Well, what a day!
The weather was predicted to be fine, so today we completed our Countryfile ramble for Children in Need. We set off early, picnic prepared and second breakfast ready to eat out of the boot (a little trick we’ve got to speed up getting out the door and to give the kids a little boost of energy, usually croissants or brioche rolls). We were aiming to park in White Moss Car Park, the starting point for the walking route we had chosen. I’m not going to lie, we were looking at the surrounding fells trying to figure out which fell was ours, worrying a bit as some of them seemed enormous. We figured out which one was Loughrigg and I got a bit nervous about whether we had misinterpreted what we had read and started wondering whether it was doable. Too late now to back out so we headed off through the woods towards Loughrigg terrace.
The woods themselves were lovely, Tom and Charlotte were having fun walking around trees and jumping over the mud, while me and Bob were looking at all the different mushroom varieties on offer. We were only out of the woods for 2 minutes and a little way up the path when we got a glimpse of the spectacular views we had been promised. The view over Rydal was beautiful and made a great place for the kids to have a quick drink and a rest (we had chosen several spots in advance for little breaks).
We started along the terrace which had a fair few walkers on it and some cyclists. The one thing that stands out about the walking community is how friendly everyone is. Everyone we met said “Hello”, or “Good morning”, and Tom revelled in saying it back. We stopped halfway along the terrace to take some photos and have another rest. The views from the terrace overlook Grasmere and we wer treated to the sight of a heron flying over the lake. More walkers, cyclists and dogs passed and we made it to the end of the terrace.
That was the easy bit…
We stopped at the bottom of what had been described as “the steep start“. We watched more experienced walkers struggling on the steps, some of which had a 20 inch step up, and I started wondering what we had let ourselves in for. Some other walkers stopped near us and we got chatting (led by Tom) and they were all saying how amazing the kids were for doing this and how it’s great to see kids so young taking it up. Boosted by mini boxes of smarties and compliments, we headed off up the steps. The steps zigzagged there way up, with levelled off rocks on every couple of corners, so mentally I aimed for us to get to one of those before needing a rest. Tom loved it. He was fine just bounding up the steps like an enthusiastic puppy and Charlotte was enjoying the challenge. Me and Bob were feeling the thigh pain but we were determined. We reached our first rest point, had a drink, and carried on to the next. Unfortunately you could not see the top of the fell, or even the Cairn that comes first so everytime we thought we must be getting close, we reached another section and were proved wrong. We had to start watching Tom becasue he was full of confidence and empty of fear, a dangerous combination and one that saw him trip up near the top and somehow slide on his back (head first) in between two steps. Sounds far worse than it was, he only slid a couple of inches and couldn’t have gone anywhere, but it was enough for me to leap up to grab him. After we composed ourselves we set off again. More walkers passed us (going up and coming down) and each of them stopped to say hello to the kids, one lovely couple even donated £1 to each of the kids towards their sponsorship. Eventually, after a long hard walk (and a good scramble in some places) we made it to Grasmere Cairn, where the steps sort of ended and more importantly, where the summit of Loughrigg Fell could be seen. We got a bit of a burst of energy and we headed off, eyes firmly fixed on the summit, and with one little steep section at the very end we made it!
The views were spectacular even though it wasn’t the clearest day. It was definitely worth the hard work and the kids felt it too. Everyone who passed us were congratulating the kids and saying they were amazed they had managed to walk the whole way. I was too. I knew Tom would manage it, (for the last chunk of the walk while me and Bob were out of breath and red faced, he was whistling! WHISTLING!), but Charlotte has a tendency to give up half way and demand to go on her dads shoulders, but today she walked every single step on her own (apart from the two or three times where she physically couldn’t get to the next step so needed lifting… yes it really was that steep). I have never been prouder of anything in my life than I am of the kids and what they have achieved. After a lunch with a view we started the difficult task of getting down. If going up was hard, the descent was torture, but, with me and Bob taking a child each we eventually reached the bottom of the steps and were back on the terrace.We had a big rest here knowing that the hard work was done before walking back along the path. We happened to stop at a bench with someone sitting on it who mentione they were there to watch the Vulcan fly past. The Vulcan isn doing a goodbye final tour of the UK and this was the last time we were ever going to see it. Bob being a bit of a plane geek had already mentioned it, but I couldn’t figure out a time for it to pass us, but the girl sat on the bench said it was any minute so we stopped and waited. It came right down the valley over Grasmere and banked round in front of us to go over Rydal. Had we been on the top of the fell we wouldn’t have had as good a view. it was fantastic and I got very lucky with my photo.
After we saw the plane we headed back through the woods and to the car park. A pint of water later and we were done.In all honesty had we known the walk was going to be that steep and that difficult in places we probably would never have attempted it with the kids, but I’m so glad we did, and so are they!
So far we have raised £152 for Children in Need, but we are still fundraising so if you would like to donate, please click here.