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Staycation 2021

Time has flown by since my proper holiday and a good break is what I need. The pandemic has continued to present challenges to our lives. At last we can go abroad, but there's the risk that we'll spend some time in quarantine. A lot of people in the UK already knew going away is not going to be straightforward this year. So another staycation it is.

Is another staycation such a bad thing? No, not really as the UK has much to offer. A staycation helps local economies. So back to the Lake District it is and there are lots of things I want to see any do. Booking a hotel room was not easy back then as a lot of people were doing the same. However, there are always going to be challenges in life and life will always throw you lemons. The weather can't always be guaranteed up in The Lakes. One minute it's sunny, then a while later, it rains. Then came the issue of the panic buying of petrol. The final moments of stress, which I do need. Will I be able to get up there? Shall I cancel? Well I did find petrol on the day. I would of preferred to set off in the early hours and be there for breakfast, but I got there in the end. As for cancelling, well it would have cost me more if I did. Then I thought about going somewhere else, well that can wait.

What have I been doing?

The last twelve months have been hectic. Work has been hectic and I've kept busy with my teaching. To add to that, my need to improve my art hasn't stopped. As ever, I can always find new areas to work on. On sunny weekends and Public Holidays, I've been going on hikes in and around Kent and Sussex. Taiji and Qigong alone aren't going to be enough. Hiking helps improves my stamina as well as offer different challenges.

What I had planned

This year, I planned to do things differently and I decided to stay in the Keswick area, so that I can be near the fells I wish to climb. I planned to go further and higher than before. I really wanted to climb Helvellyn and if I had time, to climb Skiddaw too. Also to do the things I couldn't do last year, such as visiting Hadrian's Wall. I actually wanted to visit back in the 90's, having read about the Hadrian's Wall in history class. Who said state comprehensives can't inspire people?

What I ended up doing

Well I didn't go up Helvellyn in the end, even though I stayed at a hotel located on the foot of this very impressive fell. The weather made in impossible. I didn't go up Skiddaw either, but went in the opposite direction to Latrigg instead. It was a sunny day and could either spend the day climbing Skiddaw or go up a smaller fell and then visit Hadrian's Wall. I chose the latter.

I have finally climbed Catbells and Castle Crag. Both of which were a lot of fun. Whilst these are some of the easier fells, they can also be dangerous. I have also squeezed in a visit to Rydall Cave, which on the bottom of Loughrigg Fell. I had a good opportunity to see Castlerigg Stone Circle during golden hour. Beyond the issue of rain, there's the issue of spares boots. It's not so much that I can't find another fell to climb (I am in theory spoilt of choice), but on the day, both pairs of boots got soaked and I only one pair of shoes available. So I went on a walk from Tarn Hows to Coniston and back. Did I have a good time? Yes, but that pair of shoes also got wet too.

Shopping is generally difficult, as I usually spend the best part of the day outside. By the time I go into town, the shops are starting to shut. I did manage to pop over to Tebay Services on the M6. Having watched the 4 part series, I really had to make that visit to see how good it is. It is good, they sell quality locally produced food. Many of the other products are also sourced locally or from the North. If a family run business can successfully champion local foods, why aren't more people doing this. I don't think I have ever had a meal at the motor service station, which I can praise. A lot of motorway services can learn a thing or two here on upping standards.

What I liked

Well, despite the bad weather, there's not really a shortage of things to do and see. It comes down to whether you're willing to go outside. The nice people who meet on the fells, why can't more people be like this? Are hikers and outdoors people generally more friendlier?

What I didn't like

Well, I've not trying to be negative, but more about saying how it is. Parking can be a nightmare. If it is a free car park, then it's first come, first served and they fill quickly. If you have to buy a ticket, note that parking can be expensive. Considering the Lake District has welcomed millions of tourist over the years. One would think that there would be plenty of places to sit down to eat. However, this is not the case. Many restaurants were fully booked or you'll have to wait a long time for your food.

And where do we go from here?

Despite all of live challenges, I haven't given up on pursuing the things I want to do. The pandemic and post-Brexit Britain raises challenges, but I chose to see them as opportunities. As to what I haven't been able to do this year, I'm determined to do it next time. I never give up and it's all part of the Taiji journey.

Thank you for reading my blog.

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