      Hyperdog is very offended that you don't love him as much as Superdawg. If he meets you he may well pee on your back too.

      I am afraid I will be close on 15kg on the Challenge. It's those tims of caviare.

  3. Is this peeing thing some sort of bonding ritual?
    Cracking views, Gromit.
    At this rate you'll be fitter than your dog for the Challenge.

    1. Hello Alan

      I feel it important that I bond not only with the dog but also with pre-walk daunderers. So watch your back in April :-)