Penrith – A Walk to Remember

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.

NOV 2008

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 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....

They were so amiable that I never felt like a stranger J after playing many games… we started discussing about life in India…. Britain- India relationship I answered many other questions asked to me by Mark, Bernie, Andy… n all… and I was taking pleasure in the same… I really loved the discussion and then I started a fun game… it was like everyone has to tell their 3 crazy dreams….. and this resulted in to a very interesting conversation…with all weirdest, craziest and diverse dreams…. being exchanged at a single place lol… I am sorry I can’t share them here… it will take many pages….   ;)

I just had one sandwich in dinner…. Even after getting exhausted I was not hungry… may be I filled my appetite with the conversations J and went to sleep ;)
We were leaving for the walk the next day all in a gang and before parting I exchanged my last words with the Scottish family… I was so much emotionally involved.. in a single day that it was hard for me to leave those kids….I forget to mention that their mother was lovely lady… and I liked her too… J

We started walking the other side of Penrith and I was more energetic and prepared …I was doing better than the previous day may be my legs got conditioned after a long break….  Last I trekked 6 months ago in India….We kept chatting …. Teasing and walking …. The place was marvelous….

I could hardly describe   the beauty…. we were walking up a colorful….hill…. with all greens… oranges, yellows …browns… and lovely sunshine which decorated it like some golden valley…. I never gave any rest to my Digicam… I wish I had SLR that time 
L ….. Commander as usual was leading and now everyone started teasing him by this name J I was enjoying their company....  it was really a fun filled experience with a totally diverse group of people from different culture and country….  It was also a part of my education and learning because you get to understand any culture or people living with them … rather than reading books and literature… I mean to say ‘the world is a book and if we don’t travel we are reading only a page’….

Coming back to the point….. Penrith…is also famous for King Arthur and the history of King Arthur, pagan rituals, myths and legends of knights and white horses and all that but all I was interested in was natural…magnificence of this place…. Spectacular views… hills guarding the Lakes …it was like what we used to draw in paintings … hmmm I would say it was the better then the best wallpaper I would have imagined in my childhood…… J.. and I was highly delighted that I was witnessing it…. Who can be a better artist then nature itself… and we are mere an object in that scenery… blessed with senses to enjoy the same while being a part.

After walking about five miles we took a break… and our walkers started having some…. Snacks and I had no choice but to swatch them…  since nothing was vegetarian L …. We stopped in front of a serene lake … it was ultimate … I mean the sunrays falling on the lake the colorful view around and the best part…is… it was so clean and un crowded .. untouched by human interference

A place remains best until tourists interested just in sight seeing visits and spoil it… but I think… things are well organized and preserved in England…. And India needs a huge revolution and awareness Campaign to accomplish the same…. As it has a lot more to offer with great variety…. J

The walk was about to complete and I was busy with my shoot as always….. they might be considering me a camera  crazy  person…  which is actually true ….lol

We arrived back to the cottage from the nature’s lap and left for Manchester … this time I had no tension of catching train we packed our luggage and Commander provided me lift till home…. I invited him for a tea…. and prepared that Indian style ginger tea my all-time favorite … I hope he liked it… he left for home and I called PS…. Got to know they were in Gym applying for membership and I rushed ….. forgetting all my pain & tiredness…. played TT for 2 hours and when we returned… my whole body was aching…. The idea to join Office next day worried me … but I started thinking about Penrith again and in No time I was asleep.
The story is complete….  so either plan a Walk to this place… or just dream… :)


 Penrith is in the Eden Valley, just north of the River Eamont, and lies less than 3 miles (5 km) outside the boundaries of the Lake District National Park. Book tickets from National Rail and get going there are many cottages available at weekends and for large groups the rate can be very low…
Follow the links in order to get more detail about walks in Penrith
Penrith on Goggle Map

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