Fup Off (Planet)

Walking backwards, peering through the fog.

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

My Love of the Lake District

We visited the Lake District again last year. I mention this because I have just been watching a programme about Wainwright and I find so many parallels. In character I am very similar, though not to the extent of his commitment and drive in producing his brilliant guides over how many years it took, but rather in my love of the fells and the solitariness and the beauty. He is so right that anyone who loves the Lakes is an exile when they are away. The Lake District now has the reputation of having the most unfriendly resident population in the Country as far as attitude to holiday makers goes but that is the inevitable consequence of living in a National Park with its unrelenting tide of visitors. I lived at the foot of Lake Windermere for years the realisation of a dream that took root the first time I visited what was then an area that embraced the three counties of Lancashire, Cumberland and Westmorland. As it was to Wainwright, first seeing the fells on a visit from industrial Lancashire, so it was to me. From that moment I became both a lover and an exile. As a youth in Industrial Lancashire I had little spare money and outside of my main work spent much of my time with freelance work and further education but whenever time and public transport allowed and with the most basic of gear I explored those hills. The emotional impact of the sights and sounds on those hills has
on occasion brought me to tears but more consistently absolute joy. I did all of this alone though ensured that any nights camping were in recognised sights amongst company. Not that I was in any sense gregarious but I wasn't brave enough to sleep out there alone. Much too timid, much too fearful, my lifelong burden rooted in my childhood.

As a child the common theme in my life was rejection. I dont say this out of self pity or to gain sympathy I am just stating a fact. It started off well enough for those times. I was born in 1942. my Grocers assistant father now gone to war, my mother and I living where my parents had lived all of their lives, a small Lancashire cotton mill and coal mining town, and now next door to her sister and my three cousins who became my surrogate family. My experience was not unique but like other children born in the middle of the war whos fathers were away a
vital formative period lacked the influence, company and familiarity with a father. They were strangers to us even intruders on their fleeting leaves and we were probably glad to see them go, maybe they felt rejected. I surmise because I don,t know. The details of much of my early childhood then is unknown to me, fragmented. I think my mother worked, out of necessity no doubt, at a local factory leaving me in the care of her sister and other members of my fathers large family most of whom lived within a radius of a few miles from our house. In 1945 my father returned from the War and resumed his job at the local Co-op. I have no memory of these times but two years later my mother died in childbirth. It was all downhill from then.

More again if your interested.

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