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.
Things were looking good: the forecast was encouraging, workdays were slotted into place, and I was ready to drift off to Dartmoor for a few days of backpacking as a warm up for the big event, just as I did … Continue reading Making it up as I go – The pre-TGO Challenge shakedown trip
After a couple of weeks in which preparing for and holding my first art show proved to be pretty much all-consuming, I was keen to get out into the landscape again, and to do so before winter started to rear its ugly head. By which I mean not the winter of crisp days on snow-covered hills, but the winter of rain and gloom that is the more normal state of affairs. Memories of a successful late autumn trip to the Lakes a couple of years ago were in my mind as I looked at the forecast to identify a likely window. The forecast appeared to be predicting conditions of valley mist and warmer on the tops themselves, or in other words temperature inversions. This was an opportunity too good to miss. Continue reading “Above the Clouds”
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”
Daylight’s fingers crept over the surface of the tent and the wind that had blown malevolently all night finally disappeared. It wasn’t supposed to be especially windy according to the forecast, but it seemed that it must have been funnelled in such a way as to enhance its force. Either that, or it’s just out to get me. Continue reading “And Then There Were None”
I stood watching the black silhouette of the Scafells against a redish glow gradually infiltrating the sky above. As more light spread across the land, the glow became an intense orange concentrated behind Great Gable. A time for contemplation of the walk so far, and the walk ahead. Continue reading “The Valley of Sluggishness”
I’m up and raring to go today, my last full day for this trip. The forecast is good and I’ve deliberately saved this walk for today because of it. Continue reading “Autumn in the Lakes: Stragglers and Shadows”
All is dark when I finally arrive in Windermere, after some nail-biting moments on the train journey up, wondering if I would make my connections at Preston and Oxenholme. Not wanting to wait for the bus, when there’s a taxi right here, I hop in the car and minutes later am at Ambleside youth hostel, timing my arrival for a mini-flood of people waiting to check in. Continue reading “Autumn in the Lakes: Nature’s Palette”
I was halfway down a suspiciously unlimey lime and lemonade, when a large blue rucksack came bobbing along the lane in front of the pub. It turned into the “beer garden” and Cath emerged from underneath it, and muttered some words I took to be a greeting. A few minutes later with a pint of ale in her hand, she was more coherent, and I decoded her previous attempt at conversation as being a tirade against the weight of her pack. This would become a familiar gripe for the rest of the trip. Continue reading “The Four Valleys Walk – Part 2: Eskdale, Wasdale & Borrowdale”
I’d long dreamed of exploring this valley and camping somewhere remote in its upper reaches to enjoy the majesty of England’s highest mountains surrounding me, but the reality was damper, mistier and more precarious than I’d imagined it would be.
The first thing I saw as I stepped off the bus at Rosthwaite, a stop short of where I ought to, was Eagle Crag, one of my most favourite fells, peering out from behind Rosthwaite Fell. This just reminded me … Continue reading The 10-in-10 (ish)
Day 1 – Friday 6 June A few squirts of air into the Airbeam frame of my new Gossamer Gear Mariposa Pack and then I swung it up onto my shoulder and left the house for the short walk to … Continue reading Some Favourite Southern Fells
The observant among my readers will have spotted that I wasn’t alone on last weekend’s trip to the Lakes. Indeed it was hoped to be a small group, but in the end only my friend Cath (who can be found … Continue reading Perceptions from a First Lakes Backpack
The creature stepped from the bog, covered in jet black ooze, spread its arms wide and started to lurch in my direction. I took out my secret weapon and brandished it in front of the foul wretch attempting to fend it off… Continue reading “A Tour of the Tarns with a Damsel in Distress”
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…