The fells remind me of a time before fear,
Of being a child and exploring them with my dad.
I would soak up the stories that he had collected
Over the years, listening intently.
I’ve the fondest memory of Ennerdale:
I must have been three or four.
Blue coat, worn backwards.
Mittens, giving my tiny hands comfort.
My sisters would race
Along the shore of the lake.
I couldn’t keep up- I still can’t-
But I loved to try- I still do!
Mam, Dad, my cherished sisters.
I cling to the memory of the five of us by the water.
Derwentwater when I was in Year 5
Is a school trip I won’t forget!
They made me climb up Catbells;
I hated every second until we reached the top.
But up there, something in me changed.
I was brave. I was strong. I was fierce.
The fells made me who I am.
Made me proud to be Cumbrian.
When I became a teen the fear returned.
Forced into me by school-yard bullies.
But whenever we went out exploring,
I was determined not to let the heights ruin me.
This was the attitude I had against
Anyone who tried to make life hell for me.
This spirit is within me.
We tackled Great Gable- it doesn’t matter that I shuffled down on my backside!
The next day I stood up to her,
Bringing the essence of Cumbria to help.
The fells made me who I am!
The Lake District became backdrop for early dates.
Driving around, indie music blasting,
Taking photographs of the views.
It was on those drives that we fell in love.
We’d talk, making the grandest of plans.
We still do this, sixteen years later.
Our plans may change but our location never does.
Something ties us to Cumbria.
We never leave for long.
The Lakeland fells call us home.
They’re a piece of my heart.
The cycle begins again.
More walks around my favourite lakes.
But the mittens aren’t mine.
The fear still strikes when we go up the fells,
But it’s a fear that’s different: it’s not for me!
My child now has the wonder in his eyes.
He asks us questions.
He listens intently.
He is the one to race on ahead.
My stories that I’ve collected are the ones causing awe.
Through all of life’s changes,
My connection to Cumbria has never faltered.
The lakes, tarns, meres and rivers all have tales to tell.
Hundreds, thousands, millions of years.
They’re the keeper of secrets.
They keep my secrets.
The wildlife is my happiness,
All of the people are my family.
Remote and isolated?
Or free and wild?
Cumbria is my marra,
And I it’s faithful child.
In celebration of Cumbria Day, 23.1.2019.