This morning dawned through a thick grey cloud of drizzle. No one got up early and Aimi and I lazed around in the warmth of the van, surrounded by duvets and a wriggling Kayto vying for affection. It was a really lovely way to wake up and I felt thoroughly contented with my lot.
Simon had surprised us and made some jam from blackberries, apples and elderberries he found around the farm. He gave us a whole jar so we had this on toast, trying out the grill feature of my camping stove. It worked but it was slow to make the toast. Simons jam tasted good, but I prefer the jam my mum makes, it tastes of being a kid and going blackberry picking with dad down the alley ways around Whitton. It brought back memories of having a white plastic ice-cream tub hanging around my neck on bits of string. Filling these up to overflowing point we would get home and present our foraging to mum. She would be proud and always turned them into delicious jam or crumble. All the while overlooking the red juice stains on our hands and in our clothes which were impossible to get out.
We had agreed to meet Killian at the top of a pass called “The Struggle” a notoriously steep road that runners and cyclists hate. This was the place Emily would be passing a conveniently placed pub on the cycling section of a Triathlon she was taking part in. She had been training hard for this so it was great that we could be there. As she came into view, she looked to be having type 2 fun. The rosiness of her cheeks extended down both arms and legs in the cold wind. We cheered her up the final part of the hill and she stopped for a brief chat. The Struggle was the top of the pass and from there on it was downhill all the way into Glenridden to where the running section started so at least she got a bit of a rest before the next bit. I think I would have fairly happily done the swimming or cycling section, but my knees just couldn’t have dealt with the running.
While she went off for a really Long Wet Run™ (official slogan of lake district jogging) we settled into a cafe, all crammed around a cosy wooden table. The cafe was opposite the Inn On The Lake where Em and Kill had been married the year previous. This cafe had then been introduced to us and helped cure the hangovers from the night before. I tried something new on the menu – a goats cheese and onion jam burger.
IT WAS INCREDIBLE
Normally cheese in burgers is a fairly plastic-y, tasteless, stringy sliver of yellow that doesn’t really do much for the meal but allows the restaurant to charge an extra £1.50…….. Can you tell my feelings on this? But this combination of a HUGE wedge of goats cheese, oozing and dripping out the side of the burger was worth the money. The earthy taste of goats cheese is not for everyone, granted, but it was sensational. Especially coupled with the sweet onion-y flavour of the jam, it just tasted amazing. And that’s nothing to say of the actual burger; it was hot yet still the right amount of pink inside, chunky but not dry, and clearly made from quality ingredients, I was blown away and cannot recommend it enough. If your passing through Glenridden, stop in at the Helvellyn Country Kitchen for lunch and just… OMG… SO GOOD!!!
We didn’t make any major plans after our monster lunch. It was pretty miserable outside anyway so we didn’t fancy any long walks. Eventually we got bored and headed back to the campsite from where we set off on a short walk to come nearby caves. These were ones we had messed around in before so had a bit of a look around and carried on up the hill behind them. We thought we might be able to find a back route to the top of Castle Crag so followed “The Obvious Path” as it is so often called in guidebooks…. This inevitably turned into a dead end, with a view. We followed it literally as far as we could, right out along a decreasingly wide ledge, midway up a vertical cliff face. In these situations, as soon as the path turns into a scramble where you need to put hand to rock, you should really have some knowledge or a map or someone to show you the way. I think if we didn’t have Kayto, and it was dry, and I actually knew where the hell I was going, it may have let to where we wanted to go. But it was a bit dicey given the conditions so we bravely bailed and headed home.
Back at base, dinner was cooked late as it was starting to get a bit dark by the time we got back and cleaned ourselves up. We then spent the evening being hilariously terrible people by playing Cards Against Humanity.