Slippery Mountain

Oh my, I am soooooo tired. I am can-barely-sit-up-straight exhausted, but there’s a blog in me just bursting to get out. There’s no use putting it off.

Over the last week Mr. S has been poorly (we overdid it just a tad on holiday and I must admit I was struggling to recover too) so we only trained once. Other than that I’ve just been trying (and failing) to catch up on sleep and chores, despite having the week off. I did make it to the charity shop after clearing out four sacks-worth of clothes, shoes, bags, books and various other bits and bobs, but there’s still a lot more spring cleaning to be done. I want to have minimal stuff so that I can decorate as soon as I get the chance, but life keeps getting in the way, as it does tend to do.

I’m OK with this, because life has been good to me. As it happens, I am no longer entirely single! Me and Mr. S aren’t exactly an official couple, but we’re also not not a couple either. Confused? I don’t blame you! Basically, we have a thing going on. But we aren’t giving it a name or thinking too much about it right now, we’re just enjoying being together. For me it’s been a big change, because in the past I’ve been very much in the ‘I need to know exactly what’s happening’ camp, but lately I’ve been enjoying simply living, instead of fretting about the past or the future. I feel a lot happier for it.

Because we’ve spent so much time together lately, going away for the weekend with my little brother has been FANTASTIC, but also a little tough. I’ve missed Mr. S terribly, but I couldn’t have brought him along in any case. He couldn’t get the time off work, plus I’ve had this booked in with my little bro since before me and Mr. S even started talking.

Anyway, on Wednesday me and little bro went shopping for food supplies. We needed dry/canned goods as we were camping and didn’t have access to a refrigerator. On the way there little bro asked ‘have you had any reliability issues with the car since you’ve had it?’ ‘Nope!’ I replied, confident that my wee Micra could handle the 640 mile round trip drive easily.

The very next day, the day before our adventure, I got in the car to visit Mr. S one last time before we went. I turned the key and… nothing. The battery was as flat as a pancake. I got a jump-start, but the damn thing wouldn’t hold a charge – it was completely knackered. Typical.

Thankfully I have a wonderful friend who came over at 11:30pm with a new battery, so after he kindly changed it over for me we got on the road. I was full of nervous energy and just wanted to get going.

Driving in the middle of the night is a great idea, especially if like me you’re a night worker and you’re used to driving around in the small hours. You get to see stunning sunrises like this one, for a start.

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Five hours into the journey, we were just making our way into the Lake District – the views were getting more and more beautiful and my sense of wellbeing was increasing exponentially.

Then the car suddenly started losing power. I couldn’t believe it – I’ve done plenty of journeys and not had a single problem. So why now?!

Luck was on our side again though, because it was fine in the lower gears, and I could get to 60 miles-per-hour. So I decided to carry on the journey and just hope it got us to the campsite. After that we didn’t need to drive again until the ride home, so I put that particular concern to one side until Sunday morning. I was damn well going to enjoy my holiday no matter what!

My little car did spectacularly well – she made it up some INSANE hills, many of which I had to crawl up in first gear. That’s not my bad driving, they really were that steep. But the old girl did it.

As we got nearer our destination things went from beautiful to STUNNING.

And that was just the beginning.

As we’d left so early, we still had a whole day in which to explore. So we set up camp, had a little rest, then headed out to see what we could find. There were sheep absolutely everywhere, but this little bundle of fluff was my favourite. Look at that adorable face!

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We walked to a little inn where I enjoyed an ice cold G&T whilst taking in the views and listening to the river water making its way down from the mountains. The weather was turning out to be glorious, too.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around, then we both struggled to stay awake until 8pm. Then we allowed ourselves a well-deserved early night early night as we were heading up Scafell Pike at daybreak.

The next morning we were up at 4am because we wanted to miss the crowds. We were on our way from the beginning as the trail started right from our campsite, so there wasn’t a moment wasted.

After doing Snowdon last year I was confident that Scafell Pike was completely doable, but it’s a whole different kettle of fish. Snowdon is higher than Scafell Pike (though not by much) but I’d say it’s easier. You go up a bit, then along, and down at times, and there’s enough variety in the terrain that it doesn’t feel too bad. But Scafell Pike is just UP, UP, UP! Plus there are loads of points on the way where you think you’re at the summit, but the next part is hidden behind the current peak you’re on. I was prepared though – my brother climbed it last month and pre warned me!

We made it to the summit in good time, and without incident. And just as the sun was making it over the peaks, too.

It was breathtakingly beautiful.

As it happens climbing Scafell Pike was a lot easier to climb than Snowdon, but that’s mainly because I am SO MUCH FITTER now! Not to mention over two stone lighter. At least, it was easier on the way up. The way down… now THAT was hard.

My brother warned me that it was slippery, and boy he wasn’t kidding. It’s basically gravel and loose stones the whole way down, and it really is treacherous. Me being me, I went over and managed to land on my arse and elbow.

I’ll be honest – I really thought I’d done some serious damage. I went down hard, but luckily it just shook me up, gave me a nice deep cut on my elbow (which is painful but healing nicely) and some pretty impressive bruises on my right bum cheek. It could have been a lot worse.

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So, having given my tribute of blood to the mountain I made it safely to the bottom again. After another nap, me and my brother had a really special evening.

Just like me, my brother has struggled with his weight most of his life. He’s currently getting back into the swing of things and getting fitter and healthier, but all the same… neither of us are happy with our bodies just yet.

We were camped right near a beautiful lake, so we decided to take our camping chairs and stove down to the rocky shore and have dinner there. It was so hot, and the water so clear and inviting, we put our feet it and splashed our faces. It was delicious, it’s the only word for it.

Then we wondered… even though it’s been over a decade since either of us swam, could we go all the way? Well of course we could!

It was utterly freezing at first, but we found out that we can in fact still swim. Which is good, because there wasn’t a soul around to save us if we couldn’t, and what with this particular lake (Wastwater) being the deepest in England, it would have been… problematic shall we say.

In all seriousness, we stayed in the shallows before being sure we weren’t going to drown. We’re not quite that stupid.

Well, it was absolutely magical. After years and years of spending summers hot and sweaty, afraid to show ourselves and get in the water, here we were swimming in a crystal clear lake. It’s a wonderful memory that will stay with us forever.

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As you may have guessed I made it home, and it was without incident. The car seems to have fixed itself, as we didn’t have any problems at all. I wonder if it was just all too much for it on the way there.

Now I’m going to sign off, because my exhaustion has reached critical levels and I haven’t even had dinner yet. I’ll update again tomorrow (I promise!) to let you know what comes next in Hayley Land.

Thanks for reading!

X

Most Pleasing!

All good things must come to an end, and my holiday is one of them. I did intend to blog while I was away, but every single moment was just completely jam packed and I didn’t give it a single thought once I’d left my house. Until now that is.

We got to our beautiful cottage on Tuesday afternoon, and although we’d seen pictures it was better than we could have imagined. After all, a picture can’t describe the stream we could hear or the little bleating lambs! We stayed in the village of Wincle (yes, actually pronounced winkle *snigger*) and it was beautiful. 

I’m not sure how big the village actually is, but what we saw of it was just one street with a few cottages, a pub, a microbrewery and a fishery.

It took us a little while to get to our cottage as once we’d got out of the car we were greeted by a lovely lady walking her dog, Rocky. It turns out she permanently lives next door to the cottage we were staying in (all of the other residents live there full time), and afterwards as we made our way down the little row all of the other neighbours came out to say hello, too.

Everyone was just so friendly, but the couple we got speaking to in the pub probably had the edge. They were talking about their favourite local walks, and by the time we’d finished our drinks they’d been home to photocopy the route and instructions and left it at the bar for us. How lovely is that?

After just relaxing for the first evening, and perhaps drinking a little too much wine, the next day we went to Mam Tor. Who doesn’t love a good Tor? The weather was stunningly beautiful but not too hot (perfect for walking) and me and Mr. S got to discover how terrible we both are at reading maps.

Thankfully there were plenty of people around to help us, and we got where we were aiming to go eventually.

Day two we started off in Dovedale for a nice big circular walk. I don’t remember exactly what villages we ended up going through, but it was another beautiful day. And once we’d got out of Dovedale itself, which is nice but a little bit tame for my liking, we barely saw another person.

The last day in the cottage wasn’t all blue skies like the previous days, and we were pretty tired by this point (perhaps we may have been burning the candle at both ends…) so we decided to do the recommended walk to Lud’s church, which also meant we didn’t have to drive anywhere first.

We started off with a nice forest-y, windy walk alongside a river then after climbing steeply we ended up in a huge cleft in the rock which was created by a landslip. It’s not actually a church as such, but supposedly an illegal religious sect used it as a secret meeting place in the 15th century. Either way, it definitely has that churchy kind of feel about it! Again we were the only ones there, and where the moss that covered absolutely everything muffled the sound and made it extra spooky.

After the fourth night in the cottage we were booked up to stay in a hotel in Sheffield for the final night of our holiday. As such we both agreed that we had to be in bed by 10pm so we could pack and make sure the cottage was tidy before we left.

However, things did not go to plan. We started our walk pretty much exhausted, but when we got back to the village we decided to just stop off in the pub before going back to the cottage. Of course, one drink led to another and everything got a little bit hazy after that. At 1:30am one of us had the good sense to check the time, and we finally got ourselves to bed.

I managed to wake up early so I packed and cleaned most of the things and we just managed to get out in time and leave everything immaculate. However I was wondering how we were going to cope out on the town in Sheffield as we were both just so tired.

Somehow though, we just kept going. Mr. S got to watch his football match, then after that we headed back to the hotel to get changed into fancy things. After that the best way of finding out what the hell we got up to was by checking my bank account the next day and seeing how many different bars we’d visited!

Every night of the holiday we’d been… ‘jolly’ shall we say, and every night the time just ran away from us. This night it sprinted though, because when I checked my watch it was HALF PAST FRIKKIN FIVE IN THE MORNING!!! 

Since checkout was at 11am, there was just no way either one of us was going to get sober enough to drive home, and if we hung around the city until we were, there’s no way either one of us would be awake enough to drive home.

So at 7am I went to speak to reception and we managed to stay in our room for an extra night.

Mr. S couldn’t sleep in the morning, but I managed to get a couple of hours so I went out to explore. Literally a few days ago I started following a company (Joni) on Facebook who sell vegan croissants, and when I checked my news feed (while I was working on the will to get out of bed) I noticed an update from them – they were at a food festival that was going on right outside our hotel window! 

I was clearly meant to have my first croissant since becoming vegan, and it was clearly meant to be delicious. They had two varieties so I ended up having both – they were deep filled with so much chocolate and they were oh so good. Better than any buttery version I’ve tried (and believe me, I’ve eaten A LOT of croissants).

After eating dessert I looked for a savoury treat and also had my first pasty since becoming vegan! The Proper Pasty Co have two vegan varieties – spicy Mediterranean veg and apple and blackcurrant. Sadly the sweet one was sold out, but then I didn’t really need it anyway.

In the evening we went to Pizza Express for dinner (it was very scrummy indeed, plus I’m LOVING their app which you can use to pay the bill) and then we actually managed to get an early night as intended for the first time.

A truly honourable mention has to go to Make No Bones. It’s a vegan café in Sheffield and I’ve been hearing people raving about their food since before went vegan. When we first got into the city we made a detour to try their wares – it was my condition for sitting through the football you see.

By the time we got there I was so hungry I ordered avocado fries, sticky seitan ribs with ‘blue cheese’ sauce, a kebab and a PB&J cheesecake. I practically inhaled it so I didn’t get any pictures, but the food is INCREDIBLE. So if you have the chance to go, even if it’s right out of your way and you have a tired and hungry Mr. S trying to talk you out of it, then GO!

As it happens Mr. S (an omnivore) had a vegan Philly cheesesteak. Although he wasn’t expecting to like it he actually bloody loved it!

I have just a couple more things to mention before I go – Somehow, miraculously, I managed to LOSE a whole two pounds while I was away. I have no idea how. I have drunk and eaten whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and yet I seem to be maintaining my weight spectacularly without even trying!

However, I do want to knuckle down and lose some more weight now so it’s back on plan for me.

Finally, although I expected to be self-conscious around Mr. S I surprised myself at how much I was at ease with my body. So I don’t think I have too long to go before I’ll be content with how I look. My ex never took a single picture of me while we were together, but Mr. S was snapping away the whole time and I like almost all of what he took. I did not expect to feel this way about myself so it’s come completely out of the blue and is also rather marvellous!

Despite feeling pretty bummed at my holiday ending, I’m also pretty excited for the future!

I’ll be telling you about it in more regular blogs from now on. Normal service is henceforth resumed!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x