I lived in Carlisle for nearly four years, but only went to the Lake District a handful of…well, not even a handful really. I went a few times which is appalling, I know, but when you take into consideration the downright nasty prices of rail AND bus to get there, you’ll understand why it was a rare occasion, saved for extremely special circumstances. Anyway, to have a boyfriend living so close to the Lakes that it’s literally a couple of miles in the car, well, it’s bloody marvellous.
So our Sunday was dedicated to clambering up Grisedale Pike (and I have an odd craving for cinnamon toast and Oveltine right now…). The weather was crisp-ish and cloudy but our spirits were high, and regularly increased with doses of salt and vinegar Pringles, tea and Oreos. I kept on forgetting we were in England as the sheer beauty of the place overwhelmed me. And sometimes, my curiosity nearly got the better of me, because I wanted to look inside the old mines and the abandoned mining buildings that looked like something from The Hills Have Eyes.
Sometimes I was close to tears, as we passed moorland, forests, and grazing sheep, brooks and, as we climbed higher, untamed, windswept ice, clutching to stone walls and grasses. The atmosphere was ruined sometimes by walkers from that place we know as The South, wearing trainers, jogging bottoms, thin tops and no ‘proper’ coats. They didn’t say hello but huddled around us, squealing in that irritating Eastenders manner for advice on which way to go. Then they’d disappear in the opposite direction, swallowed up by the mist which created a remarkably eerie, almost mystical atmosphere, where you felt as if anything could happen, like, the film An American Werewolf in London becoming true, or Vikings with axes and a bloodlust would come charging or long dead miners killed underground would rise up and take you back into the darkness with them.
But to be honest, I’d never felt so safe in my life. Might have something to do with me being quite a morbid character anyway. Tom and I were alone on the top of the peak and as quickly as the mist had arrived to blanket us; it blew away, leaving us with spectacular views over the valleys and hills. We found shelter to have some tea before making our way back down, and again, it was a somewhat emotional experience. The tea was incredible, while the wind found us and started to batter our heads. I sat and just watched the landscape. The entertainment, joy and contentment nature provides far, far outweighs anything that technology can ‘bless’ us with.
That evening I lost my phone. (Cue laughter.) The following day, after it had been raining all night, Tom found it in the garden, where it must have dropped out of my pocket. A few blows of breath to the speaker to bring out the water, and it worked fine. Just goes to show…Katie really does need the most robust phone on the market.