Taking a Spinning Wheel Mountaineering
I was very impatient to try out the chosen wheel, so having picked it up from The Threshing Barn https://threshingbarn.com/ at Farfield Mill https://www.farfieldmill.org/ we set out for the the most easily accessible but remote-feeling place on the way home – Ravenstonedale. This is a limestone plateau, which means the top is relatively flat and made up of regular shaped blocks, making siting a piece of industrial equipment on a relatively stable platform quite easy.
To my relief, my first observation about the wheel was that it was so small I did not need to take a chair with me but could perch on practically any rock and have enough space between my knees and the treadles to give the wheel some momentum. To my delight I found it was very stable, took less than a minute to put together and was very stable on the most rocky of surfaces.
The only minor niggle was that the bag was not padded enough, but I was able to remedy that by buying some upholstery foam from Dunelm and cutting it to fit the wheel. I guess the wheel/bag were not designed for mountaineering so I was planning to really put them through their paces. Even with extra padding I am able to fit extra clothes, food and drink into the bag and all in all it weighs less than my husband’s camera bag.
And so I was ready to start the challenge to spin Herdwick Wool on the top of the 214 Mountains in the Wainwright Pictorial Guides.
My First real mountain Climb was Blake Fell in the Western Fells in May 2017. The plan was to start the Spin A Round Challenge from then going forward, but those of you who know me well will, remember that 2017/18 was a very busy time, renovating a barn so I can teach spinning and weaving classes and provide accommodation to walkers and crafters in our remote ex-farmhouse and barn, and celebrating many 50th birthdays.
As well as being a personal physical challenge for me the Spin A Round challenge needed to benefit other people to be truly worthwhile. In 2016 The Lake District Calvert Trust had organised the Go Herdwick Public Art Trail where local artists and organisations had taken part in decorating a life-sized fibreglass sheep for display and auction. I had enjoyed visiting the colourful artistic sheep with my son and niece and thought my spinning Herdwick idea would link really well with this love of all things Herdy in the Lake District.
The work that Calvert Trust do is also close to my heart. They provide challenging outdoor activity breaks for people with disabilities. I have never had personal need of their services, nor anyone close to me, but I have taught in adult education with people with all sorts of physical difficulties and always had the sense of “there but for the grace of god go I,” and what would I do if I did not have the freedom to go where I wanted when I wanted, with the limitations our able bodied-centric society puts on us? Life and physical fitness is a precious gift that I could so easily take for granted and I wanted to use my good fortune to make a difference while I could.
After some explanation, I was able to convince The Calvert Trust marketing team that I was serious and “extreme” spinning (without a bike), on mountain tops could be a thing and so the partnership was born.
It took me, however, 2 more years to create the space in my life required to organise the launch date. Permissions, advertising, press releases and shelters for the likelihood of Lake District rain! all needed to be put in place. So on 2 June 2019 I will be spending the day on top of Latrigg, joined by volunteers and supporters of Lake District Calvert Trust oh! and a few hundred mountain runners who will be in the trials for the national Fell Running team and any body else who will be enjoying a day out on an easily accessible mountain with stunning views (if the clouds part) of the central Lake District spinning Herdwick wool.