Sharing the things and places you love is one of the best feelings. Having someone by your side who understands why the wide open sky, rocks, trees and lakes put a smile on your face, and why getting wet and muddy, walking till your lungs burn and legs ache is so much fun.
Being given the opportunity to pass that on, and share with someone new, someone younger who is taking their first steps into the world of outdoor adventures is even better!
Ok, so there are definitely challenges to going hiking with kids – perhaps I will come back to that later on, mainly you have to have a hell of a lot of patience – but it’s also massively rewarding, and makes you look at things for the first time and appreciate things from a different point of view.
When you’re trying to find all of the distractions in the world to keep a 9-year old hiking up a mountain, you can’t help yourself from becoming absorbed by the funny looking rocks, strange bugs, the eerily moving clouds and the delight of a squished Jelly Baby found in your jacket pocket!
James, E, Blake and I headed up to the Lake District for the Bank Holiday weekend, and had such an amazing time I really didn’t want to come back. We stayed at the Great Langdale National Trust campsite in the Central Lakes – the site was fully booked as expected over a Bank Holiday, but we actually didn’t feel too crowded in which I think was a good effort on their part. Waking up to these views every morning and sitting drinking my cup of tea with just the sound of sheep baa-ing in my ears was pretty awesome. My new Endurance Conspiracy t-shirts were perfect for chilling out in too…
We did two hikes while we were there, shorter than James and I have attempted on previous trips but still a good challenge for little legs (mine included!).
Silver How stands at around 395m (1296ft) and is one of the smaller fells in the Lake District. The route we took from Grasmere was about 1mile up, and 1mile down taking approximately 2 hours in total to walk (complete with stops for snacks).
It’s a beautiful hike and one I would definitely recommend – the views from the top were spectacular, and you could see down to Grasmere and Rydal Water, as well as over to Lake Windermere and Ambleside in the distance.
We were actually really lucky with the weather during our trip – while it did rain (as it always does in the Lake District), it was just short showers which mostly cleared up by midday.
Our second hike of the trip took us up Stickle Ghyll (ravine) past Stickle Tarn (lake) to the top of Harrison Stickle. This is the highest of the three Langdale Pikes and a walk we could set out on directly from the campsite, which is really convenient if you don’t want to be driving every day. It basically follows the path of the river up to the tarn, which meant you passed lots of lovely waterfalls.
The peak is over 2,400ft high (736m) and sections of the route involved a bit more scrambling (Stickle means a mountain with a rocky summit fyi) which was quite fun, but a little trickier with a dog! Blake needed a bit of a boost in places, particularly crossing rivers with stepping stones.
On the way up it was so wet, and with such low cloud that we couldn’t see anything – we were basically walking in the clouds, which E found hilarious, and when we reached Stickle Tarn you couldn’t even see that there was a lake there!
Fortunately as we continued scrambling up to the top of the fell, the sun came out and the clouds dispersed so that by the time we reached the summit, we were again treated to some amazing views.
The whole walk took about 4 hours and by the time we were all back down in the valley again E was pretty tired, and ended up falling asleep on my lap in the Old Dungeon Ghyll pub as we waited for our cheesy chips!
I hope that this is the first of many trips we can make together – with 214 Wainwrights (fells) in the Lake District, we’ve definitely got a few more to tick off…
What did you get up to over the Bank Holiday weekend? Any tips for outdoor adventures as a family?