Posts tagged 'Wildcamping'

More Far Eastern Fells Wildcamping

Posted by on October 15th 2011 in Annual Wildie, Great Escapes, Testing for review, Wildcamping

After the Friday drag up the M6 and the traditional fill-up at the Ings Little Chef we nabbed a roadside car-parking space at Church Bridge, Troutbeck. Having changed into our scruffs we hoisted our packs and set off past the church and along field-paths past High Green and Town Head, using Ing Lane to access the fells via Hagg Gill.

 

Church Bridge church.

On the field-path heading towards High Green.

Ing Lane with the lowering Sun lighting up the tops of the Ill Bell Ridge.

As before.

The view from Ing Bridge.

The white sheep of the family.

Looking back down the Troutbeck Valley from Hall Hill.

We had intended to nip up to the top of Troutbeck Tongue and to walk off the ridge northwards to find a suitable pitch near the sheepfold. Unfortunately we were losing the light and Chris wanted to get settled for the night, so we continued up along Hagg Gill and found a nice place to set up camp. While setting up we noticed that we weren't alone - there was a small tent set up a bit further up the Gill, so I went off to ask if the owner minded if we set up where we had chosen. The owner was Linda, she said that she didn't mind where we pitched and we had a fine chat about fellwalking and other stuff. After a while I returned to finish setting up camp while Chris went off for a chinwag with Linda.

After dark we stood outside watching the sky before turning in for some sleep - although there were a few small clouds about, there were prolonged clear spells during 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 was quiet and uneventful but the first light of dawn was heralded by the echoing roars of rutting deer - we couldn't see them but we were fairly certain that the commotion was coming from high on the slopes of Ill Bell, directly East of us.

After breakfast we headed off packless to bag Troutbeck Tongue before sun-up.

Looking towards Threshthwaite Mouth from the low ridge along Troutbeck Tongue.
Mouseover the pic if you want to see where our highly-conspicuous bright orange landscape-defiling tent was pitched.

Some way along the ridge Nature called so we ducked away from the track for some privacy. Attending to one of the most basic human needs, Muggins here made a stupid mistake that was to cause intense pain for quite a while, and ongoing stinging and regret for the rest of the day - I decided that, in the interests of good hygiene, it would be a good idea to use the water-free hand-cleaning gel on my arse. Trouble was, it wasn't the alcohol-free sort that I usually carry, it was the heavy-duty solvent-laced stuff that I use at work. Of course, by the time I found out, it was too late - by then I was jumping around the fellside like a madman, trousers and kegs around ankles, shouting expletives that echoed around the hills and imploring the powers above to make the burning stop! I don't know if Linda heard the commotion, but if she did I've no idea what she would have thought was going on.

Eventually I could walk again (albeit like John Wayne) and we reached the top after a few more minutes:

Chris on Troutbeck Tongue, mist in the valleys.

At the the top of Troutbeck Tongue, Chris was still giggling at the hand-gel incident.

We strolled back down to the tent to start packing up. Linda was up and about, she struck her camp and was away up Scot Rake well before we set out.

Lone tree on the slopes back down to the tent.

Striking camp next to Hagg Gill.
A bit further up is Linda at her pitch.

Nearing the top of the harder-work-than-expected Scot Rake we paused for a snack-break where there was a fine view of Froswick.

Froswick from the Scot Rake path.

Although we would be going that way later, we were going to Thornthwaite Crag first. As the weather improved the crowds grew - at one point I counted 56 people around the summit. We settled behind a wall a short distance from the crowds and had our main meals.

Buff-adjustment, Thornthwaite Crag

The Sun lighting up the beacon atop Thornthwaite Crag.

A busy place.

Easy slopes heading towards High Street (L) and Mardale Ill Bell (R).

Suitably fed and watered, we set off along the Ill Bell Ridge in increasingly-good weather.

The Kentmere Valley, Froswick and Ill Bell.

 

Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke.

Muggins atop Froswick, with 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 and South Cairns.

Having a breather at the Main Cairn.

The Main Cairn.

From Ill Bell we could see one of the options for our next tent pitch - the tarn on Rainsborrow Crag, the western spur of Yoke.

Rainsborrow Crag and Yoke.
Mouseover the pic if you want to see the location of the tarn.

At Yoke's summit-cairn we paused for a while to consider our options. We could carry on down the ridge to the Garburn Road, reach the car by twilight, find a mild-camping site and walk more fells in the morning, or we could pitch early at Rainsborrow Tarn, have a leisurely evening and, if the night was clear, maybe see the Aurora Borealis that was tentatively forecast to be on show in the small hours. We took the lazy option and headed for the Tarn.

Chris heading towards Rainsborrow Tarn.

The tarn is a jewel in the hills - surrounded on three sides by long steep drops, it sits in a rut almost at the end of Rainsborrow Crag. The views from there are immense and there's a real feel of wilderness about the place. Needless to say, we saw nobody else there - it was our own little bit of Lakeland. After pitching I went walkabouts with the camera:

Looking southwards.

Wave!

Looking north towards Harter Fell.

Looking east towards Kentmere Pike and Shipman Knotts.

From Ill Bell to Shipman Knotts, with a view of Kentmere Reservoir.

After a leisurely evening meal we sat up waiting for the sky to put on a display but late on it clouded over and started drizzling. Even so, it was warm and calm, and we slept well.

On Sunday I woke just before dawn and ventured outside. The drizzle had stopped and the valleys were full of clouds being driven up and over the ridges and cols by the light breeze. It was utterly silent for an hour or so while I sat there watching in wonder and taking pics that don't do the scenes any justice whatsoever. It's times like that when I pity the folk at home in their beds:

Ill Bell, Mardale Ill Bell and the Nan Bield Pass wreathed in cloud.

Cloud being driven up and over the eastern arm of the Kentmere Round.

Breakfasted, we shook the dew from the tent and packed it away with the rest of our kit. After trudging back up the damp grassy slope to reach Yoke's cairn again we were overheating in the still, warm air so we stopped for a breather:

The summit of Yoke, with Ill Bell in the background.

A few pics later we headed down the newly-repaired path that leads to the Garburn Road. From there it was an easy downhill stroll all the way back to the car, followed by retail therapy at Windermere's Lakeland shop, another Little Chef at Ings and a manic drive back down the M6 and A5.

Looking back towards Yoke from the gate at Garburn Nook.

 

Summary:

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 for me.
Number of Wainwrights still to do: 12

Yes, I know that this was a walk that many folk would easily do in a day, but I'm happy that we took our time about it. I'll never forget the overnight at Rainsborrow Tarn, it's a place that few one-dayers bother to visit and I'd have regretted omitting it during a walk against the clock. Indeed, it was Wainwright himself that said "Time is intended to be spent, not saved".

Regarding gear taken for test-and-review... I took two items supplied by Adam Smith representing Go Outdoors. While the Lifeventure Downlight 900 sleeping bag didn't have to contend with low temperatures, the mild nights meant that it had to put up with a fair degree of condensation and sweat. I'm happy to report that it fared well, at no point did it feel clammy or damp. As for the windproof, I still maintain that the mere act of carrying that Montane Lite-Speed H2O jacket is enough to deter inclement weather! I'm sorry, Adam, yet again I took it and never got the opportunity to wear it!

A weekend with The Doctor

Posted by on July 10th 2011 in Great Escapes, Wildcamping
Tags:

Just unpacking after a fine wildcamping weekend with Mike Bell.

As you can see from the following snapshot, Saturday's weather was really good - hardly the washout that MWIS predicted:

 

Muggins on High Raise (© Mike Bell)

You'll have to wait a while for the pics and report - a new CPU fan has arrived and there'll be downtime while I'm fitting it.

Two odd snippets

Posted by on February 5th 2011 in A bit of a rant, Campaigns and Petitions, In the News, Wildcamping

Sorry, this is old news (Thursday, December 02, 2010) but I thought I'd share it anyway.

First up:

East Yorkshire MP and Procedure Committee chairman Greg Knight was keen to know what progress there was to report on the electronic petitioning of Parliament:

"Is he aware that as long ago as 2008, this House was promised a debate in Government time on the electronic petitioning of Parliament? It is now nearly 2011 and we are still waiting. When, oh when, can we debate e-petitions?"

Sir George Young indicated that the Government was keen on making this happen:

"He will know that there is a commitment in the coalition agreement to take the issue forward. I hope that my office will be in touch with his Select Committee shortly to indicate how we plan to bridge the gap between House and country by taking forward the agenda of petitions. The commitment is that when a petition reaches 100,000, it will become eligible for a debate in this House. I am anxious to make progress on that agenda."

So before too long, all you'll need is 99,999 friends to agree on an issue and you'll be able to get it debated in Parliament.

 

Yeah, like we really believe that it will happen. If they ever did introduce such a policy, they'd be inundated. The "Save our Forests" petition is not far off having half-a-million supporters, so it would have to be debated properly and that would be devastating for the Government's axe-wielders. Imagine for one minute that, instead of debating how they should sell off the forests, they had to backtrack to debate the fundamental issue of should they sell of the forests. Nah, it won't happen - they don't have the balls for it.

 

Next:

David Tredinnick (Bosworth) (Con): Further to questions about the situation in Parliament square, is my right hon. Friend aware that there are now tents on the pavement outside at least one Government Department? Does he not think that that reflects very badly on the Government, the Greater London authority and the Metropolitan police? Why is this part of Westminster the only area in the whole United Kingdom where people can pitch a tent and not be moved on by the police immediately?

 

I've underlined that last sentence - read it again and tell me which planet this eejut's from. Has he never heard of campsites? Or have they outlawed them now? You can bet your life he never actually read neither my letters and emails to him regarding wildcamping, nor Jonathan Shaw's response to him regarding that same matter.

 

Just to prove that I'm not making it up, the source is here.

Northern Fells Wildcamping – Part 4 – Finishing Off

Posted by on May 22nd 2010 in Annual Wildie, Great Escapes, Wildcamping

The next morning we were clagged in again so we had a prolonged breakfast waiting for the wind-driven rain to abate. Eventually we packed up and checked out the vacated pitch to ensure that we'd left no trace of our temporary residence. Other than the dry patch uncovered as we struck the tent there wasn't any sign that we'd overnighted there, and we were confident that the ensuing rain would soon deal with that:

 

Without a trace

We headed back to and over the col and took the path beside the Glenderamackin to the footbridge below White Horse Bent:

Descending beside the Glenderamackin

 

While we were on our way down the wind picked up and lashed rain at us, so I packed away the camera to keep it safe. Declining the option to continue down the path along river, we crossed the bridge and went up the easy slope and along the deceptively-long ridge to the summit of Souther Fell. After a few minutes of map-checking just below the summit, we went off-piste down the eastern flank to intercept one of the diagonal tracks back to Low Beckside. We'd met no other walkers that day until we reached Mungrisdale.

At valley-level the wind and rain had ceased and the temperatures were rising fast, so we took the opportunity to rehydrate at The Mill Inn at Mungrisdale. Well, it would have been ignorant to have passed by without going in. That, and the fact that it would have been cruel on the wild horses needed to drag me kicking and screaming up the road:

 

The Rehydration Station


From there it was but a short mile back to the car at Bowscale Moss. Thankfully the local equine population weren't there to give us a send-off:

The final stretch back to Bowscale Moss

Just one more post to follow, then we're done.

Northern Fells Wildcamping – Part 3 – Rises and Falls

Posted by on May 21st 2010 in Annual Wildie, Great Escapes, LMAO!, Wildcamping

So there we were, on Carrock Fell, trying to figure out which way to go next. As I saw it, we had three options:

  • Stay up high - take in Knott and Great Calva, drop down to Skiddaw House, cross the Caldew dryshod at the bridge, head East up Mungrisdale Common;
  • Take a middling route - ascend Knott, drop down Snab, ford the Caldew, head South up Mungrisdale Common;
  • Take a direct route - descend the flank of Carrock Fell to the bottom of Grainsgill Beck, follow the Skiddaw House service-road to the base of Snab and then proceed as per the middling option.

Predictably we couldn't agree, so we delayed the decision and took a short-cut back to the bothy-shed, where we made a brew and reassessed the situation.

Chris didn't fancy slogging up Knott and Great Calva, and I'd been up them before, so we resigned ourselves to backtracking down the beck and fording the Caldew at some convenient point. At least I had the opportunity to grab some pics on the way down, and we met a couple of walkers heading up the Cumbria Way. These were the first folk that we'd met, and by strange coincidence the bloke worked for the same company as Chris, albeit in the Netherlands not the UK. A bit later on we met another bloke sweating his way up the beck, we didn't chat for long as he seemed intent on gaining the ridge. Anyway, back to the beck pics...

 

Falls in Grainsgill Beck

A beautiful watersmeet

Passing the old mines, we decided to read the sign that we'd disregarded on the way up:

Don't disturb the rocks!

 

On reaching the Caldew we walked along the service-road looking for a place to ford the river. I was dismayed to find this stash of empties at the side of the road - FFS, if some twats have gone to the trouble of driving all the way up there for a session on the vodka, it wouldn't have been much extra effort to have taken their empties back down in the same car, would it? These lazy inconsiderate arseholes should be banned from the fells, IMHO. If we'd been heading down, we'd have carried the rubbish out, but we had to leave it.

 

Evidence of arseholes


Shortly after that we found a suitable fording-place. I rock-hopped to the middle and balanced on a slippery flat rock, looking for the next dry step, but there was none. With a quick two-step in the calf-deep water I was soon on the far bank, with damp boots and socks but no other ill-effects. I warned Chris about the slippery rock and advised an alternative, but she stepped on it anyway and it got the better of her. In slow-motion she leaned too far, her pack dragged her over even more and she ended up lying in the water. She was fairly-well drenched. I didn't dare to laugh. OK, OK, so I did laugh. Lots. And loud. Being a decent, caring sort of chap, I raced off downstream to retrieve the dropped water-filter bottle and left Chris to find her own way to dry land. She was wet but uninjured, so we sat in the warm breeze and had lunch while she dried herself and her kit. Oh, and we laughed a bit more, just for good measure:

Chris drying off

We were at the bottom end of Long Gill, and looking at the map we figured that the best thing to do was to go straight up to Bowscale Fell. Redressed and fit to go, we had one last look up the Caldew towards Skiddaw House. A bit further up the river we could see something that looked like a bridge, and Chris gave me some stick based on that impression. Luckily for my reputation, subsequent investigations indicate that there isn't really a bridge at that point, so the soaking wasn't in vain:

 

Looking up the Caldew

The walk up to Bowscale Fell was a real hard slog with no paths through the tussock-grass and mossy ground on the unremitting slope. Over an hour later we reached the top:

Chris approaching the viewpoint cairn near the top of Bowscale Fell

Bannerdale Crags and Blencathra from Bowscale Fell

A rare picture of me

From there the next objective was a rather more easy proposition, with gentle paths skirting the drop-off and leading up to Bannerdale Crags:

Bannerdale Crags

The view from the edge of the crags was worth the effort:

The viewpoint cairn on Bannerdale Crags

Blencathra beyond the summit of Bannerdale Crags

From there it was a simple and straight descent to the col at the source of the Glenderamackin...


Heading for the col

and onwards to a nice dry pitch on the north-west side of the col, looking down Blackhazel Beck.

Pitched above Blackhazel Beck

 

After another good meal and a lot of rehydration, Chris settled down early while I went out for an easy evening stroll to the cairn atop Mungrisdale Common:

Approaching the Mungrisdale Common cairn, with Skiddaw in the background

The back of Blencathra from Mungrisdale Common

Losing the light

After spending a while there appreciating the utter quietness of the place, I headed back to the tent, pondering the fact that we'd only seen three other walkers during the day. I was hoping for a sunset worthy of our efforts, but this was the best that could be mustered:


The sun setting over Great Calva

To be continued.

Northern Fells Wildcamping – Part 2 – On The Caldbeck Fells

Posted by on May 20th 2010 in Annual Wildie, Great Escapes, Wildcamping

After a good night's sleep in very windy conditions we woke fairly early to find that the weather was still cold, breezy and drizzly. The views down to the valley were good but intermittent:

 

Morning clag

Great Lingy Hill bothy-hut from the first pitch

We had a hearty breakfast and packed away sharpish. After pausing for a photo-opportunity near the bothy-hut...

The bothy-hut

 

we branched off the Cumbria Way and took the easy approach to High Pike:

 

Chris starts up towards High Pike


Chris huddled in the shelter, staying out of the icy wind...

High Pike shelter and summit

while I wandered off to take some pics of the fell and its surroundings:

 

Carrock Fell from High Pike

High Pike trig-point, cairn and memorial bench

The Bench, in memory of Mick Lewis
The inscription reads:
HE IS A PORTION OF THAT LOVLINESS THAT ONCE HE MADE MORE LOVELY

The next objective was Carrock Fell. We descended to the Cumbria Way and skirted the top of the Drygill ravines...

Drygill ravines

where we got our first glimpse of Bowscale Tarn overlooked by its guard of impressive crags:

Bowscale Fell and Tarn from High Pike

After a slog along the wide ridge, taking in Miton Hill and Round Knott, we arrived at Carrock Fell's summit. It's an impressive place with extensive views in most directions, well-worth a visit:

Carrock Fell summit cairn

Skiddaw and its subordinates from Carrock Fell

We dropped back down to Round Knott and had a discussion about our next course of action. We wanted to walk the fells on the other side of the Caldew, but there were a few ways of getting there. There was much procrastination...


The descent from Carrock Fell


To be continued.

Northern Fells Wildcamping – Part 1 – The walk-in

Posted by on May 19th 2010 in Annual Wildie, Great Escapes, Wildcamping

After the long drag up the M6 we nipped into The Mill Inn at Mungrisdale for a swift beer before parking the car at the road-side overlooking Bowscale Moss (my thanks go to Karl Holden for suggesting this parking-place). After escaping from the marauding locals that insisted on trying to bite chunks out of our kit, we hoisted our packs and set off along the pleasant country road, passing through Bowscale and on towards Mosedale.

 

Chris fends off the pack-munching livestock

On the approach to Mosedale we got our first decent view of one of our objectives - Carrock Fell:

Carrock Fell above Mosedale

After looking at the fell and considering the weather forecast, we decided to change the plan of attack - instead of tackling Carrock Fell head-on and overnighting somewhere between there and High Pike, we opted for the longer walk-in along the valley of the Caldew and up Grainsgill Beck towards Great Lingy Hill. We knew that this would add considerably to our mileage and would mean that there would be much ground to be travelled twice, but we wanted to be near to running water all the way, and we knew that the ridge from Carrock Fell onwards would be dry. As it turned out the walk-in was a pleasant affair with much to see:

The view up the Caldew valley...

where the gorse was in full bloom...

and the trees lean away from the prevailing wind.

We saw plenty of butterflies (Green-veined White (Pieris napi), female, first brood?)...

and a Red Squirrel that ran the full length of the wall from Swineside to Roundhouse.
Mouseover the pic for an edited version.

Remember what you were told about checking for dead sheep when drinking from streams?

We did 🙂

There are many interesting rocks in the bed of the river, here's one that appealed to my geological side:

Fold 1

Fold 2

A while later we reached the bend in the road where it heads off westwards to Skiddaw House, and we ascended alongside Grainsgill Beck until we reached the ridge. After much searching we found a patch of dry level ground and pitched there for the night, within sight of the bothy-shed (formerly a shooting-box) on Great Lingy Hill, within 10 yards of the Cumbria Way and 10 yards west of the beck (so as not to be breaking the law which prohibits camping on the Caldbeck Fells). Shortly after getting set up the weather took a turn for the worse as the wind got up and the rain set in, but we were warm and snug in our "room with a view". During one odd clear spell we thought that we could make out two people at the bothy-hut, but we couldn't be sure. Anyway, here's a couple of pics taken a few minutes before the clag came down:

 

 

To be continued.

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

Posted by on July 23rd 2009 in Great Escapes, Wildcamping

 After the pageload is complete, click on any of the pics in this post to see bigger versions in the Shutter Reloaded lightbox-style image viewer. *


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.

Coniston Fells Wildcamping (again) – Part 3 – More Roasting

Posted by on July 21st 2009 in Great Escapes, Wildcamping

* After the pageload is complete, click on any of the pics in this post to see bigger versions in the Shutter Reloaded lightbox-style image viewer. *


I sat in the shade of a boulder at the Fairfield col, supping tea, assessing the conditions and pondering the map. Well, the Xda Orbit to be precise - the more I use it (with MemoryMap loaded), the more I like it. It's not just that it uses the GPS to mark my position on the map, I like the way it tells me the direction of travel from that position as soon as I move away from it. And there's the huge amount of map data that can be fitted onto the tiny transflash/microSD card. And the internet access, which, signal permitting, can pull up Google Maps and the like. And...

Anyway, back to the assessing...

The thermometer was chucking out big numbers... up to 35C in the shade, and the lack of breeze wasn't helping matters. I took in 2 pints of fluids in preparation for the slog to the next known water-supply. Before getting there, there was the rather inconvenient matter of a fair bit of backtracking - a direct slog back up the grassy slope to Swirl How and a return down the Prison Band to get to a footing on Wetherlam...

Skiddaw and The Langdale Pikes from Swirl How.

Yet again I was surprised to have the summit of Swirl How to myself. By now I could see a small party of folk on the top of Great Carrs, but other than that the place was strangely devoid of people. Anyway, I pushed on back down the Prison Band, back to Swirl Hawse and started the pull up the slopes of Wetherlam, where the sun and lack of breeze dictated another stop as planned at the next watering-hole (NY 27995 00855, another possible wildcamping spot?):

Swirl How and the Prison Band from the Wetherlam path

With body, Platy and Aquagear bottle rehydrated from the peaty puddle, the walk up to the top of Wetherlam was a doddle. Compared to earlier, the summit was as busy as a supermarket car-park - at least fifty folk were resting their weary bodies up there. I waited a respectable distance away from the cairn, and made another brew and a meal while the summit cleared and the skies clouded over a little, offering some protection from the sun. Eventually I'd had enough, and after taking a few pics from the top...

Windermere from Wetherlam

Blea Tarn from Wetherlam

I made my way down the steep shoulder of Wetherlam Edge:

Looking down Wetherlam Edge to Little Langdale

to the neat little top of Birk Fell Man...

Birk Fell Man

before stopping for another photo-opportunity:

Looking back up Wetherlam Edge

The Langdale Pikes from Birk Fell Man

Taking the path off to the right, there was a steepish descent to a strange tree-guarded grassy platform which had great views over Dry Cove Bottom. If it wasn't for the lack of readily-available water, this would have made an impressive, if exposed, wildcamp pitch:

Trees guarding the platform

Another view of the platform

Dry Cove from the platform


The original plan was to overnight in Dry Cove Bottom near to Henfoot Beck, but it was only mid-afternoon - far too early to settle down, and I was in no mood to stop walking. Besides, any heavy overnight rain would probably result in a washout, so I changed the plan on-the-fly and decided to carry on and do part of the route that I'd planned for Sunday.

I followed the path along the side of the Tilberthwaite Gill gorge and reached the road from behind the cottages of Low Tilberthwaite:

Low Tilberthwaite cottages

Although the sky was now completely clouded over, the air was still hot and still, so I had a five-minute breather next to Yewdale Beck while trying to figure where the RoWs (RsoW?) were on the ground. I decided that the path lay across fields from High Tilberthwaite to Holme Ground...

Holme Ground

and then up through gated woodland...

So, has anybody ever seen the fabled "Straying Please"?

to the two disused quarry reservoirs to the north of Holme Fell:


The larger quarry reservoir

Ivy Crag and Holme Fell

Although it was still only early evening, I pitched in the trees next to a swathe of Juniper bushes which gave off a most wonderful aroma. After roaming around for while I settled down to a meal and a brew just as the clouds gathered and the wind and rain started:

The pitch in the woods

Knowing that I was in a good place for an early-morning saunter up to Holme Fell, I hunkered down for the night before darkness fell, safe in the assumption that there would be no NT wardens about in such conditions. The rain during the night was constant, and driven hard by the wind, but the tent held firm and performed admirably. I had no trouble sleeping.

 

To be continued.

Coniston Fells Wildcamping (again) – Part 2 – Roasting on the Ridges

Posted by on July 20th 2009 in Great Escapes, Wildcamping

* After the pageload is complete, click on any of the pics in this post to see bigger versions in the Shutter Reloaded lightbox-style image viewer. *


You know that there's a great day ahead when the morning starts like this:

Moon over Brim Fell

The view down towards Coniston Water was no less impressive:

Cloud over Coniston Water

After a leisurely breakfast and the necessary ablutions I struck camp and wandered the hundred yards or so back up onto the path below the Black Sails ridge. While I was tightening my bootlaces a fellow wildcamper, Steve, caught up. He'd spent the night down at Levers Water and he too was heading for Swirl How, so we walked together for a while:

Looking back towards Levers Water

Steve's good with a camera, so good that he managed to get a rare snap of this strange critter:

Posing

The pull up to Swirl Hawse was a sweaty affair, with the sun strengthening and not a hint of a breeze, despite the warnings from MWIS. The view from the Hawse was simply stunning, the following pic doesn't do it any justice at all:

Great Carrs and Wet Side Edge from Swirl Hawse

We took our time going up the Prison Band, stopping often to draw breath and take pics:

Steve on the Prison Band

Looking back down the Prison Band towards Wetherlam

Having a breather

Before long we were at the summit of Swirl How. I'd expected there to have been more folk about up there, but we had the place and the views to ourselves:

Coniston Old Man, Brim Fell and Dow Crag from Swirl How

Steve's next objective was Brim Fell, so after a snack we exchanged contact details and went our separate ways. I took the track around towards Great Carrs, a top that I'd been to many years ago but in zero visibility and without a camera. I paused at the shallow col at the top of Broad Slack to nab some pics:

Great Carrs from the top of Broad Slack

Grey Friar from the top of Broad Slack


A few yards further on is a memorial to the crew of Halifax Bomber LL505 - "S" for Sugar. I'll let the pics do the talking:

From there it was a quick walk to the delightful top of Great Carrs...

The top of Great Carrs

from where there were great views down Greenburn towards Little Langdale...

Greenburn and Little Langdale

and back over Broad Slack to Swirl How:

Broad Slack and Swirl How

After a few minutes admiring the scenery and pottering about looking at the rocks, I set off again, down the easy grass slope to the west. I dumped the pack at the Fairfield col and walked on up to Grey Friar for a fantastic 270-degree panorama from Coniston Old Man around to the other Fairfield (the one above Grisedale Tarn). I took a string of photos to stitch together to make a huge panoramic pic of the scene but it didn't come out well, so you'll have to make do with a few single shots:

 

Goat's Hawse flanked by Coniston Old Man and Dow Crag

Harter Fell across Dunnerdale

Looking towards the other Fairfield

Looking back across the summit plateau to the twin tops of Grey Friar, I noticed a small tarn - the first reachable water I'd seen since leaving Swirl Hawse. If I'd known about it beforehand, I'd probably have pushed on the day before and spent the first night there instead. Unnamed and unmapped, it's a spot for a future wildie, perhaps?

Grey Friar's tops and tarn


I wandered back down to reclaim my pack and sat back for a mid-morning snack and a brew, made some notes and planned the rest of the day.

 

To be continued.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin