Phantom red squirrels and slippery gyhlls in Grassmere - Diligent Fitness

Phantom red squirrels and slippery gyhlls in Grassmere

The other weekend we went back to the Lakes to stay over at our planned wedding venue. We wanted to check out the food basically – it was fab and a rather nice bottle of Argentinian Malbec accompanied it. But let me just quickly explain the phantom red squirrel reference… The venue, and in fact much of the surrounding area, is inhabited by red squirrels, allegedly. Knowing I wanted to clap eyes on one, K on two occasions said “did you see it?” What I’d say. “The red squirrel” he says. “No” I’d say. And on this goes throughout the weekend. Suffice to say, I haven’t yet seen ‘a flash of red disappearing in the bushes’.

But as you can probably imagine, staying in a hotel wasn’t our only motive for a trip to the Lakes. Never ones to miss an opportunity for a hike, we had a delicious Cumbrian breakfast on Saturday morning, packed up our bags, and headed for the hills.

Now those of you who follow my (sc)ramblings will know that I tend not to find out where we’re going, until we get there… “Are you up for a ghyll scramble” he says. “Yes” I say… errr is that up a waterfall? “Yes” he says…

Yep, all the way up there. It started out pretty tame, even for me but the happy-go-lucky rock hopping didn’t last long.

2015-09-26 11.43.46Halfway up and I nearly get a dunking – proper wobble on, arms flailing and all I could hear in my head was Danny saying “clench your bum, it’ll stabilise you” …Turns out he’s right. Both feet remain dry. The flowing water seems to scramble brain signals and you start to believe that you can’t make a 20cm stride to the next rock. It’s crazy.2015-09-26 13.10.55Then things got interesting… A proper bit of waterfall (or ghyll) to climb up. Note to self: black rocks are slimy and slippery and don’t make good hand or foot holds. Just for a bit of added ‘fun’ clumps of grass that you think are stable actually just slide off the top of the rock when you put any weight on it.

We got a bit damp from the water spray at this bit it has to be said but this was fun. Hard work, but fun. Always handy when you’re balanced on the smallest outcrop of rock for someone to say “look up here” only to have your photo taken 🙂2015-09-26 13.21.11It was a pretty hard climb. Some of the reaches were at my stretch limit so I had to literally haul myself up some of the rocks. Not ladylike, very hard work and with a minor degree of peril. But we made it and were rewarded with an amazing view of a hidden tarn.

2015-09-26 12.29.36 A quick pit-stop to replace used energy and calm jangling nerves (just mine). And here was phantom squirrel number three. “Did you see the red squirrel” he says “it was right behind you”. We’re on top of the world and there isn’t a tree for miles… but yes, I still went and looked so keen am I to see one of these elusive characters. Gullible.2015-09-26 13.49.07

Not content with finishing there, we had what can only be described as a rock pyramid to climb. It sat right on top of the mountain and jutted up into the sky. If only it was as regular shape as a pyramid and you could climb straight up the ridge. But no. I can see overhangs and I’m properly scared. Plus it’s very high and pretty exposed too. Even the sheep seem to be giving it a wide berth.

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Literally trying to stick myself to the rock at this point. I’m rubbish with heights.2015-09-26 13.38.16

Ta dah. View from the top. I lasted all of about 30 seconds up there before I had to retreat to lower ground.2015-09-26 13.50.00

You think the sled/prowler is hard. Check K out pushing this rock uphill (laughter echoes off into the distance).2015-09-26 14.41.26 HDR

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