Lake District first edit
I took a trip up to the Lake District to get away from the city while I started to write my book. If it’s good enough for Wordsworth, it’s good enough for Hughes.
The Lake District is absolutely stunning, and I took the opportunity to try out my new camera, photographing each of the lakes I visited: Windermere, Coniston Water, Buttermere, Ullswater, Esthwaite Water, Derwent Water, Thirlmere, Crummock Water – you can see a selection of the photographs on my Flickr page here.
I made good progress with the book, and had a go at mountain biking – despite having a trail leader certificate, I’ve never really done it before. Well, I’ve ridden a mountain bike, and I have done a bit of off-roading, but that’s just trails, nothing tricky.
My mountain bike was embarrassingly clean.
I am of the opinion that I can do anything on a bike, but a minute of climbing up a very rocky, very steep track was all I could manage before I was off and pushing, chuckling at myself. A motor bike passed me in the opposite direction, coming down the track with great aplomb. He had it right. I persevered, loving every minute of it: the sunlight filtering through the trees, the stunning scenery, the sweat I was working up. I made it to the top, after a mixture of pushing and riding, eventually bouncing along the ridge, enjoying feeling the suspension working on the bike, the fat tyres taking on everything that the track lay in its path.
I was glad of the sunshine, although the previous day’s rain had left its mark – puddles frequently barred the way, and I got stuck in a bog on a couple of occasions, getting my feet utterly soaked in muddy water despite my massive boots.
This was mountain biking at its most extreme (I think). At one point I was hurtling down an old river bed that actually became a river for a stretch, trying to dodge the boulders. Partway down I met a man walking up with his child. “You probably heard me shrieking from up there!” I said, laughing at myself. “Yes”. He seemed disapproving that I should be making all that noise. Oh dear. The descent to Coniston water was an utter joy. It’s worth all that climbing, all that pushing, to get to a point where it’s downhill all the way. Rumbling over gravel, skidding round rocks, clutching at the brakes in excitement and terror. It was wonderful – but I breathed a sigh of relief when I got to the tarmac
It was a fantastic trip, enjoying some of the best countryside England has to offer, and getting out and about in the fresh air on my bike.