A rather interesting adventure
Now this is a story worth telling – even though it is a tale of two rather silly city girls and with those two girls being Tracy and myself…
Yesterday we arrived in Cockermouth. We had a lovely drive here, especially the last part driving through the Lake District and a rather picturesque village called Ambleside (or so we think, we keep getting it mixed up – Ablesmere, Addelside etc) Today we had some time off in the morning before we were going to set up our stand for Woolfest at 2pm so we thought we’d take Bessie (our much loved ex-BT van – with all our stock in the back) for a little spin around the beautiful country side.
We drove from Cockermouth down to the seafront and went through Whitehaven and past Sellafield. None of this made our jaws drop quite as much as Ambleside and we decided to let Sat Nav guide us there instead. Turns out Sat Nav doesn’t quite work in the Cumbrian wilderness… So as you would expect, we got a tad lost. We ended up at a lovely Inn in the middle of nowhere between a few mountains and at a dead end. So we got chatting to a local chap in a van of some size about how to get to where we wanted to be. He advised us on going over a mountain pass. To his defence he said it would be steep, but we asked if he would do it in his van and he said yes – no doubts. So we assumed we would be alright too! ehem – hindsight is a wonderful thing. When a man from Cumbria tells two ladies from London and Cambridge it’s a little steep it means VERY steep. Now you would think the Norwegian of us would know better, but ten years in London seems to have done something to my judgement… Or I might have inherited my fathers passion for driving a 12.5 meter long bus on the narrowest mountain roads, without even realising!
Anyway – we set off on our journey over the mountain pass. Even this sign did not put us off.
Then the climbing began. And it started off steep. Very steep. We pushed on for a bit, noticed a strange jolt in the van, drove a bit further – AND realised 1. we could not go any further. 2. we could not turn around. 3. Half our stock had just fallen out of the back of the van and were now lying nicely spread out over approximately 200 meters of hairpin bends on a narrow mountain road…
Right – what to do? Neither of us are fortunately more of a feminist than knowing when to ask for help. So we did! Firstly we rescued all the stock from the road and the rain with the help of a lovely couple in a passing car. Then we had a quick look around before honing in on the nearest farm. After a ten minute walk we were met by 4 barking dogs and a friendly farmer called David. (David has a lot of Herdwick sheep and apparently you will not taste better meat than from one of his sheep.) David turned out to be a true knight in green overalls! He promptly put us in his pickup and drove us back to the van. On the way there he explained (much to our disbelief) how he drives that road all the time with trailers full of sheep!!! This did however make our belief that he was the man for the job at hand even stronger! Once we reached the van he told us we were actually driving on one of the worst roads in Britain. This made us feel a lot better about not managing to get up – but probably even sillier for attempting it in the first place. Well, David was not a man easily fazed by anything, it would seem. He grabbed the keys, drove the van even higher before turning round, picking up Tracy, myself and some of the stock halfway down the road and dropped us all safely at the bottom of the hill. Just like that.
In the panic of it all I forgot to take any photos of the van at its highest point, or of the road from below (which looks decidedly more scary than this one I took from the top). I promise, just where you can’t see the road anymore in this picture, it drops really steeply!
But – if you are reading this and are now worried that our stock is damaged and we will not have anything to sell at Woolfest – fear not! All the yarn was wrapped in plastic and survived just fine. Only a few patterns got exposed to the elements as most of them stayed firmly in their drawers, and the fleece for spinners was all safely tucked away in sturdy plastic bags. So we are set up and ready to go tomorrow morning. Decidedly shaken – but definitely not stirred.