Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fleetwith Pike

Fleetwith Pike from the Buttermere side

We (my wife and I) moved to Cumbria from London about seven years ago.  We wanted a quieter life, affordable housing and a change.  Shortly after moving, we did our first walk.  We set off from the Dungeon Ghyll hotel up to Pavey Ark and across to Harrison Stickle.  We had a 500ml bottle of water between us, were wearing jeans and had an inadequate map from a guidebook.  We did have walking boots, cheap ones that I continued to use until very recently.  I stood in a boggy puddle up to my knee.  We found our way back to the hotel, sunburnt, hot and sweaty and pretending that we had enjoyed it.

We did a few more walks, with a bit more success.  Six months after moving up, we bought a house and soon after that, we got a dog.  Having the dog encouraged me to get out on the fells a bit more.  Rather than learn to map read, I bought a fancy GPS and did quite a few walks (the GPS battery only ran out on two walks).

In 2009 I had a bit of a mid life crisis and decided to lose weight and get fit.  I took up running, lost about 4 stone and generally sorted my lifestyle out.  The following year, deep into my new lifestyle, I celebrated my 38th Birthday with The Birdathlon, the first post on this blog.  At this point, I had walked up quite a few Wainwrights.  I had made no plans to complete the full 214 but soon after I did start to track the Wainwrights I had done.

Over the next few years, I got more and more into the idea of completing the Wainwrights and the rate of ticking them off gathered real momentum.  I started fell running in 2010 and this opened up the tops quite a bit.

The last 50 or so went in really quickly.  On the 12th June, I had 24 left and set myself a target of finishing on my birthday, 9th August.

So, on the 8th August Jonathan and I set out from Honister Slate Mine to meet David for a wild camp on top of Fleetwith Pike.  My plan was to wake up on the morning of my birthday and then go and get my final Wainwright.

about to head up the track

The Wainwright Fellwalker was at the top

It's not far to walk up the track and then over to the summit.  It was also a pretty warm evening.  With this in mind, space usually taken up by layers of clothing was used to store beer.  Jonathan brought a six pack of Heniken cans.  I brought bottles of Wainwright.  In hindsight, cans might have been better as they can be crushed after consuming the beer so that they don't take up much space in your bag on the way down.  I really fancied the Wainwright though and thought it would be a bit nicer to drink warm than lager.  In the end, we all shared anyway.

Once at the top (or very near it, I wanted to save the top for the morning) we met up with David and set up our tents.  

It was a bit cloudy, not a great sunset but good enough for me.  After a bit, we all retired to our tents.  It started to rain shortly afterwards and did not stop until the morning.

At about 5.30am, I heard somebody coming out of their tent.  I opened my tent to see Jonathan stood next to his tent, answering a call of nature. 

I enquired as to the quality of his nights sleep.  His reply was emphatic:

"I haven't f***in' slept a f***ing wink all f***ing night long!"

"Shall we get up then?"

"f*** that, I'm going back to f***ing bed!"

I got up and had a walk around.  David was up a bit later and we packed our tents up.  I had avoided visiting the peak the night before.  So it was at 6.20am on the 9th August 2013, I stepped onto the summit of my 214th Wainwright peak.

tents up.  David had got the best pitch.  We found a bit of flattish land but wasn't as sheltered as David's spot

all set for the night

pinky finger up

Jonathan and David updating Facebook
this was the scene the next day - look how wet it is around my tent

stood at the top of the ridge looking down to Buttermere
lots of low cloud

Jonathan - only 1 out of 10 for his first wildcamp experience (Photo: David Harrison)

41 years old exactly and 214 Wainwrights completed (Photo: David Harrison)

I have deliberated on the purpose of my blog for some time.  I don't want to be famous but it is lovely getting positive feedback and 'Likes' on Facebook.  The title Oversharing gives an indication of the unease I sometimes feel of being public in my athletic endeavours.  On the other hand, it is great to look back at past adventures and I do feel that the words add a bit more than just a simple set of pictures.  

I have completed the Wainwrights but I will be continuing my blog.  There will be more adventures and more memories to record.

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