Run your shoe size, not your age … (pt 1)

Published by Si on

A work in progress.  Well, more play than work, and in several parts …

… this being part one. 

August 2020

An old piece found lurking on my Mac, an idea, …

As it’s ‘that’ time of year(surely the new year really started ten days ago, after the solstice?) a plan. Probably for the autumn equinox. 

This piece of madness is actually only partly my fault.  I’ve been quite badly injured the last half of 2016 and a good chunk of 2017, a friend suggested I needed a target.  “Do a Joss” they said.  Now, I’m not that fit.  But I have been accused of not acting my age(stupid phrase, and idea) so; I’m 56 in 2019.  A round of 28 tops seemed like a good idea.  So I worked one out, basically a circuit of the Derwent valley(the one south of Keswick, not the dark peak one).  Some big hills then, and no road crossings.  Solo unsupported too; put the pack on and go.  About 60Km distance and about 4Km of ascent.  Probably a good idea to put some food, drinks and kit in the pack too. 

Should be fun. 

Perhaps a shorter warm up earlier in the year, my shoe size, not my age.  Just an 11 top jaunt. Where did I put my maps?

…  that like many ADHD brainsparks, got forgotten.  But times now, the times have changed. 

And therefore, in this covid autumn, that shorter warm-up feels about right.  Which results in a couple of Harvey Superwalker maps spread out on my floor.  Along with Wainwright guides and a scribble pad.  Much though I love the soggy, boggy dark peak, I want some proper ridges and summits.  The lake district is much better for this; and I don’t risk my day being troubled by the guns.  

So, where?

Couple of options lurk, a circuit around the head of Borrowdale, taking in Rosset Pike, Bowfell and Esk Pike.  The Gables, and the Langdale Pikes are always busy though, and the drag up Great Gable from Styhead is – well it just “is”.  Good loop if I’m camping at Chapel Farm, I can start from my tent.  Trickier if I’m in Keswick though; the bus service down to Seatoller certainly doesn’t run early and late. 

Then there’s a loop from Hawse End landing stage, over Causey Pike, Eel Crag, Robinson, Dalehead and Catbells.  Definitely some proper summits and ridges there; possibly fewer folk(for most of the way) too.  None of the climbs have the impact of Great Gable either.  And there’s a ride on the steam launch, which is fun.  Opposite transport trickiness to the Borrowdale loop, good if I’m in Keswick, going to need an expensive taxi if I’m at Chapel Farm. 

Best make crib sheets for both, see where I end up.  

October 2020 (just)

Well, how things change. There’s the inevitable second rising tide of COVID-19, and Cumbria was hit hard in spring.  And I was sharply critical of folk who visited on that similarly rising spring tide, before the entirely predictable first surge really hit.  So whilst it’s rather harder than wearing a mask and staying distant, for now I’ll stay in the peak.  Not happy about it, but I’ve been playing in the fells and moors, managing my health much longer than we’ve been mismanaging this pandemic. 

So what to do?  

Well, start with a different set of Harvey maps spread out on my floor.  The dark peak ones.  Something doable by public transport, possibly a loop.  But keeping that eleven points.  Something fairly easy running; insomnia and fibromyalgia have been biting.  

And there it is, Hope to Edale; a long way round.  A lope via eight trigs and three rocks; and some of the dark peak’s finest bogs.  Something missing about “easy” though, a rough measure gives a 55km day out.  Still, not a huge lot of climbing once I’m over Win Hill and High Neb.  And that public transport thing?  Assuming trains run to time, I’ve an absolute limit of 13.5 hours; and a long cold connection wait on Sheffield station. 

All of that feels actually doable, in a few weeks. Give time for my body and mind to recover. Time too for the grouse shooting to run out of time; after December tenth running over those moors will be much simpler and safer.

Time now though to recover from these lurgies and get a few kilometres in the legs and lungs. And maybe an iced Mocha or two.

To be continued …