Weekend Away: Lake District (Glenridding)
22nd - 24th November 2003

THE MALE PSYCHE - A LONE WOMAN'S ACCOUNT

Sunday - two walks on offer today. I joined the posse heading for the dizzy heights of Sharp Edge. I'd heard much about Sharp Edge, and being of a sane disposition checked that there was an alternative route up to Blencathra that didn't involve scrambling along a narrow ridge with extremely unhealthy drops either side. Fortunately there was (thanks Roger).

A nice frosty, autumnal day, with clear skies and some pockets of low cloud hanging in the valley. The short drive from the bunkhouse at Glenridding to Scales, where the walk was to start, was a pleasure in itself and set the scene for the breathtaking views to come.

Having parked up, we set off, eight guys with the scalp of Sharp Edge to bag and a lone woman.


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Here comes the sun

Fifteen minutes into the walk, the near vertical ascent aside, so far so good. I wasn't at the back and indeed I was ahead of the mighty Roger. Well it was the morning after the night before!

Twenty five minutes into the walk - O HELL this is really tough! James B had set a cracking pace. His determined stride told us Sharp Edge was going to be his for the taking!

At this point in the walk, the Christmas shopping in Keswick option looked immensely inviting, even though, under normal circumstances, shopping is far from my favourite way to spend time. The stark facts started to hit me a) this was a Roger led walk, b) it seemed that all, bar one, of the guys from the Walking Group renowned for their fast pace were on this particular walk, c) I'd foolishly not asked how many miles this walk was going to cover (the previous day's Roger epic, so I'm told, had been 14, very up and down, miles!).


Sharp Edge

Sharp Edge

Sharp Edge

The ascent of the first hill/mountain(?) seemed to go on forever. The spur that I was doing this for the girls was fast escaping me. I was close to leaving the guys to it and retracing my steps, but a short pep talk that the worst was almost over was just what I needed to carry on (thanks Rob).

Sure enough soon afterwards the march upwards stopped, and we began circling the monstrous hill/mountain(?) instead.

For a dozen of the guys the lure of Sharp Edge was far too strong to hang about, and they were off again. Thankfully Andrew and James C (aka Cloughie) valiantly fought against the calling and kept me company on the final push up to the plateau below Sharp Edge (thanks guys).

WOW - all of a sudden the prize that was Sharp Edge was before us. Figures could be seen on the ridge silhouetted against the sky. Some were standing upright as they waited their turn to move along the ridge, whereas others were easing themselves along by hugging the rock face in a star jump type pose, and then there were those further along scrambling on all fours.


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View of Sharp Edge from Blencathra

Now I'd already decided that Sharp Edge wasn't for me. I'd enjoyed my first ever bit of scrambling the day before on Striding Edge and didn't want the bubble to burst. I was happy to let the guys do their MALE BONDING thing up there on that ridge.

So seven guys set off to conquer. Alas, it is with deep regret that it rests with me to ANNOUNCE that only six made it along the full length of that ridge.

The non conquering guy ended up taking the alternative route, which it has to be said wasn't that easy. It has to be said because a) it was the route I took and b) the non conquering guy has a certain standing within the Walking Group (guessed yet?).

What happened next was one of those beautiful Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus moments. The aforementioned non conquering guy sits pretty deflated as he awaits the return of his "mates".


Blencathra Summit

View from Blencathra

View from Blencathra

The female approach - don't make guy feel any smaller than he already does. This can be achieved by nodding understandably as he lists the reasons for coming back down (done it before, too crowded, had to keep waiting, didn't want to put people off by pushing by etc, etc).

The male approach - make mate feel as sh*te/inadequate as possible for the rest of the walk, laugh a lot, pronounce that he "bottled it" and resolve to make sure everyone hears about it on the return to Sheffield!

The jesting stopped long enough for a team photo. For reasons obviously only known to men! it was a cue (even though on top of a cold mountain) for them to show off some leg to the camera (with time taken to position said legs at a certain angle in order to show off the most amount of "muscle"!!). Bless them!


View from Blencathra

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A quick walk over to the Saddleback of Blencathra to take in the stunning views out to Helvellyn before the jesting resumed once again on the descent.

Now it has to be said, a wonderful thing happened on the descent, the mountain gave up one of its secrets. MEN GOSSIP TOO (about women it would seem)!!! The charging ahead out of earshot malarkey all of a sudden made sense. I listened in for just a little bit (honest guys) but took my cue to drop back again once the conversation turned to "naked walking". What the context was I will never know!

Julie



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