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Lockdown 15 – Family Hike

About this time last year, we did our annual family hike. This time it was starting and finishing at Elterwater. .

It took three days.
Day 1: Elterwater to Hawkeshead
Day 2: Hawkeshead to Coniston
Day 3: Coniston to Elterwater

I love a family hike. With the kids there’s always a bit of complaining to begin with, but once I get into it I’m okay. There’s only one mountain top on this walk, Holme Fell, which is the second smallest Wainwright and the rest of it is little ups and downs. Easy peasy. That’s how I presented it to the kids anyway, but they know I lie about these things.

Day 1: Elterwater to Hawkeshead

The first bit, along Elterwater, is flat, woody and there were tiny ducklings. Thank you tiny ducklings for being so cute and swimming in an adorable line. ‘Aaaawwww,’ everyone said, this was a good start.

We stopped at Chester’s by the River for soup and got a great seat overlooking the Brathay and, guess what, there was Leek and Potato, everyone’s favourite. Could this get any better?

Two minutes out of Chester’s it started raining.

I’m Cumbrian, so I know rain and this was the big fat wet stuff. And it rained like that for the rest of the day.

I am the regular hiker of the family, the rest of the family comes with me occasionally, maybe once a month in the summer, never in the winter. Because of this, I have better outdoor gear than them. My Montane jacket was coping well, after an hour their clothing had succumbed and they were soaked.

They let me know this fact every 3 and a half minutes. So to make things equal, somewhere near Tarn Hows I jumped into a river. This was a drastic solution, but after that we all complained every 3 and half minutes until we reached Hawkeshead.

We stayed at the King’s Arms. I’m not going to say where we ate because when we got back my daughter puked into a bin and then she was perfectly fine. So I don’t know what happened there. Sleeping next to a bin full of puke was fun and something I haven’t done in a while.

Day 2: Hawkeshead to Coniston

The main point of this day was to get to Go Ape in Grizedale Forest. The fact we got lost in the forest, I say we, but as was rightly pointed out to me, it was me who got us lost.

‘You don’t know where you’re going do you?’
‘Of course I do, just through this thicket then we can hack through the gorse bushes.’

We got there, so what if it was an hour late and we missed our slot and had to wait another hour…

As usual with Go Ape I learned a few new skills that I could use in real life.

Everyone loved it. Unnecessary detail alert: I can’t seem to dismount from the zip wires without getting woodchip in my undies.

That night we stayed at the Black Bull in Coniston and I drank several pints of Bluebird and slept like a baby (I woke up crying every two hours).

Day 3: Coniston to Elterwater

Today we climbed a mountain. It’s a tiny mountain but it has great trees and cute tarn, some steep bits and a rough top with great views of Coniston and the Old Man. Wainwright said it was one of the most attractive of Lakeland Fells.

My daughter was getting a bit sick of me saying things like ‘There’s some great views just around here’ or ‘Doesn’t that make it all worthwhile.’

‘No, it doesn’t Dad. It dosen’t make it worthwhile and I don’t care about the stupid views.’

It was the third day, things were getting tense. There was only one thing for it. On the way down, we jumped into the little reservoir/tarn that feeds Hodge Close Quarry. It’s a gorgeous place surrounded by trees and there’s never anyone there. Loved it.

The goal after that was the Britannia Inn in Elterwater to have a beer, a half a lager and lime, a cider and a diet coke, with four packets of crisps.

Mission accomplished.

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