Out And About In The Lake District

Bassenthwaite Lake and Mugo in walking gear.

On Saturday there was an ambitious plan to climb Skiddaw via Ullock Pike (see map of route). Ullock Pike is described as a very distinctive peak resembling a small “Matterhorn”. Indeed! My first view was with mists swirling around it’s heights; impossibly high, dauntingly distant and scarily imposing all had me wondering on the wisdom of this venture. And indeed it was too high, too distant and above all too weathered in to continue far up the path. All the same it was a joy to be in the Lakes once again and I thought you’d like to share that with me. Thus the photo.

All the same we, my Throssel walking companion and I, were out for about two hours or there abouts. In Keswick we met up for lunch with a small group of sangha members who’d been retreating all morning. Before that though we made a pilgrimage to Love The Lakes, a shop stocking all sorts of goodies and in particular some really wonderful photographs. Serving the customers was Sean of StridingEdge photo diary fame, his two dogs carpeted the floor. What a happy encounter. Happy and glad to show my appreciation of his photography skills. Leaving the shop I pondered on this humble and tolerant chap! I guess it takes a special person to consistently climb the fells, spring, summer, autumn and winter. And to consistently produce such inspiring photographs too.

Sitting over lunch with some sturdy hill walkers I confessed that some years back I’d lost the drive to struggling to the top of mountains. Oh the pain of it, mental and physical pain that is. From what they said in response it’s common for even seasoned walkers to question what they are doing! I guess we keep on coming back for more in spite of swirling mists, precipitous path and the stress.

The specter of a steaming mug of tea at the end of a walk has cheered many a straggler to take the next step.

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10 thoughts on “Out And About In The Lake District”

  1. What a delightful photo, thank you for posting.
    Many times when I’m hiking I find myself questioning why I am doing it. A heavy pack is wearing me down, pains making itself a companion, and I’m tired and getting a bit grumpy.
    But its that terrific feeling when you’ve done it and been a part of nature and that joy of a warm drink. It makes it worthwhile


  2. Thanks Gay for leaving this comment, great to hear from you. So it is an international thing then, the joy of a warm drink after being out in the wilds. And the (sometimes) misery of the climb and the pack.

  3. I am looking forward to many cups of tea and or coffee when I go to my week long silent retreat this weekend.
    Do you have suggestions for some spiritual reading while enjoying that drink or thought pondering whilst hiking?

  4. Hi Rev Mugo, it looks like you’re exploding with happiness in that photo. Is it in relief or anticipation?

    I shall be out for a dip in the sea ‘coasteering’ with some of my students tomorrow. I’ll be needing a bucket of tea after that!

    Good to see you out and about in the hills.

    In gassho, Kevin

  5. No I have no suggestions right now for suitable spiritual reading. I’d be guided by whoever is running the retreat. Most often people are guided towards what to read during the reading period. Usually people are asked to read the Precepts. And I have to say it is a formal occassion so…sorry….no mugs of hot whatevers!

    As for pondering whilst hiking. Again I have no suggestions. Although I will point your towards a whole series of articles posted in late June of this year where I’m talking about walking and what to do/not do with ones mind. The gist being to not get ahead of oneself i.e.to ones destination. And to allow ones sense to receive what’s coming in with minimal labeling or personal assessment – like that, don’t like that, that’s REALLY pretty/ugly. So not deliberately exercising the discriminative mind. (Well unless it’s obviously needed, don’t walk through deep muddy puddles or enter shark infested waters! You get my point I hope.)

    Enjoy the retreat. Give it your best shot.

  6. with happiness. You got me in one there Kevin. There is nothing like the Lakes to put me in the happiness department. Really, even in high winds and mists the Lakes are THE place in this world for me. It was love at first sight when I was 13 years old on a Youth Hosteling trip from school. Bliss, and blisters too! Now coasteering sounds interesting… Thanks for stopping by in your busy life.

  7. Thanks for taking time to answer my rather vague question regarding reading.

    I am doing a week long silence retreat so I have to somewhat direct myself.Oh my!
    I won’t be going to Shasta this time but to Vajrapani Instiute. They are tucked in the Santa Cruz Redwood mountains so Im hoping to be safe from sharks!
    They have a few lovely secluded silent retreat cabins that one can rent and enjoy the quiet and nature.
    I will take a few of R.M. Jiyu-Kennett books and take heart with not exercising the discriminative mind. Since I discovered your writing but a month or two ago I will check out the June articles.
    In gassho

  8. Right, that’s a whole different kind of retreat. I can understand you question a bit better now. The chapter on the heart of compassion in Zen Is Eternal Life is a really good one to ponder on as well as the other chapters. And Wild White Goose is good as long as you read the notes as you go.

    As for what I wrote back in June. Those posts ended up being my notes for a talk I did which should still be online.

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