Category Archives: pictures & trips

Not the TGO Challenge abort

I’m heading home today. After a great Saturday, on Sunday morning I woke with some slight discomfort in my left knee. Trying to walk it off just made it worse and by Sunday lunchtime, it was very sore and seems to be a ligament issue from when I used to play football. I thought I’d got rid of the issue over twenty years ago. I took a taxi to meet my Challenge friends at Gairlochy campsite. It was just too sore to contemplate carrying so the sensible thing was not to aggravate it further and to come home. Unfortunately it’s going to be a long day. I’m afraid this year is turning out to be a bit dismal.

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Not the TGO Challenge 2019

I’m not able to participate in this year’s TGO Challenge because I can’t be away from home for more than a week. However, I’m going to have a week in Scotland and will meet with a few Challengers for three days, with two solo days either side. On Friday evening, I’ll get the sleeper up to Corrour for Saturday morning. I’ll take two days walking through Glen Nevis, Ft. William and the Great Glen to Gairlochy. Then over Creag Meagaidh and to Garva Bridge. Lastly, I’ll take the ridge on the northern side of the Spey to Aviemore. It is just under one hundred miles and will take seven days. The weather forecast looks good, so it should be fun.

Langdale washout

Last week I was in Langdale at the National Trust campsite just in time for storm Freya to hit. I only managed two half days of walking out of four.

Monday morning was quite nice with a bit of sunshine, so I headed up to Red Tarn with a view to going over Crinkle Crags. I’d not been up Oxendale or Browney Gill before. It was a really pleasant walk, although the wind was bitter. The views back down the valley and across to Langdale Pikes were impressive.

Oxendale and Crinkle Crags

Langdale Pikes

Crinkle Crags and Bowfell under cloud

By the time I reached Red Tarn, Crinkle Crags was under cloud. I managed to get 4G phone signal and checked the weather forecast, which suggested rain early afternoon. I had a little poke around Red Tarn and then had an early lunch.

Red Tarn

I decided to go over Pike o’  Blisco and back to the campsite rather than go into the snow and clag on Crinkle Crags. There were a few snow patches on the Pike but it was relatively easy going.

Small tarn on Pike o’ Blisco

The cloud was coming down so the views weren’t great. I descended on the pathless north flank down Wrynose Fell. It was a bit tricky at first because of the snow patches.

Langdale Pikes from Wrynose Fell

Nearing the road, it started to spot with rain. By the time I got back to the campsite, the rain had become more persistent. I retired to the warmth of my camper van.

Overnight and into the next morning I was treated to some seriously heavy rain and strong winds. The rain continued until around lunch when the weather suddenly cleared.

Harrison Stickle

I decided that I’d take a low-level stroll up to Chapel Stile and back. The ground was absolutely saturated but there was a good path most of the way.

Crinkle Cargs and Bowfell

Harrison Stickle and Stickle Ghyll

Although the afternoon started sunny, the cloud was started to build by the time I got to Baysbrown Farm. I picked up the Cumbrian Way and followed it as far as the footbridge before crossing over to return to the campsite.

Lane to the New Hotel

By now the clouds had darkened and the wind had strengthened markedly. Fortunately, I made it back to the campsite before any rain.

The next two days were a complete washout with more or less 48 hours of rain. The nice thing about a camper van though is you can ride out the unpleasant weather in comparative comfort. While it was a bit of a shame that I didn’t get much walking done, it was good to reacquaint myself with Langdale.

The NT campsite has recently refurbished one shower block and the other is due to be finished before Easter. I was very impressed by them. They wouldn’t be out of place in a hotel.

Iceland – January 2019

Not a backpacking trip but might be of interest anyway. Unfortunately we didn’t see the Northern Lights because of the weather. On the other hand, the weather made it more dramatic, especially the rough seas and the fall of snow which made Gullfoss and Thingvellir look amazing. Hope you enjoy the video.

Dovedale, Lake District Oct 2018

Originally this trip was going to be a three-day backpacking trip around the Eastern Fells in the Lake District but storm Callum intervened. I had one lovely day before the rain and winds arrived. Before it got really bad, I packed up and went home. Judging by the subsequent pictures of rivers in spate, I made the right decision. Still, I had a good walk along the tops surrounding Dovedale. Here’s a slide show of my walk.

My route was a circular walk from Sykeside campsite up Hartsop Dodd to Hart Crag, returning via Hartsop above How (13km, 820m ascent).

The next day was a bit of a contrast!

Carneddau September 2018

Last week I had a window of opportunity for a short trip to the Carneddau in North Wales. It’s been three years since I last visited, so I was looking forward to returning. As regular readers will know, Maeneira is one of my favourite places and it was a joy to go back.

Maeneira

My original plan was to camp at Maeneira and then walk the next day to Carnedd Llewelyn, down to Ffynnon Llugwy to camp and the next day to return to Maeneira either via Pen yr Helgi Du or Llyn Cowlyd, depending on the weather.

However, when I reached Ffynnon Llugwy, the spot that I had used before for camping was covered with sheep droppings. No amount of clearing could make it fit to pitch. Unfortunately the other potential pitches had only thin soil and secure pegging points were problematic.

The weather forecast overnight and for the next morning was poor with wind and rain, so I decided to return to Maeneira. This made it a long day, over ten hours of walking and more than 25km of distance (over 1,100m of ascent too).

I didn’t get back to Maeneira until dusk, although one advantage was that I was able to swing by the car to pick up a warmer base layer as it was surprisingly cold at night.

In the end it was a good decision as it started raining during the night and was pretty foul with wind and rain until early afternoon. Lazing in the tent was definitely preferable to trudging along in the rain. Amazingly, about 2 p.m., the clouds broke and I was treated to a glorious sunny afternoon (although the wind was quite cold).

Overnight there was some further heavy rain, but by the next morning it was clear, so I was able to pack an almost dry tent and return to the car to go home.

True to form, I met very few people, which is one of the joys of the Carneddau. It has a real feeling of solitude, unlike Snowdon or the Glyderau. Despite having to collapse two days walking into one, it was an enjoyable trip. Enjoy the video slide show!

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