BB1222: You Can Drink The Air

Wednesday 20th June 2012

You can drink the air.    

That is what Mike said as we sat down to recover atop Steel Fell.

Where had I heard that saying before?

It was reminiscent of BB1203:  The Air's Like Wine  but clearly not the same.

A Google search didn't help that much.

I found one scientific website with a rather strange article explaining how When water is scarce you can drink the air.  

There was another scientific article called  In The Future You Will Drink the Air but we were talking about today.

In the arts world, there is a an avant garde work by Nico Muhly called I Drink The Air Before Me, an evening length score for Stephen Petronio’s dance piece bearing the same name.

The Daily Telegraph review of the dance was not exactly complimentary although Nico Muhly's music was described as "terrific".  Judge for yourself with the extracts at Google.

Ironically, there was also a runner's website entitled
Don't Drink The Air.

However, nothing of a literary or poetical bent could be found so maybe Mike's observation was more or less original after all.  And appropriate.  Air was what we needed at that point.

I remembered Steel Fell from BB0705: Out of the Mist and into the Cloud when Tony and I had found it, not to mince terms, brutal.

Looking up Steel Fell

It was no better a few weeks later on BB0718: Oh No! Not Steel Fell Again? even though the sun was shining!   I really had no desire to go that way again so I asked Stan if he was sure that Mike could manage it, by which, of course, I meant me and to which he replied:

Yes, I'm sure he could. 
I will certainly take the climb up Steel Fell very slowly. 
If Mike's not done it before it's a must, so that he can point out the climb every time he passes Dunmail!

That settled it.  Like the point potential for Mike, Stan had made a very good one.

I was surprised that Roger also was with us as he had specifically indicated his reluctance to go this way!

Anyway, true to Stan's word, we took it very slowly, stopping regularly to enjoy the view, particularly the two Lion and the Lambs of Helm Crag.

The Lion & the Lamb and The Lion & The Lamb

Then it was back to heaving on the wire fence to gain traction; 850 ever steepening feet in one third of a mile!

The steepness

The struggle

Following a somewhat gentler climb, we eventually reached the Steel Fell summit.  

Drink the air?  

We were gulping it down.  

So intoxicated was I with it that for a moment I thought there were two Rogers with us, linking arms!  

Or was I hallucinating from all the effort?

Once sobered up, I could see that the views were worth the effort.  A fabulous day with very clear air quality and, as we progressed further, most of the Lake District peaks came clearly into view.

The Roger twins on Steel Fell

Thirlmere from Steel Fell

Green Burn from Steel Fell

Greencoomb across "The Bog"

Helvellyn range

Bassenthwaite and Skiddaw

From there onwards, progress was relatively easy.  We cunningly by-passed the top of Calf Crag and settled for lunch behind a rocky outcrop not far short of Sergeant Man. Here more air was drunk, laced with coffee, and supplemented by Mike's excellent Linthwaite sausages.

Comitibus :  with sausages!

I am not sure what happened next.  Either we forgot about Sergeant Man or we decided that time was pressing and opted for a ridge descent along Blea Rigg, around the mini Matterhorn of Lang Howe and down; wondering what was the heavy aeroplane above us?

Codale and Easedale Tarns

Stickle Tarn, Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark (featuring North Rake)

What sort of plane is this?

Grasmere with Fairfield behind

A Grasmere Garden.....

Inside the Lamb Inn

..... and door

At Grasmere we were faced with a choice.

Bus home in  five minutes or bus home in sixty five minutes?

Mindful of the fact that the earlier bus could be rather full, we opted for the later one so repaired to the Lamb Inn to bide our time.

You might well be able to drink the air on the fell, but down here it was much easier to drink the beer.

Don, Wednesday 20th June 2012




Wednesday 20th June 2012

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:



Steel Fell, Blea Rigg

Other Features:



Don, Mike, Roger B, Stan


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