A little bit hesitated and unsure about being a sport for this trip to Penrith with a group of total strangers no female, no acquainted males, in a state of perplexity I called up Sardar to ask
whether I should go for this or not… and with his consent I joined them and believe me Walking 8-9
miles a day without food and sufficient water… loaded just with passion and enthusiasm to explore the beauty of this wonderful place called Penrith following an English Commander was truly an incredible experience.
It was Autumn and winter was at its starting phase.I was new to England, I just had one trip to Lake District and… nothing was planned after that, I met Paul Thompson at TCS India office and my boss gave my introduction to him as an adventure passionate women and told him about my interests in trekking and adventure … Paul promised me that he will introduce me to some Walkers group once I come to Manchester, and I couldn’t wait for the moment I started dreaming about my England trip :))
Finally it was the moment… he introduced me to Stewart Mead and they had some walking group and were planning to go to Penrith located in Lake District county of Central England.
I received a mail with itinerary and I was much excited about it... I asked my colleagues, if they would like to join and all of them refused due to their busy schedule and lack of interest…. at last Sachin agreed to join...
I spent that whole week desperately waiting for the trip … collecting sleeping bags and necessary gears, a day before the scheduled departure day.
Sachin cancelled his trip to complete some critical pending work in weekends and I was too much disappointed
I had no clue at that time what to do I was blank,I could not refuse going to the trip at the last moment as it was against my esteem and most importantly I was so much keyed up to go, while in a state of panic I called up Sardaar (our trekking lead in Mukteshwar and many other trips), and as always being a good mentor he encouraged me to join without fear and enjoy.
It made my decision easier..my wish was granted…. and the little hesitation I had earlier…. disappeared.I booked my tickets and finished packing Stewart offered me pick up at station since the cottage was at some remote place and I was new, it was a nice gesture from him to offer this pickup J….anyway … for the first time I was travelling alone in a Foreign Country and had no idea where station was, it was 6 in the morning and I was carrying 2 bags one at the back and another at front …wearing my woodland I was looking like a walker….. :)
I asked some people and got directions to station boarded the train and all set for Penrith, I was cautious all the time about the station so that it doesn’t get missed. At last I was there.. Stewart was waiting for me and I had sigh of relief after seeing him at station... we drove to the cottage and the group had already left for the walk, I felt uncomfortable that he was left alone because of me and without ever mentioning the same he accompanied me I appreciate him a lot for this.
Now he started doing his breakfast and I watched him eating ….it happens most of the time with me that I can’t eat when I m excited, though he offered me some cornflakes but I couldn’t eat much.
It was great watching him getting geared for the trek… he was wearing a cargo and a Tee then he carried a smart bag with a pipe coming out making it easier to sip juice from the bag and carried some necessary stuff…he buckled it tightly to his chest and finally wore that heavy looking shoes meant for treks, with his great physique he looked like some Army personnel, and I don’t know whether you will agree with me on this or not but sometimes he resembled Bear Grylls from Man Vs Wild that made him even more interesting.
We finally left for the day.
This area was splendidly decorated by Autumn… . and the view was picturesque I was following him and he was heading with a pace, that ..I almost needed to run in order to be with him, he was holding a map and we started walking a hill, after sometime I was out of breath and realized the importance of breakfast ….since morning I had nothing not even water, Stewart offered his juice pipe to me… and I sipped might be he got an idea about my situation and I was really obliged because I gained some energy however the taste was not that pleasing…but the view looked better now …lol… the way he was leading my path with a map in his hand… it was like we were on some mission and I was his Cadet I started calling him commander and he liked his new name.
I kept taking breaks in between while commander eager to walk and unexhausted waited patiently... he also tolerated my photo mania ,,,, after every few minutes either he was clicking me or I was clicking him I bet till that time he would have never ever got photographed to this extent...
My nonsense chatter was full on and he never complained I even started playing Hindi songs on my phone … which he must be bearing with a lot of tolerance… Now I realize how immature I was… to do all this … it was the first time when we met… earlier we were just introduced and I was acting like I knew him well … later he told me that English people like calmness in such places and I turned off music … hee hee hee hee I think it was his smart & polite approach to convince me without sounding irritable.
kept talking … I must have told him many things that he would have never bothered to know … and after walking about 8 miles we returned to our cottage, 6 English gentleman of almost twice my age …. and a new family from Scotland with 3 kids… Ben, Holly and Henri (WOW I still remember their names) were already there
Some feeling of uneasiness and hesitation captured me for moment looking at totally new faces around....