I spent a few days in the SW Lake District last week with Teepee, more kit testing and plenty of hill practice ahead of our Cape Wrath Trail walk later in the year. We headed SW as it's an area neither of us have walked in before, I've paddled on Coniston many times and looked up at the surrounding hills but this time I would get to walk them.
Tuesday 20th May
Pete showed up at mine on Monday night and then we set off Tuesday morning, hitting rush hour traffic it was almost lunchtime by the time we reached Tilberthwaite car park, a quick final pack of the rucksacks and we were away.
Emerging from the cover of the trees we're greeted with the first view of Wetherlam, our first peak of the day
After reaching the summit of Wetherlam we continued westwards and up Prison Band until we reached Swirl How
At Swirl How we turned north and then west again before finding a running water source and scouting out a campsite for the night. We found a nice area just off the saddle between Great Carrs and Grey Friar, camp was setup and we kicked back for the remainder of the evening.
Half an hour or so after getting setup the skies darkened and we heard a few rumbles in the distance, a shortwhile later we were in the cloudbase with thunder and lightning going off all around us, always fun on top of a mountain.
The storm soon passed over and we were bathed in sunshine once again, we watched the black clouds and thunder roll up Mosedale and break over Scafell and it's neighbouring peaks, our destination for tomorrow. A fairly early night was had, I'd pitched poorly and didn't have the best nights sleep.
Wednesday 21st May
After packing up we came up with a plan for a shorter day which would put us in position to bag Bow Fell and Scafell the next day, a leisurely start with out of date porridge which turned out like oaty soup.
Packed and ready
Our target, the bowl below Scafell
Lunch break was next to a lovely little river in a gorge at Cockley Beck Gill
Leaving Wrynose Bottom
After reaching the end of the path at the top of Mosedale we branched NE and up beyond Churn How to find a great campsite right next to the river in Green Hole.
Our route for tomorrow, up Yeastyrigg Gill to Ore Gap
Pete having a snooze in the hot afternoon sun
The midges were out in force, almost Scottish like with their persistence, time to break out the Wilmas Nordic Summer. The sun dropped behind the mountains and the temperature soon dropped, cool air began flowing down from the tops which was enough to force Pete to turn his shelter around.
Thursday 22nd May
After a better nights sleep I awoke early and peeked out of the shelter to see this
Our route shrouded in cloud
We made the decision to not bother going for the tops but instead dropped down the valley and figured out an alternative route for the day.
Using old map software is always a gamble, the forestry I'd picked out for a possible sheltered camp was no more
After doing what any Englishman would do, we stopped for a brew, made a plan and pushed on, continuing on the planned route and into tomorrows leg.
The pretty River Duddon near Troutal
Our route would take us up along the edge of Seathwaite Tarn where we hoped to find a sheltered camp for the night, in all honesty it was horrid, struggling to find a flat enough area for two shelters and out of the wind was a challenge. we settled on a semi level area behind some rocks and got set up.
The NE winds hurled down Seathwaite and spilled over the dam and straight onto our camp, I lay for hours trying to sleep without much success, I eventually grabbed the MP3 player and drowned out the wind noise.
Friday 23rd May
The next morning couldn't come soon enough for me, I sat for a while before giving Pete a shout around 07:30, we packed up, skipped breakfast and headed out.
Reaching the end of the tarn we turned south and climbed a swine of a hill following Far Gill until we reached Goat's Hawse
Goat's Water below Dow Crag
The Old Man, our next summit
Dropping down from the top we continued eastwards towards Miners Bridge and the Coniston Fells
After a killer climb out from Miners Bridge and up Hole Rake we would eventually end up back in the valley where we first started, we found a stunning campsite for our last night, it's so good I can't even tell you where it is.
We chilled out for our last night, despite the occasional shower it was a beautiful place to camp, again the midges came out for a nibble.
Morecambe Bay in the distance
Saturday 24th May
I had a great nights sleep, the best I've had on the deck for a long time, with things to do we packed up in good time and headed home.
All packed up
Away down the hill back to the car