Monday, 27 April 2009

A Primal/Paleo Weekend in the Mountains

Location: Buttermere Valley
Day 1
We decided to 'warm up' the weekend with a walk around the lake - it's about a five-mile walk with a little elevation. On the way, I stripped to my underwear and took a dip in the water. I wanted to gauge the temperature, as I had some wild swimming planned for the next day.

With the temperature outside the water being comfortable t-shirt weather, I was somewhat surprised to find my breath taken clean out of my body when I fully submerged. I will never doubt people again when they tell me that being in cold water can very quickly overwhelm a person.

Day 2
I rose at 6am and headed down to the lake. I was dreading my wild swim a little. To get myself in the mood I lifted some heavy rocks above my head and made some animal noises. No one but to sheep around to witness this spectacle. I took this photo before going in.

I dived in, swam 2 metres front crawl, before resorting to breast stroke with my head above the water because I was breathing so fast from the cold. I swam out about 15 metres, then turned around and swam back. It was COOOOOOLD.

Cold, but invigorating. Emboldened and primalised by the experience, I then did some messing around on this bridge. I hung from the bottom rung over the water, then went up the rungs one by one before hauling myself over the top one, without using my legs.

I returned to the hotel, woke Mrs M, and after a breakfast we went on a 5-hour hike up a 2000ft mountain nearby. Here is a photo of the mountain we headed up, then one looking back on the way up.

Day 3
Action replay of day 2, swimming-wise, except this time I managed a longer dip. It still cannot have been longer than 45 seconds before the cold drove me back to shore. Next time we visit I am determined to cross the lake entirely. I may need a backup team :-)

This time I challenged myself further on the bridge by starting at one side hanging off the third rung, then move sideways, hand over hand to to other side. By this point I was fully clothed again, so there was a degree of pressure, as I did not want to fall into the river. It was actually very tough and no less challenging than a set of chins or pull-ups.

Mrs M and I then went on a 5-hour valley walk. We had sore legs from the say before so significant elevation was not on the menu. I did throw in an impromptu Fingal's Finger using the log in this photo.

Day 4
Back home :-(

I will rest my legs for most of the week after that lot. 12 hours of walking in 3 days is a lot for me.


Chris said...

Looks like you had a great weekend! The idea of you lifting rocks and making animal noises at 6am before jumping in the lake is brilliant.

That is a great spot. It is ages since I was down there - we camped at Buttermere and I remember having a great fish and chips in the pub / restaurant there.

You can't beat the hills. I was in Glen Nevis last weekend and up in the local hills on my bike this last saturday. Superb.

Methuselah said...

Chris - we love it there. We also love Scotland though, and don't get there enough. Love your photos - looks like you had some great weather. Might have to investigate the Picasa slide show component - very nifty!

Asclepius said...

Great post. It is intersting to see how you draw motivation from your environment (the primal scream), and good to see improvisation - with a bridge and with the Fingal's Finger!

This is what is so great about the paleo-compass; you are freed from the control of exercise machines and express a dynamic, freeform physicality as dictated by the environment around.