It’s nowhere near fell running, it occasionally makes it to fell walking, it’s what we do an awful lot of now and it’s not for the faint hearted.
J and I have loved the Lake District hills (fells) for a long time and we were determined when we had kids that that wouldn’t change and we’d still get up them as much as possible. We invested in carriers that should last them, probably far longer than my back will last, we bought a GPS to try and reduce the amount of hanging off the side of a mountain totally lost incidents (though this is still more common than you’d think possible – no walk is complete without one or two “where are we?” moments). And we hoped our love of the fells would pass on to them.
I’m not sure it has.
Yesterday our three year old, declared “I want to go up some big hills tomorrow”. So we plotted a course for a relatively straightforward couple of fells which would take a couple of hours. I write this, with heavy limbs MANY hours later.
As soon as we set off the boy decided he no longer wanted to walk up a big hill, nevermind two. He sat, he crawled, he lay down. He didn’t move much and he shouted a LOT. J got more and more irate – particularly because both the kids worship him and only want to hold his hand / hang off his trousers as they walk – whereas I can walk fairly unhindered ahead being smug that being the favourite isn’t always the best, but also feeling slightly put out. We finally got them to the top of hill one with a bribe of crisps and picnic to come, there’s always a moment of elation (probably due more to sugary treats than the wondrous views), and then hill two loomed. Stop, rewind, start again.
Now don’t get me wrong, we do ask a lot of them, some people would say too much. But who gives a damn what some people say. We want them to grow up knowing they can do anything if they really put their minds to it, and that things that are great in life don’t necessarily come easy. At least, this is the lecture I give my two and three year old every time we head off onto the hills. I just don’t think the message has sunk in yet. Unreasonable? Me??
However light always follows darkness, and on the way home we found the lane to our house blocked by the farmer with a cow whose head had inexplicably become stuck in a very small food trough. A cow with a metal box stuck fully over his head. Maybe this is commonplace for a farmer but it certainly lightened the mood for exhausted parents, the kids were both fast asleep in the back. J gallantly got out to try and offer help, although neither of us were sure what he could do not being the most experienced cow man. I expected him to get trampled but fortunately as he arrived the cow shed the trough – perhaps embarrassed someone else should witness its foolishness.
And after the light? Darkness looms again. Due to the late afternoon nap neither child wants to sleep, the boy has climbed the childgate twice and only stopped due to threats of a withheld Fireman Sam DVD. I write this to the background murmur of “Baa Baa Black Sheep” as J tries to settle him after my intimidation tactic failed, I wonder why I am the least favoured parent…
What a day.