Monday, 4 May 2015

Lake District Wild Camp 21-22/4/15

Route: Hartsop-Angletarn Pikes-The Knott-High Street-Thornthwaite Crag-Stony Cove Pike-Hartsop Dodd-Hartsop.

Despite being spoilt with recent trips to the Lakes and the Brecon Beacons I was keen to head away again. The forecast looked truly summery with gentle winds and lots of sunshine, furthermore there was a lot of geomagnetic activity forecast which meant the Northern Lights might be visible!
I arrived at Cow Bridge car park a little after midday and set off in the early afternoon heat.
After a few minutes I'd left the A592 behind and I made my way North along a quiet lane.

I stopped to fill up with water at Angletarn Beck and noticed a few large 'army style' packs partly hidden behind a boulder, I couldn't see anyone around but figured they might be bathing in the waterfall further up.
I branched right and took a track with a gentle incline which would lead me to Boredale Hause. Spiders scuttled out of harms way and the occasional butterfly fluttered past, adding a bit of cheer to an already gorgeous day.

St Sunday Crag.
The path steepened considerably on the approach to Boredale Hause and I puffed and panted my way to level ground.

I filled up with water from a nearby stream and sat down to take a look at the map. People were arriving from every direction and it was soon pretty busy. I decided against a Place Fell ascent and instead opted to head towards Angle Tarn.

Place Fell.
I headed Southeast along the path passing numerous groups on their way down. I was surprised at how busy it was considering it was a weekday.
Brothers Water glimmered in the sunshine as I snaked my way along the path which offered great views to the Southwest/West.

Brothers Water and beyond.

The quirky shape of Angle Tarn finally loomed into view and I dropped down and headed towards its Southern shore while taking the opportunity of filling up with water as I passed a small stream.

Angle Tarn.

I climbed a short way to a nice vantage point overlooking Angle Tarn. Unfortunately my view North was hampered by the Angletarn Pikes which obviously wouldn't be ideal for any potential Northern Lights viewing later.

Looking East over Angle Tarn.
After a little deliberation I continued anti-clockwise around Angle Tarn. Geese broke the peace frequently as they aggressively defended their own territory.
As I was skirting around the Tarn I came across a bag of Terra Nova Laser tent pegs that were partly camouflaged in the grass.

Angletarn Pikes.
I was soon ascending again in the hope of finding a camp spot with an uninterrupted view North.

As I passed East of the Angletarn Pikes things looked promising as I spotted a couple of raised areas away from the main path.
It was still early afternoon as I was sat atop my great little camping spot and I relaxed and watched the world go by while eating a late lunch.
I watched a couple walk past on their way to Angletarn Pikes and the lady gave a little wave. They were the last people I'd see for the rest of the day!

Osprey Aether 70 pack.

As evening approached I made my way back down to a stream I'd passed earlier for a quick bathe and to collect the water I'd need for my stay.

I pitched the tent shortly before sunset and watched the light slowly fade from surrounding Fells.

Force 10 Ion 2 facing North.

Looking West.

When the low moon disappeared over to the Western horizon I kept checking my phone for the current geomagnetic levels, unfortunately the storm wasn't as strong as expected and other important factors hadn't fell into place either. I couldn't grumble though, the stars looked awesome and there wasn't a cloud to be seen.

After taking photo's for quite some time I retired to bed long past midnight for some well earned kip.

I awoke to a clear sky and after a minimal breakfast and quick look at the map, decided I'd head for Stony Cove Pike for my second night's stop.

Place Fell in morning sunlight.
I retraced my steps back down to Angle Tarn and continued Southeast in the ever warming sun.

I passed and briefly chatted a fellow wildcamper who'd had a great camp near High Street the previous night. I continued on my way, enjoying the rough twisty path and the views it offered.

A mixed group passed me as I filled up with water and we exchanged cheerful "mornings". I pressed on, knowing my first decent ascent of the day was fast approaching.

As I made my way up The Knott I slowly caught up with the group that had passed me earlier. Through puffs and pants we chatted about various trips and their current coast to coast walk. We parted company as they veered off to head for Rampsgill Head and I wished them well.

It was just after lunch when I stopped mid way up High Street and fired the Jetboil up.
As I was tucking into my curry I heard a big aircraft heading up the valley over Haweswater, I assumed it would stay in the valley but got my camera ready just in case. The noise got slowly louder and a Hercules shot right over my position whilst banking right, I took pictures as quick as my camera would allow and it banked hard right again to take it directly over Ullswater. Two fighter jets also appeared from another direction and followed it. I couldn't believe my luck and I was buzzing for a good 20 minutes after!

Hercules making a hard right turn towards Ullswater.
I continued the half or so kilometre to the summit, pausing for a some quick photo's when I got there. I followed the wall from the summit and began the gentle descent heading for the beacon on Thornthwaite Crag some distance away.

High Street trig point.

My plan was to head down to the col and up to Stony Cove Pike. After a short time on the path I decided to abort and head towards Grey Crag.

Beacon at Thornthwaite Crag.
Once on less exposed ground I sat down beside a pool. My water supplies were running low and I'd passed no streams so far. It didn't take long to figure out I couldn't camp on this fairly narrow ridge. Out came the map, I figured if I headed Southwest from my position I'd cut out the exposed bit of the path I'd aborted earlier and be able to continue to my intended destination.

Diversions aren't always a bad thing!
I made my way Southwest, the ground was fairly steep but not exposed at all.
As I descended I began to pass streams so I picked a fast flowing one and partly filled my reservoir, taking an almighty swig in the process.

Lake Windermere from Threshthwaite Mouth.
The ascent involved a good old scramble near the bottom which slowly opened out as I made upward progress.

Looking across to the path I'd aborted earlier!
I arrived at Stony Cove Pike summit at around 2pm and took in my surroundings while savouring a coffee and some food.

Despite some fantastic views I wasn't happy camping here. After a brief stroll looking for a better spot I met another passing wild camper who wanted to hit Angle Tarn before sunset, I advised him that it would require a decent pace and he left the way I'd arrived.
I couldn't find anything on this side so decided to check out Caudale Moor and see if that provided any better results.
I spent a good hour looking around for a suitable spot and ended up backtracking a fair distance before I was totally happy. After a much needed refreshing bathe in a nearby stream I collected water and headed back to camp.

Looking North in magical evening light.
Looking Northwest shortly after sunset.
After the sun had set I lazed inside the tent listening to music as the stars wouldn't be out for an hour or two.
I popped out some time later to take a few shots and then turned in for an early night.

The morning was as gorgeous as the last so I made use of my mini bottle of sunblock. I had two possible routes to leave Caudale Moor and I ended up choosing the Northwest route that would take me over Hartsop Dodd.

I made the short (and occasionally boggy) journey across Caudale Moor and then followed the wall which would lead me to Hartsop Dodd.

Hartsop Dodd.
Caudale Head.
Once past Hartsop Dodd the route became steep and the occasional handhold was needed on whatever was available.

Last break of my fantastic trip.
Once I was back on low ground I followed the short path which kept to the nearside of Pasture Beck. I was soon at the bridge and then crossed over into Hartsop.

The final part of my journey led me back along the lane I'd strolled up a couple of days ago in similar glorious conditions.
My first summer camp of 2015 had been great, unfortunately it's back to work for a few weeks before I get chance to visit the Lakes again :)