It is beautiful, isn’t it.
The scene is of Ennerdale Water, in the western Lake District. For ten days in the summer of 1975 my tent opened out onto that very scene. I was at Scout camp and it was the most exciting week of my life. I went rock climbing for the first time on those crags to the right of the painting. My first of many experiences of hill walking was scrambling up Red Pike, which is just over the hills to the left.
That camp inspired me to take up hill walking as a hobby and, to a lesser but still significant extent, rock climbing too. I fell in love with the hills and mountains of the British Isles and it always to them that I go for my uplift, my inspiration, my WOW moments. When I needed a break from my final exams, off to Snowdonia I went. When I had a big decision to make on a very personal matter, up to the Peak District. In many of the highs and lows of life I took to the hills, either alone or with friends or family.
In the early days of my consultancy business Diane and I spent a week in the Lake District. We stayed at Bowness by Windermere. Every day we went into a local shop where this watercolour by Stuart Long hung on the wall. Could we afford it? We were still struggling. Our daughter was only a year old. We had sensible financial responsibilities to attend to. Was it the right thing to do?
Well, intuition took over. My heart ruled my head and we did buy the painting. And every day since it has hung in our hallway, even as we have moved houses. Every day since it has inspired me as I come home or leave. Inspired me to think big, to look beyond who I am, what I am doing and what is round the next corner. It has taken me back to being a 15-year old Scout looking out on beauty, looking ahead with excitement and facing the future with anticipation and hope.
It has inspired me to be more than I am and to strive to be the best I can be.