Having done the half marathon, I found my enthusiasm or motivation to run had waned a little: even though there are still 7 trail races still to do (the next is the Ambleside 14km on 10th July). I gave blood, which always takes it out of me for a few days, and was working towards my ARSM (Associate of the Royal Schools of Music) exam – a half hour recital. My car – 12 years old – failed its MOT quite drastically as well, so I had to sort out hire cars and buying a new car.
Bella was due to do her Grade 7 piano exam but that morning I had a call from her school saying she needed to self-isolate. She came home, disappointed, but her teacher said that he was confident she would have passed and that she could start to work on Grade 8 instead, though he’d like her to do more performing prior to sitting it. I think it’s partly as whereas for lessons you can make all sorts of excuses for why your playing isn’t fantastic and why you haven’t had time to do as much practice as desired, when you’re performing you have to be at your best. She was also disappointed recently not to get into CAT (Centre for Advanced Training) at the Sage Gateshead – but as much as anything it’s partly as she’s a pianist and not an orchestral player. It’s a pity and I’m sure she’d have loved it, but at least it means we’re not having to get her over to Newcastle every Sunday: and she can try again next year.
My ARSM recital was in the Fratry at Carlisle Cathedral. I hadn’t sung in there since the Music Festival several years ago, when Deborah and I sang the cat duet in there (and came 2nd). With only the examiner and my accompanist in there in addition to me, my voice resonated loudly in the space: which in many ways was a relief as I didn’t need to worry about it carrying. I attach a copy of my programme below – I’m hoping at some point to record it and put it up on YouTube; and I’m doing the Faure again at Christmas in the Solway Singers’ concert at Lanercost.
I may have lacked motivation to run, but the good weather has meant wild swimming has been pleasant. One Saturday afternoon Laura and I walked to Easedale Tarn, which was one of the lakes yet to be ‘ticked off’ on my list. We parked at Lancrigg – the hotel lets you park there for £6, which you get refunded if you buy something in their cafe – and walked up the side of Sourmilk Gill to the Tarn. It’s a lovely walk and the tarn is a good size for swimming; I swam across to a rock that was near to the further side, only getting slightly panicky about the weeds around the rock (I hate the feeling of weeds brushing my legs, and I’m always worried they’re going to ensnare me and I’ll drown). As we left to walk back down – a slightly longer route which crossed over to come down a different beck – the sun came out, creating a lovely reflection in the still water.
A couple of days later a group of us decided to swim in Bowscale Tarn to mark the summer solstice (we chose 21st June rather than the Stonehenge choice of 20th). I found the water quite cold, although Tricia stayed in for ages in just her swimsuit. Penny also tried without her wetsuit and got out again quite quickly! We were incredibly lucky with the weather – after a dull start to the day, the sun came out for our evening walk and swim. It’s possibly one of my favourite tarns as despite the fact that it can be quite chilly as it’s overshadowed by high fells, it’s not weedy. I also love the way that you suddenly come across it – it’s hidden from view until almost the last moment.
Another Tarn which is hidden from view until you crest the brow (from either direction) is Sprinkling Tarn. I’d wanted to return to it since Penny and I had swum there (https://runningin3time.wordpress.com/2021/05/23/sty-head-and-sprinkling-tarns/) and when Jo and Mike came to stay after a weekend in York, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. I hadn’t fully appreciated how hard they might find the walk, so I wasn’t the most popular of people that day, but overall I think they felt that they’d done something memorable. I swam without a wetsuit, although it took a few moments for me to adjust to the water temperature – but again there were lots of weeds. I wonder if it’s just the time of year and if the weeds have been growing a lot? They certainly have in my garden.
I had travelled down to York by train after my ARSM recital/exam, to meet up with Jo and Mike and also Caroline. We had a lovely weekend in York – Caroline and I ran along the river; we all went on a boat trip; and we went to Jorvik, as well as shopping and eating (and drinking). Jo and Mike then gave me a lift home, stopping at Barnard Castle en route and then driving across the North Pennines, which is a beautiful and spacious if remote landscape.
They then stayed for a week, and whilst I had things to sort out like buying a new car and doing the school run, we had time not only to do the walk to Sprinkling Tarn but also to go to Lanercost, Carlisle and Birdoswald. It was brilliant to have friends to stay and to show off some of the lovely places locally: and it made me realise that if people come up here on holiday they don’t necessarily then want to travel miles, but to see what’s around here. It might not be the Lake District but it is still a stunning part of the world, and it made me appreciate once more how lucky I am to live here. And Jo managed to get a really funny panorama of Mike and me up above Haytongate…
As a final note, I can highly recommend the cafe at Lanercost, under new ownership. It looks as if their website is still under construction, so I can’t post a link at the moment, although it does look as if they have a new Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Lanercost-Tea-Rooms-and-Gift-Shop-103878225199009