Saturday, February 07, 2015

Its positively warm

I get up, its 5:30 am, in fact I’m lying, it 5:30 and the alarm goes off. My brother asks if I’m getting out of bed. I am, I am lying again, but I am planning on getting out of bed. Well its there, the thought in my head somewhere. Its those first movements that really are the hardest. Its warm and cosy in bed, should I move, will it be worth it? He prods me with a cup of tea, not laterally, that would be messy but with the thought that if I get my ass down stairs there's one down there for me, with milk, and I know this is true as I ensured we brought some in the shop last night. He mutters he’s done me some porridge too, but I can’t remember that now. My brain my have got me dressed, washed and vertical, but it sure wasn’t functioning just yet to say “why are we doing this?”
With our things in the car we head off for the M6, it is dark, my brain may be switched on now and so are the lights of the car. And off we go. Of course, of all the things to forget, my brother pipes up, “did you put my ski boots in the car?” Now I had to ask myself the question “why would I have put his ski boot in the car” And obviously I didn’t have an answer that he wanted to hear. But in my head I could hear the screams “why would I put his ski boots in the car”. My reply of course was “You haven't put your ski boots in the car have you – sigh”. there are moments when you wonder why have I got up early for this? And so we turn around and back down the motorway, to where we have come from. Back on the motorway, to where we are going and we are running at a pace, the road clear, the conditions good, the air dark. A car appears from nowhere on my tail, good I think, I don’t like being the fastest car on the road, someone else who thinks they are at last, and as soon as I pass the car I’m overtaking I move to lane two. Rather surprisingly the car that thinks its faster than me, and is as it passes, is a police car, and inevitably I let him stride pass and back off the gas. They hover in front for sometime, doing there job in a nice manner, I get the picture and I’m happy to not be the fastest motor car on the road.
Sometime later it is light and we are moving up the country as if we were in a moving box with four wheels. Progress was good, which you can never tell with the M6.
We pull up at Lancaster Services, open our bladders and grab some sandwiches from Marks and Spencer's.
We head back to the box with four wheels, two of which are safely connected to a fifth via some mechanical mechanism.
We head north to junction 40, the northern turn off for the Lake District and head east instead of taking the immediate route south.
This I thought may work out better, and you know what?
It did. We started enjoying the beauty of the Lake district instantaneously. We follow the road to the coast of Ullswater and then onto Glenridding, and then
follow the Mine Track up the landscape, a battered track which really is not suitable for this kind of vehicle in places, see the video.
We park up and take a leak right here.
So this is the route, hard to believe that a tri of hours earlier it was dark and we were a million miles away.
We gather our things and prepare for the on slaughter of the walk we are about to undertake.
With my snowboard initially on my back, a full load in my back pack I was ready to go.
My brother of course was not. But I gave him a kick and off he went like a donkey up the hill, puffing and panting, so I knew he was Okay.
The sun was out, the clouds not to be seen above us, and the air was fresh.
You couldn’t ask for it to be more perfect. If anything it was too warm and I had to take my ski jacket off!
As we walk up the path is far easier to follow this time, hell you can see it, there are land marks and we roughly know where we are going, which always helps.
We are joined be another fellow traveler, and one that is friendly. To the point
that he gave me some snow spikes to try. Oddly I’d already ordered some, they just haven't come yet!
And on we went.
My brother would seemingly out pace me, but I’m admiring the beauty that has bestowed itself all-round me.
On wards and upwards, there would be no stopping us today, today we will be up here early.
My oh my though just look at it.
The altitude increases and so does my breathing.
There are now clouds in the distance, one ponders will they chase us?
We march on.
With the occasional stop.
Something's are beautiful
something open the mind.
Here the KLF have left us alone.
And we make it to the ski hut. To the warmth, to a small but delightful paradise.
and so the journey the way we have come, this time I have tracked us.
Oh nearly two hours? Can that be right? Cam it?
Either way we settle in and get ready. For that is why we are here, that is why we got up so early, that is it.
I reopen the door, I am ready, I can feel the board on my feet twigging in the direction of the lift, we are off.
or not as the case may be, as when we reach the lift it has broken and they are trying to fix it.
I sit and watch the commotion, as they all work as a team to fix it.
and soon the announcement is good news.
and so the fun begins.
then endless fun.
We can see where we are going, but there is no actual pistes.
You make it up and head back to the lift,
things could be nice, things could be French, but this is what life has dealt and this is what I’m going to enjoy.
And this is an adventure. The Way Out West.
More boarders join us which is helpful
as the tow is a right pain, but the more boarders who go up the easier the track up the tow gets.
Of course, occasionally you have to take a break, sum it up and absorb it all, every bit of it.
And then go to the ski hut and have dinner, well when I say dinner I mean
a pot noodle. I know but it was light to take up. The water to make it though wasn’t!
With a warm nourishing meal inside me and my brother we were ready for some more funtime.
I change my goggles to my low light Scotts as the sun as gone over the mountain and well with these it was like it hadn’t.
and so off we played.
I’d like to say its like the real thing up here and guess in England its as close as your going to get.
Fun for a while, but here I’d like to say, its as cold as most people think a ski holiday would be, but isn’t when your closer to the med and closer still to the sun. Here though it is cold, cold like British cold.
Its time to pack up. I’m tired, exhausted, I’ve thrusted my body as much as I can at the extremes of England. And I still need some time to get back down the mountain.
We enter the warmth of the ski hut and prepare.
We prepare for the walk down.
We say goodbye to the friendly folk, the folk who appreciate only the truly devoted make it here, the like minded, the insane?
And so we start with gravity on our side.
A new way down, the low path down, the path you can’t see.
But down it is.
That is the way, I can smell it, or is that my feet.
Yep its my feet. At least they are warm.
I’d like to say I know where we are going. But all I know is it’s that way.
In the distance that person seems to know the way.
but as we stride on through the soft crunch heather
They disappear.
The end is in sight though
and so we plough on.
I’m getting really tired now. One foot in front of the other, and then again, and again.
And I’d like to say, before you knew it we were back, but it wasn’t that quick, it was a right slog.
So on the way down this was the route we took.
And we did it quicker, thanks to gravity.
At the car park we meet up again with the chap who lent me the walking spikes, and as it was his first time he’d parked in Glenridding. I offered to give him and his ski a lift down the old mine track and he agreed. I mean who wouldn't.
As we bounded slowly over the bumps down the track the chap enlightened at the pub. I got his skis out and looked at my tyres, bum it looks like the one is flat. I hoped it had deflated from being knocked on a rock, At the bottom I pull up, get the air compressor out of the bonnet and try to blow it up. But as my brother told me it actually went down further. Bum I’ll have to change the wheel, at least those marigolds I made my brother put in the basket came in handy. I swap the wheel over and I’m ready for the off, the sprint home, for I’m to collect Northy at 7:30 and be round Poades, in Brum by 8pm.
We take the Kirkstone pass and the way home, and a wonderfully beautiful drive it was too,
I’m sure Matt would have been pleased with me enjoying the view, as we left the Lake District the phone got a signal and Northy had texted me, great, why do people always text me when they know I will be driving? The road was clear and before you knew it
I was back in Stafford dropping my brother off.
It had taken a while, yet it passed so quickly, I have a moment to read the text from Northy, something about being tired and giving it a miss. Tired? He knew nothing of being tired. My legs are tired my lungs, my body.
Still though I turn up and meat my friend Matt, we walk into Harborn, well no further harm can be done to my legs. We go tot he junction, I get served very quickly in the very very crowded bar, and then sit in the beer garden. Matt thinks I’m mad, Matt pulls his coat tight, me I’m positively warm, like a summers day, we talk of my adventure of the day, and he tells me to drink up and so I do. We move from the Junction to the Plough, another very very busy pub. We find our space next to the bar, up the corner, in the ay of the bar staff,. The beers go to my head so quickly, and eventually it is my turn to buy another round, I get the barmaid to turn all the signs around so I can see them, I order some beers, I think I order two, I’m sure I do, but only one gets served. After I get him a beer, something he makes a thing about we leave, but he won’t go for a Chinese, something he so likes, he is desperate for some reason to go for a curry, he will take me to our favorite curry house in Harborn, This he is happy about. Very happy.
We order and the food comes, the spicy food you get here, and I don’t order my usual things, I go wild and order some random things for a change.
The nans though, they are plain, they are nice, they are a delight.
And the meal is good, is nice, is exceptional and my friend Matt,
he is tired too, for really he is not well, but he stayed out with me, and that was nice that was good, that made me happy. His company I have enjoyed and the night has gone so quickly.
As Matt disappears and I pay the bill, it is time to leave and
oddly when we get back to his house, its not gone 2am for a change. Ah that bed looks so comfy.

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