My dad was from a small town on the edge of the Lake District, in northern England. I grew up partly there and then also in Barcelona. I spent my teenage years living in Carlisle and was pretty much desperate to get out of there as soon as I could. I have somewhat of a conflict going on with Cumbria. On one hand I love the lakes, the mountains, the wide open spaces, and the slower pace of life up there, however, Carlisle can also be a difficult place to be a teenager, especially one with a very strong willed Spanish mother who is determined you will not end up as one of the crowd! Although Carlisle´s centre has quite a charming side with its castle and cathedral and cobbled streets, it is also a post-industrial city where many young people seem to fall by the wayside and end up in low paying unskilled work. Prospects in Carlisle can sometimes be grim.
While growing up there I always felt that there had to be more, that I didn´t belong there in some way. I think there were also things that marked me as different at school. I quite enjoyed learning, and reading, and hated sports and most popular music at the time… I wasn´t really allowed to hang out on the street like other kids, and once I got to clubbing age, (albeit still underage! Remember the Front Page anyone?) my mum would come and pick me up from outside the club at midnight, oh the shame… I was a bit of a “geek” shall we say. I will admit that I didn´t necessarily try to make an effort to make friends with the majority of my peers, but I still have some very good friends from school in Carlisle.
To top that all off, I spoke a different language at home. Carlisle has never been a huge magnet for mass international immigration, so back in the 80s and 90s in Carlisle being half Spanish (Catalan!) felt like being from a different planet at times. When I moved to London I felt like the most average person when I met people that were half Iranian half French and random combinations like that. Just for the record, I now appreciate the way I was raised and the fact that I wasn´t allowed to go too far off the rails (not that I didn´t attempt it at points.)
So anyway, that´s a potted history of Miss W´s growing up. My dad passed away a few years ago, but my mum still lives up in Carlisle. I go up from time to time to see her and go walking in the Lakes. Each time I come up, apart from seeing my family and buying the obligatory farmhouse Cumberland sausage, I try to go walking in different areas of the Lakes. I love the rolling green hills and the the way that the colours of the hills melt into each other. Maybe one day I will return to live up there, ideally in a cottage in Caldbeck, Miss W´s favourite place in the Lakes. This visit we went up Catbells, which to my surprise I had never gone up.
Here is the view from the top
During this visit we also went to Brothers Water, a small ´lake´ between Ullswater and Kirkstone Pass. It is flat and easy to walk around, it probably only took us an hour or so. We parked at the car park near Hartsop village and there is a footpath from there. The last stretch of the walk is on the side of the road but it is pretty quiet all the same.