Yesterday was a Bank Holiday in the UK, and for the second time running we made preparations for a family Outing. This wasn't going to be a lazing about kind of an outing like the one we had the previous day, but a go-go-go type of an outing. A Crag Climb no less.
I have to fess up and say that I wasn't particularly keen on the idea at first. I had kind of gotten it into my head that we would be enjoying a leisurely stay-home day, and woke up feeling suitably lazy. All three Little People are fighting off snotty noses and sore throats and were very loud in their protests against being dragged out yet again. But J was having none of it. He single handedly assembled the picnic and chivvied us all into action with his no nonsense enthusiasm. Gradually we each began to come round to the idea, and after two good frothy coffees and a hot shower, I was raring to go.
As you can see, The Crag is still wearing it's brown winter coat (look at this post to see it's green summer coat), but the hedgerows were looking beautifully lush and pretty.
The higher we go, the more rocky it gets.
We have frequent "look how high we've come" breaks to catch our breath and admire the view. Little B is doing really great. It's his first real hike, his first taste of a proper climb, and he is full of excitement over it. He tells me he has lots and lots and lots of energy in his legs.
We have reached the real big rocks now, and the path all of a sudden becomes a major scramble. Poor Little B, he slips and suddenly has a huge confidence wobble and starts to cry, saying that it's too steep and he can't do it. All of us try so hard to say exactly the right sort of words to make him feel better, to encourage him and boost his confidence, and in the end it is Little Man who manages to coax him onwards and upwards. He wipes his tears and gets to grips with the climb, using every inch of his little body to get up over those big rocks. I am sooooooo proud of him (remember he is only three years old). What a little star.
And then comes the descent down the other side which feels remarkably easy after the climb up. The Little People are suddenly ravenously hungry and want to know when and where lunch will be. Not long, we tell them, we will stop at the bottom near the little patch of woodland where we know there is a lovely little wooden bench.
Oh joy, there are bluebells here!! I feel so uplifted by the sight of them blooming their little hearts out, and by that luscious shade of purply blue against the vibrant fresh green. Beautiful.
This small patch of woodland is delightfully called "Milking Hill Wood" and it was wonderful to sit here and eat a picnic lunch. I kept looking at The Crag and finding it pretty unbelievable that we had actually been sitting right up there just minutes ago. Wow. We really climbed The Crag! Isn't that something?
After our lunch stop, the walking was easy. A long downhill track beside a farm, followed by a short stint along the roadside, then off across fields. I love how The Crag is always there in the background, reminding us of what we have just achieved.
The footpath across the fields arrives very conveniently at the back of this lovely village pub. We can't resist the temptation (and I really need a wee by this point), so we head inside for a quick refreshment stop. I remember the time when we did this exact same walk four years ago, when the Little People were five and six years old and Little B was not even a thought. Gosh. Time doesn't half fly.
The whole round walk is about 3.5 miles, and after the village pub we are heading back towards the reservoir by way of the road. The road is small and rural, with gorgeous little cottages and farms, ducks and horses along the way. We are all feeling weary, and I end up piggy backing Little B for the last 10 minutes or so. But I don't mind, it's unexpectedly nice to feel his warm weight on my back, his little hands twirling in my hair and his constant stream of chatter right next to my ear.
Another lovely family outing, and (I hope) more sweet memories laid down for the Little People. We are building their Childhood and (I hope) we are doing a good job. It is such a precious responsibility don't you think?