The “No Wainwrights” Lake District Backpack

After all the shenanigans getting ready for my art exhibition at the start of the month, and then helping a friend with her exhibition which immediately followed mine, I’d managed to rack up a couple of months without any significant time in the outdoors. Other than a brief snatched camp out locally, but then a tent hidden between a farmer’s field and a landfill site is hardly quality outdoors. It was high time I got out into the hills.

Continue reading “The “No Wainwrights” Lake District Backpack”

The Eskdale Escapade

I really should have been on the Cambrian Way, but I just didn’t fancy it. For once I wanted to do something I wanted to do. It’s been 6 years since a truly memorable trip to Eskdale, and a couple of years since a less successful one – I was itching to retread some of those paths, re-see some of those views and above all to immerse myself more deeply into the valley by spending some nights camping out there. So I did. Continue reading “The Eskdale Escapade”

A Snowy Saunter around the Southern Fells

I lay in my sleeping bag nervously watching the tent flexing and straining under the force of the icy wind blowing down from the head of Eskdale, hoping it would hold as it was now too dark to shift camp to somewhere more sheltered. Memories of a past windy camp came back to both haunt me and at the same time boost my confidence that my tent would hold… Next morning I emerged to the new snowfall, pulling on my outer layers in the biting cold and tunneling my way out through the snowdrift surrounding Monica to inspect her sorry and bedraggled state after a night standing up to the Lake District winter…

Continue reading “A Snowy Saunter around the Southern Fells”

The Odyssey resumes

I ambled along Fenchurch Street, by now used to the looks of mild disdain that the sight of a guy dressed for the outdoors and carrying a rucksack evokes in city folk. I left them to hurry on to their early heart attacks while I headed for nature’s playground, deriving extra satisfaction from the fact that it’s a Tuesday and I’ve finished with work for the week. Continue reading “The Odyssey resumes”

My “Oriental” Plan takes shape

I’ve spent what little spare time I’ve had in the evenings over the last week staring at the map and my Lake District wallchart, trying to crack the puzzle that is the Far Eastern Fells.  And I think I might finally be getting somewhere… Continue reading “My “Oriental” Plan takes shape”

A Far Eastern Odyssey

All Change

The rain is falling outside, but otherwise all is quiet as I have the house to myself. Soon the family will return from their afternoon out and in a few hours time the long Jubilee weekend will be over, and it will be time to head back to work. And it’s likely to be an intense and busy few weeks. My current client project really gets going in earnest this week and this starts to cast doubt on the feasibility of taking two weeks off at the start of July to do a coast to coast walk. Continue reading “A Far Eastern Odyssey”

Peakbagging in the Lakes

This week I’ve been updating my hills database as it’s a couple of years since I last did this. This has kicked off a whole flurry of activity.  If you’re not one for hill lists and statistics then look away now, but although this may seem a bit anal, there is a real purpose to maintaining these lists and charts. Continue reading “Peakbagging in the Lakes”

Cumbria Way – The End of the Walk

So that’s it. As I limp away from Carlisle Castle through the urban ugliness of the city centre, I’m not feeling any sense of achievement. That came about 4 miles out from Carlisle, when I knew I’d make it (somehow), but completely evaporated on the slog over the tarmac.

If the Cumbria Way finished in Dalston, that would have suited me fine, and I don’t think it gains anything from the extra spirit-crushing crawl Continue reading “Cumbria Way – The End of the Walk”

Beacon Tarn

Cumbria Way Day 2

When I booked Fell End camping barn, I didn’t have any other options given the route I wanted to take. Nevertheless it was an ok choice as it had all the basics (shelter, something to sleep on, a toilet and drinking water) and was only £8.50. Also my knee seems to have recovered overnight but whether that was the ibuprofen, beer or a night’s rest I’m not sure.

The lovely hazy sunny day of yesterday had gone and been replaced by clouds down to about 300m in places. Luckily I wasn’t going as high as that today, but I missed out on a good view of the line of fells running up to the Old Man.

It was a slow start and even though I was first up and first to leave, it was 09:55 before I set off. I’d just gone through the gate at the barn when I had to stop again to put on waterproofs and raincover.

Opposite the end of the lane leading to Woodland Hall, I took a short cut through the bracken and joined the fell road higher up. But I was only on the road a couple of hundred metres before Continue reading “Cumbria Way Day 2”

Cumbria Way signpost

Cumbria Way Day 1

I arrived in Ulverston afer a smooth journey and set off for the start point. I then promptly fell over in the main street almost in front of Stan and Ollie (who I’m sure were pointing and laughing at me) and had to be helped up by two old ladies (that’s the wrong way round surely ?!).

Statue of Stan and Ollie in Ulverston
Statue of Stan and Ollie in Ulverston

Blood pouring from a cut above the eye where I used my face to cushion my fall on the pavement, I picked up my broken glasses and limped with my banged knee to a bench for a nice sit down. Unbelievably a toilet with a mirror couldn’t be found in Ulverston so I later used one of those seeing around corners roadside mirrors to administer first aid.

Cumbria Way start point in Ulverston
Cumbria Way start point in Ulverston

Eventually, I made it to the start point (in a car park) and set off veering off the official path to visit Knottallow Tarn and to make my way along country lanes to the wind farm on Kirkby Moor, accompanied by a strong smell Continue reading “Cumbria Way Day 1”


A Lakeland Round 2007: Day 2 – Tuesday 17 April

Let’s start by adding a 5th lesson to last night’s list: don’t expect a good night’s sleep in a tent.  I know the first night in a strange bed isn’t usually great, but you can multiply that by 10 when sleeping in a tent and on a very (too) thin mat.  I probably did sleep but it can’t have been much – none of it was helped by people talking until 1am; ducks, geese and what sounded like peacocks having a party; cuckoos and a choir of small twittering little bastards at 5:30. Continue reading “A Lakeland Round 2007: Day 2 – Tuesday 17 April”