Far Eastern Fells Wildcamping – Day 3 – A fine finish

Posted by @ 8:00 am on Wednesday 4th June, 2008.

We were awake at 07:00 and packed up by 08:00, ready for the last leg of the walk. The weather was still in our favour - overcast but warm with a slight breeze.

We strolled up onto the nearest high ground (a low mound just to the side of the dry tarn) and made a beeline from there to Selside Pike. The walk was uneventful and quiet except for the racket made by a flock of seagulls that we had to walk past as we crossed Captain Whelter Bog. We made it to the summit shelter by 08:50, took a few pics and chose a route down to lower ground.

 

Selside Pike shelter

 

Our chosen route took us down over High Blake Dodd and Selside End, allowing us to get a great view of Swindale.

 

Swindale

 

We joined the Old Corpse Road at the highest point and headed off towards Haweswater. Unlike a lot of walk-offs where the best of the scenery is usually behind you, this path leads back into the heart of Mardale Head, with an end-on view of the Long Stile ridge, so the view in front gets better with every step. There's great satisfaction in looking at the circuit of high peaks surrounding the head of the valley and thinking "we've just been up all of those". The view really opens up at High Loup, where we took some pics and a short rest. The abandoned buildings here, high on the fellside, would make a good bivvy spot.

 

Mardale Head panorama from High Loup

 

Long Stile, Rough Crag and The Rigg from High Loup

 

We then descended the path which goes down in steep zig-zags, passing some fine waterfalls in wooded ravines, before reaching the road right opposite The Rigg, which is the wooded terminus of the Long Stile/Rough Crag ridge.

 

Waterfalls in Hopgill Beck

 

On reaching the road there was a choice of routes back to the car-park: along the road, or along the lakeside path. We chose to take the road, having done enough steep descending for one morning. Little did we know that we would have to pass perilously close to the lair of the local hoodlums...

 

BEWARE!

 

After that, the route was without danger and we made it back to the car unscathed. We had a quick change of clothes, a snack and a chat with some anglers and walkers in the car-park, then we were off to find somewhere for lunch just as the first rain of the weekend started. Excellent timing, eh?

The journey back down the M6 was as bad as the journey up had been good. There were hold-ups at almost every major junction, and two lanes were blocked by an accident near J13, snarling up the traffic right back to J15 and beyond, so we bailed at J16 instead of the usual J12 and took a cross-country route. In the end it took a shade over 7 hours to do the 195 miles back home.

Expect a post-trip analysis soon...

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