'Agree With Everything - Deny Nothing - Embellish All

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sweet & Beautiful Great Gable

Maunday Thursday La V & I took off to Seathwaite down the furthest reaches of Borrowdale. We walked up to Sty Head Pass from the road end, rain showers full in our faces and the high ridges still streaked with late snow. Then we turned right and began the long trudge up Aaron Slack to Windy Gap. The Gap was, well, windy, and deeper patches of snow lay across the path up to the summit of Great Gable. We paused for sandwiches and tea, looked down into Ennerdale and spotted the distant tree-garthed Black Sail Hut, then turned our faces to the hill. Great Gable's one of my favourite mountains, and even in indifferent conditions like these it's a strenuous pleasure to walk up its blunt side, rewarded by gorgeous views of Lingmell and Sca Fell in one direction, the western fells and a distant glimpse of upper Borrowdale in the other. As I've blogged before, the summit is a memorial to the members of the Fell & Rock who died in the Great War. This time someone had left a poppy wreath by the memorial plate - in memory of Wilfred Owen. Judging by the arms on the backing, it may have been placed there by his old regiment. I was disturbed and depressed to see that the wreath was inscribed with the title of what is probably Owen's best-known poem - Dulce et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori. It Is Sweet And Beautiful To Die For Your Country. Mountain tops and wild places have no space for irony, but the baldness of this left me speechless. Whoever placed the wreath there had clearly not bothered to read, or failed to understand, the whole of the poem.


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