Monday, 17 January 2011


I have had one of the craziest and most fun weekends ever! My best friend will be qualifying as a Mountain Leader soon and is topping up her log book of 'Quality Mountain Days'. As she will be a leader, it helps her if she has people to practice leading, preferably inexperienced people. This is where I came in. So on Friday night, the moment my husband came in the door, I headed out to the Tube station and travelled up to the Midlands for two days walking in the Peak District, excited that I am 'allowed' to do this, that my children don't need me so much and my other half is capable and happy looking after them.
Conditions were awful, great practice for navigation and decision-making skills, and we soon realised that our 15km plan was over-ambitious as the strong winds were almost blowing us over with our heavy rucksacks.We trekked through the peat bogs to a more sheltered spot and a little stream and set up camp before it got dark. Tucked up in our sleeping bags we were cozy and happy, eating hot food and chocolate and catching up on conversation. Soon after nine o'clock we decided that we had better get some sleep. About ten minutes later, like a pair of Brownies on camp, we had started chatting and giggling again. More tea, more chocolate and eventually we fell asleep around midnight. So much tea may not have been such a great idea as we had to get up, wriggle out of our sleeping bags, put on walking boots and trudge across the tussocks of grass in the howling gale to pee! At least we were sure we were well hydrated.
Sunday morning saw us up, drinking more tea and enjoying luxurious chocolate porridge (I am noticing a theme here!) before breaking camp and heading for Kinder Scout. The fog came in, the rain fell and the wind blew. I had opted for glasses rather than contact lenses for simplicity's sake, but soon found I could barely see, so I was assigned the job of counting footsteps while my friend led with the compass. It wasn't easy. We had a good idea of where we were, but didn't have a precise location. Eventually we were met by some super-hardy fell runners and asked them if we were on the path to Kinder Scout. 'This is Kinder Scout' we were told, so, good enough for us, we headed back.
By now, I was tired. And hungry. And thirsty. The simplest of questions made my want to kill my much loved friend and I suddenly realized that it wasn't her, it was me. I wasn't doing so well. Water, chocolate and cuppa-soup heated on the amazing jet-boil soon revived me and I was back in the fun zone.
It wasn't long before we were back at the car and eating ginger cake from the tea shop. It was a blast from start to finish and I can't wait 'til our next trip, in February, to the Lake District.

I learned some important lessons though:

When you want to kill someone, have a drink of water and eat some chocolate, it may help.
You can still be 9 when you are nearly 40.
Pretty close is good enough.
Stay in the fun zone, and if you slip out of it, notice and do something to get back there.
Cuppa soup is made in heaven.

1 comment:

Jane D. said...

sounds like a proper hoot was had by you both - enjoy looking forward to the next one!