Well this trip has been a bit of a journey. Not quite the journey, either literally or figuratively, that I was aiming for though. I’ve had some massive lows – on the first day when I realised I’d screwed up big time by travelling too heavy and being over-optimistic with how much I could do each day, and on the last day when the cumulative effects of the last few days weather and the trials of this trip almost overwhelmed me.
I’d like to say I’ve had some massive highs that balance out the lows, but I’d be lying. Certainly the days I spent in the North Western fells were the high point of the trip (literally and figuratively), but they just brought home to me how much of an opportunity I’d thrown away to make most of the trip that good.
I set out on this trip with the aim of bagging dozens of hills – an impossible target of at least 50 Hewitts and hopefully nearer 70 – in order that I could stand a chance of completing all 178 in England in 3 months. In the end I bagged just 17. They were:
Dow Crag, Swirl How, Whiteside (East Top), Hopegill Head, Grasmoor, Wandope, Whiteless Pike, Dale Head, Hindscarth, Robinson, Causey Pike, Scar Crags, Sail, Eel Crag (Crag Hill), Hobcarton Crag, Grisedale Pike and High Spy.
The challenge is finished. I’m done for. But my plan always was to knock off the incidental Nuttalls that lie on the routes, and as well as the 17 above, I’ve also done the following 4 Nuttalls:
Great Carrs, Dodd (Buttermere), Whiteside (West Top), and Sand Hill.
It’s also dawning on me that whenever I go to knock off the Hewitts, I’m going to want to also collect the Nuttalls that lie close, and so I think I’ve pretty much decided now that I should work on the Nuttalls, and make them a multi-year project as there are so many of them.
I’ve also got myself now onto 42 Wainwrights, all of which are included in those mentioned above.
I may not have bagged many peaks on this trip, but one thing I have collected a lot of is lessons. At one point I thought I might give up on walking, but that moment seems to have passed and I think when I get home the photos will bring me around. So hopefully surviving the scare, I hope I’ll learn a lot from this experience. Here are some of the lessons:
- I’m not as fit as I ought to be (ok, no surprise there).
- Pack weight. I don’t think I really understood how big an impact it could have until this trip. But maybe the way I’ll manage this is via my accommodation plans.
- I felt myself getting more hill fit (or maybe that should be less fill unfit!) as the trip went on. And walking day after day wasn’t as much of a problem as I thought it would be.
- I ought to base myself in one place and do lightweight day walks to bag everything within range.
- A distance of 10 miles and keeping ascent less than 3,000ft seems to be about right for a normal day walk.
- I think next time I camp I’ll do it with more home comforts – rather than carry my gear around from site to site, I’ll base myself in one place.
- I really need to bring clothes to keep for the evenings.
- I need to invest in some new, waterproof, boots.
But I want to end with the good memories, so hear are the best things about the trip:
- Best day – easily the Grisedale horseshoe walk.
- Best fell – Eel Crag because of the view. (I may think differently at some point in the future though, as this is largely because I could actually see something this day).
- Best kit – the Greenheat fuel cells.