I stumbled across a few old photos. From a time before parenting. Even before my first ever digital camera… A time when my body was still young and I could run up mountains. A time when the wind would still blow my thick long black hair across my face.
A trip to the West Side of Northern England. To the Lake District and to one of Englands most famous mountains. The Old Man of Coniston. It’s not a huge mountain standing at just over 2600ft. But it’s steeped in history. It’s positioned next to the beautiful Coniston Water. The walk to the top takes you through old copper mine workings. Alongside a couple of stunning little tarns. Then finally onto a summit with sweeping views.
Hopefully one day I will return to the summit. A summit climb with considerably less hair. Which will take much longer this time and feature many sandwich stops..
This is from a couple of years back. A two hour car drive to the west side of Northern England. The Lake District. A place that sometimes feels just a little bit Alpine.
We stopped off at Castlerigg Stone Circle. One of the countries finest historic sites set amongst the countries highest mountains. It’s was erected in the Neolithic period. Sometime around 3000BC. Yes even before I was born. It’s one of those special places. Yes it’s popular picnic site now but it still has an atmosphere. It just feels different. Many years ago after a days climbing, I spent the night here. Just sat on the ground in the middle of the circle. I’m not sure why. Maybe waiting for a ghost or something. Didn’t see anything but when I walked away after sunrise, I had never felt so calm and relaxed. It’s that type of place. I could so imagine a great fantasy author coming here for inspiration.
What struck me about the second photo is the look on my two faithful companions. New visitors had just arrived at the site. The four legged one, I suspect was eagerly checking them out for food or toys. The young boy was definitely not so eager. Once the site started to fill up a little then it was most definitely time to go. Crowds and Aspergers are not great bedfellows. That’s why the time to visit places is such a delicate scheduling task. The choices tend to be
- Go when the weather is bad,
- Go just before they are closing,
- Arrive super early. Try to get round before the masses start to arrive.
As a result visits tend to be fleeting. They also sometimes require really early starts. In this case we set off at 5am. That’s not ideal but needs must. One definite advantage. Nothing better as you drive away from a site and passing the traffic queues waiting to get in. Does that thought make me a bad person….
Dad can we go somewhere tomorrow.
Where do you fancy?
How about the New Forest.
Sorry too far for day trip it’s a 6 hours to just get there.
How about Skye.
I so would love to son but it’s a full days drive.
How about Stonehenge.
Sorry that’s a 5 hour trip.
Ok let’s go for the Lake District.
It’s going to be busy.
Ok let’s go when it’s bad weather. Much quieter then. Let’s go to the coast. I know that will be busy but let’s avoid the beaches. Let’s try the bird reserve. Sadly it will be quiet as people for some reason prefer sitting on a bit of sand to than watching nature.
So it looks like a 1 hour drive to the coast then. We will set off early morning just in case of unexpected crowds. That’s the price you pay for trying to find quiet locations during the summer school break. Must admit I’m a little gutted that it’s not a trip to the Lake District. Not been in ages. Thoughts of mountains and lakes.
Then a bit of a grief wobble. We are now within 2 weeks of the dreaded anniversary so I am a bit all over the place. We both loved the Lakes. Maybe it’s because it feels a bit like Switzerland. Not massively but just enough. The grief wobble was about how few times we made it across there. Definitely twice maybe three times. That’s not enough times in the 18 years we spent together. We never found the time. What a waste.
But then just a picking minute. Let’s turn this thing around. The important thing is not the limited number of times we made it there. The really important thing is that WE DID GO THERE. The great times. The beautiful memories. The picnic with stunning mountain views. The stunning mountain walk. Waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread in the little hotel. Laughing hysterically as we got lost in a forest. The bottle of wine next to the Lake. The romantic meals…..
That’s the important stuff. Yes the anniversary marks the end of our journey but it was some journey. It really was.
So tomorrow it’s birds. Another memory. Arriving at the reserve and realising I might have been a bit of a numpty. My job was to bring the binoculars. Unfortunately I remembered our sons toy ones but the proper ones were really helpfully still sat on the kitchen table. Ops. My partner needed the patience of a saint. The most organised person in the world meets chaos.
What’s the odds on the same thing happening again. Suspect son will be less forgiving.