It’s just over two years since I climbed my only mountain. Returning from a visit to friends in Scotland, I checked into a B&B, prepared my brand new rucksack and, after a hearty breakfast the following morning, I went for it.
It took about six hours to get up and down the Old Man of Coniston. The weather was misty. My fitness was vastly improved compared to a year earlier when high blood pressure had triggered a doctor’s suggestion of weight loss. Five stone into a seven stone reduction and I’d converted from couch potato to mountaineer.
It was a solo endeavour. Nobody to high five at the summit. It possibly contributed to knackering my toes resulting in today’s ingrowing toe nails. But it felt fantastic. A moment of personal pride.
Coniston Lake itself was a destination for two or three family days out as a child. I recall a small gravel beach, wading in chilly waters on a sunny day and tales of Donald Campbell and Bluebird lying at the bottom of the lake.
I took Chris about three years ago and recall the tiny fish in the lake feasting on our feet.
Its always been a location I like. More beautiful than nearby Windermere. And it was enjoyable to circumnavigate it today. I parked up for a morning coffee in the small town of Coniston. Asking if parking was free I got the reply “you can park there for free until Easter”. Fair enough.
Caffeine consumed, and 500 Nectar points earned from sticking £5 of petrol in the tank, I commenced my lake lap.
It was quite emotional in bringing back memories of childhood, my more recent climbing efforts and also this year’s travels. The narrow road down the east side of the lake reminded me of the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. Without the wheelie bin. And while there was no 9,000 foot volcano overlooking the lake the early winter climate was reminiscent of Patagonia’s Lake District in southern Chile.
I am really pleased with what I’ve achieved travel wise this year. And this destination within two hours of home reminds me how sensible it was to quit work, requesting garden leave, and packing in as much travel as possible.
There might be places I’ve missed out on. But I’m not regretting any of it.