We recently spent a long weekend in the Lake District. It had been nine years since our last visit and before that it had been a good while since I had visited with my father. There were no formal plans for the weekend, except for booking one pub lunch. Our plan was to focus mainly on walking, not eating! Having arrived in the dark on Friday night, we woke up on the Saturday morning, ate a hearty breakfast, and could finally see the beautiful surroundings we were about to explore.
My father used to visit and walk in the Lake District when he was young. He lived nearby (his father was a Methodist minister who moved frequently, though always remaining within the north-west of England). When I was a child he often took us to specific sites that he knew and loved. On this trip, however, we had no specific sites in mind. We wanted to walk, talk and enjoy the scenery. And that is what we did, taking in the smaller details alongside the larger views.
We were lucky to have amazing weather which made the experience somewhat easier. We walked three routes, each on a different day.
The first route included a crag, tarn (small mountain lake) and a Roman fort (those Romans really got around).
On the second walk we saw a waterfall, another bigger tarn and walked over stepping stones.
And the final route took us around Lake Grasmere on what was called The Coffin Route, past two of Wordsworth’s homes.
On our way home we visited a stone circle.
But it wasn’t all just walking and pretty things. Walking is so good for thinking and while we were there I received the sad news that one of my aunts had died. Walking gave me time to think about her, while also reminiscing about my father. It also gave me time to reflect on the recent conflicts and how much sadness they have caused. Walking in the Lake District is bittersweet. It reminds me of people who are no longer with us, and the tragedy of loss. But it also reminds me of the value of living in the moment, and the serenity that comes from just putting one foot in front of another.