A family car with a contingent of John Robinson’s family arrived at the appointed place in a layby near Barbon this morning. John’s family went off to do a spot of walking around Sedbergh, leaving him in my tender care for the day.
John is blind and a hillwalker and has his own blog at http://blindwalker.wordpress.com and I’d seen his request for hillwalking partners on the Ramblers forum – and decided to give it a shot. I mean what could go wrong? Nothing physically bad would happen – at least not to me anyway - so why not.
And so it proved. We climbed up on to Castle Knott on a steep and rocky path, which caused the occasional excitement, and, inevitably, I found my place at the back (beta blockers again) – but, overall, we fair hurtled up the hill and made short work of it.
I was a bit surprised to see John taking photos, but, of course, these are for his blog. He just needed to be pointed at whatever view it was.
A small patch of ice and a bit of a pirouette learned us to take a bit more notice of patches of ice and we were soon basking in the snow and sunshine on the summit of Calf Top. calf Top, by the way is 1999 feet high, so whenever you’re up there, everything above the shins is a mountain. Unless you’re really really short.
The tussocks of Middleton fell caused little problem and we lunched on some warm heather a bit down the side.
I noticed some small dog-type prints on a patch of ice at one point. It must either be a small poodle or a fox. I wonder which is the most likely? At one point the prints described a small circle. Itchy bum, I should think. A worming tablet would sort that out.
We continued down the hill, avoiding strips of ice, lurking boulders and a vicious-looking Swaledale ram with evil eyes and a sinister smile.
We ignored a “You can’t come in here” sign to pass by some holiday cottages onto a lane at Mill House, and an awkward step onto a footbridge on a short bit of bridleway was the only tricky bit of the day. We were hoping to be challenged with a “Eyyup, whassamarra, can’t you read? Are you blind or something?” But all was quiet in the cottages.
On the minor road back to Barbon, we did meet a pony and trap at one point and a tractor towing a large bowser full of cow muck and slurry. The pony gave John a bit of a fright, when it whinneyed, but it was well on its way. It was a quiet and friendly thing anyway.
We were back a bit early for John’s lift home, so we repaired to the famous Devils Bridge tea van for hot drinks before meeting up with John;s relatives once more.
I came home with a jar of rhubarb and ginger jam – courtesy of the Robinsons. This will do nicely on my toast in the morning….
I think it went fairly well. No blood was shed and no bones were broken. John really doesn’t need all that much guiding – just a bit of “left hand down a bit” and “mind that…. bugger too late…” type of thing.
I think we’ll likely do a bit more of this.
I expect that a version of this walk will appear on John's blog in due course.
Today we did just under 9 miles and 2000 feet of climbing.