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Myself and Annette had decided to spend two days in the Lake District staying overnight at the Ravensworth Hotel in Keswick along with our granddaughter, Tia-Rose. Today's walk would be rather special because it would be Tia's first Wainwright fell at the tender age of 3 years and 25 days! We had 'limbered-up' the day before by tackling Castlehead, a low wooded hill of 530 feet (162 metres) which involved a climb of approximately 250 feet (76 metres) and a round trip distance of two miles starting and finishing at the Moot Hall in the centre of Keswick.
We ate a hearty breakfast at our hotel on the morning of our second day before driving over to Martindale for Tia's attempt at Hallin Fell. We parked in a small lay-by at the top of the Howtown zig-zags opposite The Parish Church of Saint Peter. Once out of the car and 'booted-up' it was only a short stroll before we were at the base of Hallin Fell and looking up at the grassy path snaking its way up the fell side. It seemed a little steeper than I had remembered and I was slightly concerned that it may be a little too much for Tia.
Deciding we would turn back if Tia found it hard going, we made our way up the fell side heading for a rock a short distance away where we had told Tia we would be stopping for a rest. This set the scene for most of the way up the fell, setting 'goals' by picking out decent sized rocks for rest stops or 'rock-stops' as they were affectionately to become known.
I needn't have worried with regard to the fell being a little too steep for Tia to manage as she took it all in her stride - pun intended! She was in her element. We knew already that she was 'a good little walker' from when she had been out shopping with her Nanna and believe me, if she can manage a day walking around the shops with her Nanna she can manage anything - only joking Annette!
Continuing along the grassy path we eventually reached a point on the fell where Ullswater came into view off to our right. It was a great vista and we just had to stop and stare and show Tia why the Lake District is so special. As we gained height the views improved of course and we soon reached another 'rock-stop' where Tia took on the role of a farmer feeding grass to the imaginary sheep for their breakfast. One of the imaginary sheep was a rock which she stroked lovingly and said goodbye to as we left our latest 'rock-stop'.
The views across to Ullswater accompanied us as we continued on our way but took second place as the impressive obelisk marking the summit of Hallin Fell came into view over to our left. I wanted to get a few photos of Tia and Annette with the summit cairn in the background but after pointing out the cairn to Tia and explaining that it marked the top of the fell, she was somewhat reluctant to hang about and pose and instead was off like a shot towards the cairn! I managed to take a couple of photos of their backs as Tia and Annette marched ahead, leaving me to catch them up so that we could reach the summit together.
Close to the summit we passed a couple heading down with a small boy who seemed younger than Tia and who had also just visited the summit of Hallin Fell. The little boy tried to follow us as we continued up the fell but the couple managed to persuade him not to bag it for a second time!
We reached the summit cairn in glorious sunshine and congratulated Tia on bagging her first Wainwright fell. The obligatory photos were taken at the summit cairn although she did seem a little reluctant to pose for too many and soon lost interest. I think the occasion may have been a little lost on her and she was possibly wondering what all the fuss was about!
The timing on reaching the summit couldn't have been better as it was just before 12.00 noon and time for a spot of lunch. It had taken us about an hour to reach the top but we were, of course, in no hurry to do so and had enjoyed plenty of rest stops, sorry, 'rock-stops', along the way. Although sunny and bright it was however a little chilly in the wind and there was still a smattering of snow on some of the higher fell tops, so we found a little sheltered spot just below the summit with great views over the lake, where we had our lunch. I have had 'lunch' on quite a few summits but today's was extra special with little Tia alongside us.
Annette and Tia went off exploring the summit whilst I finished my lunch and took a few more photos of the surrounding fells. We then played hide-and-seek and another game invented by Tia, 'avoiding the bunny pooh' which entailed standing on rocks above any pooh and me and Annette having to lift her up by her arms as she jumped over the pooh. Quite good fun actually!
We had spent about half an hour on the summit before we decided to head back down. We had been discussing going for a boat ride on Ullswater so Tia was keen to get going. Passing over a little rocky section we soon joined the long grassy path leading back down the fell side. It was a pleasant walk but at one point Tia asked for a carry and Annette was going to oblige until I pointed out that we were almost off the fell, about another ten minutes walk or so, and that I would like Tia to make it down under her own steam, if possible. She was still full of energy and I would have been the first to carry her if I thought it was necessary. I'm not really a wicked grandad.....honest! We stopped for a short rest and Annette picked Tia up for a hug before we were on our way again eventually coming across a small stream where Tia decided she would have a splash about in and clean her boots at the same time. From here it was just a short stroll off the fell side and back to the car.
It had taken us about twenty minutes to descend Hallin Fell making a round trip time of about two hours. It had been a great morning on the fell. Tia, of course, had done really well and had thoroughly enjoyed the experience, as had Annette and me, and I was very proud of Tia's achievement. The day was rounded off nicely with a relaxing two hour boat trip onboard the Lady Dorothy along Ullswater, the second largest lake in the Lake District at seven and a half miles long, just as Tia had wanted.
Will Tia be doing another Wainwright in the future? Only time will tell but if grandad has anything to do with it, she most certainly will be :o)
Well done, Tia-Rose :o)