Saturday, 24 March 2012

More TGO Training in the Lakes

Monday 19th March

This was to be another practice for our fast approaching TGO Challenge in May, I had a few days holiday at work to use up so hatched a rough plan with Mick to head for the Lakes. We hadn’t plotted a route at all for this one, we were just going to get some miles in with plenty of ascents and descents and test some new gear in the process.

The drive across the Dales was pleasant and we made good time arriving at the car park at lunchtime, we were loaded up and away shortly after. Ten minutes down the trail and we had to stop to remove some layers, although it wasn’t exactly sunny it was very mild when out of the wind.

We checked out a camp spot we’d noticed on the walk out the last time we were here, although it was fairly level and dryish under foot the wind was cutting straight through the clearing, we pushed on for another half a mile ending up at a site we’d used before. We got the shelters up and spent the rest of the evening sampling the dehydrated meals we’d made and generally lolly gagging around camp. We gathered a few bits of firewood from the forestry works left overs and built a little fire in the lee of a root system of a windblown pine. Pretty much as soon as the kindling had taken the wind picked up and the heavens opened, we retreated to my Trailstar to look at some maps and plan a route for the next day, we called it a night after the rain didn’t look to be easing.

Camp for night one

Tuesday 20th March

I didn’t get much sleep through the night, I seemed to be constantly fighting with my Elite AC as it made its way into a hollow at the foot end of my bivvy bag, more silicon stripes required I think. We packed up in the mist and cold and made our way up the valley to our path.

Packed up and doing the final checks before we left

On our way

Looking back to where we’d camped, pretty much in the centre of the shot

Our path went up

.. and up

We crested the hill and began to drop down into the next valley

As luck would have it and totally unplanned (honest) we passed a pub, a pub which happened to serve food all day and had a nice wood fire burning inside, we felt obliged to stop

Leaving the pub a short while later after consuming beef and onion sarnies with chips and salad, we headed down the valley and checked ourselves into the NT campsite (all part of the TGO training of course). Shelters up we took a walk down to the nearby lake

Looking back to camp, just right of centre in the pines

My Trailstar pitched on a proper campsite, it got a few looks as folk walked by

We spent the evening enjoying more homemade dehydrated meals and making use of the facilities, namely the shower, water on tap and washing up.

Wednesday 21st March

This was to be our longest day for sure, it was my turn to navigate and in usual Shewie fashion I’d chosen a route with some testing climbs along the way. We were packed up in fairly good time (we’re getting better anyway)and then headed up the valley once again to find our new path.

Climbing up

Half way up the first ascent

Viking sheep apparently

We stopped at Alfred Wainrights’ resting place for lunch

Getting a brew on

Some great views from the tops

We’d planned to camp up high for the night but after spending some time up there in the afternoon we realised our summer gear wasn’t quite up to the predicted temperature. The wind was constant too and as we sat and had lunch we were both layering up again, despite the warmth of the sun the wind was bitter cold, With the likelihood of clear skies and plummeting temps we headed back down off the tops and made our way back to our first camp. The valley was really sheltered when we dropped down and a real sun trap at camp, the mossies and midges were making a first appearance too. We spent the night sat around a small fire, really feeling the benefit once the sun had disappeared for the day. The sky was lit up with stars and satellites, we spent quite a while with our heads craned back taking it all in.

Thursday 22nd March

It was cold that night, really cold, I woke around 07:30 to ice on the inside of my tarp. We’d spent some time levelling out the divots and clearing the rocks from our pitches so we both slept much better than the first night here. By the time I’d woken up the sun had risen over the mountain behind us and I was just starting to feel the warmth, five minutes later the ice on my tarp had completely melted. I spent ten minutes wiping the tarp down with my mini pack towel and then got up. I was in ninja mode around camp as I thought Mick might’ve had a cold night in his Softie 3 and would appreciate a lie-in in the sun, I wasn’t wrong either as it turned out.

Morning sun catching the tarp

Morning brew time

Some pics of a stunning camp

It was getting on for 10:00 by the time Mick surfaced, right enough he’d had a cold night but was pleased about the added warmth he’d got from the cotton liner he picked up the day before. Neither of us were in any kind of hurry to get away, the sun was high, the wind was nill and we rarely got to enjoy the Lakes on days like this, it was midday when we pushed on down the valley back to the car.

Magic stuff !

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