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Thursday, 5 May 2011

Eccles cakes and iPads with Sir Chris

And so to Grasmere...

Left Gillercombe and the parrot (which, incidentally, entertained us during our magnificent breakfast with a full and extensive repertoire of songs old and new: a parrot-style 'Name that tune') and headed down the road towards Rosthwaite village where we were due to meet Sir Chris.

The three of us set off alongside Stonethwaite Beck, climbing steadily upwards towards Grasmere Common, passing underneath a stunning Eagle Crag (which Chris was clearly VERY tempted to clamber up!). Great conversation and a good giggle throughout as we chatted about any number of topics. What struck me most was how life brings those things to you which are for you. Five or six years ago, when Bob Sharp and I launched our book, 'Mountain Rescue' at the Kendal Mountain Book Festival (part of the Film Festival), we were sandwiched between a line up of mountaineering greats: George Band, Doug Scott... and Sir Chris Bonington, on after us in the book signing stakes. Feeling I should say hello, not least as a fellow author, I chickened out, not knowing what to say by way of a starter! And here I was, six years later, sharing a day on the hill with him and chatting away like old friends. Turns out we even know people in common. Small world.

The day was entertainingly punctuated by a series of encounters with fellow walkers, their faces a picture... Er isn't that?.... One couple we met, came towards me after Chris had passed. 'My wife thinks that looks like Chris Bonington,' said the chap. 'It is,' I said, 'why don't you go and chat to him.' And off they shot down the hill to catch him up. And as they said their goodbyes, out came the tin!

The big group of Canadians who are walking the same route to Robin Hood's Bay, in the company of a guide, were equally as awed. When we'd mentioned, yesterday, the celebrity companion we had today, they were unsure who we meant. In the flesh, the realisation dawned. And the expression on their guide's face was a picture! 'Did you just bump into him?' he asked. 'No, we arranged to meet him,' I said, barely suppressing the urge to punch the air in glee. Tee hee!

Arrived in Grasmere at 1.30 (so a short day), where we expected to be met by Langdale Ambleside team members. Just tucking into our beers when in comes a text from Nick explaining they'll be a bit late due to a call out. Beginning to wonder whether I should email ahead to Patterdale and warn them of imminent job - we do seem to be bringing them with us.

Anyway, it gave Chris and I a chance to catch up with our iPhone and iPad, read a few emails, download an app or two, tweet and make friends on Facebook. He was very impressed - as everyone has been thus far - by the ViewRanger software, including the fact it continues to work despite not having a phone signal. GPS goes on tracking you regardless. So does the Buddy Beacon if you remember to switch it back on! Do they cover the Himalaya, he wondered. Over to you Craig - sounds like a development opportunity!

Langdale arrived, complete with team photographer Paul Burke - check out some great pix (not least we two Apple-ites, heads buried in cyberspace!) - on the Langdale Ambleside Facebook page. In fact, why not become a fan while you're at it?

Photo shoot done, we bade a fond farewell to Sir Chris and he was whisked away to rejoin his car in Rosthwaite, leaving us to catch up on blogging.

Which brings me back to where I came in... blogs now dutifully up to date. Please keep spreading the word and get those donations coming in. Another short hop to Patterdale today then the hard work really starts as we trog through the bogs and over the Pennines into bandit country.

Speak to you later, signals permitting.


  1. It sounds like it's going brilliantly - continue to support even if it's from afar. Look after yourselves in bandit country :-)

  2. Glad it is going well. Enjoying the blog posts. Had a call from Sir Chris today!