In the absence of a cat, I was able to overcome my morning slump and was out on the road by just after nine. My plan, hastily cobbled together last night after reading the weather forecast, was to pick off the Wainwrights from Great Borne to Haystacks before picking up the Lakeland 100 route at Scarth Gap and dropping back down into Buttermere. If all went to plan, I’d be off the tops before the rain set in.
As I made my way along the ridge, I passed a party of five teenage boys, each with a full rucksack bulging with camping equipment. They chatted as they walked, and seemed to be having a reasonable time. I spared them a thought as I picked my way down the end of the ridge and again as I clambered up Haystacks, glad I was sporting nothing more cumbersome than my running pack.
By the time I came down Haystacks, the rain had set in and the path was considerably slicker than it had been. I’d just descended one of the disguised staircases* when I came across the party again. I waited as they passed me, looking a little daunted by the scramble ahead. “This is the worst day of my life”, said the last of them as he passed.
It broke my heart.
What muppet decided that the best way to introduce a new generation to the joy of the great outdoors and the beauty** of the Lake District was to say “Go out and experience it. But be sure to start off with a full day expedition whatever the weather. Oh and make sure you spend your nights under canvas. And what ever you do don’t do circular routes from your base, but carry everything with you in a large, unwieldy pack because that’s the only way you’ll have an authentic experience. Anything else is cheating.”?
My money’s on a muppet who wants to keep the Lake District to himself, because if even one of those kids returns it will be a miracle.
* it’s not a rock face, it’s a path.