THE FOURTH INSTALMENT OF THE QUEST IN THE NORTH WEST SERIES:
BY THE MOONLIGHTING MAIL ORDER MANAGER
Moving from Leicestershire, a good few years ago I found myself settled in Keswick for a time
Despite a terrible summer that first year, I spent many happy hours either floating on, or swimming in Derwent Water or camping on St. Herbert’s Island (“For the spot where the hermitage stood” Wordsworth )
Whist I know the lake so very well, viewing it from a height (1,480 ft) has taken my appreciation to another level.
Catbells is spoken of fondly by Alfred Wainwright, “It is one of the great favourites, a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved. Its popularity is well deserved, its shapely topknott attracts the eye offering a steep but obviously simple scramble.”
I was in the mood for taking things easy, and indeed true to Wainwrights words I met toddlers helped by their parents, grandparents and mountain bikers too.
Catbells amongst other Lake District beauty spots have inspired many folks, myself included – My walking companion a young chocolate lab called Charlie….(dubbed Charlie Chapman as he never fails to make me laugh) is in need of good hill walking protection too, so I propose Chapman Bags branch out and make “Charlie Chapman Dog Jackets” Rugged & Waterproof, a dogs best friend!
Our bonded waterproof canvas is the perfect material and I can see readers designs flooding in… I draw the line at wellies though, I will not be seen out with a dog wearing wellies!
Now I’m unsure- Rucksack and I reached this summit with hardly a pause, certainly no time for the usual whiskey tipple and milk chocolate indulgence??
Was it really that easy a climb?
Am I getting fitter in my bucket list pursuit?
Has my palate evolved to not yearn for the contents of the hip flask and that purple shiny wrapper? (Ok I know, that was a stupid question!)
Regardless it was a beautifully clear day, although the wind was quite ferocious it didn’t mar the trek one little bit.
For an afternoons short climb the rewards all the way to the top are truly breath-taking, and the words of famous poets and authors only define the idea of how insignificant we really are, they are long gone with only their words to remind us they were ever here, but the hills stand tall and strong for another generation to discover and enjoy.
The poem below written by William Wordsworth is about the small island in the middle of Derwentwater called St Herberts, you can see it in one of the pictures. St Herbert was a man who lived in a tiny circular house on the island (the remains of the house are still there) and his friendship with St Cuthbert who lived on Lindisfarne (Holy Island).
For the spot where the hermitage stood
IF thou in the dear love of some one Friend
Hast been so happy that thou know’st what thoughts
Will sometimes in the happiness of love
Make the heart sink, then wilt thou reverence
This quiet spot; and, Stranger! not unmoved
Wilt thou behold this shapeless heap of stones,
The desolate ruins of St. Herbert’s Cell.
Here stood his threshold; here was spread the roof
That sheltered him, a self-secluded Man,
After long exercise in social cares 10
And offices humane, intent to adore
The Deity, with undistracted mind,
And meditate on everlasting things,
In utter solitude.–But he had left
A Fellow-labourer, whom the good Man loved
As his own soul. And, when with eye upraised
To heaven he knelt before the crucifix,
While o’er the lake the cataract of Lodore
Pealed to his orisons, and when he paced
Along the beach of this small isle and thought 20
Of his Companion, he would pray that both
(Now that their earthly duties were fulfilled)
Might die in the same moment. Nor in vain
So prayed he:–as our chronicles report,
Though here the Hermit numbered his last day
Far from St. Cuthbert his beloved Friend,
Those holy Men both died in the same hour.