Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Lake District Wild Camp 7-8/6/15

Route: Wasdale Head-Yewbarrow-Red Pike (Wasdale)-Scoat Fell-Steeple-Haycock-Wasdale Head.

The last couple of months had flown by and I was keen to get back to my favourite wildcamping destination.
After a fair amount of planning I'd decided on a week in the Lakes which would involve two wildcamps, separated by a bed and breakfast stop (Lingmell House) in between to freshen up.
I arrived at Wasdale Head mid morning and made my way beside Wastwater towards Yewbarrow.

I was soon off the road and making my way across the pleasant fern covered grassland.

My chosen route would involve scrambling up the southern end of Yewbarrow and it looked pretty daunting from below.

Bell Rib on Yewbarrow.
The path steepened considerably and progress slowed as my full pack held me back. The grass was soon replaced by loose rock as the scramble began.

The scramble kept my mind occupied as I sought out the best route upwards. Thankfully it had looked far worse from below and wasn't exposed in the slightest.

.Middle Fell, Seatallan and Dropping Crag.
A glance back showed impressive views over Wastwater to Illgill Head and beyond.

Wastwater and its screes.
Yewbarrow south top.

The original plan was to camp near Red Pike the first night but Yewbarrow was far more open than I'd imagined, not to mention the fantastic views of the Scafells that it offered. I was more than happy to stay put.
Finding a suitable place to pitch took some time due to there being hardly any flat spots away from the path. I sourced water from a clean looking pool and eventually found a slightly soggy bit of ground which was fairly level.
Phone signal was good so I whiled away a couple of hours in the sunshine.

As the evening drew to a close I pitched the tent facing the Scafells and watched the evening light slowly rise and start to dim on neighbouring fells.

My alarm sounded at 4am and I wasted no time in getting dressed and stumbling out of the tent. I clumsily made my way towards the Northern end of Yewbarrow.

The Scafells at first light.
I found an ideal vantage point and perched on a rock whilst Herdwicks grazed nearby. I was thankful I'd brought gloves as the slight wind was much colder than anticipated.

Sunrise on Red Pike (Wasdale).
As I broke camp I headed west over the top of Yewbarrow which would avoid the more direct and steeper scramble down to Dore Head.

As I made my way past Gosforth Crag Moss I was surprised by the size of the animals grazing in the distance. They looked massive and were certainly not sheep!
After half filling my reservoir and a quick drink, I headed in the direction of Dore Head.

I was quite surprised to see cows on the fells and as I got closer I saw they had calves with them so I cautiously gave them a very wide berth. Dozens of pairs of eyes watched my progress and I was relieved when I finally got to Dore Head.
My first ascent of the day began as I made my way slowly up to Red Pike with a small packet of jellybeans for company!

Looking back at Stirrup Crag on Yewbarrow.

As it was lunch time I decided to stop for a quick meal a short distance from the Red Pike summit whilst taking in the views of Seatallan and Hayock.

Seatallan, Low Tarn and Haycock.
I was soon on my way with my next stop being Scoat Fell. I'd passed it on a previous trip (on route to Pillar) but visibility wasn't that great back then.

Looking back at Red Pike (Wasdale).
As I'd decided against climbing Steeple the last time I was here, I didn't want to pass it up again.
I left my pack behind a boulder and made my way across the rocky and exposed ground. It wasn't too bad but I soon headed back to safety after a couple of shots from the summit.
I plodded on towards Haycock and began to feel the wrath of the sea breeze! After finishing a quick afternoon snack I changed into trousers, hat and gloves! I aborted my plan of Caw Fell and started descending towards the flatter southern slopes of Haycock.

Low Tarn with the Scafells behind.
I soon warmed up once out of the wind and my next job was to find tonights campsite, I spied a decent looking site but decided against it once I'd checked it out properly. I left to search for somewhere better.
After some careful bog-trotting I found a nice level bit of ground amongst the rocks and went on a macro mission while it was still light.

Although I was on the wrong side of Haycock to see the sun setting, the evening light on surrounding fells was magical so I was not disappointed in the least.

Seatallan in evening light.

Unfortunately when I woke up the next morning, a slight eye irritation had got to the point where I could barely see out of it. Dejected, I headed to Lingmell House a day earlier than planned and the following morning an extremely kind fellow guest drove me to Whitehaven accident and emergency. I'd like to say a heartfelt thanks as I also managed to go ahead with my other two night backpacking trip a day later, albeit with some difficulty! :)