As a 56 year old cumbrian living in the county for virtually all my life and a very keen walker I have retired in March this year and have enjoyed my main pastime of walking the cumbrian fells. Usually this is in company with two other friends, though occasionally on my own. The one creature you will always see me with is my trusty four year old cocker spaniel, Holly(the hound), also affectionately known as 'The Beast'. It started as a joke and stuck, though she's never objected. I've been walking the fells twice a week now for the last eight years and sometimes more. I live to the north of the county so access is relatively easy for Buttermere, Borrowdale and Patterdale. These are my main walking bases but I do venture all over the lake valleys. I have never been a Wainwright bagger, though this year I have been assisting others to complete them and this has thankfully taken me to fells, usually the smaller ones, that I have never previously been on. That said I have walked the bigger fells and horshoes with regularity and have my default routes for when the weather is really bad and you just want the excercise. The name is a slant to what has become a common joke with other walkers, having only recently been on some fells once yet Scafell Pike from Seathwaite is a route I've done 200 plus times. I never tire of it, know it by it's rocks and cairns and although never without a map and compass, I also never refer to them on this route. It is a 15km walk and takes me about 4hrs 30mins, though have been slower and faster, dependant on company. When out we like to put in around a 20km walk as the two pints we insist on are a must and the final summit is always the pub. Pain and pleasure, walking and drinking; what a perfect way to spend a life!
I retired from the local constabulary as the communications centre inspector, or force incident manager (F.I.M. for short). I mention this as the position put me in direct knowledge and police control of all mountain rescue incidents in the four years I held that position so know only too well how people come to put themselves at risk, suffer injury or fatality on the fells and it is a subject I may touch on in a later update.
One issue I want to assist with during the course of updates is that Cumbria is not only about the lakes and it's fells. There are many other places to visit which can be done as a leisurely drive or motorbike/cycle ride. It is also a border county, Roman and Scottish borders, with a rich history of conflict etched into it's landscape and folklore. It is also a seafaring county and one of great industry which has waned in the last 30 years. I intend on giving a good account for people to get a greater insight and understanding of how Cumbria put it's mark on the nations heart.
For now though I need to get my head around blogging, start getting some walk updates on here and if anyone has any advice to offer a technology illiterate 'pensioner' I'm happy to listen.
This is my first attempt at loading up a photo. 'The Beast' on Hardknott Roman Fort, the Scafell range in the background.