Backpacking the Lake District 2009

After my exams, back in 2009, when I was 16, I wanted to have some fun and do something independent unlike any other trip I’d been on before with family, school or the scouts. I rounded up two mates and we went hiking across the Lake District. I’d love to say I had an amazing 9 days, but that would be a lie! At the time it was an incredibly miserable ordeal. We were blighted with the most continuous driving rains I’ve ever experienced, with only a couple of hours of good weather the entire trip. I was fairly fit, yet struggled to keep up with the other two, seemingly always a horizon in front of me. My 90L rucksack had no chest straps, so the weight bit into my shoulders. I remember childishly saying on numerous occasions how much I hated walking. When my friends pointed out the irony of this, having organised a walking holiday, that served merely to exacerbate my frustrations. The trip hadn’t gone as I’d hoped – learning that that will often be the case was an important lesson in itself.

Looking back, it was a pretty adventurous experience, and one I’m proud to have completed – I’d done a fair amount of walking, but this was the first time, I’d had any sort of responsibility for navigation or decision making, or had nomadically moved from place to place.

The trip challenged me, physically and mentally. As a result of the trip, I realised what Alastair Humphreys now calls ‘Type 2 fun’; that fun which is miserable at the time, the joy only appreciated later. But more than that, afterwards I resolved to change my attitude; whatever difficulties lay ahead, I would try to tackle them enthusiastically and optimistically. Whatever happens on these trips will create great stories and points of laughter down the road. It’s not worth being unhappy!

 

“Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure”

“As long as we don’t die, this is gonna be one hell of a story!” John Green

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