...only the wrong clothing.
You'd have thought I'd learn. Last March I went on a weekend away to do a 20 mile race
in Wales, followed by a bit of white water rafting
. It snowed.
This year I planned a weekend in the Lakes, and found a 10 mile race on the way. Guess what? It snowed.
But it was fantastic. I'd chosen somewhere relatively remote, where I could cut myself off from the world, and while the snow looked fantastic on the hills, it mainly came down overnight which meant that during the day I could just enjoy it without being caught in too many blizzards, and I could just relax and enjoy it.
There was no mobile phone reception, and no tv reception. No internet in the village (or at least I'm sure the hostel had it on the office computer they had, but there wasn't exactly a cyber cafe, and I didn't feel the need to beg to check my emails). Life reduced itself to the simplest of elements. Eat, sleep, and walk enough to build up the need for each of those things.
I spent most of my time walking at lake level. I made a couple of attempts to get higher, but when I encountered icy rocks on a scramble up one route, and increasingly deep snow on another, I decided that this close to FLM I'd rather not tick off any peaks, than attempt to do it and hurt myself in the process. I got high enough to take some good photos, and to get my heart rate going a bit, but I mainly stuck in the valleys at pub level.
It's amazing how quickly you can forget the stresses of life, by walking, and eating, and drinking. I didn't run (other than the race on the way up there), but in terms of time on my feet I reckon it will be good for marathon training.
The hostel thing was surprisingly good. It's all I need, to be honest. It's quite nice staying somewhere where everyone else goes to bed at 9.30 and gets up at 6.30 too! I'm not so keen on the snorers and the kids running round, but it was bearable. Everyone seemed to be scarily feet and lean though. Real hill walking types. They kept asking whether I was into fell running. No, no, no, although I'm starting to see the appeal. In theory if not in practice. But what I will be putting back into practice is hostelling. I picked up a map, and I'm plotting my next trip.
The weekend also confirmed that I'm not a driver. I hired a car. I drove it to the lakes. I parked it in the hostel car park. And I left it there. I walked all day on Saturday. On Sunday I walked a bit, got the bus over a pass that was too snowy to attempt, and then walked the rest of the way to Keswick. I got the bus back. I didn't even consider driving. And on the subject of Keswick - I got there and wanted to get back to the peace of Buttermere. It was so busy! Keswick is hardly a metropolis, but I just craved peace and quiet, to escape for the weekend. And on that basis, it ticked all the boxes.
And back to the weather. I think it says something that I've finally acquired enough technical kit, and enough understanding of how much I sweat doing various activities, that I managed to dress myself so I was precisely the right temperature the whole time. Wearing running tights under slighly more flattering trousers is definitely the way to go! Yes, the weather had an effect in terms of the walks I did, but it didn't stop me getting outside for pretty much the whole weekend, which was the point.