A Place Like No Other

Of all the mountain valleys, high corries and glacial bowls I have visited, for me the upper Esk remains a place like no other.
I have swam in the clear pools, climbed desperate routes on the high crags, camped beneath the highest of England's summits, toyed with the problems on rhyolite boulders below and traversed all of their ridges.
I have abseiled from poor slings, retreated from routes too hard, staggered beneath monstrous rucksacks, slept alone beneath the stars, walked out through the night, crawled through blasting spindrift on icy slopes and careered down steep scree.
I have been awed by thundering waterfalls, seen them frozen to silence. I have been knocked flat by screaming winds, soaked by torrential rains and followed bearings into the wrong valley.
I have been burnt raw at my belay, rescued sheep from ravines, become lost in storms, skinned knuckes placing gear and walked barefoot across the miles of bog.
I have been stunned by the plunging violence of the falling climber.
I have watched peregrines, dodged rockfall, eaten bilberries and shared a tiny ledge with lakeland legend Dave Birkett whilst climbing a route his grandfather pioneered.
In this place I have known fear, elation, peace and the simple happiness of being alive.
It is a place I have known in all its moods for many years now and on this day, the valley at its most beguiling, I found a memory beneath every footfall.
I also finally went to the summit of Esk Pike. For some reason, I'd never done that before.


Vince said…
Blimey Will, it's one of the best positioned peaks in the Lakes! How on earth have you avoided the top 'til now?

Arne said…
Great pics and the story shows clearly your affection for this area.
Nice report!