P's Peak

by Veronica

Discovering that your Love has Parkinson's is frightening. When he announces he wants to try to climb his favourite peak while he still can, it's terrifying. Should I support him?

I kept my husband's illness quiet for quite a long time before announcing it to just a few. We manage the condition fairly well but recently he decided he wanted to try to do some of his favourite walks whilst he still can.
He has always been super fit- running, squash, dancing, walking, cycling were regular activities. This made his diagnosis with the illness an extra shock. Seven years into the illness, how would he manage doing a small mountain walk?

Despite my reservations, yes of course I would support him. It would just take some extra careful planning. Why not?

Today was the day. How would we get on with it? Did we succeed?
Reader, read on.

Barrow Summit
Barrow Summit

Planning and Preparation are crucial

29th May 2018

Today May 29th 2018

We are already here having a few days break. 

To prepare for this mountain walk,

·         Yesterday we did a nine mile flat walk.

·         Today we had 3 mobile phones with us fully charged.

·         P had his tablets with him.

·         We had plenty water and some traditional Lakeland mint cake for a sugar boost should he need one. 

·         We had good, strong footwear- anti blister socks and hiking boots.

·         We were prepared to take it slowly. It isn't a race. 

·         We were walking in the morning when it is cooler.

·         We informed the lady at the B and B where we were going.

·         We informed our 2 sons what we were doing. 

·         We had plenty insect repellent and sun screen.

·         We did stretching exercises at the start of the walk.  


Barrow, Braithwaite, Cumbria

The start of the walk up from the beautiful Coledale Inn is steep at first but we kept the pace slow. I was keeping the pace fairly steady and soon we left the steep road up to the fellside (hillside)

Barrow is a small mountain about 1,500 feet in the English Lake District in the county of Cumbria. It is situated above the village of Braithwaite, my favourite English village ever. Barrow isn't a mighty mountain but parts of it are challenging and the views for spectacular. 

The name Barrow is Anglo Saxon language meaning a long ridge. I think you can see from the photos that it is well named Barrow. A long ridge it certainly is. 



Barrow- a long ridge
Barrow- a long ridge

10.30am 29/05/2018

My beloved made a good start
The road up to the fellside
The road up to the fellside

Water break

11.15 am

We made a good start and frankly he did better than I did. I thought foolishly that I would be better than he, but think again girl! The climb up is steep and at times the path is narrow down in to the gorge / canyon. 

It does not take long for the views to be quite splendid. Years ago my big brother Frank told me that when hiking I should turn and look back when I stop walking. This makes the muscles go opposite to the way they have been stretching whilst walking upwards. Despite him being a big bro, I did actually listen to this piece of advice. And it works! Each time you stop walking upwards turn round and your calf muscles don't ache later.  

Water break and good boots
Water break and good boots
Path is narrow
Path is narrow
Steep down into the gorge
Steep down into the gorge

11.50 am

The base of the summit

We reached the base of summit and the view from there is beautiful. On the other side of Barrow is a little used valley, untouched and quite wild. I stopped here on the pretext of taking a look but I needed a rest really. 

Would we reach the top ?

the other side of the mountain
the other side of the mountain
wild and unused valley
wild and unused valley

The final climb up

The final climb is craggy and rugged. I was anxious about this part but again we took the pace very slowly and at 12 noon today May 29th British time, we were there on the top. The top is very windy. It's up a mountain of course.  

Behind me in the photo is the beautiful lake, Derwentwater with its little wooded islands like emeralds on a mirror. I don't look my best but what the heck; it's sport. And it was for P. 

Again, water was essential. Today was HOT by UK standards. 

After a good sit down, we set off down the long ridge. 

I am windswept but we reached the top.

at the top.
at the top.

The descent

The descent is very very steep and difficult. Some people choose to climb up this ridge but we choose to walk up the other way. The descent is full of descents and ascents too. 

Going down

NOT for the faint hearted
This was the route down
This was the route down

We did it

But...we did it. I took my dear husband, my friend, my love up a steep hill to achieve something he wanted to do. 

Going down was a bit hairy and ha …. he had to support me at times. But we managed it. The farm gate below marks the end of the walk. We reached the village of Braithwaite and had a sandwich lunch and a drink. We did our stretches and came back and he's having a hot bath. I am so proud of him and his determination. 

The farm gate
The farm gate


Yes we did it and to others in our situation I would say give it a try and be prepared to turn back if it is getting too much.

My husband's basic fitness gives him a higher starting point and I planned and prepared as much as possible for the hike. 

Irresponsible of me? Possibly - but I know the walk, I am a superb hiker and have done mountain walking since childhood, he is fit and we were prepared.  I knew exactly what I was doing and am a good guide. 

He's feeling really positive just now and that is enough for me.

Updated: 05/30/2018, Veronica
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Veronica on 09/08/2018

Thank you. Good wishes and also prayers are a huge boost to us in our battle to the end.

Mira on 09/08/2018

It looks like a pleasant, life-enriching hike. I should hike more often myself. Best of health and luck to you and your husband!

Veronica on 06/13/2018

The week before the climb we exercised as much as possible, walking, badminton, dancing, aqua aerobics. The day before, we did a nine mile flatish walk. On the day, I informed people where we were going, took 3 fully charged mobile phones, water, mint cake and wore really strong hiking boots.

YES … Braithwaite is in the 3rd to last shot on the left hand side in the distance. We walked from there then up the mountain.

Thanks for the tip about UK forest bathing and no ….

My husband and I are both in our 60's - The photo next to this comment was taken just a few weeks ago. That is me! But I am FREQUENTLY mistaken for my late 30s/ early 40's.

DerdriuMarriner on 06/13/2018

Veronica, I'm sorry to hear about your husband's diagnosis but impressed with what you all are doing, such as going on his favorite walks.
Where did you all do your preparatory 9-mile flat walk? Is Braithwaite in the last 3 distance shots at the top, the route down and the barrow? That's really great advice about turning and looking back during stops on mountain hikes. In your unphotoshopped pictures, you and your husband look like you're in your 30s or 40s.
This is unrelated, but I meant to say about forest bathing -- which is supposed to be immune system- and memory-enhancing -- that Dr. Li puts England's New Forest and Wistman's Wood, Ireland's Killarney National Park and Scotland's Caledonian Park among the world's 40 beautiful forests for practicing shinrin-yoku (forest bathing).

Veronica on 05/30/2018

TY so much Dusty. It is just "life's big adventure"- " the hand of cards life has dealt us" . I don't talk much about it. We just get on with it. I am hugely proud of him. It was important to do a flat walk today after yesterday so he didn't seize up. As our excellent BSG and your lovely self have said, I hope people are inspired and encouraged.

Very good about your skunk story. We don't have them in UK.

Regarding my photos. TY We are fortunate to live fairly centrally in the UK. If you find Manchester on the map you will see that we have fairly easy access to most places including UK's most stunning and scenic locations. When the subject matter is so good, the photos follow. Also we are in NW England which is without doubt the most beautiful part.

dustytoes on 05/30/2018

Veronica, first I am sorry to hear your husband is ill, but what bravery and strength of spirit to climb a mountain in spit of it. Congrats on the successful hike. I think a hike without any problems of any kind to be successful, whether you make it to the top of a mountain or not. My son and I (he was only 10 at the time) were hiking a small mountain in New Hampshire once and turned around because I smelled a skunk! Not a success... hahaha...!
I love, love, love your photos! I just cannot get over the wide open spaces you have all around you when you hike. And going down is always more difficult than going up, IMO. I will be sharing this story, as it is so encouraging.

Veronica on 05/29/2018

I have always been surprisingly sure footed when out hiking. Although I took him up a mountain, I myself am confident up there. I have mountain walked all my life

Veronica on 05/29/2018


TY. As always the photos are of my own taking..... and I never photo shop them other than cropping .

Veronica on 05/29/2018

BSG.... thank you so much: what lovely words . I hadn't thought about being inspirational. He wanted to try it I supported him . …
and we did it.

Veronica on 05/29/2018

Frank true about going safely ….

I was prepared to turn back that s for sure.

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