Monday, 23 June 2014

Lake District Wild Camp 12-13/5/14

Initially I had planned on a night up Kinder Scout but due to work being slack I was able to wangle a couple of extra days off during the week thus making a trip to the Lakes worthwhile.
I had a pretty long route planned (around 40 Kilometres with lots of ascent) so I took enough supplies for three days.
I arrived at Langdale on Thursday just after lunch time and headed for Cumbria Way via the path from Stool End, patches of cottongrass swayed in the light breeze as I skirted around the edges of The Band, after a cautious weir crossing I was soon plodding along Cumbria Way.

After the footbridge I kept right and made slow but pleasant progress up Stake Gill, turning around every so often to see the Langdale valley becoming more and more impressive as I gained height.

The Langdale Pikes (left)

A short way from Rossett Pike I heard the approaching roar of a fast jet, I turned around to see a Tornado rip through the Langdale valley, barrel roll beneath the Pike of Stickle and carry on in the direction of Ambleside, it was truly breathtaking!

I did worry that the traverse across the Black Crags and Rossett Crags might be quite exposed but thankfully that wasn't the case and It's now my favourite route from Langdale.

After a quick rest on Rossett Pike a time check revealed that Allen Crags and Glaramara would have to wait till another day, as progress had been slower than I anticipated.
I made a move and joined the main path at Angle Tarn and it was a long slow slog upto the shelter beside Allen Crags, mid way up a couple of trainer jets shattered the silence flying over Esk Pike and I just managed to capture the second one before it disappeared over Tongue Head.

After finally reaching the shelter I'd now find myself passing by the Great End and descending towards the quirky shaped Sprinkling Tarn and noting some fantastic deep gills on the way down, there were a few walkers out and about but on the whole it was pretty quiet.

Sprinkling Tarn looking towards Glaramara.

As I reached Styhead Tarn it was already early evening and I'd got the massive hulk of the Great Gable to climb, I filled my water bottle as I knew I was in for a beasting!

Great Gable and Green Gable looking over Styhead Tarn.
Looking back towards The Band from the Great Gable

Sure enough the Great Gable was a real test at the end of a tiring day, I ran out of water about 3/4 of the way up which (in the baking heat) added to my plight, I was completely exhausted when I finally reached the summit.

The descent was very frustrating with loose scree taking ages to negotiate safely as I didn't fancy ending up a human landslide!
On the plus side Wastwater came into view so I didn't have too far left to travel.

Wastwater from the scree of the Great Gable
When I'd finished my tussle with the Great Gable I filled up with water and had a quick meal at Beckhead Tarn to prepare me for my final ascent of the day (Kirk Fell) which was also going to be my resting place for the night.

It was just after 8pm when I'd found my pitching spot, water was plentiful, the views were spectacular in every direction, I had the place to myself and the late evening sun was still bathing the area in its warming glow. Magic!

Force 10 Ion 2 pitched on Kirk Fell.

I crawled into my sleeping bag just after sundown as I'd set my alarm for 4am in the hope of catching an amazing sunrise.
I awoke at 4am (and a few intervals after) to a cloudy sky, slightly disappointed as it would have been something really special.

Reflection of  Scafell Pike in Kirk Fell Tarn.
After the usual breakfast and coffee, I left my tent it situ and had a lovely morning stroll to the summit of Kirk Fell taking numerous pictures along the way.
To my (pleasant) surprise there was still no sign of any fellow explorers.

Looking West from Kirk Fell.
I packed up and set off towards the Green Gable and shortly after leaving Kirk Fell behind its first visitors of the day were soon making their way up its rocky slope.

Great Gable screes with the Scafell Massif in the background.

Gable Crag looking menacing.
Thankfully Windy Gap looked harder and more steep than it actually was and I left my pack at the cairn to give my shoulders a rest, it made a huge difference and allowed me to make fast progress to the summit of the Green Gable.
I noticed some dark clouds in the direction of Kirk Fell beginning to roll in as I snapped a few pictures.

I headed back to the cairn, picked up my pack and began the descent via Aaron Slack to Styhead Tarn, not long into the descent it began raining lightly so I got out the waterproofs and it stopped a few minutes after. typical!

Styhead Tarn on the descent via Aaron Slack.

Reaching Styhead Tarn I made for the far bank so I could have something to eat in peace away from the passing groups, a couple of ducks joined me for a few minutes before lazily paddling on.

Not wanting to cover the same ground twice (and seeing it was still early) I veered off to follow Ruddy Gill which passed by the side of Allen Crags, it was a slow descent and light rain showers made it even trickier.

I crossed over Stockley Bridge and continued North, it seemed to take forever and I was stomping along cursing myself,  I began to regret my diversion.
Stockley Bridge looking back at Seathwaite Fell.

Despite my mood the valley floor had beautiful flowers in abundance.

After what seemed like a lifetime I finally started the ascent of Thorneythwaite Fell, it was getting late and I still had a fair climb ahead of me.
Some time later I could see the rocky summit but I knew it was farther away than it looked, I'd found a tiny stream nearby so I decided to stay put and pitch up.
I'd managed to cover a lot of distance and my reward was nice views towards Derwent Water.

Looking back over Derwent Water.

Inversions aplenty on distant fells.
I woke early to muggy warm sunshine and made my way towards the summit of Glaramara, a little scramble made for a nice distraction along the way.

The Langdale Pikes soon loomed into view once again looking sinister amongst the dark cloud.

I had Glaramara to myself and with my early start I could really take my time and enjoy the many gorgeous views it offered as I wandered towards Allen Crags.

The Great Gable has its head in the clouds.

I had a break just after the summit of Allen Crags and basked in the warm sunshine trying to find a close water supply before I tackled Esk Pike.

Great End with Sprinkling Tarn at its feet.
I found a nice little stream besides Allen Crags and collected a couple of litres, I then made my way up Esk Pike's loose rocky path.
Three fell runners playing a game of eye spy made me chuckle on my way up and I noticed the crowds had started to appear.

Bowfell being engulfed by cloud.
I stopped for a quick break near the bottom of Esk Pike and despite it being clear when I'd sat down, after I'd finished thick cloud had blanketed the area, reducing visibility to metres.

Some intrigued visitors.

I made short work of Bowfell, the mostly solid path making a nice change from energy sapping scree.
The descent required a keen eye on the map and compass as the lack of landmarks made navigation all the more tricky.
It was a good test for me and when the Pike of Blisco appeared out of the cloud I knew I was on the right track.

The Pike of Blisco from Buscoe.
The path I'd chosen was empty and through passing cloud I could see most people taking The Band as their route down, I was looking for a place to pitch for my third night but the gradient was too steep.

I went off the beaten track for a good hour hoping to find a suitable spot but it wasn't to be so I rejoined the path and descended further.
I found what looked like a decent spot near Crinkle Gill, it was early afternoon so I ditched my pack and relaxed by the flowing water, I was hungry from my days trekking and a couple of people appeared from a little used path nearby.
Just as I was going to collect water the penny dropped, this location just wasn't remote enough to feel special (from a wildcamping perspective), I was camping for the sake of camping so I put my gear away and slung my pack on, making the short journey beside The Band back towards Stool End.
All in all it had been a great couple of days, my nagivation was spot on, I was getting to know the peaks and the weather had been fantastic, I just can't seem to stay away :)

I created a rough map of my trip here:

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Local 'Mini' Wild Camp 31/5/14

Okay, so my new tent arrived at the back end of last week (Force 10 Ion 2) and I fancied a night out in it, I wasn't in the mood for driving so my 'local place' fit the bill.
After using Wild Country's Coshee 2 for the past year or so, I wanted something with a bit more space, not to take anything away from the Coshee though because all things considered it's a cracking little tent.
I had most of the afternoon to do as I pleased so I thought I'd have a look at the small yet magnificent things that usually get missed when out wild camping.
It was a test of patience at times with the wind constantly moving stuff about and the subjects themselves always on the go!
All of the close-ups are shot in full manual mode, I'm happy with them for the most part but there's definately room for improvement.. :)