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Back to the Lakes

Sat in the Sun Hotel, Coniston. And I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself. Today I walked up my first proper Lakeland fell for a few years. Pleased because I had sort of given up. OK, recent company had not been up for it, and I suppose I used it as an excuse for not doing anything too strenuous.  Along with my age, my weight, any excuse, you name it.

But today, as I drove to Langdale to 'look at the view', I saw those fantastic fells and the old desire took over. I needed to give it a go again and so it was that I parked up at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel.

Upper Langdale
I decided to do Pike O'Blisco because I'd done it several times and with the weather at that point being showery I didn't want to try anything too 'ambitious'. Passing the farm at Stool End, with the slopes from the Oxendale valley looking ever steeper, I began to question my decision. Walking, huffing, and puffing up those steep slopes, I realised I had lost my marbles completely.

It was steep up to here....
But...I carried on. Finally the ground levelled out a bit and I remembered why the effort was worth it. The views, the hidden sights of ghylls and gullies you don't see from ground level, or the different angle on a familiar fell, are there to savour.

I carried on to where the path met the path up to Crinkle Crags, and headed left to the summit of Pike O'Blisco. OK, it was a bit of a scramble and a pull in parts, but I made it. The twin cairns were bathed in sunshine, but the views over to Lake Windermere were hazy. It was great though to look down into Langdale and realise how far I'd come.

The view from the top
Dropping down off the summit there were a number of scrambles that were a bit testing to say the least. I don't fit into those rocky gaps like I used to and I creak a bit as well! But, the route down is straightforward enough after these obstacles have been passed, eventually emerging on the road up to Little Langdale.

I headed down the road back to the Old Dungeon Ghyll, and after changing my footwear, I went for a pint in the bar. What a fantastic place, unchanged in the 30-odd years I've been calling in. Stone floors, big range, simple furnishings and a great choice of beer.

I ordered a pint of Yates Bitter, always a good choice, and sat out in the garden, with views of the fells dominating. As is usual with walkers, you get talking and sharing each others stories of the day's achievements.

First time I've blogged away from base, but I just wanted to share these thoughts. This is an area I've been coming to for more years than I care to remember. Walking some of the high fells - Scafell, Great Gable, Helvellyn, and the Langdales. And drinking in some of the country's finest pubs.

Coniston is where I usually stay. It is that reassuring feeling that a hundred miles from home there is a place where things continue at their own pace. Yes, they now have Wi-Fi and there are 4x4's in profusion. The tourists are playing on their phones all the time. But come to Coniston and much is still the same. OK, the B&B has had a makeover but is now an even better base.The same people still work the pubs, although they might have switched allegiance to another of the village's 4 pubs. The same private number plate is still parked outside the same house, though maybe on a different car. Donald Campbell and Bluebird still loom large in pub decor.

Coniston, behind the Black Bull
The beer is still fantastic. The Sun and Black Bull in particular are well worth a visit. Tonight I am likely to visit both. I am celebrating a big walk, my feet and body are aching, but one of those pints I will raise in celebration of 'The Lakes'....


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