Vlog:Grisedale Pike – Abandoned!

At the weekend I attempted to hike Grisedale Pike. Sadly winds became so dangerous that they lifted my companion off the ground. Clearly it was time to abandon the climb! We will get here in the summer.

Even though we didn’t reach the summit it was still a great day o climbing and hiking.

BOOM! Here Comes The…

And… we’re off! Having gotten smashed into the ground thanks to my customary winter (non-covid related) respiratory illness – something I have avoided for the last two years by upping my vitamin D and taking shilajit and ashwagandha – I have deliberately hit the road early in order to get a good start this year. My head is bursting at the seams with adventures I plan to have throughout spring and summer especially so I have resolved to be as ready as I will ever likely be.

Gear

To achieve my goals this year I have taken several productive steps. Firstly I bought a selfie stick for better video capture as you will hopefully see in my next video on YouTube, uploading as I write. Secondly I have started to actually use Komoot in conjunction with my Garmin Quatix watch. For those interested the Quatix is the same guts as the Fenix but with marine features added and a much more pleasing – to my eye – navy strap with brushed chrome bezel. Me being me I am already looking to upgrade and I am eyeballing the Garmin Enduro and its ridiculous battery life but that will be a purchase for next Christmas at the earliest, unless I am the lucky recipient of a windfall.

I have also bought a Garmin eTrex Touch 25 handheld GPS receiver. This may seem pointless as my watch does the same thing, however I have bought this because my bulbs are not what they used to be. During my most recent adventures I have caught myself pressing the screen right up to my nose just to be able to see it. The extra inch of screen space is very helpful.

I have also bought a ton of outdoor kit from the much-underrated Aldi. Seriously folks, their fitness clothing and thermals are remarkably well-priced and effective. If you want to buy it you need to get their app. It tells you what special buys are coming and when, and thus it all sells out rapidly.

I can now partake in many more winter hikes and some wild camps. In regard to the latter I am also now kitted out and ready to go this year. Last summer I was looking to do it but the only chance I got was during my aborted attempt to climb Helvellyn. This year I hope to get a night at Red Tarn in the shadow of Cumbria’s angriest fell.

Getting Started

On Christmas Day I dragged my sprogs over Pendle Hill. It is hardly a tough one to do but I had done it the day before as well without them. Additionally I climbed the Old Man of Coniston last week and a couple of days ago ascended most of Grisedale Pike, only abandoning after my companion was actually being lifted off the ground by the high winds.

I have commenced running too. In between the two gruelling winter hikes above I have done a couple of short two milers. Small steps, and I am hoping that the cold weather exposure will give me an advantage with endurance this summer.

Then There’s Barkley!

Hopefully my new hound, Barkley, a border collie, will pester me to get out too!

Barkley!

So things are afoot and what a summer of adventures is coming. In the meantime whilst you wait, check out my photographs from The Old Man of Coniston, all below.

Looking down from the river that drains from Lever’s Water
The path to the summit
The base of the climb, looking towards Coniston village
The summit
Channeling my inner Ansel Adams

Hiking as an Introvert

As a hiker who loves the Lake District and who is also an introvert I can relate to Wainwright a big way. If you have never heard of this remarkable man then here is a cracking BBC documentary about him. One of the great things about him was his legendary introversion, as evidenced by the fact that he told his second wife that she was allowed to hike with him as long as she did not talk!

In all seriousness, I genuinely believe that introverts can benefit enormously from hiking. I love a few team sports as a spectator, notably ice hockey, football and cricket. I am not so keen on things like track and field, American football or rugby. In fact egg chasers in general I find pretty boring. Additionally I am absolutely baffled by The Olympics. I just have no interest in the festival of running and jumping whatsoever and I cannot for the life of me see what the big deal is. I have nothing against it however. If that is your bag then crack on and lap it up to your heart’s content but I won’t be found within a country mile of anything like that.

Unsurprisingly I enjoy solitary pursuits, or, where there are others involved, activities with just a few other participants and which are not team-based. I love cycling, both on and off road, I love trail running and I love hiking. Not walking, although that is fun too, rather I refer to hiking specifically. Below are my reasons.

1. Nature is liberating

When in the middle of nowhere one is liberated of social obligations. Whenever I go anywhere with people I feel as though I am going into battle. During an ill-advised time in my life when I would use a gym I had to take my headphones, Kindle and when not lifting I would stare at my book or feet. Even with all of those ‘get lost’ signals broadcasting from me I still had to utilise phatic communication to handle people who clearly could not take the mother of all hints. This led me to conclude that repetitious exercise is for lackies. Outside is for kings.

2. Resilience is found in exertion, not resistance

Resistance exercise is all very well and good, but I will see your 250kg bench press and raise you one all day long outdoor hike climbing three mountains in a rainstorm. Hormesis, i.e. whatever does not kill you makes you stronger, is real and if you want to become truly strong then go climb a mountain or three. Bonus points if you do it with rain dripping off the end of your nose or in freezing conditions. Aside from the fact that this is inherently better than lifting weights, there is good reasoning behind my opinion.

When you lift weights you just work hard in a single dimension. You push resistively along a single axis. Not only boring, but suboptimal. If you go hiking the more challenging parts like scrambling over limestone pavement or up a steep mountains face make you exert yourself in a three dimensional fashion, along, X, Y and Z axes. Trust me, your body will let you know when you have done that. Not only are you exerting yourself against gravity, you also twist and turn your body on all three dimensional axes. This is simply the best workout you can get. Instead of being some lumbering meathead who can pick up heavy things and put them down again, your physique will be carved out of reality, forged by nature.

3. Your ego will be tempered

When you hike over mountains that are ancient and which will outlast you by millennia you cannot help but feel small. I have long since accepted that the planet does not give a damn about me and that I am just an interloper passing through. The best I can say is that I did not inherit the world from my ancestors, I borrowed it from the species and civilisations that are yet to come.

4. You must respect the land and know your fragility

Planning a day hike, or an overnight camp teaches you things. The simple act of figuring out how to survive is instructive. Taking your own water? Get ready to carry it for miles. Using natural water sources? Work out how to avoid catching leptospirosis. What will you eat, how will you carry it how much is enough?

Outdoor life done correctly is far more impressive to sustain than picking up the heavy things, chugging protein drinks and taking enough laxative to ensure that even a tiny fart leaves a filthy wet skid mark in your pants.

5. Your mental well-being will soar

The majesty and glory of nature feeds the soul and salves the mind. I seriously contend that there are emotions and physical sensations that cannot be attained anywhere but in the middle of nowhere. Looking down at the world from the top of a mountain is a stimulus that cannot be simulated or reproduced. The only way you can know that is to earn the right to feel it, and there is only one way to do that.

The response of the human psyche to the stimuli found outside is like bathing in beauty. I wish I could bottle it. Since I cannot I have to consistently experience it.

Go outside.

Hiking Catbells

Hiking Catbells, one of the smaller but steeper fells in the Lake District. Despite high winds and showers as well as getting pelted by a ten minute torrential downpour at the summit I managed, against all the odds, to get some pretty fantastic drone footage and time lapses. I am learning as I go along to make better videos and I think that this one stands up well.

I am dreaming of and working at building a YouTube presence and hopefully over the next few years I can start producing genuinely great content for people. I’ve got the gear and the eye, I just need to work at turning what I see in my head into real videos, which is harder than you think. Luckily I have a pretty creative mindset and I’m a decent photographer so it’s all about learning the techniques. I have always believed that it’s better to have a natural eye for things like this and develop as you go, but that is just me. As an autodidact that’s how I learn and figure it all out. Please like and subscribe on YouTube, and feedback is always welcome.

Data

I have my watch set not to auto pause when I stop walking because it is buggy when it does, so the time here includes all of my stops for eating and filming and so forth.

Topological Map and Heat Map

Heart Rate, Elevation and

Elevation, Pace and Heart Rate