Souther Fell and Bannerdale Crags 19/05/18

On a roll and a bit too cocky.

On a map, not looking too closely, this looked a nice achievable loop. So off we set.

Souther Fell = easy tick

Look at the map more closely once on top of Souter Fell and I realised that there was no direct link footpath. I could see one which looked a lovely steady climb going up to Bannerdale Crags on the other side of the valley, and the ground down the edge of Souter Fell didn’t look too bad, it was dry and a beautiful day….. So I went for it.

As I started walking down it turned out that it really was as steep as all the close contours on the map suggested. Knees were sore so I thought, well why not slide down on my bum (don’t fret, Evie was secure in the sling on the front). And asleep.

Well that’s what we did, bum-sliding interspersed with walking when the terrain was more rocky. And it brought us out into the valley floor, amazingly without Evie waking up. However then another obstacle….. a wide region of heathery grassy lumpy ground to actually get to the path!

Finally to the path, I started tromping up, by this time quite hungry. Evie woke up half way up the ascent so we stopped for a double feed with a view.

It was at this point I realised I’d lost my banana in the bum-sliding descent so had less food than anticipated to fill my now energy depleted body. At least I had refilled my water bottle at the stream as that would otherwise have run out to.

Eating all I had and having fed Evie, I continued onwards and upwards to the summit of Bannerdale Crags. A new one for me; Evie was asleep again!!

Then for the final descent, which was on a path this time but almost as steep and very tough on the knees.

A glorious but tough hill day, with my sore legs I was pleased for once to get back to the car.

Angletarn Pikes – 18/05/18

With Evie now 6 weeks old, for Angletarn Pikes I met up with my friend Lou ( well into a pregnancy herself) and her old but fit dog Seamus O’Leary. Given as this walk was before I thought to start this blog, looking back I now find it funny as we were trying to find a catchy title for a book for a guide to the Lakes with an ante-natal woman, post-natal woman with baby and a geriatric dog! Not quite what this is going to be, but part way there.

So it was another gorgeous day so we packed our cossies and headed to angle tarn.

Taking our time getting up the hill, both with good reason for a slow and steady approach, we decided to get in the Pikes and tick off a Wainwright en-route. Seamus seemed happy with the pace to!

Once we reached Angle Tarn and had some lunch, it decided to get cooler. Angle Tarn is generally very cold anyway early in the year, so we swapped the swim for a jumper and headed down instead.

What it did mean was that when we got back to Lou’s we had time for an ice-cream, and Evie had time for a cuddle with Paddington!

Harter Fell – 15/05/18

I have been walking up to Small Water since I was 3 years old and up Harter Fell when I was a bit older. I was excited to take Evie up there to see my old stomping ground.

We had stayed at my mums in Bampton, so of course there were morning bed cuddles before the day started.

Harter Fell is a bigger walk for sure, but the weather was gorgeous and I was desperate to get going…. but not before a stop off at the Bluebell woods in Burnbanks as they are not to be missed.

Driving along Haweswater the reflections were just stunning…. this is it at its best.

After getting Evie fed, changed and in the sling we set off. Normally I would stop for a swim in Small Water, but it was just us, so as lovely as it looked, I walked on by and continued on up to Nam Biel. I was shocked to see that Kentmere reservoir, another of my favourite swim places, was totally dried out.

Evie missed the views from Nam Biel towards Haweswater in one direction and Kentmere in the other, and from the top of Harter Fell, but then she did finally wake up as we were walking back down the Gatesgarth path, so we stopped for another feed and her first up the mountain change! Loo with a view for her!

That just left the steep descent back to the car and back to Grandmas for a well deserved cup of tea!

Gowbarrow – 13/05/18

For Evie’s second Wainwright we needed a small and local one, as we were still getting used to having a baby, I was still sore and Evie was still under 6 weeks old. So we set off up Gowbarrow. However, Tim decided that we should try a new route, so rather than going up the main path it turned instead into a bit of an adventure.

The path turned into a bit of a non path, so some heather bashing and a bit of scrambling were required to actually get to the cairn on top. But it was worth it. Another amazing day and stunning view looking down over Ullswater, not that Evie saw it as once again she was asleep at the top!

We then followed a real path, though not our normal one, to get back down…. glad it was dry as normally I think it would be a bog!

21/10/18

A regular walk of ours, it being close to home. But today was one of those cracking days with beautiful late afternoon light, autumnal colours…. and Evie awake at the top!

Didn’t want this day to end!

Trip to Staithes, Yorkshire- July 2018

My mums wish for her 70th birthday was to spend it on holiday with her two daughters and now her two grandchildren. Looking for somewhere suitable with something to occupy a 2&1/2 year old, and be a nice place to be in, not too far to drive for each of us, my sister Imogen found the beautiful location of Staithes on the North Yorkshire coast.

Now there is only one problem with Staithes. You can’t park outside the houses! Parking in a place that you weren’t really meant to park to get as close as possible (still a 4 min walk), made things hard! Now Imogen had warned us to pack light, but this was only my second trip away and I still hadn’t sussed what I needed for Evie.

Carrying a screaming baby, trying to feed her in the sling, whilst unloading clothes bags, nappy buckets, swim stuff, food, a birthday cake…… made for an interesting and slightly stressy start to the holiday and a very sore thumb, which I nearly broke by slipping carrying too much at once. Immediate resolve, bring less, eat as much food as possible so it doesn’t have to go back to the car!

Next crazy thing. The house was lovely but did have the stairs of doom as I called them! I learnt from above though and carried either luggage or baby, never both.

Still, it was all worth it. My mum had a lovely birthday. I think I put 70 candles on the cake (I lost count). We had a lovely time at the beach, Sam building sand shaped he immediately smashed and playing in rock pools, we went for a nice walk along the cliff tops, and I can thoroughly recommend the food at the pub overlooking the harbour, where we had our dinner.

Another day we did a family bike ride, from Whitby to Robins Hood Bay and back along the disused railway track. I towed Evie in The Chariot, as it’s become known, and Imogen had Sam on the back. Once we got everybody comfortable (took a few attempts), we had a good ride there. Whitby has lots of bike stands so it was easy to park up and we went to the beach.

Coming back was not quite the same delight. Sam was tired and did the typical two year old scream. Then Evie decided she had had enough and spent the latter part of the journey screaming. This turned the end of that journey into one of misery. No one likes their baby to be unhappy, but when there is only one way back to the car, you’ve just got to crack on. Still overall the day was positive and full of nice memories. And good practice for our upcoming Danube cycle tour trip.

The rest of the holiday (it was short and flew by) was spent enjoying Staithes and Sam getting to know me & Evie, which was a delight. I swam in the harbour each day which was gorgeous and we hung out at the beach and had ice-cream.

The only downside to a holiday is that it has to end! And those journeys back to the car weren’t much easier!

Evie’s first Wainwright – Great Mell Fell. 06/05/18

At one month and two days old We managed to summit our first Wainwright as a new family. Those first few weeks had felt like an eternity, so getting to the top of a fell, even a small one, felt like a great achievement.

Great Mell Fell has a steep ascent but you get fabulous views for miles across The Lakes and the Eden Valley from the top. You also get to see funky windswept trees on the way up! It left me sore but was worth it.

From this point I thought that we will start to walk the Wainwrights. There are 214 to go at, so it will keep us busy. But I figured also a good way of heading up fells that we don’t walk out of habit.

Question is….. how long will this take?

The adventure begins

As a nearly 40 year old first time mum to be, who has spent the last two decades ‘playing’ in the fells, spending my free time in the outdoor world, and travelling at every available opportunity, I was more than a little bit nervous about how having a baby might turn my world upside down. I felt very determined that I would somehow continue doing the things that I enjoy, whilst understanding that I would need to adapt how I went about these things…..

……. and then Evie was born in early April 2018. From an unusually long and cold winter, her arrival brought an unusually hot spring into summer. And with this amazing good weather, and my inability to stay indoors when the weather is good, the adventures of Evie began.

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Evie’s first outing at 3 days old – just through the village, but we could see Blencathra with snow still on the fells