Why hi! Hello there! It’s been awhile!
It’s hard to believe but just over a week ago, I sent off my Ph.D. dissertation! It felt so odd and exhilarating to press the send button and be faced with ten glorious days of limbo before I fly to the US for a conference and then my formal Ph.D. defense, which will be the official conclusion of my seven years (!) in graduate school.
As a little surprise, Mr. N took me away for a few days last week to the South Lakes where we could enjoy a bit of a break and the last days of summer in the Northwest. We fit a lot into three days, but one of my favorite bits was hiking up the Old Man of Coniston, which is a large fell on the west side of Coniston Water. It dominates the landscape, and we had beautiful views from the spot we were married, which is on the east side of Coniston Water. We’ve both wanted to go up it ever since.
We started our walk nearly at midday, and it was a bit overcast … but it felt great to just be out. We realized almost immediately that we had gone wrong (a common occurrence for us when walking)
But it just meant a little detour through some lovely fields …. and the chance to hide in some bracken:
I love walking in the Lake District, and especially enjoy the colors and textures. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of examining the dry stone walls:
Or contemplating the hues and patterns of lichen on rocks:
We soon got ourselves heading in the right direction. The grey day made for some dramatic landscapes:
The walk up the Old Man is quite steep in places. It was great to see lots of families with young children tackling the challenge (such little legs zipping up!). And, as usual, I stood in admiration of the hill sheep who tenaciously make their life on the fells. Even in the most barren looking and remote parts of the fells, you’d squint and spot a lone sheep grazing. I loved this one up on the crest of the hill (you can just barely make her out)
Quarrying took place on the Old Man for centuries, and the remains of it are still very evident:
We stopped for lunch, tea, and a check of the map at the rather misleadingly named Low Water, a tarn (a local word for a large pond or small lake, especially in the mountains) which is quite close to the top of the Old Man. The sun even peeped out!
With our bellies full, we were ready for the final ascent.
As we reached the top, there were stunning views of Coniston Water
As well as grazing sheep!
I won’t lie, by the time we reached the top, I was out of breath — it was steep and the rocks underneath quite slippy! It felt good to see the trig point!
We stopped for another tea, and I even snuck in a few rows
There was more map consulting to do:
And then we started down on a different path , which took us past plenty of sheep. I usually think of sheep as sticking out in the landscape, but some of these blended it … almost like they were camouflaged. I wondered what breed this one was:
Then spotted a Herdwick ewe and lamb:
Our walk down took us past another tarn, called Goat Water … did goats used to gather there?
And past plenty more sheep … more Herdwicks than I have ever seen! I love their sweet faces.
A lovely walk, but we were certainly tired by the end … it was lovely to drive home that evening and have a quiet night in!
Hope you’ve been enjoying the last few days of summer. I’m traveling for the next few weeks, but hoping that I’ll pop in here with a few posts I’ve been meaning to share — we’ll see! Until then, happy knitting!