In previous times, my year has begun in heels hitting the sales. This year, after Christmas season travels, Andrews fantastic parents gifted us a break in the Lake District.
In my new favorite hat and layers we headed into the mountains to walk off the holiday festivities.
Driving up into the lakes the tides were high and the flood alerts ample. The lakes swelled with rising waters. The drive through the narrow lanes was slow.
Driving through Coniston on New Year's Day, the town was eerie and most shops were closed. The quietness made the town so much more beautiful, looking up onto the mountains really felt as though it was just us and them.
Upon arriving at a cute and perfectly located Lakeland House bed and breakfast we changed into some hardier gear and took to the peaks. The rain was steady but in the uk waiting for fair weather would be a year round wait! So in appropriate water proofs, including northface goretex, rab pertex and haglöfs, we headed up a short three hour trek.
To say that the rain was steady would be an understatement, the clouds rolled off the mountains and drenched any and every exposed piece of body. With climbing outdoors now a regular thing, the importance of well thought out technical layers has truly hit home. My base layer was a synthetic running top which takes sweat away from the body and keeps you warm. Then if it got much colder I had a duel layer fleece in the bag just encase. I wore a Rab microlite, the alpine jacket I use when belaying would have been too warm to walk in but the microlite worked fantastically. I then overlayered a Northface Hyvent jacket, this is on my list to replace as a summit series Goretex would truly sheet the rain off, I didn't get drenched and never felt uncomfortable but I'm ready to replace this jacket.
Upon making it down the hill we nipped back to our centrally located B&B, and showered off the organic and paraben free rain. We stopped for a celebratory IPA beer at the Black Bull and moved on to the Crown Inn for refueling on a delicious fillet steak. Andrew tucked into a steak and ale pie which got his post hike approval. It may have been the 6% IPA talking but I was certain that this fillet was one of the best I have ever had.
After the dinner, a beautiful tearoom - The Bespoke Folk Cafe - just down from the B&B was advertising an evening of music and mulled wine. We popped in and met a great bunch of musicians and a gorgeous dog named Gypsy.
After delicious desserts, mulled wine and chats with the wonderful Jane Moss, we headed back.
The next day we were prepared for a longer walk. When spending my day ascending, whether it be by my legs walking or arms climbing, I love Nuxe's lip balm for its intensive moisture. Botanics Radiant Youth BB cream is also a fantastic staple for all day great moisture, sun protection and a healthy glow. Of course both are paraben free and free of chemicals you wouldn't want in your body.
Whenever out travelling I love taking small reminders of home, the the scent of this delicious Sanderson candle was perfectly fitting.
It may sound silly to hear but while adding miles to the legs and finding comfort in being, well, uncomfortable, I still love remaining normal with perfume.
After a day against the elements I also love to thank my skin for holding up. A gentle brush invigorates tired and sore muscle then a good moisture soothes. My choice for great paraben free goodness is certainly Aveeno for their deep moisturising daily lotion.
After a regime of thanking my body for being strong, I couldn't wait to tuck in and sleep off the miles.
So, on day two we packed lunch and layers then headed out early to accumulate more height and more miles.
After a fast ascent against the pounding rain and wind we made it to the top of our chosen peaks. The cloud was rolling in, the winds were picking up and the visibility dropping. My Gold Duke of Edinburgh map reading skills helped navigate paths which didn't require crampons and ice axes.
Perhaps it was the altitude or endorphins but I got a bit philosophical up there on the peaks. Thinking about our next trip skiing and constantly descending I realised how much ascending I have done over the last year. Not just how much I've done, but also how much I have fallen in love with ascending moutains and heights whether by legs or by arms. As a small child in Lesotho, my father would take me out into the mountains, sometimes on horseback but mostly on foot. Perhaps it was the way I had been conditioned but I never thought I couldn't make the next peak. We would just walk.
Getting back to the track into Coniston my legs knew we had climbed 390m over a 500m distance, they were like jelly.
After a day piling on the miles and ascending, we found the only location open in Coniston was the pub we had been to the night before, where we proceeding to wolf down a much needed burger.
A perfect reward and a perfect way to finish a fantastic break in the Lake District.
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