Fun things to do on a short break in the Lake District

I recently took a trip up to the Lake District – something I don’t get to do anywhere near as often as I’d like – and based on my own activities on the trip, what follows is a list of fun things other people can enjoy doing while up there.

A bit windswept on Sale Fell
A bit windswept on Sale Fell

1: You need a bad knee!

On your first night, before you’ve even done anything, suddenly develop a bad knee. Not due to an accident while walking, just by sitting down and suddenly discovering your knee hurts when you bend it, and is especially painful if pressure is applied – which you do a lot when kneeling down to take pictures. There’s a knobbly bit of bone at the front barely an inch below the kneecap – this is the one you want to have suddenly hurt for no apparent reason. It’s fun. No, really, it is!

2: And you need to make the most of that bad knee!

Despite a knee that hurts like hell when you bend it, make sure your walks include steep climbs, to maximise your need to make those bends. This is an absolute must, otherwise there’s really no point having that bad knee. And this works particularly well if you have a greater need to bend it on the return trip – a steeper return path down whatever hills you’ve climbed. I mean, that’s obvious, isn’t it? You’re increasing the amount of pain on top of being a lot more worn out after a day’s walking!

(It’s also worth not taking your walking poles with you for this walk, because they would help alleviate some of the struggle caused by that bad knee by allowing you to reduce the strain on it. The best thing is to leave these in the car.)

3: Soggy bottoms for the win!

On the subject of kneeling for photographs, if you can’t easily do that, what can you do instead? Why, you can sit down on your backside, of course! This one works best when it’s a bit wet out, and you don’t really have anything practical to sit on, so you’re just going to sit on the ground. A soggy bottom isn’t actually a problem, and it’s not in the slightest bit uncomfortable – but it’s just annoying to know you have one.

4: You don’t want to take any photographs, do you?

For added LULz, bring your new camera with you on your trip. Not the old one that uses AA batteries, of which you have plenty of spares both in your bag and in your car! Hell, don’t even think about bringing that one along as a backup camera. Instead, bring the one you’ve only just bought and which uses a rechargeable battery. But that’s only one half of this fun thing to do – the second half is to head out on the second day having pretty much emptied the battery the day before, and then forgotten to charge it (because you’re still used to simply changing the batteries as necessary).

Extra irony points are available if you do actually have a spare battery for the new camera, but just haven’t put any charge in it yet.

5: Seriously – you don’t really want to take any photographs, do you?

You should also have taken the memory card out of the camera the previous evening to transfer that day’s photographs to your computer – and forgotten to put it back in. This fun thing to do should complement the previous fun thing to do perfectly, and make you want to do a proper facepalm when you’re out and about to take your first picture of the day.

Under the circumstances, you may as well head back to your accommodation to put the memory card in the camera, and the camera itself (and thus the battery) on charge.

6: And pigs phones might fly!

With your camera now indisposed, being its own battery charger, you’re going to head out again and will have to use your mobile phone instead. Make sure that your walk takes you somewhere decently exposed to winds – and it should therefore go without saying that this fun thing to do works best on a very windy day, so that the winds you subject yourself to are really strong. Your phone is a flat rectangle that doesn’t weigh very much – ideal for that really strong wind to catch it in that brief moment when you’re holding it in one hand, and take it several metres away from you.

A green mess - the wind took the phone when the camera shutter was on a timer.
This (which is massively scaled down) can be the result of the wind ‘borrowing’ your phone, after you’ve put the shutter on timer.

There is potential for extra fun here if the phone lands face down on rocks and is smashed, or perhaps lands irretrievably between rocks – or if there is water or, even better still, sheep shit involved.

Disappointingly, however, I didn’t get the joy of any of those extra options: My phone landed on grass (and the shutter – which was on a timer – went off at that very moment).

7: Soggy bottoms revisited!

Did I mention the strong winds? I think I mentioned the strong winds. Yes, glancing back I can see I did indeed mention strong winds. These should either come with or follow a decent amount  of rain to make the ground wet – and on slopes, slippery.

You might be able to guess where this is leading, but if not: It leads straight down onto your backside, and you therefore have the joy of another soggy bottom.

(Like the steep hills and bad knee, it helps with this one to not have brought your walking poles with you – those pesky things give you extra points of contact with the ground, and therefore added stability. Leave them in the car!)

As a final thought: The obvious question likely to be in people’s minds after reading this (and indeed, I’ve already been asked it when I said that I’d drafted this post): Did you enjoy the trip – because it sounds like you didn’t? And the answer is yes, I did. Very much so. A few days away, lots of pictures taken, and something (this) written – what’s not to like?

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