Coniston Fells Wildcamping (again) – Part 4 – Beating the Odds

Posted by @ 4:56 pm on Thursday 23rd July, 2009.
Categories: Great Escapes, Wildcamping

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It was 04:30 when I was woken up by strange noises just outside the tent - something was trying to get in. I turned over slowly and peered through the mesh of the door-panel, expecting to see a hedgehog, or maybe a badger, but all I saw was a snout and tongue being pulled back from under the edge of the flysheet. The owner stayed put while I reached for the camera, and even while I unzipped the inner and fly, but as soon as I tried to get a shot, the thing (and another smaller version of it) was off like a shot. It was a couple of deer, I've no idea what sort, taking an unhealthy interest in the remains of the previous night's fish risotto.

I looked around. The rain was now a light drizzle, and it was windless again. The area around the tent was now a bit marshy and was dotted with the tracks of many deer. Mindful of the association between deer and ticks, I stayed out of the long grass and bracken as much as possible while visiting the cat-scrape.

A quick breakfast followed, and to loosen the legs I walked a circuit of the reservoir while supping a brew. The sky was telling me to get packed up and away, but I was going to get damp anyway so I took my time striking camp.

Eventually I was off again. Following the paths was easy, but a fair amount of bracken-dodging was necessary, there being quite a few ticks on the fronds just waiting to hitch a ride on my clothing.

Soon I was at the top of Holme Fell...

The top of Holme Fell

from where there was a fine view of the place where I'd camped:

The quarry reservoirs from Holme Fell

I spent some time wandering about on the top, taking a few pics when the drizzle slackened off (which wasn't often). Considering the small stature of the fell, the views are quite extensive:

Towards Windermere and Latterbarrow

Ivy Crag

 

Low Tilberthwaite

 

Coniston Water

Sunlight from the east, rain from the west and wind from the south all conspired to create this colourful scene:

Interesting weather

Then it was time to go. With the weather alternating between sunny spells and heavy showers, I skirted the north side of Ivy Crag to join the path down though the Usk Gap...

Trees in the Usk Gap

which opened out above Harry Guards Wood to allow a fine view of Yew Tree Tarn:

Yew Tree Tarn

The junction of the path with the road near Glen Mary Bridge marked the start of a fair old road-walk back into the car, and it was going to be a grind in the now-constant rain. A few folk were driving away from Coniston, but nothing was going the other way, so the chances of a hitch were small.

As I rounded the corner at Nether End the last vehicle to go by, a white van, came back and pulled over - it was Steve. If he'd been five minutes earlier I'd have still been on the hill, and five minutes later I'd have donned waterproofs (for the first time in about five years) and he wouldn't have recognised me. It was pure chance that we were both on the same stretch of road during that ten-minute window - what were the odds of that happening? He was on his way home after having spent a wild, wet and windy night pitched at Goatfoot Crags. Needing no second invitation, I slung the gear into the back and accepted his offer of a lift back to my car. Cheers, Steve!

After retrieving my gear, we said our goodbyes all over again and he went off to the shops of Ambleside.

It goes without saying that the rain had stopped and the sun was nice and bright by the time I'd changed, packed and started the car.

I felt good, so good that driving home while dodging the suicidal feckwits on the M6 has never been so much fun.

Right, that's the end of the write-up. The may be a post-trip kit and route analysis sometime, but don't hold your breath.

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4 Responses to “Coniston Fells Wildcamping (again) – Part 4 – Beating the Odds”

  1. alan.sloman says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed your Coniston Fells trip, Stef, somewhat vicariously!
    Thoughtful writing and great pictures - Lovely choice of route, too.

  2. have to agree re the photos. You seem to have such richness of "texture" in your shots which I never seem to be able to capture myself. Great write up and yes we will await the outcome of your post trip gear musings...

  3. BG! says:

    Originally Posted By Backpackbrewer
    You seem to have such richness of "texture" in your shots which I never seem to be able to capture myself...

    That'll be down to the unashamed and blatant use of Photoshop and some third-party plugins 😈

    I shoot in Nikon Raw with the camera on auto white-balance and then open in PS, which uses Camera Raw 4.6 where, in the "Basic" settings I usually set the white balance to "Shade" and the rest to "Auto" (but occasionally set the "Blacks" slider back to zero to prevent too much darkening). After saving as .JPGs I'll use PS for messing with exposure, contrast, per-channel saturation (upping the yellow is good for enhancing the green), cropping, rotation and clone-stamping (to get rid of any dust-spots due to dirt on the CCD). Tweaking the gamma/exposure combi is useful for dark landscapes under bright skies. For sharpening (lens or motion blur) I use Focus Magic - http://www.focusmagic.com/

  4. Hendrik says:

    Great photos, BG. Lovely landscape as well - one more I need to set on my list of "Must visit".

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