by Lou Weth
The first time I remember seeing Brad Pitt was in the film ‘A River Runs Through It’, released in 1992. You wouldn’t think that a film about 2 guys standing in a river fly-fishing would be particularly interesting, but it was both beautiful and inspirational. As I stood waiting my turn to duck through the torrent one of the lines from the original book came to mind: “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” Then it was my turn to step through the river and under the waterfall, hood pulled up over my helmet, and test how waterproof my jacket was. Actually reassuringly so. Those of us who still wear Gore-tex are scoffed at by the Paramo President who never fails to impress on us how comfortable she is (and dry/warm/cool/stylish/plum-coloured or whatever else we hoi-poloi are not). However she hasn’t had the breadth of experience in and underwater that some of us have and still attempted (though with little success) to balance elegantly from rock to slippery rock when the rest of us waded or leapt.
You may have surmised from all this that the Lake District was wet – again. Very wet. Trousers-falling-down-because-they-are-so-heavy-with-rain wet. Too wet for slugs! The only thing you can do when it is like that is get in the water straight away and keep laughing. This time we were scrambling up Tarn Crag Ghyll, heading up towards Stickle Tarn. We shuffle-hopped bronco-style across jammed trees, edged our way side-stepping above a ravine, plunged through waterfalls and swung from tree roots to emerge on the hillside into a side-swiping gale that had us crouching down at times to avoid getting blown back into the river on our way down the hill to the valley. We spotted a troop of helmeted, life-jacketed schoolchildren waving excitedly up at us from the stream-bed as we reached the bottom. Prospective Members in the making?
I am haunted by waters (well, I’m not really; I prefer warm, dry rock or frosty, sunny gritstone, but it’s a fine line to end a book, isn’t it?)