At last, our weekend away finally arrived! One that was originally meant for Scotland, and for 6 of us, but none of that was to be. Instead, Sarah and I headed for the Lake District to take on the Helvellyn range from north to south via two wild camps, Scales Tarn and Grizedale Tarn.
Not much of what was originally planned actually panned out; one-by-one our compatriots dropped out for various reasons, complacency had us alter our first wild camp spot, and that damned south-westerly wind that has plagued our winter, tried to blow us off the ridge. Plus my Buffalo still hadn’t arrived so to remedy this, I popped into The Climbers Shop in Ambleside where, after weighing up it’s benefits over the Arc’Teryx Atom SV, I purchased a Mountain Equipment Fitzroy as a replacement insulating overlayer, but more on that later.
We made a super-early start on the Friday, (05:11 train from Sheffield), so as to make it to Ambleside in time for it’s awakening. We changed only once, in Manchester, and had reached Windermere just before 08:00. After purchasing a 3-day bus pass we set off for Ambleside, where we arrived after around 15-20 mins. We arrived well before anywhere was open and all this early morning travel had left me gasping for a coffee, so we replenished our spirits at Esquires, (some decent coffee there methinks), opposite the cinema.
We had ordered some New-Matic Grivel G12’s from Adventure Peaks, but upon arrival they had not them in stock, so G10 New-Matics had to suffice. We weren’t planning on doing anything so technical anyway. By the time we were sorted it was pushing 10:00, so being on ‘holiday’ we decided that another refreshment stop was in order, cue the pints of Hoegaarden! The lateral thinking afforded by such nutritious beverages had us check Sarah’s crampons, which turned out to have an extender bar fitted thus didn’t fit Sarah’s boots at all! We finished our sustenance and made haste, back in the direction of the Adventure Peaks store. Conveniently, it was shut for 5 mins, at least 10 in actuality but we were eventually sorted out. Anyhow, this kerfuffle was followed by a humid bus ride to Keswick, some sandwiches and another beer, before grabbing the bus out to the White Horse Inn at Scales.
We had intended to have a decent meal here before heading out early to our intended camp site at Scales Tarn. It turns out they stop serving food at 14:00! We’d arrived at ca. 14:15. Foiled, so another beer it was then, and not a very good one either. Balls!!!
Now for our next change of plan, for the sake of time and effort, we decided it would be best to camp on the other side of the main road. Leaving the pub, we walked back along the A66 until we could pick up the relevant path on the opposite side of the road.
So, here’s my attempt at an inaugural photo-blog posting. Just trying to assemble these photos into some kind of chronologically accurate and, more importantly, interesting format exposes flaws in my process. It appears that it’s not enough to just have photographs of questionable quality, or to be able to generate semi-acceptable prose, but there has to be a narrative. And preferably, one backed up by technically-sound or artistic photographs, and interesting anecdotes, none of which I appear to have, (here at least). Well, I guess that, like with everything else worth doing in life, this is a learning process, requiring that I ‘get out more’, use my camera more, write more. We’ll see how that goes eh! Anyhow, on to more important business.
So, my better half and I went on our first, (hopefully of many), camping/walking holidays in the Lake District. We did a little trekking in India last year, but nothing prolonged, or properly adventurous, but being so close to the Peak District, we have regular day and overnight outings to Edale and the Hope Valley, so we are used to the hills to some extent. Coming from Lancashire, it’s a little surprising that I’ve not spent that much time in the Lakes, but there you go, life can be like that.
Given these latter facts, and some others that may, or may not come to light over the lifecycle of this blog, it’s no real surprise that I was a little too adventurous when planning our trip. For one, I had initially expected us to haul our full kit, i.e. a weeks worth of clothing, food and shelter, plus the day’s water, up a total of ca. 80 miles AND approximately 3500m of elevation! Obviously the nature and distribution of this weight/bulk would change over the course of the trip, but yeah, after a long slog up Skiddaw and back down to Keswick, we quickly, (more like quite slowly and rather painfully), learned that this was NOT going to happen! As such, plans were revised and a more forgiving schedule was kept. Anyways, here’s what happened in a brief, temporally-erratic and incomplete pictorial fashion. Perhaps I will add further details in between the images in the future, so as to balance out the missing photographic elements: