Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Winter Weekend in the Lakes

27th January 2012

After getting our route submitted for the TGO it was time to start getting some miles on the legs, Mick and I planned a visit to the Lakes this weekend to try and get some practice. It was more a gear testing trip in temperatures which would be about as cold as it can get in Scotland during May. Lows of -3 C were forecast for night time, rain for Friday but clear and bright after that, and they just about got it spot on.
Leaving the car we headed off down the track and along the lake side, turning eastwards after a mile or so and up into the forestry tracks. The rain was relentless on Friday, an hour or so into the walk and we were drenched, we took shelter under a giant cedar in the hope that it would blow over, after five or ten minutes it hadn't lifted so we cracked on.
The terrain was mixed and as we left the forest to follow the river it was starting to get dark, we had our eyes open for a decent pitch but options were limited in the time we had. We finally agreed on level'ish patch of ground just off one of the main tracks, the resident cows had shit all over the place so finding a clear patch was hard work. We found a bab free area though and got the tents up, it had been a couple of months since I'd last used the Trailstar but it went up perfect first time, tight as a drum despite the slopey ground.

Excuse the crap photos though, I'm still trying to get my head round the new Lumix we got for Chrimbo, comparing them to the old Sony and I'm not that impressed so far.

Night one, cow shit central

View of my bedroom

Saturday morning we were late getting away, something we'll have to work on before the TGO comes around . By the time we'd messed about and set off it was knocking on for ten o'clock, up the valley we went and then cut up the hillside to a saddle in the hills.

Climbing up

The view from the pass was stunning, the snow line across the mountains opposite was something I'd not seen before, the green of the fields standing out against the monochrome mountain tops.

Wainwrights favourite

Our plan for the weekend was a high route along a numbers of summits, after we'd made the first climb into the snow line we had second thoughts. Both of us were wearing canvas boots, practising the wet feet thing for the TGO, and there was basically too much snow and danger without the right gear. I had spikes in the car but decided to leave them as I wasn't going to summit on my own.
We had a good mooch about on the crags and rested for half an hour in the low sun, we headed back down the fell and into the valley bottom. Reaching a ford in the river we decided to turn back rather than get cold wet feet for the night, after the sun dropped behind the last hill later on I was glad we'd done it. Camp for the second night wasn't the best, we spotted a flattish area from the track and scrambled down to check it out. It was right next to the river in a lovely spot but unfortunately is was part of the old river bed and full of rocks. Light was fading again and it was getting cold, we stuck the shelters up anyway and foraged for a bit of wood for a fire on one of the beach areas of the river.

Night two

Sunday was fairly uneventful, we were packed up earlier and away, getting back to the car shortly after ten o'clock. We covered a few miles, tried some new kit out and had a good laugh, It was a new area for both of us and one we'll be visiting again before May I reckon.

Kit List: (probably my TGO kit now but I'll switch to a lighter bag in May)

ULA CDT pack
MLD Trailstar
MLD Superlight Bivvy
MLD pegs
P.O.E Ether Elite AC 2/3 mat
Alpkit Pipedream 600
Polycro groundsheet

Jetboil Sol Ti & 100g cart
MSR ti mug
Alpkit long handled ti spoon
Opinel No.8
Zebralight H51
Satmap Active 10
A4 printed maps in Loksak bag
Silva compass
Pacer Poles
DrinkSafe Supalite filter bag
Source 1L soft bottle
750ml water bottle

4 x dehydrated meals
2 x porridge
1 x Ramen noodles
1 x John West tuna steak
Kenco 3-in-1 brew kit
Snack bars
Fizzy snakes
Peanut M&Ms

Berghaus Attrition II jacket
OR Transcendent down hoody
Fleece beanie
Heat Holder socks for bed
Berghaus powerstretch gloves
Terra Nova paclite rain mitts

Icebreaker 200g Oasis crew
Rab powerstretch top
Montane Fury jacket
Montane Featherlite smock
Rab powerstretch leggings
Montane Terra pants
Alpkit trekker socks
Salomon Fastpacker Mid shoes
OR Crocodile gaiters
UK army issue wool headover

Total pack weight including fuel, food and 1L of water was 9.3kg

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