Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bilberry Fields

Today, after a huge Texas breakfast (crunchy bacon and fried eggs in the bacon grease, which James has renamed 'heart attack'), James and I decided that rather than laze around the house until the Sunday poker game, why not go for a "stroll," intead? Well, as you can imagine, the stroll soon turned into a full-scale excursion.
We first went t a small hill that James had often seen when he went running in this particular valley, in a place called Ennerdale. We got over the hill, tramping huffily throught the bracken, and admired the view. Then, we looked up—there was a gigantic, imposing hill right across the stream in the dip of the valley. We decided to skip the hill and instead head up the rock face. But that was only after eating from bilberry bushes. They're almost exactly like blueberries, except wild, smaller and sweeter. We munched on those delicious things for a while, and then followed a small new looking stream up to its source. When we got to the spring, you could hear it under the rocks trickling. The sound was incredible. Onwards!
We soon discovered that the hill was much larger than we had first thought. The climbing was excellent! Imagine climbing almost sheer rock faces, gripping spots where the mountain bleeds clear spring water, sprouting black spongy moss, which makes it hard to hold onto! As we struggled up the cliff, and finally reached the top of the first face, we let out a whoop and it echoed across the valley. The view was beautiful, but it was the climb that made it so worthwhile. It was truly challenging. Then, after a rest and bilberries, we made the ascent to the second face, through the scree (loose rock and rubble) that made it extremely difficult to get to the top. Finally we reached the base, and up we went. There was one point where we lost sight of each other due to climbing two different faces, and when I got to the top, James wasn't there! I feared the worst and called his name. He didn't answer, and I almost panicked. I knew that he was an experienced climber, but anything can happen! I slid down a grassy stream bed, still calling out, but I heard no reply. When I had reached the bottom again, I still saw or heard nothing. So up I went again, this time up an easier face, panicked and out of breath. Finally, I saw him.  Turns out the wind had been carrying my voice to him, but his voice was lost to the wind. We had been chasing each other around the same face for 15 panicked minutes! Any tourist with binoculars would have thought we were cartoon characters.
After resting our panic, we finally climbed to the summit. What a sight! I could see Scotland, the North Sea, and the Isle of Man from where I stood (it only came out so-so in pictures). We had landed ourselves in a high bog, and James stepped in a nasty rotting swamp-hole, but it was worth it as we ascended to the high cairn and admired our incredible climb. We then walked down the mountain ridge and then through a bracken slope into a small pine forest, and followed that to the path that led us back to the car. Finished the night off with an unsuccesful but fun game of Hold'em.
Anyway, I was misinformed (by two separate people, no less!) about the Harry Potter premiere. But the ticket has already been purchased, and on Monday we are travelling to Hadrian's wall and then on to Newcastle, where I will catch a train to London. What will I do in London? Beats me. I'm going to be skipping Scotland this trip, unfortunately. It's just that, well... I love England. After London, I'm going to Cornwall! Can't wait for that.
Here are the pictures from today's climb.

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