My favourite walk is and was also my scariest walk. Let me explain. In 1981 my family, Mum, Dad, my two sisters and myself went to The Lake District for our Summer holiday from the South Coast.
We stayed in student accommodation at Lancaster University with our extended family and friends and used it as a base to explore The Lakes, where Mum and Dad spent a lot of time in their youth from their homes in Southport.
I think Mum decreed that we should climb Helvellyn via Striding Edge, guided by Wainwright. Being 14, 12 & 9, we kids knew no better than to trust what our parents said.
I have few recollections of the day, other than picnics, Striding Edge, a final scramble up the scree to the summit where, Dad said “you go ahead Mark, I’ll make sure the girls are ok”. I think he had seen the fear in my eyes and urged me on.
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We had a picnic at the top including almond slices.
Other highlights of the holiday were watching my 5 & 7 year old cousins, adrift, in a dinghy, on Lake Coniston taking lumps out each other with their oars. I didn’t know what to do, but saw my father crying with laughter. So joined in.
Another highlight was dancing the can can with the family to Bad Manners at the weekly disco.
All fairly humdrum and just another family holiday. Well, it was, and it wasn’t.
The following Summer, Dad died of a heart attack aged 45. So, it was our last family holiday, but the memories I have of it are of halcyon days, I don’t think it even rained that week!!
I am 50 this year, Tanya 50 next year as well as Mum being 80.
I go back to The Lakes every year. We tease Mum relentlessly about taking such ill prepared and young children up Striding Edge.
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We were blessed to have such a wonderful Dad for a short time, who helped us appreciate nature and humour. And a Mum who has been our rock.
I have included some photographs, you will notice Mum dressed extremely sensibly and my youngest sister, Natasha in what appears to be shorts and sandals, it is well known within the family that to get Natasha to wear anything other than a bikini during the summer was a battle of wills!!