Barren fields and remnants of our industrial heritage are sweeping by as the train is whisking me northward. I’m on my way to my first Lakes trip of the year.
After 8 visits last year which tidied up most of the stragglers caused by a rather haphazard approach to the Wainwrights, I’ve deliberately left it a while before venturing there again – I don’t want it to become boring.
But with Dartmoor featuring ever larger in my plans, and a self-imposed target of finishing the Wainwrights this July to mark exactly 10 years since I started, a visit was due. With 16 Wainwrights to go choices are now quite limited in terms of which ones to do.
The aim for this trip is twofold. Firstly to tackle my remaining 6 Northern Fells: Blencathra, Bannerdale Crags, Bowscale Fell, Mungrisdale Common, Souther Fell and Carrock Fell. Cath (@wellycath) will be joining me and we had intended to camp but in view of Cath’s aversion to camping in wind and rain we’ve opted instead to go with hostels and bunkhouses. This will actually make a nice change. There is no fixed plan other than to pick off those 6 fells and hopefully some of the other Northern Fells that Cath hasn’t done yet.
Part 2 of the trip is a solo affair and sees me tackle the extreme Western Fells around Loweswater. With no buses running to Buttermere yet, this is going to involve a linear route between Keswick and Cockermouth. So as to not be carrying excess stuff on the first part of the trip, I’ve decided to continue using camping barns – a tactic used very successfully on the Cumbria Way in 2011.
With the fells seemingly on the cusp of winter and spring, I find myself kitted out for both. Last year’s trip over the equivalent weekend was similar with small patches of snow remaining on the highest tops but a thaw underway lower down. The weather was glorious last year; it seems to be a little less so now.
A 100% successful trip will get me to 210 Wainwrights, but it doesn’t matter if I don’t quite reach that, as long as I don’t leave loads of odd one out fells to come back to. I only have limited trips to get me to my July date with Haystacks.
You’ll be able to follow my progress on Social Hiking and Twitter as usual.