Lake District July 2012 part 1

Prologue

I arrived at the end of Haweswater mid-afternoon. Although the car park was nearly full, I found a convenient place to park. The weather was pleasantly sunny. The forecast was reasonable weather for the rest of the day and for most of the following day but then a spell of heavy rain followed by more cloud and light rain.

The plan of action was to camp at Haweswater, then go over to Grisedale to camp via High Street, walk part way along Ullswater to Martindale, then over Wether Hill to camp at Measand Beck. On the next day I had the option of a short day and camp or to get back to the car by midday and go home.

Haweswater in the sun

It was only a short walk to a pleasant, secluded spot for a wild camp on the northern side of the Rigg where I had camped the previous year. After I pitched the the tent, the breeze dropped, which brought out the insects. Certainly the wet summer has been good for the gnat population. The other obvious effect of the amount of rain was the high level of the reservoir. Unlike previous years, there’s been an obvious scar of rocks above the water line, but this year, there was no evidence.

My secluded camping spot

After dinner, I took a little walk around The Rigg. I’ve always felt it’s a shame that the Rigg is covered with conifers as it seems a bit out of place. However, it does provide some shelter. The strange thing is that the northern side has grass under the trees, yet the southern side is dead under the trees with a carpet of pine needles smothering the life out of any potential plants. Perhaps on the southern side the trees are closer together. The drystone wall through the middle of the trees is a reminder of a different landscape prior to building of the dam and filling of the reservoir.

Day 1 (10 miles)

Dawn at The Rigg

The day dawned bright, with hardly a cloud in the sky. There was no breeze, so the insects appeared. I wanted to get away in reasonable time as the forecast was for rain around tea time. I needed my head net to ward off the insects as I packed my tent and I was away by 8.30. Wainwright recommended the ascent of High Street via Long Stile. By the time I was part way up, the clouds had started to build. The clouds suggested that the weather was on the change. However, visibility was good and I could see all the way to Cross Fell across the Eden Valley.

Looking along Haweswater towards Cross Fell (visible on horizon)

Wainwright was definitely right, the climb up Long Stile is a superb ascent. On one side is the attractive Riggindale and the other is Blea Water. While it’s certainly not Striding Edge, there’s a feeling of airiness. There are a couple of modest rocky sections but nothing to worry about.

Perhaps my fitness is a bit worse than I thought, because it was 11 o’clock by the time I reached the trig point. A couple of sheep were chewing on the short grass nearby. Almost immediately another walker appeared and pleasantries were exchanged. The cloud had built considerably so I pushed on to the Straights of Riggindale.

Straights of Riggindale

I passed a rather glum group of youths who were plodding towards me. Their leader studiously ignored my attempt to exchange a greeting. Beyond the Straights, the path becomes well worn and maintained as it’s part of the Coast to Coast walk. In the past, I’ve not bothered to go to the summit of Knott, but as I had plenty of time I thought a quick visit was worthwhile, just for the sake of completeness.

On the far side of Knott I had an early lunch as it was sheltered from the wind and there was a convenient seat on part of a wall. Several walkers passed by before I finished lunch. I was looking forward to the next section as I had never been to Angle Tarn before.

Angle Tarn

 Angle Tarn was every bit as idyllic as I had imagined and probably a place to revisit, with a view to a wild camp. However, being quite sheltered meant there were gnats about so I pushed on rather than dawdling. The next section below Angletarn Pikes, was a delightful traverse with great views up and down Patterdale. Looking towards Brothers Water, I could see Sykeside camp site, where I have camped on a number of occasions. I was surprised at how few tents there were.

Brothers Water

The path now headed down towards Boredale Hause. There were a lot of walkers coming down off Place Fell but fortunately, I was just ahead of them. While the path down to Patterdale is very good, it was quite hard under foot. As I was passing through the farmyard at Side Farm, I managed to fall over and skin my hand, which was not very clever.

Grisedale

After a short walk along the main road, at Grisedale Bridge, I turned up the lane towards Grisedale. Grisedale Beck was full and roaring to my right. Everywhere was incredibly green and lush. Soon I was on the track above the fields, warding off the still wet fronds of ferns.

Camp amongst the trees

I reached the woods near the end of Grisedale by four o’clock. I’ve camped here a couple of times before. The locked gate, however, was a new feature. I didn’t let this deter me as my pitch was well hidden and I knew that bad weather was due soon, which would mean I was even less likely to be disturbed. The rain arrived about an hour later.

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