Fail

Last week’s trip to the Lakes was a bit of a failure. I guess it was a bit optimistic to expect to concoct a trip where two of the three days were forecast to have severe storms. On Wednesday, it was very stormy and we had torrential rain and high winds. After a period of comparative calm, on Thursday, midday, it started raining and didn’t stop until sixteen hours later. On Friday, it was overcast and drizzly, but overnight, the storm had dumped snow down to about 350m. I decided to give up and go home a day early rather than have a miserable trudge around the fells.

DSC00022Rigg Beck

I did get a bit of wild camping and walking done. On Tuesday evening I walked to Rigg Beck for a wild camp. It got very windy early morning. I discovered that my Fizan trekking pole which was supporting the Tramplite shelter wouldn’t lock properly. The pressure on the pole meant it kept shortening leading to a very flappy shelter. I should have taken my flick lock poles. I bailed out just as it started to get light.

I went back to the camp site at Braithwaite where I’d left my car and base camp tent. After meeting David, we quickly popped into Keswick to get a flick lock pole. We knew the weather forecast was bad, so we decided that a modest bimble along Borrowdale to Langstrath was probably our best option.

Not long after we started, it began to rain, well ahead of the forecast. It took us about two hours to reach Grange. Although we were mainly sheltered by the trees, the rain and wind was pretty ferocious. At one point I fell and bruised my thigh. At Grange we decided lunch in the cafe was a good idea.

DSC00030Rain in Grange

We had a pleasant lunch, while outside the storm intensified. We had a bit of a discussion about what to do next. My concern was the camping spot I’d chosen in Langstrath was rough pasture and might be waterlogged. So we decided to walk back to Braithwaite. At least the wind would be at our back rather than in our faces.

After negotiating some seriously flooded roads, we made the path below Cat Bells, where the rain relented. The rest of the walk back to Braithwaite was quite pleasant. David decided to camp at the camp site and we went down to the pub later in the evening. You can find David’s account here.

DSC00031Derwent Water

On Thursday, David decided he wanted to do a bit of a walk in the morning. However, I knew that rain was forecast for midday and would continue well into Friday morning. I didn’t particularly want to get wet, so I decided to stay put, with a view to possibly doing a walk next day.

Well, the rain arrived and pretty soon, the camp site was saturated with water standing in many places. Fortunately, I had repositioned my tent on a small rise the previous evening. It rained and rained and rained. Not very exciting, but at least I was dry.

DSC00034Snow on the fells

The rain had been forecast to continue until lunchtime on Friday, but around 5 a.m. it petered out. When I got out of the tent, I was a bit surprised to see that higher up it had snowed, with snow capping Stile End and the higher fells. As it wasn’t actually raining but the fells looked cold and miserable under clag, I thought it best to pack and go home.  As I passed Keswick, it started to rain again and didn’t let up until Birmingham.

Looking on the bright side, at least on Wednesday, including the early morning walk back to the camp site, I’d done a 21km day and felt pretty fit (admittedly with not much up). I also discovered you need a strong pole with the Tramplite, so a valuable lesson had been learnt. I’ve only got one more trip left before the Challenge.

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16 thoughts on “Fail”

  1. At least you got out, Sir. And a lesson learned about the single pole. Mr Walker double poles his SilMid – could you do that with Colin’s wigwam? And yes – flick lock poles are a much better solution as you can tighten the flick lock mechanisms.

  2. Robin, did your Fizans have the standard twist lock, or their new concept locking system. Just wondered as I have a pair with the new external concept locking (Fizan Broad Peak) and was hoping they will be OK with my Duomid. They’re supposed to grip pretty well.

      1. I have those as well so far they have been OK when using them with the Stratospire but any trekking pole could fail if used with a shelter and if you break one on a long trip it could be quite a problem if you don’t have a back- up.

      2. I suspect the Stratospire doesn’t put as much pressure on the poles. The combination of the design of the Tramplite and the cuben fabric put a lot of pressure on the pole. Hence, the locking system was not up to the task.

  3. You were braver than me – I chickened out of my walk when I saw the weather forecast. Rain I can handle, but high winds are a different story altogether. At least you got time to test your kit ready for the TGO!

    1. You’re right to be careful of high winds. That’s why we decided to keep low. Bad weather is certainly useful to test gear. If I’m going on a longer walk or in remote terrain, I like to have gear that I know I can rely on. It was useful to find the limit of the Fizan pole. It’s a very lightweight pole, so I shouldn’t be surprised that it has limitations.

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