Last weekend Clare & I were back in the Lakes to join her Bottle Green workmates for another company ‘challenge’!

I remember once being told that the word ‘challenge’ is just a synonym for ‘problem’…

All the same, it was great joining a cheerful mix of workmates and their near & dear in their ‘technical gear’ for the bi-annual, always-slightly-harder-than-you’d-like Lakeland clamber.  Essentially, the whole adventure is so financial director Steve can tick off a few more of his top 100 peaks, but for most of us, it’s just an opportunity to go out for a nice dinner!

It had been an ominous week weather-wise, and hitting the road across the Borrowdale valley bottom around 8am (!), the forecast looked clear yet ominous.It wasn’t long before we were gaining altitude and bothering sheep.The sun and gloom played games with our minds

But often looked splendid blasting rays through gaps in cloud down the dramatic landscape.We were super lucky that the preceding rainfall hadn’t stoked the bogs, and the ground was generally dry.

Before long we wandered up to this badboy, which Steve’s guide described as a ‘gentle scramble’.

Looks an awful lot like a wall to me…

‘Challenge’ is another word for ‘problem’.

But there’s always a sense of accomplishment after such a climb!Before we knew it we’d ‘bagged’ our first peak – Glaramara!

Steve always seemed to stomp on ahead.

Legend has it, Steve was once in the Lakes, massively drunk and lost a special gold watch, and this top 100 peak bagging story is simply a ruse for him to charge ahead in the vain hope that one day he’ll recover said watch and all will be well.

Or at least that’s what Nick told me…

But would you trust this man?Here’s peak two: Allen Crags.

It might be me, but there’s marginally less excitement in the faces of the explorers…Although cold, it was mainly sunny, but clouds were heavy and at one point we got snowed on.

You’ve gotta love the Lakeland climate.A year previous, we’d done the Great Gable/Pillar 11-mile stomp (check out similarly dramatic images on the blog post I posted about it here), and we’d stopped for a pic at this same ‘stretcher box’; so it seemed wrong not to do another quick teamshot! As mentioned in that previous blog post, the problem with climbing peaks, is that the word itself is plural.  And between each aren’t enough bridges, so you end up coming down one peak, only to have to go up another.  At the bottom of the next big climb, there was a secret meeting about the option for taking the ‘escape route’ down the valley back to the YHA; where tea, beer and warm were waiting to soothe tired walkers…

…and on conducting a meeting with the map reader leaders…

…most of the ladies decided to take the escape route (note how happy they look about it!) …

…while we fools steeled up & set our minds to strong!Check out the scree-slope we clambered up!

But we were rewarded with this dramatic Ansel Adams style view on the way up to the top of the next peak, Green GableHere are ‘Team Strong Mind’ working their most explorery poses atop Green Gable.And across the tops and a few more peaks, we headed back down again…

I rather liked this view of a windy road up to a slate quart in the hill.

I love the flat-edged, traditional slate buildings in Lake District towns.

Insert ‘No Fear’ poster slogan here.As we lowered off the barren peak-tops, the valleys became more green and wooded; looking particularly lovely when bright sunlight passed over.

Though arguably, Clare was a little pooped to appreciate it!It seemed wrong not to get a snap of me in my top-to-toe ‘technical wear’ (+ South American crap llama hat)

Sadly, the Sony HX9v compact camera, brilliant though it is, couldn’t quite capture the moss-filled, backlit magic of this woodland we wandered through.Arriving back at the hostel, after approximately 15miles stomping was a beautiful thing indeed…

…almost as lovely as these 7.4% apples!
Which went straight to me ‘edCheers to a fantastic adventure all round (and to not being drowned in mist and send down the wrong side of a slope like last time!)

I rather like this these images I’d caught over Derwent water at dusk!

In this day and age, we forget there’s such beautiful landscape in the UK, literally on our doorstep, ignored in place of cheap flight destinations.

The more weddings I do around the Dales and Lakes, and the more exhilaratingly painful stomps I do with Clare’s fantastic workmates, the more I realise what a fantastic country it is in which we live!

Get out, and enjoy it!

B

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