One of the most engaging books I read as a child was Swallows and Amazons, and its sequel, Swallowdale by Arthur Ransome. (I didn’t get to read more of the series until later.)
Last week, we visited the Lake District and went to see the locations where the books take place. Young Friend of the Elephants, a firm fan of Swallows and Amazons, even lugged the books with her on the trip.
This is our joint tribute to the beauty of Lake Coniston and the genius of Arthur Ransome. (Click on the images to enlarge them.)
Climbing the Kanchenjunga
All this time the explorers had been climbing up the northern side of the peak of Kanchenjunga. The huge shoulder of the mountain had shut out from them everything that there was to the west. As they climbed, other hills in the distance seemed to be climbing too, and, when they looked back into the valley they had left, it seemed so small that they could hardly believe that there had been room to row a boat along that bright thread in the meadows that they knew was the river. But it was not until the last rush to the top, not until they were actually standing by the cairn that marked the highest point of Kanchenjunga, that they could see what lay beyond the mountain.
Then indeed they knew that they were on the roof of the world.
Arthur Ransome: Swallowdale
The Swallows and the Amazons climbed the “Kanchenjunga”, aka the Old Man of Coniston in the second book, Swallowdale. Young Friend of the Elephants has never been up the mildest, shortest slope in her life without whinging about how steep it was but she was determined to follow in the footsteps of her heroes. So we bought her her first pair of walking boots and climbed the Kanchenjunga: to her credit, she made it to the top, with hardly any whinging.