Thursday, 14 October 2010
Spirit Of The Adventure - Part Two
I returned home late afternoon Sunday from my trekking weekend in the Southern Lakes as physically shattered as I've ever felt, but hugely content in what was a truly awesome experience. The opportunity to walk for three days in this breathtaking natural wilderness left me feeling completely privileged and humbled. Setting out from Great Langdale, our overall aim was to climb England's highest peak, Scafell Pike, by mid-afternoon on the Saturday. It was a tough and testing route we had set ourselves, especially for me as I am a novice amongst more experienced trekkers. Thankfully, whilst I'm not the most physically strong person you will meet, I have the stamina of an Ethiopian runner (I road-run regularly) so I coped far better than I thought (especially with nearly 20kg on my back!).
Reaching up to just over 3,200ft, the summit of Scafell was visible in the far distance from where we camped on the first night. It was an incredible incentive to rise early and push on but it's huge ominous bulk never seemed to get any closer to us the next day as we climbed the peaks and then dropped down in to the valleys. None the less, slightly ahead of schedule, at 13.40 I was officially the tallest person in England. To some that will not mean an awful lot, and it's not the greatest achievement a man could have, but I was thoroughly proud of myself!
The descent downwards from this monumental giant showed us the dangers of complacency in this unforgiving environment as a fellow trekker within another party had fallen and cracked his head so badly we were forced to call Mountain Rescue when we reached a point we could gain the merest of mobile signal. As we continued our trek to our proposed camping spot for the night, we could hear the helicopter droning away in the valley just passed: I don't think a word was spoken between us for some time.
The second night we camped at a truly beautiful place called Angle Tarn (pictured above). My overriding memory of this place will forever be the 5 of us laying on our backs staring up at a clear night sky for two hours watching the most amazing light show courtesy of a million and more bright stars. They are always there, of course, but so rarely do you get an opportunity to experience their splendour in an area unspoilt by light pollution. No TV could provide such entertainment and we were very luck the early-October weather was so kind to us.
The whole experience was, for me, enhanced by the fact that a year ago my four fellow trekkers would have been total strangers to me. Our relationships have grown out of the school playground as our young children frequent the same primary school. We are all different, and in any other situation we may never have been drawn together as a group, but the camaraderie shown over the weekend leaves me with some very cherished memories.
And for once, Charlton never mattered! I learnt of our draw with Plymouth when my Mum's text finally found it's way to my phone some time just after we joined the M6. It would have topped my weekend off to have seen an Addicks win, but then again, for once, even a defeat would not have bought me down!