Over the weekend we visited Cumbria for our appearance at Treeby & Bolton in Keswick, it was a lovely day and a great appearance in such a unique location that we decided to extend our visit by moving on to Windermere for the night. Well it was delightful and we had a nice relaxing night to finish off the day.
The next morning though we were up early and itching to get walking in this incredible area of the country. It’s actually where our love of walking first started entirely by chance when we huffed and puffed many unfit years ago up a relatively small incline towards Orrest Head, apparently the first fell that Alfred Wainwright climbed that had such an effect on his life that he wrote an whole chapter about it later. We were unprepared; the climb way back in 2007 seemed hard (it isn’t) and the 423 feet seemed on top of the world (it isn’t) when we got there expecting nothing more than ‘a bit of a view’. Instead we got a stunning 360 degree vista that blew us away, especially when two fighter jets flew some distance beneath us over Ambleside and proceeded to twist and turn through the gorgeous scenery. We stood alone taking in the view, that small walk led us to roam further, something we continue to this day.
So after breakfast we raced up to tackle Orrest Head again, knowing full well it would only take us ten or so minutes to reach the summit and not the forty unfit minutes we managed to trudge up the first time. The views were pretty much the same, a timeless beauty that you could never tire of, we were even lucky enough to have such clear skies this late in the year. Wonderful.
We were not alone this time, being such a small and easily accessible walk we were joined by a number of others eager to take in the view then with all too regular occurance in my life the moment was shattered when some rambling arse decided to regale us with his presence. Now you may not know this but there are three types of walkers; the ones that enjoy it but don’t neccesary wear the full equipment like ourselves, we have waterproofs, rucksacks etc but they are of a very inferior brand and we are instantly recognisable because we look either unprepared for a force ten gale with hailstorm and rolling thunder or we don’t wear shorts and roll down our socks. There is a multitude of other giveaways we exhibit apparently and we represent every one of them as we are normally sneered at, ignored or in this case trampled around by a group of three obviously experienced walkers. The second type of walker is dangerous enough; the fully prepared spider walker, normally using two sticks, wearing all the right clothing and walking in groups but we had the unfortunate experience of being in the presence of the third and most annoying type, the professional rambler. Fully geared up with a wealth of experience with mouth to match and a knowledge of how to take a leak in a pop bottle a thousand feet up in a snowstorm whilst eating egg sandwiches (you wouldn’t believe the amount that eat egg sandwiches BTW) In short an irritating little turd.
He sat directly behind us within irritating distance accompanied by two friends, another borderline professional rambler and a lady who would like to ramble.
We got both barrels.
The views were fantastic, the silence was golden so why on earth did we end up with a booming Brian Blessed impersonator behind us shouting ‘IT’S A FULL 360 DEGREE FEAST FOR THE EYES!’ Sorry for the capitals but he SHOUTED a lot. ‘LOOK! LOOK! YOU WILL NOT SEE A BETTER VIEW IN YOUR LIFE, ITS SPLENDID!’ His companions looked and nodded as he shouted again ‘IF WORDSWORTH WERE ALIVE TODAY HE WOULD WRITE A POEM ABOUT THIS DAY’ then proceeded to mis-shout Wordsworth’s ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ which came out including shouts as ‘I wondered IF I was A CLOUD…’
Why does this always happen? Stuck atop a small fell with megaphone man, if he had shouted ‘GORDONS ALIVE!’ I would have been happy but no, we had to listen after his annoying poem to tales of his exploits on ‘YONDER PEAKS’
‘…WHEN I CLIMBED OLD SCRUTTOCKS OVER THERE I HAD TO OVERCOME SEVERAL DIFFICULTIES. THE MAP WAS INCORRECT, I HAD TO TAKE A SMALL DEVIATION TO THE RIGHT AND CLIMB 2000 FEET UNAIDED USING NOTHING BUT KNICKER ELASTIC AND A SMALL SAFETY PIN TO SECURE MY ASCENT…’
He went on…
‘THAT OVER THERE IS PIKE POINT, ITS LIKE HERRING RIDGE BUT NOT AS TALL AS COD CLIMB OR INDEED SALMON SLOPE. EGG SANDWICHES YOU SAY? DON’T MIND IF I DO!’
His companions sat down beside him and dutifully listened; other walkers had appeared, winced at the noise, spent a few minutes taking in the view then unable to put up with the noise any longer threw themselves off the edge in dispair. I was contemplating forming a small gang to tip him over the edge but we too had almost had enough of Mr Boomer booming away, I bet they could hear him miles away like an irritating yodeller. Imagine sitting in a tea room five miles away at the other end of lake Windermere and hearing ‘SO I PUT MY FINGER IN THE HOLE AND PULLED MYSELF UP TO THE SURPRISE OF THE SHEEP’ coming from nowhere.
Anyway, he made the descent a no brainer when the lady sat between them made the mistake of saying it was like a rose between two thorns to which he boomed ‘I HAVE A PRICK?’
Five miles away Mabel turned Harold and slapped him. ‘Don’t be so disgusting!’ She retorted. ‘I can’t take you anywhere with your potty mouth.’
We left, our timing was impeccable as he rose too and followed us down. Can you believe it? It was like having a radio on behind us tuned to Arsehole FM. I suggested to Jayne that we raced ahead and lay in wait, one good shove should do it but alas we had to listen to Brian Blessed all the way down no matter how far away we managed to scramble. At one point we raced down a wriggly bit only to come face to face with him as he had taken a short cut. How annoying.
Still, we managed to get into a few more typical situations, one including the biggest swan I had ever seen that had taken a shine to my balding head and decided to chase me Benny Hill style whilst also managing to be followed around by security in one small shop because I wasn’t dressed like anybody else (i.e. I didn’t resemble a walker or shout, although I was accompanied by a swan)
Include the four hour heavy end of school holiday traffic we endured on the way back and the calm peace we had experienced the day before had dissipated quite quickly.
As I got out of the car back home I swear just for an instant that I heard something in the distance. I strained to listen and it was very feint but I eventually heard a voice, it said ‘I ONCE SAT BEHIND THIS AMATEUR ON ORREST HEAD, ARTY TYPE HE WAS, ABSOLUTELY UNPREPARED WITH NO EGG SANDWICHES WHATSOEVER!’ and my day was complete.