Tag Archives: Lake District

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!


Lakes Daunder 2018 part 2

Although it was a clear night, the temperature, according my thermometer didn’t get below 9c in the tent. An early start was demanded by Obergruppenführer Sloman, so just to be sure that I would be ready by eight o’clock, I was up by 5.45. There were no clouds in the sky and it looked like it was going to be another glorious day.

Amazingly, we were all ready almost on time. We climbed Water Crag, a mighty 305m high, although it felt rather more. Yet again we were greeted by glorious views all around.  After a short wait to allow everyone to catch up, it was on to Rough Crag and a group photo opportunity.

(photo courtesy of Alan Sloman)

From here it was downhill all the way for our proposed lunch stop at the Woolpack Inn. We ambled down some country lanes and then diverted to have a look at Stanley Force. What an amazing hidden gem! From the top there’s a spectacular sheer cliff from which to view the waterfall. Then there’s a wonderful path down into a ravine, very reminiscent of a Chinese landscape with rhododendrons and wooden bridges. I’m afraid my photos don’t do justice (partly because the camera was on the wrong setting, whoops!).

Alan was the only member of our party who had decided not to visit the waterfall and we were supposed to meet him at the car park. However, the path had changed and we ended up on the north bank of the Esk. In true Daunder spirit, we decided to carry on without him.

It was a lovely walk along the Esk, some of which I’d done before. We arrived at the Woolpack for lunch just before it got busy. Who should be standing on the doorstep but Alan holding a pint of beer. Over lunch, four of us decided to revive another Daunder tradition: the schism. I suggested that the original route looked a bit dull and the camp spot at Sampson’s Stones might be a bit iffy. The alternative was to walk up the Esk via Throstle Garth and Scar Lathing to a lovely spot to camp in the bend of the Esk opposite Sampson’s Stones. This was enthusiastically embraced by some, so I explained to our leader, Phil, that we were ditching his lovingly planned route. Phil, Alan and Any decided they would stick to the original plan.

It’s impossible to capture in words what a wonderful walk this is, so I’ll just give you a load of pictures. If you’ve never done it, you really must. It’s one of the best walks in the Lakes.

By the time we reached Throstle Garth, there were some high clouds forming, suggesting the weather was on the change. We eschewed a lovely place to camp below Scar Lathing, and pushed on to the spot where I had camped before.

It is a spectacular place to camp. For some reason, I didn’t take many photos. About half an hour after we arrived, our schism started to be healed. First Andy appeared with tales of how rough and pathless his route had been. Then Phil and Alan were spotted picking their way down the slope. Soon our happy(!) band were reunited. All the time the cloud was thickening. Just after I turned in for the night, the thunder and lightning started. Fortunately, it skirted our camp spot but not before there was a very heavy rain/hail shower. There were a few rumbles of thunder during the rest of the night, but nothing serious.

The next day, amazingly, we were all packed in good time. The weather looked threatening, but stayed dry as we walked up the Esk towards Esk Hause. There were some remarkable ripples in the clouds.

Ascending the slope to the gully, Andy decided to veer off left to climb the evocatively named Knotts of Tongue. While Andy took a direct route that involved some scrambling, I branched left to avoid the rocks, then spotted David behind me and decided to wait for him. As we ascended the weather deteriorated and the rain and mist came in. We knew Judith was behind us so, like the gentlemen we are, we waited for her.

At the top there was a strong wind and driving rain, but when we rounded Great End it abated somewhat. I managed to take a couple of pictures at Sprinkling Tarn, but from there on my camera stayed in its plastic bag. It was windy and wet as we picked our way down to Sty Head and then into Wasdale. By this time Judith was some way behind, but she’s an experience backpacker so we weren’t worried. Carefully we wended our way down to the Wasdale Head Inn, where Andy was waiting for us. Judith followed a little later.

After about half an hour the rest of the pack arrived. After some food and liquid refreshment, it was time for me to go back to my camper van and for the rest to drive home. Judith saved me a little walk by kindly giving me a lift back to the campsite. A great time was had by all (I think). Thanks to Phil for organising a great weekend.

Lakes Daunder 2018 part 1

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.

The day dawned dank, grey and claggy but by the time the rest of the motley crew arrived, the cloud was burning off, promising a fine day.

I’ve never walked up Illgill Head. I’m I’ve glad I rectified that; the views were magnificent.

Andy and I were much faster than the others, so we powered on to Whin Rigg where we decided to have an early lunch and see if the others would catch us up.

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)



Patterdale Potter Feb 2018

I had been trying to get up to the Lake District for a while this year but every time I got near to going, the weather forecast turned bad. However, at the last weekend of February showed some promise: settled sunny weather but cold. Fortunately having a camper van makes cold weather less testing than camping. Originally I was going to stay at Braithwaite but the site was full for the first two days so I went to Sykeside Campsite in Patterdale instead. I was actually rather lucky as nearly all the pitches were taken.

There was quite a lot of snow high up on the fells and the subzero temperatures suggested it would be pretty icy, so I decided to keep below the snow line if possible, although that limited my options. I decided to visit Place Fell on the first day, as I’ve never been up there and it had the attraction of the return walk along south-eastern shore of Ullswater. For Sunday, I thought it might be pleasant to have Sunday lunch in Deepdale.

I was going to stay for Monday too but the weather forecast wasn’t too good and there was snow forecast for the Tuesday when I had planned to go home. So I decided discretion was the better part of valour and so went home on Monday. In the event, that proved to be a very wise decision!

Here’s some pictures and a short commentary on the two walks:

Saturday: Place Fell (19.4km)

A nice sunny start. Place Fell appears to have very little snow.

Pleasant walk along the track skirting Brothers Water and on to Bridgend.

Above Bridgend and looking towards Fairfield, there’s plenty of snow on the tops.

The path up to Boredale was pretty easy but there were a few snow and ice patches on the way up to Place Fell. Looking across to the Helvellyn ridge, again there was a fair amount of snow on the tops. Given I didn’t have crampons or an ice axe, staying below the snow was a good decision.

There were a few snow patches to cross to the top.

The small tarns were iced over.

At the top the views were extensive but perhaps not as clear as they might have been.Below the summit, I stopped for a bit of lunch, but it was too cold to sit for too long. I descended via Mortar Crag and Scalehow Beck. Parts of the path were sheet ice so I had to walk to one side on frozen grass for some sections.

Just before I reached the lake side path, I slipped on the icy grass. Fortunately I didn’t hurt myself.

The walk along Ullswater towards Patterdale was delightful, although I spent a fair amount of time overtaking groups of people out for a stroll

From Ullswater I walked along the eastern side of Patterdale through the woods and past the waterfall that comes down from Angle Tarn.

From there I walked to Hartsop and on to the campsite just as the shadows were lengthening. It was a fine walk in lovely weather despite the cold.

Sunday: Deepdale (13.2km)

It was seriously cold overnight. The temperature in my camper van was 1C in the early morning so it must have been very cold outside.

Like the previous day, once the sun was up, it was pleasant walking weather. I repeated the previous day’s route to Bridgend, then turned west into Deepdale. The frozen ground made the path a lot easier as it’s normally quite boggy in places.

The crags below Fairfield wer covered in snow. Indeed the path up and over to Grisedale Tarn looked pretty challenging.

Before I reached the shadow at the end of the valley, I sat down in the lee of a hummock to have some lunch. By this time, there was a gusty and chilly breeze, so I was grateful for some shelter.

Although I was tempted to laze around for a while, even in the sun, it was quite cold, so I packed up a walked back to Bridgend.

Crossing over to the sunny eastern side of Patterdale, I repeated the previous day’s walk back to the campsite and into the warmth of my camper van.

Wiley Gill and Back

At the beginning of June I had to go to Manchester to pick up our daughter’s gear from university, so I combined it with a quick backpacking trip in the Lake District. Originally I was going to do a three day trip around the Northern Fells, but the weather forecast for the third day was for heavy rain, so I decided to walk from Braithwaite to the sheepfold at Wiley Gill and back. The weather was lovely and apart from my encounter with a fun sponge, it was a nice little trip. Here’s some photos.

Deepdale and back part 2

I knew from the forecast that the weather would turn nasty overnight and into the morning. At about two o’clock in the morning it started to rain. Fairly soon it turned into “hose pipe” rain, heavy and concentrated. The wind appeared to have flipped round from coming up the valley to down the valley.

Despite the conditions, the Tramplite shelter seemed to be coping well. The A frame made it very solid and the valances at the front meant there was no problem with water being blown under the flysheet.

As it got light I considered my options. My original plan had been to go over Place Fell then to Howtown, up Fusedale and over Wether Hill to Measand Beck. With the weather forecast, I adjusted this to a walk along Ullswater to Howtown and then Measand Beck.

If the morning was a washout, then I would have to take a different route. The easiest option was to walk back to Hartsop then up over the Knott to Kidsty Pike and down to Riggindale to camp, which would be a reasonable afternoon’s walk. So I waited to see how the morning would pan out.

At about ten o’clock, the rain stopped. I started to think about packing but half an hour later it absolutely chucked it down. Not only that the wind picked up and swirled around. It was some of the worst weather I’d ever camped in. Fortunately, the Tramplite held firm. I was also lucky that I’d camped on a slight rise as the ground outside the porch started to get waterlogged.

IMG_1640Camp at Deepdale

At midday, the storm blew itself out and I was able to start packing. Deepdale Beck had been transformed into a raging torrent and the waterfalls from Link Cove were white ribbons on the hillside.

IMG_1641Greenhow End

There was still a bit of drizzle in the air, so I packed away my camera and used my iPhone to take pictures. Not surprisingly the path back down Deepdale was sodden.


Yet again I encountered the cows and calves and had to make a detour around them. By the time I reached the end of Deepdale, the weather had brightened a bit. I retraced my steps back towards Hartsop but at the waterfall below Lingy Crag, I took the path that contours above Hartsop through some woods.

IMG_1656Woods above Hartsop

This is a really good path to Hayeswater Gill, giving some pleasant views of Brothers Water and Pasture Beck. As I approached the Waterworks hut at the end of the path, it started to rain, so I stopped to put on my waterproofs.

IMG_1660Hayeswater Gill

The slog up The Knott was a bit sweaty in full waterproofs. As I climbed higher I left the shelter of the valley and the wind reasserted itself. Contouring around The Knott to the Straights of Riggindale, there was a good view with the lush green of Patterdale contrasting with the sombre colours of the hillsides and the glowering sky.

IMG_1667The green “jewel” of Patterdale

 The path to Kidsty Pike was easy. I could see some sunny patches near Haweswater, but Riggindale and Long Stile were dark and gloomy.

IMG_1670Long Stile

The path down from Kidsty Pike over Kidsty Howes is very eroded in places. I guess this is from the many people following Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk. I took special care descending some of the slippery rocky sections. By now, the eastern end of Riggindale was bathed in pleasant sunshine.

IMG_1674Riggindale from Kidsty Howes

Once down to Riggindale Beck, I filled my Platypus water containers. My original intention had been to camp next to the wood on The Rigg, but the wind had dropped and I was concerned that there might be midges about. So I decided to camp in the open space near the  hut.

DSC00105Camp at Riggindale

Overnight there were a few rain showers. Fortunately, none were extended and in the morning I could pack outside the tent. All that remained was a short walk back to the car and to drive home. All in all a nice little trip, even if the weather wasn’t as good as last year.

Deepdale and back part 1

It’s been a very frustrating summer. My wife’s poor health has meant no opportunities to get out. However, I had to take out daughter back to university last week, so that opened up the chance to make a little side trip to the Lake District.

Because of uncertainties over timing, I decided to return to the eastern fells as it was easy to park the car safely and concoct a two-day/three-night trip. I wanted to return to Deepdale, so I planned to camp at the same places as September last year, but link them with a different route.


I arrived at Haweswater late afternoon and the sun was shining. After parking the car, I hefted my pack and went to find a spot on the The Rigg to camp.

DSC00042Camp on The Rigg

I decided that it was such a nice evening that I’d camp in the same spot as last year.


It was a very fine evening, with a fresh breeze to keep the insects at bay. After walking down to Riggindale Beck to collect some water, I rehydrated a meal. By the time I’d finished it was dusk, so I climbed into my sleeping bag and dozed off.

DSC00050Cloud over Riggindale

I woke at first light. The day dawned reasonably clear, although I knew the forecast was for a generally cloudy day with strong winds. I just failed to get a really good picture of the bright pink clouds over Riggindale illuminated by the rising sun 😦 .


After breakfast I set off back down towards the car park and dumped a couple of things in the car before taking the Gatescarth Pass path. For some reason, I’ve never used this path before, so it was nice to use a new route.

DSC00053Harter Fell and Gatescarth Pass

 It’s a pretty easy path up to the pass. By now the sky had clouded over and the wind strengthened appreciably as I climbed higher.

DSC00062Gatescarth Pass and the Laser Comp

At the top of the pass, I spied a tent in the distance. It was one of the worst pitched Laser Comps I’ve ever seen! Shocking!

DSC00071View from Harter Fell to High Street

From Gatesgarth Pass, the path turns westwards up the flank of Harter Fell. By this time the weather was brightening a bit, although the wind was still strong. There were some good views northwards to High Street and Haweswater.

DSC00072Nan Bield Pass and Mardale Ill Bell

From Harter Fell I descended to Nan Bield Pass and up to Mardale Ill Bell. Skirting the flank of High Street, I made a short cut across some moorland to the path that leads to Thornthwaite Beacon.

DSC00077Thornthwaite Beacon

Sheltering behind the Beacon was another walker. We had a quick chat, mainly about the weather. He said that the forecast was for heavy rain and high winds tomorrow but that it should clear by lunchtime.

DSC00078Descent to Threshthwaite Mouth

The descent from Thornthwaite to Threshthwaite Mouth was a lot rougher than I remembered. There were several walkers coming the other way, huffing and puffing up the steep path. At Threshthwaite Mouth the wind was being funnelled through the col and was ferocious.

DSC00080Pasture Beck

Some walkers were sheltering behind the dry stone wall where the path turns down to Pasture Beck. The way down Threshthwaite Cove was uneven and a bit slippery. I managed to stumble an graze a finger. A plaster stanched the trickle of blood. A little further down I took shelter behind a boulder to have a bite of lunch.

DSC00085Pasture Beck

Pasture Beck is a lovely walk. The top section is quite steep, giving way to some glacial humps (drumlins). The lower section opens out into a gentler valley with a good path. There are also a couple of good places to camp, which I filed away in the memory banks for future trips.

DSC00092Bridgend and Deepdale beyond

 At Hartsop, I took the track to Bridgend and crossed over the A592. I followed the lane to Deepdale Hall into Deepdale itself. I really like Deepdale. It’s not a very long valley but in the upper reaches it does have a feeling of remoteness amongst the crags of Hart Crag and Fairfield.

DSC00097Deepdale and Greenhow End

One unwelcome new feature of Deepdale, however, was a small herd of cows with calves. They were walking towards me on the path. Mindful of recent trampling incidents, I tracked up the slope away from the path through some bracken. Even so, they decided that I was interesting and started towards me. After I skirted round them they seemed to lose interest. Nonetheless, I wasn’t very impressed that cows and calves had been let loose on a well used path.

DSC00099Camp at Deepdale

After a kilometer or so, I left the track to find the spot where I had camped last year in one of the bends of Deepdale Beck. To my dismay, the idyllic spot of last year had been churned up by cattle and there was a profusion of cow pats. Fortunately, there was a small area clear of devastation and I pitched my Tramplite, tail into the strong and gusting wind.

DSC00102Cow pat city

I knew the weather forecast was poor for the next morning, so I made sure all the pegging points were secure. As it turned out, it was a wise thing to do. More about the ferocious weather in part 2.