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Catbells - 214 Ups and Downs214 Ups and Downs

It seems like a strange first but this is the first Wainwright we’ve bagged as a complete family since we started this little project. Catbells is one of, if not the most popular walk in the Lakes. To be honest parts of the route a bit a like a motorway but it is easy to see why; this is a great walk that gets you up pretty high pretty fast and the rewards are beautiful.

We wanted to avoid the motorway though and, thanks to the brilliant Walking Englishman, we took an alternative, quieter route. What a joy!

We started our walk at Little Town. There is nothing in Little Town, save a beautiful white chapel and plenty of peace and quiet. The walk was straight-forward all the way to the summit while we passed the remnants of the old Yewthwaite Mine up to Hause Gate. Within little over an hour we were rewarded with amazing views across Derwent Water to the Wythburn Fells, up to Skiddaw and Blencathra beyond Keswick and all the way up to Bassenthwaite Lake in the north west.

All the family loved the experience of a slightly sharp ascent with some significant rewards. We had a little scramble down and practised some shifty navigation through the ascending hoard as we made our way down (clearly we came the less well travelled route), but we do like to do things a little differently. Downright awkward you may call us.

Someone amongst us is starting to find his feet. Not only is Arran walking now, but he is starting to really love the experience of fell walking (even if he is still on my back the whole time!)

I cannot begin to tell you how much of an enjoyment this day was. Life is hard isn’t it? Full on, non-stop, compounded by pressure upon pressure, stress upon stress and, when you turn on the news at least, horror upon horror.

What a blessing to be able to share a few hours of peace and adventure with those closest to us. Arran rode on my back like he has been doing it forever; joyfully taking in the views, the fresh air and whooping it up as his slightly loony family eased in and out of conversations and encouragements, cajoling and teasings, slips, bumps and chocolate breaks. I really think being in his carrier, riding to the top of a hill is one of his very favourite places to be.

He is coming to life more and more with each passing day. Sometimes the world we live in is too much to bear but the way Arran absorbs the world around him and embraces it with such joy lifts us up and encourages us to keep going and smiling more as life hits us, wave after wave. He is truly a reminder of God’s never ending grace.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that because Arran has Down’s Syndrome that there is no depth to his awareness of what is going on around him. That could not be further from reality. Spend some time with Arran and you cannot help but realise that this boy, who continually overcomes every single limitation placed on him by a world who, to a large degree, deems him unworthy of life, is the very embodiment of deliberate determination, resilience and strength.

More importantly though, he demonstrates the purity of God’s love, grace and joy beautifully. We walk up a fell like Catbells and we are surrounded by a reminder of the beauty and, on this day at least, I remembered to say lots of “thank you’s” because truly, there is a lot to be thankful for.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 107:1

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