All great days start with a Wetherspoons Full English breakfast (why no Cumbrian variant).
Well, actually, no they don’t. Porridge would be a better bet when you’re about to take on England’s highest hill (whatever).
James had been wanting to climb Scafell Pike since he managed it in Year 7 at Cottenham (age 12); I didn’t quite share his enthusiasm after noting the dearth of new GBG entries at the summit.
But the approach via Ravenglass into Eskdale offers lots of ticking opportunity. And if that fails there’s always a short swim to the Isle of Man where I still need 3 ticks, which sounds like essential business to me.
The trip from Ravenglass into the valley is via one of those overpriced steam trains that make craft beer look cheap but thrill gentlefolk when they go “Toot !“.
We decided to walk from Eskdale Green via Miterdale, which rather confused Bing Maps which reckons you’ll walk along the road and jump into hedges to avoid 4x4s.
Golly, it was wonderful, on a clear day that never dipped below 18 degrees and saw me scare sheep with my Martha Punx T-shirt.
Uphill half an hour, then some springy turf, then a rocky bit, then some views you don’t get in Waterbeach (unless there’s been a glacial event while I’ve been away).
We didn’t see a soul till Blea Tarn (top) when we bounded past a young couple with all the kit but no legs, as us old folk say. The bloke was wearing a T-shirt of a well-known ’90s band, probably Queens of the Stone Age.
I had no idea what to expect in the Boot pubs. Would they be full of gentlefolk ? Or tell me I should have booked in August ? Or be closed despite Facebook saying (ludicrously) “Always open”.
Mainly the gentlefolk, who I raced from the Noddy train to the Brook House, shouting “See ya at the bar” behind me.
Which was daft, as of course you’re not allowed anywhere NEAR the bar these days.
We stood at a safe distance from the pumps, and were then directed to an outside table, possibly on account of our muddy boots.
Just time to capture the one shot that captures the spirit of the pub.
Outside, I enlarged my photo of the menu on the wall and realised it contained a beer board !
Always pick the first one. Emmerdale something ? Med ? HSD ?
I tried all of those possibilities, and “the first one on the list”, before the Landlady concluded it was Ennerdale Mild.
Whatever it was, it was OK, if a bit warm.
But the pub experience was becoming notably less than OK*, and was about to get even worse.
*No fault of the lovely publicans and staff, I hasten to add.