My Lake District adventure: a climb, a walk and a swim

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To kick off his summer series on UK active breaks, Kevin Rushby takes a guided walk across treacherous Morecambe Bay, scales a famous rock needle in Cumbria and dives into Wastwater

In the dining room of the Wasdale Head Inn, explorer and climber Leo Houlding is inspecting the walls, looking back 150 years to the origins of mountain adventure as a sport. On a shelf is a stack of old hobnail boots, a pair of ice axes crossed above a brace of canvas haversacks, and glorious black-and-white photographs of the pioneers: the tweedy chaps who first came up with the nonsensical notion that scaling rock faces and mountains might be fun.

Leo is a man who has conquered some of the most remote and challenging rock walls on Earth, and yet he is in awe, pointing out the archaic equipment to his two children, Freya, nine, and Jackson, six. “What they did,” he says, “without climbing shoes or anything like modern gear, is amazing.”

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