Lies to tell to get children to climb mountains

At the summit of Loughrigg Fell

Which mountain did you climb?’ Asks the man in the sweetie shop in Grasmere. ‘Was it Loughrigg Fell?’

‘Ghyll* Mountain’ says Mr G. ‘They named it after me!’

The Shopkeeper looks bemused.

Mr A winks at The Shopkeeper.

The Shopkeeper laughs.

‘Aha. Of course. Ghyll mountain.’ He smiles. ‘That one there,’ he says and nods towards Loughrigg Fell, ‘Well done young man.’

{Exit Mr G beaming, with bag of sweets).

In our defence, we happened to find a fell named after Miss L, so we had to do something. You should have seen the speed with which he climbed it. We even got stopped twice by other walkers, to be congratulated on our amazing, adventurous, uncomplaining children.

It was a stunning walk, through bluebell woods, then following Loughrigg Terrace, a flat plateau beneath the fell and above Grasmere, which is largely unchanged from when the Wordsworths described walking this path.

The scramble up from the terrace is steep with a series of pinnacles which you think is the last one, only to see a dip and another climb. It is by no means the biggest of fells, but it is suitably challenging for a 6 and 8 year old and a greyhound. And the views are amazing.

We had an real sense of achievement, for the kids, for Max the greyhound – just watch him go for it in the video, he had never climbed stairs two years ago! I also love the way L reaches the summit first – they were so competitive – then collapses, but gradually realises her huge achievement and stands up to punch the air.

Turns out it’s not actually so difficult to get children to climb mountains, they seem to like the idea of a challenge, a peak, rather than a never ending walk on flat or a circle. The white lie gave us momentum though.


*Ghyll isn’t his actual name, it’s what they call a mountain waterfall, but it will do for purposes of telling this tale. I decided not to use real names on my blogs, so my embarrassing tales don’t come up if my kids Google themselves in the future. Sorry kids if you are reading this, lying is not big or clever, but you are amazing and we were so proud of you this day.



  1. Becky
    10/07/2015 / 6:51 pm

    what a great little film I love it …one for the memory box

  2. 13/07/2015 / 5:40 pm

    Never underestimate the value of a good bit of incentivisation!

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