This is going to be more of a note making exercise and so if you can't really be arsed this would be one to skip.
Old new band of the week are The Young Republic, their Myspace has some great new songs. The first three are all worth a listen and with a new album due out I can see them being the New New Band of the week all over again soon. Napoleon Roses is a belter.
And so we left Clapham near Ingleborough (Chris heading back to Ponte Carlo no doubt via an ancient mountain pass just south of Inver-outer Isles) in the dark with the promise of a few beers in a cosy Ambleside in our heads. From the M6 virtually all the way back to Windermerewas a solid line of traffic, thankfully all headed albeit in a stationary fashion in the opposite direction to us. Now either,Godzilla had arrived in Ambleside and was taking chunks out of the mountains, or the post New Year romantics were now sat in the cars opposite arguing about ' who's bloody idea was this in the first place'. Really, the post new year romantics could easily have been a Record Mirror special subset genre to challenge the post C86 brigade. Think Shop Assistants if it helps...........no...............moving swiftly on.
30 minutes later we ambled into Ambleside (how else do you get there?) no problems at all, oh until we reached the archway to the car park off the main street. Designed for a horse and cart circa 1725 I think, and a bloody skinny horse at that, still if I'm going to hang off mountains I can certainly take the odd risk with a wing mirror..........it's all adrenaline junky stuff for me these days. I just made it through while Craig opted for the 'yay go me' park right outside the front door technique....jammy git. Now this may appear a bit bloody convenient but lets just say the pub/hotel receptionist did look a bit like Tracy Tracy.
We checked in,we planned routes and had a bit of tea and we were knackered so no 'on the town' for us tonight. 10.30pm and I'm all tucked up in my room watching Match of the Day and I knew I wasn't even going to see the end of that through drooping eyelids. Then it started....right below my first floor bedroom, 'Ladies and Gentlemen it's Lakeside Karaoke' oh good I thought!. Well by the third American Pie I was beginning to lose the plot, I've seen The Deer Hunter, I know how it works. One stray bullet, you pretend you weren't there and its Buddy Holly time. Just in case this ever comes back to bite me, I learnt everything I know about guns from the owl murderer who also used to take pot shots a builders in his youth.
Thankfully the overnight bag I'd brought had a brand new pair of festival camping earplugs tucked down the side, lucky for them I thought as I dreamt of Camper Van Beethoven.
Bright and Breezy next day we set off to walk the Fairfield Horseshoe, down Tyrone Road, passed Shannon Crescent shops (steal a Bar Six), onto Bishopton Rd West and down to theRimswell,turn left up to the VG and then round the back through the cut and home by dark........shit that's when I was 4, I got in right bother that day too. This one has 8 Wainwrights (look it up, it's like train spotting for walkers) it was also going to be a heck of a challenge, 8 real peaks with the tallest Fairfield being only 15 metres shorter than Great Gable and then back around the rest before dark.
We could see the whole route from the first hill and the really good thing is the second half really did look to be downhill all the way. It was bloody freezing in parts, but we are all kitted out these days,witness the Marshmallow Man in the pictures.
Maybe this had caused the mass exodus the previous day. The views all day were pretty awesome, from Ambleside to Helm Crag, to Striding Edge and Helvellyn, but the extended sunset over the gas rigs and right across Morecambe Bay were brilliant. The Close Lobsterswere pretty cool too.
The whole horseshoe wasn't too much agg at all once we'd summited the first peak, a few interesting climbs on the way down,but we were swigging hot chocolate well before dark (10 minutes).
Shower, curry and beers and another early night for a much needed sleep. That was the plan anyway until we happened upon a pub with the promise of 'Julio Geordie' appearing later....how can you resist that? We didn't. It was a very odd thing to see a bloke who thinks he's a bit JulioIglesias, singing Eagles songs in a geordie accent. Mind you if he had got three notes into American Pie I'd have wrapped a wrought iron bar stool round his Julio Smuggio chops.
Next morning and still fighting fit we decided to tackle Wansfell (another Wainwright- not that I'm ticking (or now have a book) (and a poster). This was supposed to be the tester day, 'oh day three you'll be knackered' 'your legs will fall off' 'you'll have bones sticking through your feet' and other such things were said .......in my head. Well we fair flew up Wansfell and then another couple of peaks along the ridge and then headed down towards the lake. This now felt like the return leg as we were headed home............. nothing could stop us.......except
'The Horses of Doom'
ok maybe I'm overplaying their part but..
They were roaming free on 'our' fell
They were in our way with no route round
They have teeth, are cloven hoofed, big hair and scary eyes (yeah...same as a Stoke nightclub)
It turned out that the biggest danger to my life and limbs was falling asleep and being trodden to death while waiting for Craig to flounce round like a big brother wannabee insisting on me taking photographs of him with every horse on the hillside. I was relieved when some dog walkers turned up and put him off his stride. One pout too many mate.
We were then faced with 'The Ice Road of Death', if I'd been carrying One Ring or had a hobbit with me then it would have been understandable but this was getting silly. (it was like this for half a mile)
The rest of the walk back to Ambleside was absolutely gorgeous, perfect sunshine,we could see for miles over lake Windermere and we were treated to a wild deer stalking us. I took the gun off Craig and managed to get a photo too. All we needed was one thousand violins (sorry but this is the best one)
Relaxed, a bit tired and extremely happy having spent three days in the hills I returned to my car. YIKES, I had to get it through the 1" gap again...........blood pressure back to normal.