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We drove over Kirkstone Pass, the route known as The Struggle into the Ullswater Valley, I can easily understand why it was called The Struggle, so steep and for miles; at times a gradient of 1 in 4, a fully laden pack horse, or person for that matter would really struggle to take that route, and it’s no wonder there is an Inn at the top, you’d need to stop and rest. The Kirkstone Pass Inn stands close to the summit of the pass. Formerly an important coaching inn, It is the third highest public house in England.
The BMW took it in her stride, although my Dearest, being a nervous passenger did not, I get the feeling it was a bit of a white knuckle ride for him, particularly when I was driving close to the edge of sheer drops. We drove through Patterdale while my Dearest recounted his usual tales of mis-spent youth, toga parties in the snow, on New Year’s camping trips, swimming in the lake so early in the morning that the mist had yet to lift from the Lake. It may sound romantic to the young; I can’t help but to shiver. A hotel room for me please, hot shower, all the necessary facilities.
Spring must have come very late to Ullswater, I found a Rose Bay Willow Herb in its first flush and picture perfect, elsewhere in the world it is already setting seed and looking ragged, it was more May than the last days of July. We walked by the Lake in the sunshine, considered whether we could run a bed and breakfast here in Glenridding, and decided we could not, it might be a very precarious business, no matter how beautiful it is when the sun shines or the snow falls, it also rains…a lot.
Glenridding has a special place in my heart, it was the place my Dearest and I went to on our second date, to Aire Force, a famous waterfall just north of Glenridding, then to the St Patrick’s boat landing for a celebrated bacon sandwich, as we left the sun was low and the trees were bare, it was a snowy January. My favourite piece of Beethoven (Piano Concerto no.5 in E-flat major Op73, Adagio Un Poco Mosso) was playing on the CD player, bliss.
This time, no Beethoven but Pink Sheep! Yes I thought my eyes deceived me too, I insisted my Dearest pulled over, I had to get a photograph of this, no-one was going to believe it without.
A whole flock of pink sheep. As we pulled in another couple of walkers were stopping to photograph them on iphone, I carry a Canon 350 DSLR when out walking. I do sometimes wonder if I’d find it easier just to have an iphone, but I digress, Pink Sheep! Have you ever seen anything as sweet as these pink sheep?
Whilst on holiday this month a trip to the Lakeland Motor Museum caused my Dearest to relive an unfortunate event in his misspent youth.
This is a Norton Commando 850cc, used by Lancashire Police in the 1970’s. My Dearest told me a tale in which he “rescued” a 50cc Honda moped from a stream near his home. He and his friend neither more than 14 at the time got it working, it had no kick start so they had to push it along the road, running till the engine fired,and they managed to fit a working head light taken from an old car. One night they set off on an adventure, riding through the streets of Preston on this death trap motorcycle, My Dearest in control, his friend riding pillion.
Inevitably they were spotted by a Motorcycle Cop and flagged down, but in a panic to escape their fate the friend shouted “Burn him off Steve, burn him off!” and My Beloved, being a stupid 14 year old boy, attempted to outrun a Norton Commando 850cc, on a Placcy 50cc. Needless to say they were stopped and arrested; the Cop must have been bursting to laugh.
He was left to cool his heels in clink all night; his Mum thought the experience would teach him a lesson, his first time in a Police cell. But the greater lesson was that the bike was confiscated and there ended his passport to the freedom of the open road, for the time being at least. It was about this time that he was teaching himself to drive in his father’s Allegro 1750 Supersport, not that his father was aware of it at the time, but that’s another story.