Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry F*cking Christmas

WARNING! If you think you might find a story entitled Merry F*cking Christmas offensive, then please stop reading here.

1 AM

“Merry Fucking Christmas!” screamed the dwarf as he pulled out from under his rain coat a Remington 31 shotgun. The Elves made a dive for cover but it was to late for Erika and Klaus whose guts were then peppered onto the outside walls of the workshop.

As the dwarf reloaded, Pips tried to make a run to the back of the sleigh, but sadly he was not quick enough - with one shot, the dwarf blasted his brains to soup.

The four remaining Elves, paralysed with fear, watched open-mouthed as the dwarf then clambered onto the front of the sleigh and called over to his  accomplice

“Come on Goebbels “

From behind a Christmas tree, another dwarf appeared and replied

“Ya Hitler”, before racing over to join Hitler on the sleigh. As they took off, Goebbels pulled out a Bren machine gun and let off a full magazine into the remaining elves - none survived

2 AM

Baby Jesus had been looking forward to this cigar all year. It was a Romeo y Julietta Churchill and something he always treated himself to at Christmas.  He carefully guillotined the end and went to reach for the matches.


The walls around Baby Jesus splintered and one of the rounds turned his treasured cigar into dust. Then, through a hole in the wall, Hitler peeked and pointed his shotgun directly at the saviour  

“Nighty Night” said Hitler before pulling the trigger and blasting the son of god into the kingdom of heaven.

3 AM

Santa stared at the pools of blood that surrounded his workshop. He had feared this day for a long time. An old women called Ethel had predicted on the day of Santa's birth,  that one day two dwarfs named Hitler and Goebbels would murder all the elves, steal his sleigh and then wreck havoc on Christmas eve- including the murder of Baby Jesus. - Thank god Santa was prepared!

With time of the essence, Santa wasted no time going into his workshop. Concentrate, he said to himself as he went up to the balcony, where a large iron pole was waiting. He pulled up the back of his shirt and ran backwards into the pole. It took a couple of attempts, but finding the right momentum, he manage to get it to break the skin. Now the hard part, He knew for his plan to work he musn’t pass out from the pain. With great gusto he began to push the pole further into his back and upwards along his spine.

4 AM

Hitler and Goebbels had parked the seligh on the roof of the Rockefeller centre as they had a pressing matter to deal with. It was Goebbels who had in fact noticed first that Rudolf appeared to be circumcised , that would never do. He dragged Rudolf to the back of the sleigh and then pro ceded to tie Rudolf by his penis to one of the running boards.  With Rudolf tied, they soon set off again, with a somewhat bumpy take off.


The Metamorphosis, as painful as it was,was now complete. Santa was no longer santa, but rather MECHANOID-CLAUS !!


Hitler and Goebbles had got bored of flying around, especially as the blood from Rudolph’s corpse had got on their nice clean clothes, so instead they sat in central park, taking pot shots at .. well anyone who walked by. The tally so far was 23 to Hitler, 18 to Goebbels

As Hitler was about to take aim on a 63 year old women who was feeding the pigeons. MECHANOID-CLAUS Appeared

Goebbels dived for his bren machine gun and began to fire wildly at Mechanoid-claus - he cursed as the bullets bounced off, before starting to cry like a little girl as Mechanoid-claus picked him up and squeezed him till his ribs cracked and pierced his lungs.

HItler tried to run, but Mechanoid-claus manage to grab hold of his neck. He threw Hitler face down to the ground and then pulled down Hitlers Short.

“You’ve been a very naughty boy “ Said Mechanoid-claus as he pro-ceded to unzip his fly …

12 AM Xmas Evening

Santa pulled out of Miss Claus and wiped himself with a towel.  

“I do enjoy these games of ours “ he said before putting on his red trousers and heading off to deliver all the presents to the boys and girls

Saturday, 18 December 2010

In the Lake Of the Woods

This was another rescue from the last day of Borders and thankfully not another big pile of Dodo droppings like Clara Hopgood was. This book also made us do something, which I have not done in a very long time...

I had been reading this book on the bus traveling home from work ( I would read it on the way to work, but thanks to First Group habit of phantom buses, my hands are normally frozen by the time by bus comes along) and I got to the last 100 pages, and decided; Right going to clear and evening get a bottle of wine and finish this book on the comfort of the sofa. I think the last book that I did that for was Robert Graves Claudius the God - about five years ago.

In the lake of the woods, starts of with John Wade and his wife escaping to the lakes of Minnesota after John’s dismal performance in the elections for the US Senate. They take up a small cabin by the lakes, and are attempting to work out what to do with their lives next. Their relationship is pretty strained and we begin to see that there is more to John’s loss of the election than meets the eye.

John also suffers from nightmares which revolve around his father and his Vietnam past. One night, he awakes and goes into the kitchen where he has a near mental breakdown moment (oh that poor cactus). Sleeping in the next day, he awakes late in the day to find that his wife has gone.

At first thinking nothing of it, it is not till twelve hours later than he starts getting concerned and eventually the local police are involved and a search of the lakes begins.

There are two things, which make this a cracking read. The first is the character of John Wade through the use of flashbacks and his own internal monologue we get glimpses of his past and over the course of the book, a really nice 3D character is formed. The second, is the author uses a couple of really nice plot devices. The first is a mix of fictional and non-fictional sound bites - mainly to do with the Vietnam war and the investigation into his missing wife. Plus, why his campaign for senate failed. The information is dripped at a really nice pace. The second, and I can imagine fellow Leeds Savage member Maz commenting “I see what you did there” , is about every third or fourth chapter is a Hypothesis on what actually happened to his wife.

All throughout this I was wondering how the author was going to end it, and the way he does, I think is clever. I can see some people not liking the ending, especially if you like a book to wrap up on closure.

I can highly recommend this book, and looking forward to a few more people I know (including Mazzz In Leeds) to read it, so we can discuss the ending.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Tao Te Ching

Meh!  I have known a couple of people who really rave about this book, and I thought I would give it a read, but after reading it, not exactly been blown away. I also can’t help but think that it is in some ways, very pop philosophy. Next time I meet one of said people, I am going to ask them to actually explain what they think it means - in a nice way of course

So what got my back up about the book ? I think firstly, I never felt engaged by the writings. Something like Marcus Aurellius’ meditations, I can get very lost in and even though I found it confusing and annoying, the Tibetan Book of the Dead still had a great deal of engagement to be found. With the Tao Te Ching, It just seems to be a collection of some very odd sayings all thrown together - I cant think of any that I read, that made me want to stop and think.  To give you an example

“My Words are easy to understand and easier to put into practice. Yet no one in the world seems to understand them nor are they able to apply what I teach “

Can’t be very good choice of words then. I think the other thing that bugged me is the style that it is written, its all a bit flowery and a bit la-de-da, which might be the fault of the translation but I think also to do with the style of philosophy. On the note of translations, this was the by the same company that I bought the Tibetan Book of the Dead from and as before l not going to moan about a book that cost 99p nor recommend it either.

Going back to the book, another gripe is, it also seems to lack any backbone which is stressed by the opening line

“The Tao that be be described is not the eternal Tao”

So great, all I am about to read is not the real deal and then finally to add insult to injury the text then calls me foolish

“When a superior person hears of the Tao, she dilligently puts it into practice. When an average person hears of the Tao, he believes half of it, and doubts the other half. When a foolish person  hears of a the Tao, he laughs out loud at the very idea . If he didn’t laugh, it wouldn't be the Tao”

And in case you are reading this wondering what Tao is, then to slightly paraphrase chapter 4 and 5 of the Tao Te Ching

“The Tao is like an empty container
it can never be emptied and it can never be filled ….
It is hidden but always present …

… The more it produces; the more you talk of it , the less you comprehend It is better not to speak of things you do not understand “ - the missing bits in the above are about straw dogs, which I didn’t include as it might have made you laugh, and then you would have been foolish.

So to the sum up the Tao Te Ching, a book which is not meant to be understood and if you do understand it, the more you understand it, the less you understand.

Kind of makes me wonder if Yoko Ono would of been a far better artist is she had done nothing at all.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Clara Hopgood

This is one of the books I picked up at random on the very last day of Borders closure. I picked it up, because of when it was written and when it was set. Whist a bit earlier in time than what I set my adventures on the DAC, it was close enough that hopefully I would pick up some ideas and language.

Not knowing anything about the author, a quick read on wikipedia revealed the following. I was especially impressed with the quote from George Orwell. Doing a bit of googling, it turns out that other people such as DH Lawrence and Arnold Bennett had held him in some praise - all looking good.

I have the Everymen edition and it came with an introduction written by Lorraine Davis who is an English literature lecturer at Liverpool Hope University college. As Introductions go, it is one of the worst I have ever read. Dull, pompous, bloated and written by a thesaurus w’nker - which is not as bad as a grammar w’nker but still annoying. I am not one however to judge a book by its introduction. So what did I think of the story ?

Clara Hopgood is unbelievable.

Unbelievable that it ever got printed
Unbelievable that the likes of Lawrence and Orwell would praise the author (a joke from beyond the grave perhaps ? )

I will say one thing that is amazing about the book. It is the fact that the author spends an entire page describing some walking down a path, then crams in entire epic events in to the space of two pages.

She walked down the summery village road which was adorned with spring fauna and at the end was a small river with a stone bridge.  Then someone went to Germany and then so and so  died.

He manages to fill all 144 pages like this and it made following this story extremely hard. I think someone was an Atheist. Pretty sure someone was Jewish and I think there might of been a Quaker in there too. Not sure what they were doing, but it had something to do with a bookshop.

I am not even going to bother putting in an amazon link for this. In fact I will pay someone to take my copy away 

Disclaimer The photo has nothing to do with the book. As far as I 'm aware there was no point in the story where Clara was naked with a skeleton on a couch - though I could be wrong. I was asleep for most of it.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The World Crisis - Winston Churchill 1911-1918

This truly is a fantastic book. I have made several false starts in trying to review this book. First of all I thought about starting with what an excellent and entertaining read this has been. But is entertaining really the right way to describe an account for one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history ?

Ignoring the subject matter, here we have a book that has been written in such a way, that at no time did it feel like reading a book. It felt more like, sitting in a Chesterfield with  Winston Churchill opposite, re accounting his tales. There are several points throughout the text, which he addresses the reader directly. Either asking for the reader to  pay attention, asking a rhetorical question or revealing his feelings on a certain situation. I'm sure fiction writers would probably learn a lot from the style as it certainly works very well at keeping the reader engaged. My favourite such moment, was when the Russians were objecting to the potential presence of the Greeks in Constantinople and being generally a bit Nancy.

Winston Churchill says:

Feeling this situation, as I did, in every nerve of my body, I was acutely distressed. The time-honoured quotation one learnt as a schoolboy -”Quos Deus vult prius dementat *”- resounded in all its deep significance now that conditions as tragic and fate-laden as those of ancient Rome had again descended upon the world. 
 *those whom a God wishes to destroy he first drives mad

The language used is great. He is a true master of using the words hitherto and viz.  I have been trying to slip viz. as much as possible into documents I write at work since starting to read this.

The other thing about the style, especially in regards to the Dardanelles is, here is a man defending himself. If I ever had to defend myself in court, then I would re-read this book before preparing my defence...

The second way I thought of starting this review was by giving an introduction to the start of the First World War. Two problems with that. The first, is how much time have you got ? The second is, this is a book that is and isn't about the war.

It’s not in the strictness of sense a history book. Nor is it in the strictness of sense a Journal. What we have here, is someone who could write history and also a front line witness to the events they were writing about.

I would also say, that if you are unfamiliar with the events of the Great War, then this is not the book to start with (start with this one instead). Where this book excels is, some of those events of the war, such as the Siege of Antwerp which most books about the first world war give a section too; Listing of the preludes, the planning, the battle and aftermath etc. Here we get a lot more personal account. Whilst the numbers et al are still there, we get some get a good glimpse into the mind of Winston Churchill. He privies us with this thoughts into the impending disaster and we get glimpses of exchanges of telegrams between himself and Whitehall.  He is desperate to get involved in the action. Heading over there as soon as he can. He even offers his resignation from his post as First Lord of the Admiralty to take up the necessary military rank , so he could take responsibility for the British forces in Antwerp - This offer was refused. 

The other thing this book gives us a more human picture of some of the key people in the war. The descriptions of Sir Henry Wilson (Chief In General of Staff)  and his use of vocabulary are a fantastic insight.  Sir Henry would describe politicians as “frocks” and refered to Clemenceau (French prime minister) as “Tiger” - even addressing him as such. He would also often start in meetings with phrases such as “Today I am France..” or “Today I am Belgium...”  and using that to get to the to the root of his point. We also find out that Marshall Foch sometimes used to give military propositions in a pantomine nature. 

For the historian, this book is awash with letters, telegrams,  ables, charts and maps. One criticism, they are faithfully reproduced from the original book, but with the advent of printing technology, it would of been nice to get some modern updates - some of them are quite hard to read.

There is also some really good analysis in there. Especially the chapter entitled Britain Conquers the U-boats with full breakdown of figures of strength and comparisons between the two sides. This is then matched against losses and outputs of merchant shipping (on both sides) and is accompanied by, a probably more interesting than it sounds here write up.... 

    So that was how I was thought about opening up on this review, but it is post mortem where it should begin. After reading this book, one of the most harrowing things from it, is the realisation that the decision for so many, was made by so few.  In the case of the Dardanelles, we have a sombre tale of indecisiveness and hesitation which ultimately cost the lives of over half a million men.  In Robert Nivelle (French General) and his self named Nivelle Offensive , here we have a tale of a man so blinkered by his past success, that he refuses to take advice from all quarters (other French commanders, British commanders, French and English politicians) telling him to change his plan. The result is 300’000 french casualties in less than a month, with no notable territorial gains and an army onthe brink of mutiny. 

Then there are the meat-grinders that are  Passchendaele  and the Ludendorff Offensive. With around 800’000 casualties each. What makes this particularly stygian, is whilst the horrors of a war of attrition maybe noted by those in the decision making power, the men fighting them simply become statistics in tables and allied to enemy death ratio’s.  Key decisions are bickered about and halted by things such as loss of face and by others with personality traits that do not ideally belong in the guise of co-operation. 

The Romanian disaster is - well a definition of the word disaster 

The First World War, is sometimes refer ed to as the ‘boys war’, in terms of the young men who were fighting at the front. I think you could also apply that to those who were also in charge. This is where this book is unique and stands out. I think Churchill’s skills as a historian, cause him to write a more balanced and argumentative journal of his involvement in the war. He knows he can not white wash events, as he would be letting the historian in himself down. So he has painstakingly given all sides of an event, quoting from official history's from both sides and adding italics where he does not agree, or wants to labour a point. He is a blunt as I think you can reasonable expect of the criticisms he gives to other people. He is also keen to defend at great lengths, those who criticised him,making sure the argument is clear.  I very much doubt, a modern politician would be able to write something as balanced. 

It’s through this, we get a glance into the people and the minds of those who made the decisions.Sadly, I don’t think the world at the top is too different from that of 1911-1918 and those mistakes have and will continue to be repeated. 

The World Crisis, 1911-1918 (Amazon Link)

Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Peeping Parisian

A new story up on the DAC, and a return for Tiberius O'Donnell.

The Womens Lawn Tennis competition in Paris is the settting and Tiberius finds himself having to deal with a blasted ragamuffin.

Read here

Saturday, 16 October 2010

If I had gone to film school, I would of made a film like this

Thankfully, I didn't.

Over the last couple of months, I have been busy on a short film entitled "Killing Amy" written, produced and directed by myself. We finished filming last Saturday, and you can read the shoot diary, kept by fellow Leeds Savage member David Maguire, over here 

Sunday, 19 September 2010

H.Upmann Coronas Major

This might sound a bit of an  odd thing to say, but this cigar very much reminds me of the smell of a Humidor room. It is a very smooth smoke and has a very nice draw to it.

H.Upmann have been making cigars since 1844. Whilst less known that other cuban cigar manufacturers, the coronas major is definetly well worth tracking down.

I've started bit of a leader board on the cigars over here 

I've put the Coronas Major above the Romeo y Julietta Cedors. Whilst the Cedros is the more superior smoke, I would much more likely buy these, especially if going to a wedding to hand them out or having some friends around for a smoke. 

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Romeo y Julieta Cedros De Luxe No 1.

First thing to say of this cigar, it is quite a hard draw. Probably the limit of what I like the draw to be,

The second thing to say is, its a cigar of two halves. Well, obviously there is the first and second half, but there is quite a noticeable difference in taste.

The first half has a definite flavor, but is quite light in taste and is very smooth. By the time you get down to the second half, the flavour from the cedar that they have been wrapped in definitely comes through. This then becomes a very strong smoke in terms of taste.  I guess if you had some strong cheese and port, this would be a great smoke to follow it up with.

You can also get these at shorter lenghs to the No.1which is 6 1/2". The No 2. is 5 1/2" and the No3. is 5 1/8". Next time, I would  probably go for the No.3

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Recent Drawings from Leeds Savages meets

Been a bit crap in updating my drawing blog recently, but finally got it up to date. You can see some of the recent sketches from Leeds savage meets over here

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Romeo y Julieta Belicosos

Admittedly, what I know about cigars could be written on a modest size back of an envelope and would probably not hold up to much scrutiny. However, I am starting to begin to explore what is out there and I know what I like.

To date, my favorite cigar is a Romeo y Julieta Churchill and if you ever need to win my favour, you probably couldn't do worse than to get us one of these. A whole case and... well

Moving on, first up to be reviewed is the Romeo y Juleta Belicosos which I found to be quite a light smoke. It was also didn't give out plumes of smoke so probably one to consider in a social situation. It took just over an hour to get through it. It's also a cigar that I can't imagine saving for a nice port or brandy. Nor is it an after dinner smoke. I kind of imagine smoking one of these outside at some event or another.

By far, not my favourite of the Romeo y Julieta's but better than a lot of other cigars out there.

Cost about £15 for one.


Monday, 28 June 2010

Tied by the Knotts Of The Tongue

Next time I comment a hill is really steep, I am going to stop and think about what I am actually saying...

Last week, swung my rucksack on my back and decided to take my first trip out to the Lake District. My plan was to do Scafell Pike Englands highest mountain. Alas it wasnt to be, as I was tied by the Knotts of the tongue (pictured right), about 3 miles away and a 125 metres away from the top.


This is the first time in many years that I have actually had full kit so to speak. I purchased the bulk last year when I did a trip to Hadrian's Wall and this year finished it off with the addition of a tent, sleeping bag and other bits and pieces. At the moment, its not the lightest, but its complete and I now intend to start slowly replacing bits and pieces to lighten it. First to go will definitely be my waterproofs, they weigh a ton for what they are!

Also, as it was the first outing so to speak, I was a little overloaded as I wanted to see what I used and didn't used, and in hindsight, a lot could of been stripped down. Mainly small things, Like I took a complete box of hexi cubes, when I only used five. I took the box of water purification tablets, instead of taking just a strip of them. All small things, but I am sure could of easily lost at least a couple of Kilo's off the total from doing that. The Total was around 20 Kilos including the rucksack and water and I didn't find the weight too bad at all.

I spent some condsiderable time in the week before hand reading up on approaches to Scafell Pike. The easiest route from Wasdale did not appeal at all as I wanted to make a whole day of it and there was a second route form Eskdale doing Scafell before Scafell Pike which looked appealing, but enquiring to a friend about Foxes tarn with is the route between the two, he mentioned it was a bit of an effort. Now, this was from someone who runs up mountains before breakfast, so for him to say it was an effort, I read that as being gruelling for myself so that route was out. There are a few more routes out there, but a lot seemed to involve scrambling which I was more in a rambling sort of mood, so in the end I decided to go for this one, making a variation that from Scafell Pike, I would take go down to Wasdale where I planned to spend my second night.

Next thing was to book the rail tickets, its a four and a half hour journey to get to Ravenglass from Leeds, Changing at Carlise or, as I did on the way back, two changes via Cairnforth and Barrow-In-Furness which is quicker at just under four hours. The trip cost me just under fifty quid for a one month open return.

RavenGlass to Eskdale

I left just before ten from Leeds and arrive at twenty past two in Ravenglass where I then caught a steam train on the RavenGlass to Eskdale line to take us into the valley, which was all rather fun. When I got off the station at the other end, there was a group of old people trying to push past as I left the station, especially one old lady who was determined to push by my right as I tried to swing my rucksack on - there was a whole path to the left. As I came out of the station, it was something like a horror film, as in every direction there were hordes of old people taking up the entire width of paths and roads. Before I had time to check my map, I quickly took the first path with no old people, and walked up to Boot where I obtained water from the local post office and then decided to see how well packed my kit was and get a feel for the terrain by taking a relative short walk up to Eel Tarn.

Certainly not packed ideal, as my tent was on the outside and I found that was giving quite a pull as I ascended and descended.

From there, I then made my way to the campsite where I was to stay for the first night and pitched up, before heading to  the Brook House Inn for a couple of pints of beers from the Hawkshead brewery which were really nice. I also enjoyed some of the inns home made pate. I then took a bottle of beer back to the campsite and chilled out watching the moon before retiring.

I was up at 4.30 am the next morning and straight on with a brew. I repacked my entire backpack and found I could get my tent in the main compartment and that certainly made a great difference. After breakfast, I was on the road by about quarter to six.

Hardknott Roman Fort

I had ummed and urred whether I would take a walk up to Hardknott pass to the Roman fort but as I found it coming into view, the sun was begining to break the top and it was illuminated by rays of sunshine and I found my feet automatically taking us there. The route to it was up a twisting turning road which is a one in three! There are quite a few videos on you tube of people going up this road in various vehicles such as this one and walking it, certantly gave the calves a good excericise

The fort itself must have been a miserable posting, you either really really wanted to be in the roman army or you must have really have pissed soemone off to end up there. From what information I can find, it seems to have been stationed by five hundred calvary from the Dalmation coast. After a short reconnoitre around the fort, I began my descent into the Esk valley to run alongside the river. Occasionally shouting "Centurion!" at passing sheep - yes, I'll grow up one of these days.

Lingcove Bridge

I was making extremely good time at this point and decided to take bit of a break at Lingcove bridge. It was, after checking for dead sheep a good place to refill waterbottles from the waterfall and lighten my rucksack off a few rations.

Great Moss 

Lingcove moss is at 170 metres and Great Moss is up to 380 metres which is reached via a path that runs up the east side bank of the river Eskdale passing Green Cragg. The path hasn't had much use by the looks of things and in the long foliage it was easy to loose it in places. Oddly I saw several pairs of discarded shoes along my walk. At first I believed these to be from walkers lighting their load. But I am now convinced that they are in fact tactfully left behind by sheep, who then put them on and stomp away from paths to confuse you.

I did like the scenery around here, especially the small turn before you get to the Moss at Scar lathing and it was most rewarding after making the ascent.

Moving across the Great Moss, I was again making good time and stopped near Cam Spout to just take in the view. This was also where I saw someone else for the first time all day. We had a good chat and I soon resumed crossing the Great Moss

The Tongue 

Now this is where it started to go wrong, I started making my way up the tongue. The path, in places had recently been recut and there were a lot of loose rocks making it somewhat of an effort. My earlier speed had now been lost. Also, remember those sheeps with the shoes ? They were in full flight here, and with the new cut path, the overgrown old path, it was becoming an effort to check that I was still on the right track. To taunt me, the sheep also refused to budge from some parts of the path.

I had ascended up to about 700 metres, when the path becomes more river as in the photo at the very start of this blog. I decided then, to take off my rucksack and do a reconnoiter further up the gorge.  This image here gives you my approximate location, there came a point only a short distance away from where I dropped my rucksack which I could not see a way through. Note the underlined I, as I'm sure to many people who know it, are probably thinking "what do you mean, thats dead easy". I can't be more honest and say, that I just did not feel comfortable or confident in passing this section. There was a steep bank of very loose stones to one side, then about two foot of fast flowing water and slimey rocks on the other. The thought of pulling myself over that with my rucksack on did not appeal.

Returning to my bag and leaving it there, I then decided to go up onto the tongue itself to see if I could get a better view of a way through by the river, or If I could actually get to where I wanted by crossing the tongue itself to get to Esk Hause.

And I got on the tongue and  my visibility was like this

Four minutes later it was this and it started to rain. 

Don't me get wrong, I love the mist and if this was Dartmoor, which I know well, I would have been over like a shot. But as this was the first time in the lakes, I don't know the terrain or what the weather does. It was a tough decision to make, as literally a couple of football pitch lengths away from Esk Hause, but the fact that I was on my own,  I had only passed one person all day, I did not feel confident going up by the river which was now getting more wetter I decided to turn back. I came to the lakes for some fun, and at this point I was not having any.

As mentioned, I liked the area around Scar Lathing, so I thought I would head back there and do what all good Englishmen do in times of defeat and make a brew which I did. Nearly losing a shoe in the process as I saw a nice rock which looked perfect for setting up the hexi burner on and decided to take a short cut. Next thing I knew, my right shoe was ripped off my foot and sitting under the mud.


Making my way back down the Eskdale valley was pretty non eventful, until I heard in the distance a fair amount of mooing and I watched, as up from the right bank crossed several cows who then moved up to the path in front of me and I was presented with this.

This is the second time I have come across a group of cows, the first was along Hadrians Wall, which was a bit more scarier as they were with young calves, but after that did do some reading up on what to do. They say the first thing, is not to show fear, so I made sure I was very discrete in blowing off and procedeed to walk towards them. They moved across from the stream and formed themselves into a wide line. I don't know whether it was the wind of the way they were formed up, but I was instantly reminded of the WWII fighter Ace Douglas Bader. If I was going to get past these cows, then I would need to outflank them. As in the diagram below, as we both approached, I then made a sharp turn up the bank and the enemy took the bait as they followed me up. I then made a sharp counter turn and cut past their left flank, coming dangerously close to their wing guard and the moment of truth.

I glanced over my shoulder and noticed they did not begin to turn, back on the path and some distance gained between me and the foe, I proceeded safely across the crossing and glancing back, I noticed they still hadn't turned. I imagine their group leader will be giving their spotters a bit of a bollocking to allow  themselves to be outflanked that easy.

WoolPack Inn

As I had been unable to get pass Knotts of the tongue, my original planned campsite for Wednesday night in Wasdale valley was not now realistically possible.So I popped in to the Woolpack in to see if they had a room, which they did. By now was also beginning to feel it in my legs a bit, and the temptation of ordering a large steak was too much to resist. Sadly I didn't get that steak, as after a shower and a  couple of pints I found myself beginning to switch off.

Back to Ravenglass 

Again catching the steam train, it was back to Ravenglass where I decided to have bit of a walk around and see the old roman baths and had lunch at the Ratty Arms (Beef sandwich -naturally) and then it was the train back to civilization.

The decision I made to turn back plagued us a bit not just the morning, but the night before at the WoolPack Inn. Had I given in to easily ? and even writing this, it is still niggling. But I believed I made the right decision, If I hadn't been on my own then I'm sure would have got over it, but not having that confidence to proceed on my own, I think if i pushed myself then that was a risk. I am starting a new job in a week (new career in fact), and the prospect of a broken ankle to start wasn't appealing.

All in all I think what I saw of the lakes was very pretty, but it felt a little bit too pretty for my liking. I didn't get that wilderness feeling which I was after. I do want to go back, and do Scafell Pike - this time from the Wasdale side without the slog, but its not a place I want to swing a rucksack on again, it didn't hold that appeal unlike the aforementioned Dartmoor.

Plenty of other places to go to first.

More photos here
Mount Norfolk - If you fancy a bit of fiction after this


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