The Journal

5th May 2015

a quest in the north west 4.



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.

 Nobbly Causey Pike               Tree Cairn. View of Bassenthwaite               The Conquerors PoseView of Derwentwater & St Herberts Island    Moot Hall Keswick

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.