As we waited for our bus up to Coniston the bus drew up with a big sign in the window. It had a smiley face with the words HAPPY BUS .I wondered if that was the eqivelant to happy hour with half price fares? I discovered it was not, we were just supposed to be happy as we embarked on the longest walk we had ever committed ourselves to in our entire lives. In fact we were daunted- I think you could describe the feeling as being excited and nervous at the same time. Bacon sandwices and bowls of cereal were definately off the menu for breakfast if the feeling in the pit of my stomach was anything to go by. As we climbed into the bus I realised that the average age was between 20-40. It didn't bode well when you were twelve and fifty respectively. Had we committed ourselves too much?
" You're as young as you feel' I told myself
So for yesterday only I was 20 years old (with a twelve year old daughter)
It turned out that the official oracle rather than my personal one was right about the weather.As we scanned our tags at the first check point the rain came down. We sent off dressed in orange and black ponchos in a general southerly direction, along the east side of Coniston lake, past John Ruskin's Brantwood towards Nibthwaite.
After a couple of hours we saw a sign on a tree indicating that we had walked a mile! I frowned, surely that couldn't be right? I took my glasses (which were by that time so steamed up that they were in my pocket) and put them on. To my great relief it was one mile to the next checkpoint. Obviously I should have gone to Spec savers!
After a lovely moist piece of flapjack from our support staff we set off past Lowick church and up towards Kirkby fell. A herd of cows joined us as we climbed, running alongside the dry stone wall, obviously thinking we were the dinner ladies.(Perhaps they wear black and orange ponchos too)
|Hoad from Kirkby moor|
A man in a rather odd furry hat passed us on the way whistling as he went - it was not a time for whistling. This was a time for gritting your teeth , shielding your face from the driving rain and looking steadfastly in the direction of the South of France.Having said that, you would have thought that some were already there in their T shirts and shorts.
There was a glimmer of light in the distance and at last the sun decided to surface. My inbox was right after all - off came the ponchos, moods were lifted and we got a new lease of life as we marched resolutely towards The Black Dog Inn. We were now on our own stomping ground and the end was in sight. Past the Wild life park and down to Dalton Fire station for yet another free banana and on toward Barrow.
As we reached Furness Abbey a friendly police woman stopped the traffic and whilst the car drivers tapped on their steering wheels and sighed very loudly the dear lady told me on no account to run.
With the end in sight my feet started to hurt and my muscles started to ache but for a fleeting second as my daughter and I passed over the finish line together to collect our medals those feelings changed to exhilaration. All that hard work had paid off- we had done it and we were home.
And would we do it again- DEFINITELY!