Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Lake District: Day 4-8

Day 4
Muncaster Castle today - because who doesn't love a castle!  I certainly do - including the World Owl Centre with some amazing owls.  I mean, I knew there were a lot of kinds of owls in the world, but still not this many.  There were noble owls, noisy owls, intimidating owls, owls that looked like Muppets, owls that had clearly been coloured in by a children's craft class.  Loads of fun.

Clapped for a performer who can do an escalator (a diabolo move that is insanely easy but very effective on unknowing crowds) but who did have some amusing jokes, and toured a haunted castle, bumping into the owner too.  Later that night is Uno gone mad, ruleless Scrabble and some very weird dance moves.

Day 5
Half hour car ride to Whitehaven and the sea.  It's good to see the greeny-blue deep again, stretching out from the little town harbour to the horizon.  Leicestershire is a land-locked county and I couldn't actually remember the last time I'd seen the sea.  I like things that make me feel my proper size... the ocean, the sky, vast landscapes.

Had lots of fun in The Beacon museum with my sister, stroking plastic dinosaurs, tying sailors knots and playing Roman (Roman!) draughts.  Fish and chips with the Grandparents and then home for a pub quiz.  We came 5th, which was actually a pretty respectable position.

Day 6
Today was the challenge, the big one, Scafell Pike - England's highest mountain at 978m of walking straight up.  And up, and up.  Me, Mum, Dad and Emma - my youngest sister- made it to the top in 3 hrs 15 mins, and then 2hrs 30 mins more to get back down again.  I was spared the backpack in case my leg cramped up like it did when I attempted Scafell last year.  My right foot has always turned out and now that I'm older it seems to be making a different to how my weight is distributed on that leg, particularly when I'm carrying something heavy.  But with only my own weight and a walking stick to even it out I made it to the top! 

It's weirdly like walking up the flight of stairs in your house and then back down again... and then doing that repeatedly for 6 hrs.  But the satisfaction when you reach the top is well worth the effort.

Day 7
Recouperation day.  In a house containing four flights of stairs.  The longest walk I took today was down to the end of the garden, where you can slip through the fence and down the hill to the Santon river.

Day 8
Today was the journey home, but I took a different route to avoid the Liverpool and Manchester traffic jams.  Instead I took the A595 north and then cut clean across the country on the A66 from Cockermouth (where the big floods were in 2009) and Penrith, over the empty stretches of the Pennine hills to Middlesbrough to make my way down the eastern edge of Britain.  It's over a 4hr drive but now I've more or less circumnavigated the upper half of England, which is a good thing to be able to say.

Now, off to put the laundry in :)

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