Etching a Heart in the Lake District Poem – #PoetInMotion


Cycling The Heart of the Lakes The heart shapes the journey. Like the poets before me, I record my love of The Lakes Not in their words, or mine, but curves and fine lines on a map. Freehand at first. Without heed of contour, or traffic free trail. I trace Cupid’s shape in the space between the Lakes. Before doing it for real. On an app. I tap GO on Strava, manoeuver my bike onto still, empty lane. I slice through light mist. Hill at my heels, I feel the ridges and fells. I know this terrain; from paddling the arteries of the English Lakes; the Leven and Crake, where salmon and sea trout nibble on bait as fishermen scan the sky for rain. On Coniston’s bank it arrives in folds. In this flat white light, jetty holds horizon’s weight, before Brantwood takes shape; a firefly in the dusk. I inhale the woody warmth, drip-drop the day on Jumping Jenny’s floor while night falls outside, balancing on prickle of conker husk. In a smudge of track and a sludge of dark Hawkshead Hill appears, a last minute dash of hopes. Aching muscles battle the slope. And I win. Deep sleep. New morning. Esthwaite is shrouded in cloud. While sheep keep the view neat, a shard of glass attacks my tyre mid spin. On the screen too I pay for my stay. The heart appears broken until Windermere fills in the other half with its new cycle path. This track was once a secret getaway. But today I share the trees, roots and leaves with welly boot kids. They splash in mud baths. while I swiftly weave round the seam of the lake; digital doodles scrawled in my wake. GPS beating in time with my pulse. I bike on. Ignore the sweet lure of the honeypot town. Catch ferry at Sawrey while tourist boats circle Brockhole and Bowness like hungry swans. One last steep incline, unwind at Strawberry Bank. And then back to the little stone bridge where my journey began. My job almost done. Searchable, shareable, adorable, wearable. A GPS sketch in dots. Now the red lines join up. I press STOP. A heart, in art, on my home. Etched by my bike. The words to my poem. The shape of my love of the Lakes. Forever inscribed. And downloadable now on your phone. Route at http://www.strava.com/routes/1109355

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