I was right about Saturday, there was no time for a walk (but I did get another cake) and on Sunday we deliberately had a rest day building up to yesterday, which was my 21st birthday (cue another cake) Dad and I took part in the traditional 21st birthday activity of... climbing Scafell Pike (highest point in England dont you know) I know its not as traditional as I've made it seem, but thats what we did anyway. all 3209 feet of it. After a hearty breakfast ( a fry up with dubious nutritional value) we were on the mountain by 9am. We approached from the Borrowdale side of the mountain, Brain and Steve prefer climbing from the other side as its an hour less footwork, but an hour and a half longer to drive to the start point. So whats another hour we blithely thought, we'll make mincemeat of it. What fools we were. The way the peaks of the mountain rise theres an initial thousand foot climb then you reach a plateau with a tarn (like a pond for those without Lake District knowledge, although I'm sure thats none of you) and from the bottom thats all you can see. No bother I though, is this really the highest point in England? However when you reach the ridge with the plateau another 2 thousand feet appearsf rom nowhere, and makes one feel quite sick let me tell you. However with a slight deviation from the path at the end involving a scramble up a vertical rock face we reached the top I'm proud to say in 2 hours 50 minutes, which is pretty good considering Brian and Steve expect us to be done in 5 hours, and surely coming down is quicker than going up right?
Wrong. wrong wrong wrong. As soon as he sat down at the top to eat his (now horerendously squashed and hideous looking froim sitting at the bottom of his bag) sandwich, I knew we'd have a job getting Dad to his feet again never mind back down the mountain. Sure enough after his impressive effort up, dad had little left but whinging for the way down. It started out small; a fly flew in his eye, a fly flew in his mouth, he had a stitch, his toe hurt, his other toe hurt, he had a headache, the sun was shinging in his eyes, and so on and so forth, all the while the pace dropping and dropping, until he decided the real problem was in his knees. "Most injuries happen on the way down, when people push themselves too hard, so I'm going at a speed I feel comfortable at," he whined, from a stationary position sitting on a rock. The only injury he ran the risk of was night falling beforer we got down and catching pneumonia in the cold! Eventually however he toddled down, oohing and aahing with every step like a distressed little chimp with every step, in 3 hours 40 minutes, bringing the grand total to 6 and a half hours. I'll keep focussed on the important part, 2 hours 50 to the top! Today there will be no walk as we need to recover, or as Dad half mournfully and half suspiciously gleefully keeps saying, his 3 peak dream will be over. A good birthday all in all, and now I know a third of what to expect on the big day.