A Lighter Step

Today we ventured up our first fell of the year (well, other than Latrigg on New Years Day but we did that from the car park so doesn’t really count), this is also our first Lakeland hill since our rather inauspicious descent from Haystacks – after which I decided that I probably shouldn’t wear the carrier for the girl anymore.  This is a bit of a pain, as it means we will have to stick to the lower fells for a while, and also we will have to always go at the kids’ pace, however she’s just getting too heavy and my legs aren’t strong enough for me to be confident I’d get us both safely down.

The day hadn’t started well, I was in a particularly dark mood due to the boy’s continuing insistence to not hear anything I say to him – we’ve come up with yet another convoluted reward system to try and encourage positive behaviour.  It does seem to be helping with the aggressive behaviour, but it’s not really making much of a dint into how much of an ignorant little so and so he can be.  And what makes it even worse, even more frustrating, is that his sister is now starting to mimic his behaviour (what’s good for the goose and all that) and so I spend much of my day starting off with the happy sing song requests “oh, could you do that for me please darling” and ending it with the screams of “will you just do it, or you will never, EVER, eat chocolate again”.

However, a trip up the fells always manages to rejuvenate my mood and it was a pretty glorious day weather-wise so we decided to tackle Gowbarrow Fell, close to Ullswater.  It’s one we’ve not done before, and J picked an up and down route which we expected would take a couple of hours with the kids in tow.

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J had the bag with the picnic and spare clothes for the kids, and I didn’t have to carry anything and it was lovely walking without carrying any extra weight (other than my very own Christmas paunch), so much less tiring, and so much easier on the knees.  The walk was fairly easy going, the girl even managed to stay on her feet for most of it – the only downside being that it was surprisingly busy, and I was desperate for a pee, with no chance of a pee stop in sight.

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There were numerous muddy steps which we had the pleasure of ascending and descending (as it was a there and back again walk to the summit), the girl managed to kick the boy in the face as they were going up – such was their eagerness to reach the top – but it did mean the boy wore a muddy badge of honour for the rest of the walk.  As usual, the ascent was accomplished with the help of the promise of the picnic at the top (although daddy did shamefacedly admit he’d forgotten the crisps, and couldn’t find the flask for the hot chocolate) and, as the weather was so lovely, we were actually able to stop near the top and eat it, rather than drag them halfway back down looking for shelter.  The views across Ullswater and those back towards Blencathra were lovely, if somewhat hazy but, yet again, made me and J congratulate ourselves on how very clever we were to have taken the leap of faith and moved over here.

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Ullswater in winter sun

The descent commenced with a bit of off the beaten track (trying to get back to the beaten track) walking, keeping an eye out for any huge bog patches which we knew the boy wouldn’t be able to resist throwing himself into – fortunately though we didn’t pass any, and we got back to the path to the muddy steps, without any near drowning incident.

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The boy then chose to do some sections on his bum rather than waste any energy actually walking, whilst the girl shrieked like a banshee because I was cruel enough to insist she had to hold my hand rather than fall over and crack her head open on a rock (she walks a little like the crow flies, she spots where she wants to get to and just goes; whether the earth is there to meet her, or whether there is a huge rock in the way, is of no concern to her).  It was a relief to get back down to the grass path where the girl could walk unhindered by my hand – although by this point she was pretty shattered and had decided maybe my hand wasn’t so bad after all (though obviously not as good as daddy’s, but the boy had laid claim to that early on, and I couldn’t be bothered with the battle).

We made it back to the car, after a bit of petting of a local pony that was wandering along a lane, and the kids must have been exhausted, because there were very few questions about whether or not we were going to be on the A66, when we would be on the A66 and how long, exactly, that would be for.  Bliss.

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We’ll make fell walkers of them yet
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