I approach the world of blogging (bloggery? blogdom?) with some trepidation as Rhiannon and Alan have raised the literary bar so high with their witty and erudite posts I think it's raised the fear factor for the rest of us. I've decided though the only thing to do is to approach that bar, fix it with a steely eye, raise it high above my head - and then place it firmly on the ground where it will remain for the remainder of this article.
So, back to the world of the LDWA (the Long Distance Walker's Association). And what, I hear you cry, does the woolly hat and gaiters brigade have to do with the cheetahs of the outdoor activities world? Well in one word - "events" as they call them. In rather more than one word can I explain that local LDWA groups from time to time stage a long distance walk as an open event to all comers. You may remember that Sally and Andy Ramsay attended the "That's Lyth"event in the New Year and waxed lyrical about that one. Gill Douglas also took part in that one and persuaded myself and Anne that the spring event imaginatively entitled "Spring in Lakeland" would be a good opportunity to add some training miles to our marathon schedule.
What a day we had! The weather was ideal - cold but not bitter, with a light dusting of snow on the tops and the ground hard enough to avoid foot rot from what would otherwise have been distinctly boggy terrain. The route took us over a mixture of trails and track, with a minimum of road walking, from Ambleside, over Loughrigg, past Elterwater and over the Coniston fells finally dropping into Coniston village via the Coppermines valley. Then we headed back to Ambleside effectively following the route of the Cumbria Way - roughly 22 miles in length with just short of 5,000 ft of ascent. And, as we approached Ambleside on the way home, the snow began to gently drift down on us -it was sheer magic. Sounds tough? Well strangely it wasn't, it was simply an exhilarating day out , in wonderful surroundings, covering tough but not impossible terrain and enjoying great company.
So to whet your appetites here's a list of reasons to take part:
• it's dead cheap to enter - £5.00 if you're a member of the Association and I think £6.00 for non-members. Even fell runners wouldn't baulk at that surely?
• they're really friendly types and don't seem to mind runners joining in their events - in fact I'd go so far as to suggest they are positively welcoming. I would say the LDWA is probably the SAS of the rambling world and therefore have some appreciation of the requirement some of us have to conduct our communications with nature at the speed of lightening.
• they feed you very well and at regular intervals - a considerable plus as far as I am concerned. At each checkpoint there is endless tea, orange and biscuits and at the end there is a real spread and as runners we tend to get first pick!
• it's completely non-competitive - there are usually only about 20/30 runners or so and the rest are walkers (quite quick ones mind you) so there are no place rankings or prizes to be had - very relaxing for us non-competitive types. Despite this you can still enjoy the smug satisfaction of being one of the first arrivals back at base - for those of us that are a bit more competitive
• the scenery is invariably stunning, constantly reminding us of how lucky we are to live where we do.
• you get a nice certificate when you finish. I think mine had a stone wall on it although it wasn't entirely clear..
Interested? Well the next local event is Autumn in Lakeland ( you've got to hand it to these people for their catchy titles) which is being organised by the Morecambe Bay and Bowland LDWA and I believe the entry fee may be a little higher than the Spring event but not by much. The route is essentially a highish circuit of Derwentwater crossing Catbells, Castle Crag, Watendlath and Walla Crag and it takes place on the 11th October. If you're interested you will need to go to the LDWA site and then go to their local groups section where you will find the Morecambe group link which will take you to their website - that's a long winded way of me explaining that I don't know how to do one of those hyper link thingies.
Come on everyone let's make it a bit of a do.
Posted by Julia (aka Speed-King).