Sunday, 28 December 2014

A Merry Christmas from Great How

First things first - I hope everyone has had a great Christmas, and with New Year's Eve fast approaching at least I also have time to wish everyone the very best for 2015.  Christmas can be time for reflection, and I have to say 2014 has been quite a special year.

  2014 began quietly, with only a visit to London for Rubber Cult to liven up the first couple of dreary months of the year.  March saw me move into the new apartment, and Spring also saw a retro theme to the season, with visits to York and the Atomic festival in Northampton.  Sitting in the chill of a frosty Manchester morning, the heat and sunshine at Atomic seems a long, long time ago.

One of the best memories were certainly of my visit to Berlin for the German Fetish Ball.  I still talk very fondly of my time in the German capital, and can't wait to head back there in the future.  The fetish events themselves were outstanding, but I loved the history and vibe of the city just as much.  A gratuitous photo from Berlin, blending the history (the Berlin Wall) and fetishism (latex catsuit, of course) is surely due, and I don't think I've used this one before...

Dexi Delite - The Wall, Berlin

2014 was also my first trip to the Silvertone Classic meeting during the summer, an event that again I won't forget.  THAT Dodge Charger... mmmm.  Like Atomic, the blazing sun in the photos from the Oulton Park Gold Cup in August seem a distant memory and remind me that it actually was a very good summer regarding weather.

I also won't forget the amazing time at Hard Rock Hell in North Wales in November, and can't wait to see many of the faces back there in 2015.  Winter 2014 began in a rather debauched fashion with some sexy fun at Ess&Emm and then the KFS party in November.  Bloody brilliant!

And so 2014 comes to a close - and in the usual fashion.  Christmas Day began with a very early collection from Manchester for the long and lovely drive up the the Lake District.  In previous years the rag-tag group of Christmas walkers has made it to Loweswater, Rydal Mount and Rydal Water, Elterwater and Falcon Crag at Derwent Water.  With changeable weather forecast, it was decided that this year's walk would be kept fairly low and simple, so by 9.30am we were parking up at Thirlmere in the North Lakes for an ascent to Great How.  At only 600 feet, it's certainly the simplest walk yet that the group has done on Christmas Day, but still offered tremendous views over Thirlmere and the surrounding fells.

The walk itself starts quite easily, with a trek down a paved road towards Thirlmere dam, and the mild and cloudy weather certainly made the colours of the surrounding hillsides vibrant.

Dexi Delite - the walk to Great How
 The walk then took us off the main track and into the woods alongside Thirlmere, sometimes dropping close to the water's edge.  It was hard going, mainly due to slightly boggy ground and fallen branches and trees.

Dexi Delite - Thirlmere, from the bottom of Great How

After some time, the path began a steep ascent, but the views, especially once the trees dropped away, were quite lovely, and the very low cloud on the surrounding fells confirmed that the decision to take an easy challenge this year was the correct one.

Dexi Delite - Thirlmere from Great How

After some exertion over the final and somewhat steep sections, we reached the top of Great How, and the views from the North and South summits were quite lovely for a relatively small hill. 

Dexi Delite - Thirlmere from south summit, Great How

Dexi Delite - towards Keswick from north summit, Great How
After descending back down Great How we headed off to nearby Keswick for a round of after-walk drinks at The Royal Oak (formerly The Inn At Keswick).  Sadly, I have to report that the lovely Christmas ambience that I remembered from last year, with the pub full of locals, walkers and dogs, has been replaced by what looks more like a restaurant.  There was no Christmas Tree or decorations, and luckily, as the first in through the door on the day, bagged the only non-eating table left.  I still had a lovely mulled cider (or was it three? Hmmm...) before we headed back to the car for the southbound journey to Manchester in the late afternoon.  A lovely Christmas, but I fear we may be searching for a new venue for our Christmas drinks next year.

This week's Picture Of The Week, and the last of the year, follows on from the theme of one I took on Christmas Day last year.  Before we left Manchester I was asked, jokingly, if I was taking my high heels again (like last year).  High heels on a fellside?  Of course.  I hope you enjoy the picture on my Gallery page - it was actually very tricky to do this year!

Lastly, have a great New Year (if I'm not seeing you beforehand!) and as January, for once, looks very busy, there should be a few things to blog about to get 2015 off to a brilliant start!

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