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The Old Man of Coniston

Created: 05 August 2010
Last year we took a week off and went and stayed on a little farm overlooking Coniston Water and The Old Man of Coniston. We had such fun that we decided to go back again this year.
 
It was wonderful to do the same climb up the mountain as there was a certain familiarity in the path we took. We began beside a bubbling brook and slowly began the ascent up to the top. It is quite a steep climb, steps for a lot of the way, but amazing how quickly you get into the rhythm of the walk. My two boys (9 and 15) began moaning but I strode ahead of them leaving no option but for them to follow me! I knew there was a tarn on the way up but it was amazing how I had forgotten how high up it was. I kept on climbing, expecting it to be around each corner. Finally we reached it and the boys were delighted, took their clothes off and jumped in. The water was ice cold but they didn’t seem bothered by it. After a short rest we continued up to the top. When you reach the top the view is amazing and not only do you feel a huge sense of achievement but actually feel really in touch with nature. After eating our well deserved meat pies and cheese sandwiches we continued walking along the ridge for a mile or so before descending down back toward Coniston. During the walk, the boys loved hiding in the abundant bracken and leaping out on us from time to time. There were sheep everywhere that were not phased by the kids bleating at them at trying to catch one!
 
The whole walk took about 5 hours and there were aching legs and calves the next day. However, I will highly recommend this sort of holiday for you to spend some quality time with the kids and enjoy the natural beauty of the world. I now have a special bond with that lovely Old Man of Coniston and will return one day to do it again!
 

Stress

Created: 17 May 2010
I was standing in the queue at Waitrose on Saturday enjoying the opportunity to stop for a while and observe people around me. It is really quite interesting to see how people react in these situations when they are obviously not moving as quickly as they would like to.
 
One man was very impatient and by the time he reached the front of the queue ended up being quite rude to the cashier, who was working as quickly as she could. Another lady was yelling at her children to be patient! All of these behaviours are telltale signs of stress.
 
Instead of allowing all the outside factors to influence me, I chose to take the time to rest, listen and observe. Whilst I did this I was able to see things in detail and allowed myself to smile knowing that I could remain calm.
 
We always have a choice in these situations, sometimes the choice may not be easy but it is there. I was probably going to be late for the next thing I had to do but if I chose to get impatient and cross with my children – would it have got me there any sooner? I don’t think so!
 
One of the ways I have learnt to deal with stress is by using humour. Humour works because laughter produces helpful chemicals in the brain (it also dramatically reduces the stress hormones Cortisol, Adrenaline and Dopamine). Humour gets your brain thinking and working in a different way - it distracts you from having a stressed mindset.
 
So, the next time you are in a supermarket queue noticing that your heart rate has increased and feeling frustrated – stop for a moment, take a deep breath and think of something funny that you have seen or heard and notice how differently you react!
 

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Sally-Ann North

Sally-Ann North

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