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Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Would you like parrots with that?

Anyway... Where was I?

Am now on the hotel's wifi which is intermittently much better than the o2 connection and no good at all. I'll try to catch it on the good bits.

Tuesday morning: another day, another radio interview. BBC Radio Cumbria and Mike Parr on the landline to the B&B before breakfast to see how we've got on. Of course it's only been a one-day walk so far so it's not exactly a true picture - the test, as I said on air (get me!) will be seven days, or two weeks from now. But, so far so good. Unlike the couple we met en route who were already aching and noticeably limping. They expressed surprise that we're not in the same condition. Turns out they live somewhere very flat, not a hill in sight and were inspired to try the walk after seeing Julia on TV. Mmm... We're concerned for their welfare, wondering whether they'll make it beyond today and the steepish climb up Loft Beck, at the end of the valley. But they prove us wrong and turn up for dinner at the Scafell Hotel. Hope they stay the course.

Interesting too, this couple's experience of sleeping in the country... Unnerved by the silence at night, they were intensely irritated by the magnificent chorus of birdsong on waking. Far more comfortable were they with the gentle sounds of their home ground, of aircraft coming into land and taking off over their heads from Standsted airport.

So, interview and breakfast over, we set off up the Ennerdale valley in the company of Rick, Search Dog Alf and Rick's butter-wouldn't-melt terrier who's name I can't remember (apologies to Rick). Another cracking day out. Rick and dogs departed our company around Gillerthwaite and we pressed on up the track to Black Sail for a cup, and an opportunity to rattle the tin. Well they wanted to sit on our bench, and that comes at a price!

Onwards up Loft Beck and over to Honister Slate Mines for ice cream. Then down to Rosthwaite, where we managed to add a half mile onto our day by overshooting the turning to the B&B. Now, about the B&B...

We'd been warned along the way about Rachel, our eccentric, but extremely hospitable host at Gillercombe. Serves breakfast with a parrot on her shoulder they said, sending fellow Twirlie Gail into a flat spin. News of Gail's flat spin clearly went on ahead of us as, by the time we arrive, the bird is tucked up in the garden aviary. Which doesn't stop Rachel luring us into the garden for a photo shoot, doing our best Captain Hook impression. For some reason, parrot was reluctant to climb onto Gail's shoulder. We put it down to the purple hair.

So parrot pix out of the way, we headed to the Scafell Hotel to meet with Roy, Jan, Mark and Fiona from Keswick MRT. More pix with them and a handy team vehicle. Handy because, no sooner have we tucked into steak pudding and chips, than three faces drop in unison as something starts vibrating in their pockets. Yep, such is the life of a mountain rescuer. Half drunk pints of beer, half eaten dinner, abandoned. And in a blur they were off... to Whinlatter and a fallen mountain biker.

Early night for us. And boy, were we ready for it!

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