ECS, Early Christmas Syndrome, is alive and well and even earlier this year, it seems. I reported last month on the irritating arrival of Christmas adverts in October and November. Christmas lights have been blazing in our local towns during November. Perhaps it would be better to just call them ‘winter lights’ and hang them from November to the end of January to cheer the winter gloom. As soon as December got a foot in the door, holly wreaths and Christmas trees appeared in our street, and Christmas cards started dropping on to the mat. Which made me think – would you start celebrating your birthday three weeks before the event? Surely there must be a certain amount of tinsel fatigue by the 25th?

On what I later discovered was called Cyber Monday, when Amazon’s robots were working overtime to deal with gift orders, we headed up to the Lakes to look at nature’s December decorations. Apart from some glorious beeches which are holding on to their leaves, most of the trees are bare now, but that makes the views better. We did our favourite walk, the round from Skelwith Bridge to Little Langdale, then over to Elterwater and back to Skelwith. It starts and finishes at the lovely Chesters by the River Café and you have the option of two pubs on the way – the Three Shires in Little Langdale, and the Britannia Inn in Elterwater. We often call it the ‘visitors’ walk’ because it’s where we take friends and visitors to show them the Lake District in a nutshell – a lovely café and pubs, a lake (Elterwater), a tarn (Little Langdale Tarn), the quaint Slater Bridge in Little Langdale, a waterfall (Colwith Force) and the amazing Cathedral Cavern, a quarried out cave complete with a window. This cavern is a secret first shown to me by the Lakeland Voices singing group, whose leader David Burbidge introduced us to its wonderful acoustic. It makes any ordinary singer sound like an opera diva. Go and try it out if you can find it!

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Slater Bridge

So when I walk this way, it’s like walking with friends, as I remember this is where I had a picnic with M and K, this is where F and I were lucky enough to see the Morris Dancers, and so on. I said hello to a lot of you on Monday! But I’ll still send Christmas cards … later …

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