Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Way up north

But still in south Lakeland. Not safari-ing as such this time but following the Windermere marathon. Why?...'cos my brother was doing his best to win it! He didn't; opting to come an extremely creditable tenth and actually first for his age group...well done him.

The race started at Brathay Hall. I worked there as a kitchen porter for a very enjoyable season 20++ years ago. Managed to climb most of the nearby Lakeland Fells over the winter and spring, following in the footsteps of one A. Wainwright...still the author of he world's most accuraate and best guide books...in fact I managed to get to the summit of the only 'mountain' he didn't and did a fair few scrambles that the great man would never have attempted.

The highest point of the hill behind is Todd Crag a minor summit on the low fell Loughrigg, but a stunning vantage point despite its lack of feet and inches.

AW was inspired by the easy walk up Orrest Head to a similarly lowly but impressive viewpoint.

Wikipedia says of him - In 1930, at the age of 23, Wainwright saved up enough money for a week's walking holiday in the Lake District with his cousin Eric Beardsall. They arrived in Windermere and climbed the nearby hill Orrest Head, where Wainwright saw his first view of the Lakeland fells. This moment marked the start of what he would later describe as his love affair with the Lake District.

Back to the race - at this point apparently it was - and I quote - "a stroll in the park" (9 miles). A cheesy grin for the supporters on the roadside.

A few miles further on and it is obvious its not that easy.

BTW the lady wearing no 3 in the yellow vest is nearing the finish of her TENTH marathon in ten days...one a day over the same course...the course my brother said later was the hardest he has ever done! hats off to her and the other 10 in 10ers.
While waiting at this point the best sighting of the weekend passed by - a very nice Aston Martin; what a beautiful sound they make.

At twenty miles - apparently 'half way'! He's totally focused, don't think he even noticed us!

He made it to the finish, looks like he's staggering a bit. I bet you would be too after 26 and a bit miles...especially as the last few hundred yards was up a long fairly steep hill, which most of the racers felt was a cruel way to end the most scenic marathon in the country.

Several minutes under three hours is no mean feat and despite us driving round in the car stopping at various points to cheer him on we only managed to make the finish line minutes before he rounded the last bend into view.

Back to the scenery the following shots are a panoramic view from the summit of Orrest Head starting looking south.

A Peregrine Falcon whizzed overhead here. And the summit is crowned by one of my favourite glacial features - a roche moutonee - a rock sheep, or a lump of rock smashed off by the glacier and subsquently polished smooth by the rubble at the base of the glacier. If you look closely you can still see the striations.
Another local beauty spot is Stock Gyll Force waterfall.
On the path up this tree had been growing around the safety fence for a good few years by the look of it.
The last beaty spot visited over the weekend was Tarn Hows.
An idylic Lakeland scene. The area is owned by the National Trust and they have introduced a small herd of the hardy rare breed cattle, Galloways, as conservation grazers to keep the Bracken at bay.
Meanwhile back at Lake Windermere in the gathering gloom Frank upset a Mute Swan.
And then sniffed out this rather deceased Pike, a reasonable size but not one of the Lake District's reputed monsters. sorry about the quality but it was lying in a couple of feet of water and the light was drawing in.

Where to next? Who knows - its all up in the air at the moment.

In the meantime let us know what your scenic beaty spots are like.

1 comment:

Monika said...

Congrats to your brother! I walked a marathon once and never want to do it again! And 10 in 10 days - that's just insanity.

Cool shots of the tree growing around the fence. Must have been there a loooonnng time.

And I like how there's a tennis ball by the fish - is that how Frank found it?