This was my third pre-TGO Challenge Daunder. I’m not actually on the TGO Challenge this year because my wife has been too ill to allow me to be away for a fortnight. However, I will be doing a demi-Challenge for seven days from Ft William to Aviemore, coinciding with the actual Challenge, meeting with at least three Challengers (Alan, Phil and Andy) for part of the way.
This little trip was to test out the muscles and gear for the main event. Compared with last year’s Daunder, which had a cast of thousands, this year it was restricted to only seven. Goodness knows why they invited me, but I’m glad they did as we had a great time and some fabulous weather.
The route (41.4km, 1,824m ascent, 2.5 days) click to enlarge
Unlike the others who stayed at the campsite opposite the Wasdale Head Inn, I took my camper van and stayed at the National Trust campsite at the northern end of Wastwater. I love using my camper van, so any excuse! I’ve now got everything off to a fine art and it’s a brilliant way to have a base camp.
Just as we were about to make a move, David arrived. Apparently the others were way behind, so we decided to push on. Rather than take our orignal route we decided to take in Irton Pike. Although this entailed a slightly boggy approach to the woods, the views were worth the effort.
The photos don’t really do justice. One of the joys of the minor peaks in the Lakes is that they give views which are sometimes better than the higher fells. Out to sea, there was fog bank, while to the south there was the contrast the green of Miterdale and the drab brown of Ulpha Fell in the distance.
After a steep descent from Irton Pike there was a delightful stretch in some woodland, before a short road walk to Eskdale Green and a quick visit to the local store for a can of fizzy drink and a banana.
Next stop was the George IV Inn, where we decided we had better stop to wait for the others to catch up. So far, the weather had been lovely with sunshine and every so often a cooling breeze. Just as we were wondering if something had gone wrong, the others arrived. However, we had already had a decent rest, so we decided to leave them to rehydrate and we walked on with the intention of nicking the best camping spots.
After a bit of a navigation faff due to the start of the path not matching the 1;50,000 map, we located the way up Brantrake. It was a bit stony at first and then developed into a beautifully graded zig-zag up the valley side.
When I scouted or intended camp spot below Water Crag on Google satellite, I was a bit dubious about the ground conditions. In the end, they weren’t as bad as I thought. I pinched some flat ground in an abandoned sheep fold while the others spread out on some tussocky grass. Mates!
(to be continued)