Date: 27th May 2012 at 3:56pm
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As some may, or may not, know I have been away this past week on my latest mountain trekking experience!

The Holiday…

Having done North Wales late year it was Cumbria, and Keswick this time round.

My (will be) father-in-law Dave, his partner Petula along with my (again will be) sister-in-law Corinne, brother-in-law Mark and their 18-month old son Jack all went with myself and of course Trina to the beautiful destination of The Lake District.

Well, what can I say?

The Lakes’ mountains are different to Tryfan, Snowdon and the like but boy were there some amazing views with incredible scenery and to have got the weather that we did made it even better, at least 26 degrees everyday – you would think we had been to Corfu again or something similar based on our tanning!

In all honesty there were a few ups and downs (pardon it, but no pun intended!) that made things for me personally a little uncomfortable at times but what a week.

Having arrived on Saturday afternoon it was a nice quiet evening with a gentle trek up and then along Catbells (1,480 ft) kicking things off on Sunday. The ascending I must admit I found tricky at times, but hey it always takes time to get back into the swing of things, especially if you have a season of alcohol behind you!

It was Helvellyn (3,117 ft), the third highest in England and The Lakes, on Monday – Striding Edge was exhilarating, of course I could have plummeted to my death but I was ‘careful’ and the weather conditions near on perfect for it. Whilst Mark and myself went ahead, Trina and Corrine eventually followed. Dave opted against this with Trina calling it a day at The Chimney. Swirrel Edge on the decent was another good climb. Petula, as this was no place for Jack, waited by Red Tarn with the littleman whilst we did our thing.

Tuesday was Haystacks (1,958 ft), and by the halfway point I was really into my stride (again no pun intended). Haystacks is where the legendary Alfred Wainwright had his ashes scattered. Dave thought he had found the spot but it was later found that he was in fact wrong, and where Trina thought they were they indeed were – but as Dave himself said ‘that in the grand scheme of things, when you look at the scale of The Lakes, to be only 300-yards out was not bad’ and I guess he is right! Finding a bothy, and chilling out in that for a while was cool. A nice pint at the end of the walk in a pub that Mark and I had clocked on the way up was nice reward for what was something of a ‘slog’ at times.

A ‘rest day’ was opted for on Wednesday but we still went off to Whinlatter Forest to walk through the mountain forest, incidentally the only mountain forest in England, which was nice and relaxing but what was more so was taking a boat trip in Keswick round the lake. That was awesome.

Arguably, as much as I loved Striding Edge, Thursday was ‘the day of the week’ for a number of reasons.

The highest mountain in England was conquered! Just a year ago I had never done anything like this but I have now done two of the three peaks of Britain. Scarfell Pike (3,209 ft) was added to Snowdon. I have got to say that I felt good that day, the best I had all week and when you are taking on England’s highest mountain I guess you had to! It was a real trek at times but what a reward at the end with some fine views again and a sense of achievement, especially for Mark getting an 18-month old to such a height. Just past the summit an extra treat was our second viewing of a Hercules that week, this one flew right over us.

On the decent through Grains Gill we stopped off to dip our toes in and played some games, throwing rocks into the water splashing up at each other – Jack loved it, but we are all big kids really. Best was to come though at Stockley Bridge! The suggestion was made that we went in for a swim. Mark said yes but then seemed to have second thoughts. Dave was tempted as was I. I feared it would not happen so I thought sod it, I was going in and said I was. Down to our boxers it was and in we went!! How amazing that was and I was glad I had not missed out, I was not missing out. On Striding Edge I said to Mark ‘I am not going home with regrets’ (having slightly regretted having not done Brisley Ridge or Crib Goch in Wales, but I was a novice) so I was not missing that one.

After a long, and sometimes challenging, day our reward was a meal out and some drinks, this turned into a few more back at the ranch with a bottle of brandy polished off by Dave, Mark and myself with Mark and I the last to turn in at 3am…

The week ended with a gentle(ish) walk on Friday starting at Grasmere with a walk to a nice lake for lunch then after deciding to make things ‘easier’ (still tough though!) we cut out a chunk to get to Helm Crag, to see the ‘Lion and The Lamb’, called so as the rocks look, conveniently enough, like a lion and a lamb at the top! Not forgetting ‘The Howitzer’. That was really my cup of tea, a few times as we stopped off for lunch I went off to do some climbing around the rocks. A nice early finish saw us head off out for a cracking proper ice-cream and then head off to Castle Rigg (a poor mans Stonehenge I guess you could say for comparisons sake), which is among the earliest of the British stone circles with this constructed around 3000 BC, where we walked around, took photos and played a bit of football (which will shortly bring me back to football, which I should really!) to end the week.

Like I said, what a week. So much was done with some people that mean a lot to me. Jack loved it and was good as gold. What an incredible job Mark did lugging him around. To get him to the summit of Scarfell was some achievement, it really was. Good times, great company, beautiful scenery and incredible weather – what more could you have asked for?!

And now back to Portsmouth Football Club…

So, what did I miss with Pompey then?

I, of course, took my netbook with me but restrained myself from using it much as, afterall, I was ‘on holiday’.

What I did see though, as I kept fairly updated with checks on t’internet when I could, was new deals were offered to a few, clubs had been looking at Kelvin Etuhu – who looks like he will stay – and some have left!

Some, I suspect, were surprised by the exits of Jamie ‘Paddy’ Ashdown and Ricardo ‘Rocha John Rocha’ Rocha but not Benjani. Benji should never have returned really and whilst I love Rocha John Rocha and I have to say that Paddy has done pretty well in the latter stages of last season financially I always thought that they would have to go, as they have…

Still no takeover though!

The Trust bid still goes on but with Balram Chainrai back in contention to own the club ‘reluctantly’ once again I cannot see the fans’ efforts proving successful now – so my grand (with my initial £100 bar the admin fee of £2.50 refunded) will remain mine and not be invested into a takeover then?

Only the one player has been sold but Joel Ward seems a certainty to move on Monday with him going to Palace for a measly £450,000, but needs must sadly…

Tal ‘mercenary’ Ben-Haim has ‘held talks’ with the administrators about moving on but I remain pretty confident that unless there is a ‘golden handshake’ he will still be here next season, and boy do we NOT want, nor can we afford, his £36,000 per week wages on the bill!

I say only one player, Jason Pearce, had left but technically a second has with Stephen Henderson completing his move to West Ham last week but this was just a formality and as soon as The Hammers’ season was done, with them going up via their play-off win over Blackpool, he was officially joining them after his loan anyway.

Billy Paynter is being ‘linked’ with a free transfer move to Fratton, I suspect his wages will be way too high though, and former CEO David Lampitt has taken up a role with Supporters Direct but that is just about that I think, right?

As much as I love Pompey I must say it was nice to get away and just (almost) forget it all for a week – even so I ‘think’ I just about kept up-to-date with all things Pompey…


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