“I wandered lonely as a cloudWilliam Wordsworth
That floats on high o’er vales and hills
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of golden daffodils
Beside the lake beneath the trees
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
After going through my head again, while I was writing the blog, I realized my memory got a bit mixed up and I completely forgot about my weeks before Gibraltar and Max and my bike tripe, I was in England, where it was very grey and very wet but as always stunningly beautiful.
Lorna picked me up from the Train-Station that I reached from Manchester. I still don’t really believe that I actually made it there. The night before I was on two house parties and somehow ended up a bit overmedicated. I couldn’t remember how I made it to the Airport. I just knew I fell asleep in the train. I can’t remember anything of the security nor the plane flight. It was and still is a riddle to me.
Anyway, once driving through the windy roads with its typical dry stonewalls to our sides we reached further into the Lakes until we reached Coniston, up the hill and into Lornas family house, build out of stones. At first I thought that the stones might be a bit much, but now I have to admit that I like the look and the atmosphere of the little towns in the Lake District National Park. Lornas family is build out of six people, mum, dad, and 3 small brothers. In between Max and Joe are a few years gap. The family is very active and into all kind of things. The father is mental not properly sorted after a fall, which makes the whole atmosphere very interesting as I experienced. I always like going there, not really England, but I enjoy when I can stay around.
After a bit of work, building the construct of a shepherds hut, we got an old map and went for a multiple day hike. I think we spend about two month in England. England is very different to Germany and I also think that the ‘chippies’ are absolutely fattening and cholesterol-explosiveness but somehow they lure you to try the weirdest things. Sausages buttered and fried. Holy cow.
I actually had one, a proper one, one where they dip the fries at least twice into the fat. My general idea to fast food is shocking as well as fun. But fries in general are for me like smoking a cigarettes, except that the taste is infinite better to a cigarette. During that experience I felt amazing and after it I felt like the fat is trying to squeeze itself out through my pores. But hey, I tried at least.
Little excursion over Forests in England that I found interesting
Lorna lives in absolutely breathtaking nature. Hills that are set in an amazing labyrinth, divided by valleys that run ice cold clear streams, with some waterfalls, pools and old bridges. Even on those, some of them very steep, hills are the dry stone walls of England, physically seeming to ignore some rules of gravity, by not collapsing and rolling down the steep valleys. They set the landscape, that is mostly green, or yellow farmland into squares in different sizes, all over the Lake District. Trees and forests are in general a rare thing in England to come by even tho through a steady program of afforestation the English Forests cover did increased back to 13% – not far off the levels of 1,000 years ago. To put that in context, many other European countries average about 37% coverage, so England still has one of the continent’s lowest levels. But the commitment to afforestation is clear, with modern English foresters using a wide variety of native broadleaf, conifers and species that could thrive in our changing climate. The navy had, for many years, depended on English forests for their ships. As England’s navy grew, the need for timber began to seriously pick away at the woodland: from an estimated land coverage of 15% in 1086, England’s forests and woods had dwindled to just 5.2% by 1905. As you might have realized is this a topic that came very close to me and made me question the strongly all over the place farmland areas in England. Even in so called National Parks, it is hard to find refuge in the forests. As stunning as the Lakes look, as sad is it to be on top of the hill and searching without succeeding to find a forest somewhere in sight. To me personally the title National Park, should be considered more strict, in regards to how the area did look like before human influence and trying to let the area regrow to how it was, without the aim of financial profit, except for tourists.
To show you how severe the situation is, here is a picture of Europe in consideration to how much forest is growing in which areas.
In general it is very interesting to look at a very beautiful place, through a pair of googles that gives you a feeling of how it might have looked like before we, the human race, came there and influenced it. Often this beautiful place looses a lot of its magic and makes you rethink of how strongly we are trying to repress and control nature.
At Lornas parents place in Coniston in the Lake District National Prak. Coniston was called “Coningeston” in the 12th century, a name derived from konungr, the Old Norse for king, and tūn the Old English for farmstead or village. This would give the village the title of “The king’s estate”. Ekwall speculated that this town could have been the centre of a ‘small Scandinavian mountain kingdoma little old miners town’. As I discussed with Lornas dad, Coniston could have been called Koenigsstein, which means that the people living there, would have a German language origin. The most famous Hill is probably the ‘Old Man’.
Lorna and me were doing some gardening and started to set up a Shepherds Hut, the first time I visited her and her family in the far North, the Lake District. By now the hut is simply cute and lovely and we were living in it. We also build a compostable toilet and were doing hikes here and there, sometimes some cold water swimming.
After a few days we decided to make a multiple day hike. We sat together with Jane, Lornas mum, over a big map of the lakes and drew a path. She knows the Lakes very good and we thought we came up with a great hike.
The next days we packed our stuff, Maxs friend drove us to the beginning of the hike in the north and we set of straight away, in a bit of misty rain and a cloudy sky, as expected, haha. As far as I know, is it that we set up near Keswick and from there we started walking south. We walked up a small steady hill, with a stream coming down, later we passed an old mine and made our way up a steeper bit with small waterfalls until we ended up in a wet misty cloud on the ridge, from where we headed south east, higher into the cloud all along a river over soft grass until the cloud blew away and we had a stunning view over long tall hills, all around us, and even taller ones south of us.
The weather got a bit better and we descended the Grasmoor 850m running and walking over soft grass into a small town Buttermere, along a crystal clear river, over muddy paths along a small lake and up a long stairs until we reached the top, a wet hill top, with rocks and ponds and more rocks and more ponds, grass and a little lovely spot, that really was dry and we managed to stay the night there. It was well sheltered and we slept well in the tiny tent. I tried to walk bear feet, and managed the first day. In the end it really hurt to walk more on rocks and my feet felt amazing when I gave them a rest.
After a good night sleep we had some water and a wash, the ponds are all drinkable, and continued our next journey. I started bear feet again. This time we continued to climb up slowly until the terrain went from wet, very wet grass, to more and more rocky terrain until all the grass was gone and we were surrounded by rocks, kind of like a volcano. Here and there we got a bit lost but then after a little lost time we found our way back onto the route. A few other people where around, not many.
From there we went to the Great Gable, from there to Scafell Pike and somewhere Great End, haha. There are too many hills, and mountains. No way for me to keep it all up and remember which ones we passed, where we slept on and which ones we saw to our sides. But I can say that it was awesome and very interesting. It was actually quite tuff, the mountains are not that tall but, there is one after another after another and the add up to quite a bit in the end. My feet couldn’t handle to walk up the last 300 meters to Scafell Pike and I had to put my shoes on.
The descent from there was so so hard, we were fairly exhausted, but we made it past the moore with tiny venus fly traps, and me nearly dying in a waterhole. I wanted to make a little joke, and stepped into it. It really didnt look deep but shit it just didn’t stop and if I would have gotten stuck and by myself this would be very serious. Like that only my leg was covered in moss an mud and we continued, over a small hill, along the river and found a lovely spot at a waterfall to camp at.
The last day was started with a little wash/swim again. As we all know, coldtherapie is one of the best recoveries possible. We walked all along the valley, until we reached a little farm, from where we headed up the southern side and climbed to the top and over the again wet and muddy grass, until we ended in a forest, a pine and later leave huge tree forest. The Valley ahead is the wettest in the whole of England. Luckily it was dry today, haha.
The very spacious and beautiful forest with old trees and a few interesting rock-climbing bits was the only proper forest on the path. And even that one got cut down to a small leftover. At first we even took a wrong turn and ended up at walking a km into the wrong direction. The last ascend on the other side of the valley was tuff and we had multiple stops, sometimes watching the calves sitting in the grass or taking the view in.
Ones we reached the top we saw a big cloud approaching from the south and managed to outrun it down the hill. We sneaked just in between two rain bits. It was a fun run, all the way back to the parked place at the old man, from where we went exhausted and happy home, looking forward to share a hot warm shower and a warm meal.
After a good night sleep, we told the rest of the family our adventure and continued building on the compostable toilet, until we finished it. I think it looks pretty cool. We had some problems with rats, so we changed t container to a metal one and sealed the cracks, but now its pretty good and ready to go.
From England we both went to Germany, where we all had a Pizza night together. We had some friends coming I think it was the first time for them to meet Lorna.
Apart from that we were hanging out a lot, and I tried to show Lorna many different dishes and things from Germany, like our main dish Doener Kebab, haha.
A few days when it got a bit warmer, we went for swims, at the Strabi or at our neighbors pool. Or sometimes in the Erft, just hanging out on a field and enjoying the day.
Now jumping back to coming home from Gibraltar, I spent a few days with the family and got a job offer from an English small Restaurant called steam. Here in Germany you have to learn for like 3 years to be able to work for what I did only by experience and motivation. I strongly deteste this overvalued interest in papers, instead of the personality and interest of a person. My first professional role as a chef. Started from the bottom now we here gang, gang. But more about that and the beginnings of corona, a new Tape, visiting friends, fire spitting dragons, cold swimmin, a beautiful spring, a little cottage for us and a lots of stuff we worked on and learned to do.
Before you wake up and want to step out of your bed, tell yourself this day is gonna be awesome!