Thursday, 4 September 2014

Lake District Wild Camp 30-31/8/14

Route: Wasdale-Haycock-Scoat Fell-Pillar-Haystacks-Wasdale.
Map of route:

After a later than planned wake up and the torturous drive to Wasdale, I eventually parked up around 3pm.
I packed away a couple of treats bought on route, saddled up and set off towards Wastwater.

The first stretch of the route took me back up the road I'd driven down, not my ideal way to start an adventure but there was no other way round it as no overnight parking is allowed.
The surrounding peaks looked very impressive, especially the Great Gable which looked quite menacing!

A few kilometres later and I veered off right picking up a path that would take me beside Nether Beck.

It was one of the gentlest ascents I'd tackled and made for very pleasant walking, I passed just one person (who I managed to startle with my afternoon greeting as he was so engrossed in his map!)

Osprey Aether 70 by Nether Beck.

As I got within 1.5 kilometres of Haycock, the gradient increased and the ground became awfully boggy, I did my best to avoid the worst of it.

That made two of us taking in the scenery!
As I made my push towards the summit, visibility was down to nothing and I plodded on into the abyss!

The summit view was (disappointingly) much the same and I began searching for water and a place to pitch.
I quickly realised I'd find neither, so descended back down the way I'd came, this time crossing over the wall towards Ennerdale Water.
I was greeted with a magnificent view and I set about collecting water and finding a decent spot, it was easier than it looked as the few flat areas were waterlogged and the rest were too steep for a decent camping spot.
Eventually I put up with a slight gradient and had the Ion 2 pitched in no time.

Fantastic camp overlooking Ennerdale Water.

As the sun set I grabbed a few photo's of my spectacular surroundings and retired indoors for hot chocolate and snacks while I checked tomorrows route.

I woke up to broken cloud and the sun trying its best to break through, after a quick breakfast I packed away and set off back towards the dip between Haycock and Scoat Fell.
As I turned Northeast and started my ascent of Scoat Fell, the cloud started to thicken again.

As I left the summit heading towards Pillar the views opened up again offering breathtaking views of the many impressive crags.

Steeple as I headed to Pillar.
Looking down towards Wasdale.
The closer I got to Pillar the more exposed it began to look, luckily a 'hands on' scramble made me concentrate on the task ahead instead of looking at the drops around me.

As I summited my third Wainwright of the trip, cloud had yet again ruined any decent views from the top!
after a quick slurp of water I set off Southeast in the direction of Kirk Fell.

Cloudy summit of Pillar.

I had a nice steady amble as I made my way towards the Black Sail Pass, being very cautious near the edges!

As I passed the first person I'd seen all morning I decided some food was needed.
I sat down moments before lunchtime and fired up the trusty Jetboil for a meal of BBQ pork with rice.

Lunch break with fine views of Yewbarrow.

I made a couple of photographic stops along the way as the still tarns were just too tempting to pass up.

Pillar and its reflection in a nameless tarn.
As I came to the crossroads at Kirk Fell I followed the Black Sail Pass heading in the direction of the YHA hostel at the bottom, mid way down I stopped for photographs and my map tumbled into Sail Beck (luckily It's an 'active map' so It's waterproof!).

Kirk Fell Crags

I treated myself to a little rest near the bottom of the pass, only to have a red ant crawl up my arm and prompt a hasty exit! As I moved from my spot I noticed a tiny caterpillar in the heather (how I didn't crush it I'll never know!)

Pug Ling Moth Caterpillar.
I passed by the newly renovated Black Sail Hut and headed up the steps for Scarth Gap.

As I hit yet more crossroads I headed Northeast for the summit of Hay Stacks, I was surprised at the amount of effort needed for such a small fell, the rocky scramble seemed endless and I must have counted thirty people all with the same idea.

High Crag from Hay stacks.
Soon after reaching the summit I began looking for a suitable spot, it was only 3pm but I fancied a rest and some lunch long before I thought about pitching the tent.
I found a cracking little pitch beside Innominate Tarn and sat back in the sun for a few hours watching the world go by, noting a lot of Australian and American accents as they made there way along the path.

Innominate Tarn with Pillar in the background.
All of the tourists were long gone by 6pm and I started pitching the tent when the sun disappeared, needing some pegs in place before I tensioned the flysheet as the wind had started to get up.

Force 10 Ion 2 blends in quite well.
Despite a dreamy evening on Hay Stacks, as night begin to fall the wind was ever increasing and I turned in about 9pm and snuggled down in my sleeping bag, there's no way I was getting any sleep though as the wind started to batter the tent, shortly after a deluge of rain began to hit the tent and worst case scenario's were flying around in my head, sometime after 1am I finally got to sleep.
The following morning was a complete contrast, everywhere was unbelievably still and blanketed in murk.

The morning after a nasty storm on Hay Stacks.

I wandered about grabbing a few shots before it started to rain again, once inside the tent I began to pack up leaving the flysheet on till last, donned my waterproofs and took the path to Blackbeck Tarn.

Blackbeck towards Buttermere and Crummock Water.
As I reached Blackbeck Tarn I got rid of the waterproofs as the rain had subsided, I skirted around the Tarn and headed Southeast as I planned to pick up the path beside Loft beck.

Blackbeck Tarn.
After some top quality navigation the stile appeared out of the mist and I began the slippery stepped descent beside Loft Beck while Kirk Fell was trying to fend off low cloud opposite.

Within no time at all I was back on the valley floor and ready to start my ascent of Black Sail Pass.

As with most of my ascents on this trip I struggled to get going, making time for a quick 'selfie' with Hay Stacks in the background.

Despite a few boggy encounters I eventually reached the top, safe in the knowledge I only had a relaxing downhill stroll to go.

Yewbarrow and Red Pike.
Dor beetle on the Black Sail Pass.
I took time out by a stream for a spot of lunch as a couple of walkers strolled on by, there was no rush to get back to the car.

Yewbarrow from the Black Sail Pass.
As I got moving again I heard the distant sound of a jet, I quickly zoomed my camera and waited before it thundered overhead, banked right over Pillar and came round again while performing a barrel roll, a nice end to a couple of action packed days of adventure!

BAe Hawk enjoying the Fells.
Unfortunately this might be my last Lakes trip for a couple of months, but when I venture back it will be well into the Winter season :)