Oliver Duff

i Editor's Letter: Joys of the Countryside

 

Share

 

Stuck for something to do this bank holiday weekend? The weather forecast is reasonable. Head for Britain’s wilds - the Lakes, Peak District, Snowdonia, the Cairngorms, Dartmoor, or one of our 10 other national parks. Or pick a spot along the 9,000 miles of beaches. A favourite of mine is Rhossili Bay, the invigoratingly remote tip of the Gower Peninsula described by Dylan Thomas as “the wildest, bleakest and barrenest I know”.

Living in our busy cities, suburbs or towns, one easily becomes caught in the traffic of everyday life and forgets the stunning natural bounty no more than a two or three-hour drive away.

I am full of the joys of the countryside having spent last weekend in the Lake District, where thousands of  wobbly-legged lambs dot the hillsides.  We climbed England’s second highest mountain, Scafell, which at 3,162ft (964 metres) is just 48ft shorter than its neighbour, Scafell Pike.

Alfred Wainwright, in his tome on the Southern Fells, wrote of how a man may stand on the ridge between these two peaks “and witness the sublime architecture of buttresses and pinnacles soaring into the sky, silhouetted against raging clouds or, often, tormented by writhing mists, and, as in a great cathedral, lose all his conceit”.

It was easier going up, scaling waterfalls and scree slopes, than back down, when we closely acquainted ourselves with thousands of rocks. There were no scrapes and bruises so big, though, that they couldn’t be soothed with a pint of Gold at the valley’s Wasdale Head Inn – famous for hosting the annual World’s Biggest Liar contest. Glass in hand, feet dangling in the river that runs through the pub garden, one can look up at the escarpments and think of Wainwright’s aside: “It does a man good to realise his own insignificance in the general scheme of things.”

i@independent.co.uk

Twitter.com: @olyduff

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Muslim men pray at the East London Mosque  

Sadly, it needs to be said again: being a Muslim is not a crime

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible