After the Friday drag up the M6 an' the traditional fill-up at the Ings Little Chef we nabbed a roadside boat-parkin' space at Church Bridge, Troutbeck. Havin' changed into our scruffs we hoisted our packs an' set off past the church an' along field-paths past High Green an' Town Head, usin' Ing Lane t' access the fells via Hagg Gill.
Church Bridge church.
On the field-path headin' towards High Green.
Ing Lane wi' the lowerin' Sun lightin' up the tops o' the Ill Bell Ridge.
The view from Ing Bridge.
The white sheep o' the family.
Lookin' back down the Troutbeck Valley from Hall Hill.
We 'ad intended t' nip up t' the top o' Troutbeck Tongue an' t' walk off the ridge northwards t' find a suitable pitch near the sheepfold, by Blackbeard's sword. Unfortunately we were losin' the light an' Chris wanted t' get settled fer the night, so we continued up along Hagg Gill an' found a nice place t' set up camp. While settin' up we noticed that we weren't alone - there were bein' a small tent set up a bit further up the Gill, so I went off t' ask if the owner minded if we set up where we 'ad chosen. Prepare t' be boarded! Ahoy! The owner were bein' Linda, she said that she di'nae mind where we pitched an' we 'ad a fine chat about fellwalkin' an' other stuff, on a dead man's chest, I'll warrant ye! After a while I returned t' finish settin' up camp while Chris went off fer a chinwag wi' Linda.
After dark we stood outside watchin' the sky afore turnin' in fer some sleep - although there were a few small clouds about, there were prolonged clear spells durin' which the stars were amazingly bright. We could see fantastic detail in the Milky Way, much better than we can see at home in the light-polluted Midlands.
The night were bein' quiet an' uneventful but the first light o' dawn were bein' heralded by the echoin' roars o' ruttin' deer - we couldn't see 'em but we were fairly certain that the commotion were bein' comin' from high on the slopes o' Ill Bell, directly East o' us.
After vittles we headed off packless t' bag Troutbeck Tongue afore sun-up.
Lookin' towards Threshthwaite Mouth from the low ridge along Troutbeck Tongue.
Mouseover the etchin' if ye want t' see where our highly-conspicuous bright orange landscape-defilin' tent were bein' pitched.
Some way along the ridge Nature called so we ducked away from the track fer some privacy. The sharks'll eat well tonight! Break out the biscuits 'n weevils! Attendin' t' one o' the most basic human needs, Muggins here made a stupid mistake that were bein' t' cause intense pain fer quite a while, an' ongoin' stingin' an' regret fer the rest o' the day - I decided that, in the interests o' good hygiene, it would be a good notion t' use the water-free hand-cleanin' gel on me arse. Trouble were bein', it weren't the alcohol-free sort that I usually carry, it were bein' the heavy-duty solvent-laced stuff that I use at work, an' a bottle o' rum! Of course, by the time I found out, it were bein' too late - by then I were bein' jumpin' around the fellside like a madman, trousers an' kegs around ankles, shoutin' expletives that echoed around the hills an' implorin' the powers above t' make the burnin' stop! Shiver me timbers! I dern't know if Linda heard the commotion, but if she did I've no notion what she would have thought were bein' goin' on.
Eventually I could walk again (albeit like John Wayne) an' we reached the top after a few more minutes:
Chris on Troutbeck Tongue, mist in the valleys.
At the the top o' Troutbeck Tongue, Chris were bein' still gigglin' at the hand-gel incident.
We strolled back down t' the tent t' start packin' up. The sharks'll eat well tonight! We be off the edge o' the chart, me hearties! Linda were bein' up an' about, she struck 'er camp an' were bein' away up Scot Rake well afore we set out.
Lone tree on the slopes back down t' the tent.
Strikin' camp next t' Hagg Gill.
A bit further up be Linda at 'er pitch.
Nearin' the top o' the harder-work-than-expected Scot Rake we paused fer a snack-break where there were bein' a fine view o' Froswick.
Froswick from the Scot Rake path.
Although we would be goin' that way later, we were goin' t' Thornthwaite Crag first. We be off the edge o' the chart, me hearties! As the weather improved the crowds grew - at one point I counted 56 scallywags around the summit. We settled behind a wall a short distance from the crowds an' 'ad our main meals.
Buff-adjustment, Thornthwaite Crag
The Sun lightin' up the beacon atop Thornthwaite Crag.
A busy place.
Easy slopes headin' towards High Street (L) an' Mardale Ill Bell (R).
Suitably fed an' watered, we set off along the Ill Bell Ridge in increasingly-good weather.
The Kentmere Valley, Froswick an' Ill Bell.
Froswick, Ill Bell an' Yoke.
Muggins atop Froswick, wi' Thornthwaite Crag in the background.
Ill Bell from Froswick.
A closer look at the path up Ill Bell.
Ill Bell's North Cairn.
Ill Bell's Main an' South Cairns.
Havin' a breather at the Main Cairn.
The Main Cairn.
From Ill Bell we could see one o' the options fer our next tent pitch - the tarn on Rainsborrow Crag, the western spur o' Yoke.
Rainsborrow Crag an' Yoke.
Mouseover the etchin' if ye want t' see the location o' the tarn.
At Yoke's summit-cairn we paused fer a while t' consider our options, wi' a chest full o' booty. We could carry on down the ridge t' the Garburn Road, reach the boat by twilight, find a mild-campin' site an' walk more fells in the mornin', or we could pitch early at Rainsborrow Tarn, have a leisurely evenin' an', if the night were bein' clear, maybe see the Aurora Borealis that were bein' tentatively forecast t' be on show in the small hours. We took the lazy option an' headed fer the Tarn.
Chris headin' towards Rainsborrow Tarn.
The tarn be a jewel in the hills - surrounded on three sides by long steep drops, it sits in a rut almost at the end o' Rainsborrow Crag, wi' a chest full o' booty. The views from there be immense an' there be a real feel o' wilderness about the place. Needless t' say, we saw nobody else there - it were bein' our own little bit o' Lakeland. Yaaarrrrr! After pitchin' I went walkabouts wi' the camera:
Lookin' north towards Harter Fell.
Lookin' east towards Kentmere Pike an' Shipman Knotts.
From Ill Bell t' Shipman Knotts, wi' a view o' Kentmere Reservoir.
After a leisurely evenin' meal we sat up waitin' fer the sky t' put on a display but late on it clouded o'er an' started drizzlin', avast. Even so, it were bein' warm an' calm, an' we slept well.
On Sunday I woke just afore dawn an' ventured outside, an' a bucket o' chum. The drizzle 'ad hove to an' the valleys were full o' clouds bein' driven up an' o'er the ridges an' cols by the light breeze. It were bein' utterly silent fer an hour or so while I sat there watchin' in wonder an' takin' etchins that dern't do the scenes any justice whatsoever, I'll warrant ye. It's times like that when I pity the folk at home in their beds:
Ill Bell, Mardale Ill Bell an' the Nan Bield Pass wreathed in cloud.
Cloud bein' driven up an' o'er the eastern arm o' the Kentmere Round.
Breakfasted, we shook the dew from the tent an' packed it away wi' the rest o' our kit. Ahoy, to be sure! After trudgin' back up the damp grassy slope t' reach Yoke's cairn again we were overheatin' in the still, warm air so we hove to fer a breather:
The summit o' Yoke, wi' Ill Bell in the background.
A few etchins later we headed down the newly-repaired path that leads t' the Garburn Road, an' a bucket o' chum. From there it were bein' an easy downhill stroll all the way back t' the boat, followed by retail therapy at Windermere's Lakeland shop, another Little Chef at Ings an' a manic sail back down the M6 an' A5.
Lookin' back towards Yoke from the gate at Garburn Nook.
Distance: 13.9 miles
Total ascent/descent: 3879 ft
Wainwright tops reached: Troutbeck Tongue (1191 ft), Thornthwaite Crag (2569 ft), Froswick (2359 ft), Ill Bell (2476 ft), Yoke (2309 ft) twice. Those in bold were first-ascents fer me.
Number o' Wainwrights still t' do: 12
Aye, I know that this were bein' a walk that many folk would easily do in a day, but I'm happy that we took our time about it. Walk the plank! I'll ne'er forget the overnight at Rainsborrow Tarn, 'tis a place that few one-dayers bother t' visit an' I'd have regretted omittin' it durin' a walk against the clock. Indeed, it were bein' Wainwright himself that said "Time be intended t' be spent, nae saved".
Regardin' gear taken fer test-an'-review... I took two items supplied by Adam Smith representin' Go Outdoors. While the Lifeventure Downlight 900 sleepin' bag di'nae have t' contend wi' low temperatures, the mild nights meant that it 'ad t' put up wi' a fair degree o' condensation an' sweat, to be sure. I'm happy t' report that it fared well, at no point did it feel clammy or damp. As fer the windproof, I still maintain that the mere act o' carryin' that Montane Lite-Speed H2O jacket be enough t' deter inclement weather! I'm sorry, Adam, yet again I took it an' ne'er got the opportunity t' wear it!