Expeditions, Navigation, Guided Walks and Trekking
It’s taken a while to finish this third instalment of a recent backpacking weekend in the Lakes. Some of the blogs I read are by writers who can knock off a well-formed story in the back of the bus on the way home. Their stories are well structured, complete with good spelling and beautiful grammar. My stories have to be slowly crafted, first draft always end up reading like a good dose of drivel. Its hard and time-consuming. My personal writing time is also getting limited; I have started working again, doing a couple of DofE expeditions over the last week; and the grass keeps growing, plants need bedding and weeds pop up all over my nice borders. So here goes, final revision –
I often find that day 2 of an expedition is the most difficult. The excitement of getting there, setting off and the experience of wild camping all make the first day great. On the second day the weight of the pack begins to kick in, a night sleeping in a tent isn’t always the best way to recover from the hard day. And so it turned out for us. Day 2 had been a bit of a slog, not helped by the weather.
Saturday dawned misty and damp after a storm passed over during the night. Cloud was low over the fell and drifting across the lake in front of us. A few early morning hikers passed our “wild” camp, spurring us into getting going again. One of the hiking groups told us this lakeside path was on the Coast to Coast. We hadn’t realised this, even Adrian who then regaled us with his adventures on the C2C when he (and Wainwright) were lads, We broke away from the lakeside path at Beckfoot, where the kind photographer there let us dump our now large bag of rubbish in his bin.
We headed off into the fells passing through a little used gate, opposite the hamlet of Whins. This was the start of the old bridleway over to Buttermere via Floutern Tarn. Wainwright attributes its lack of use to the muddy and boggy nature of the Buttermere end, but we found it was this side less used now. Mist still hung over the fells as we slowly walked upwards, passing a group of lads from Workington on their Bronze DofE expedition. Bright orange vango rucksack covers made it easy to keep an eye on them. It wasn’t a lot of height to gain, just 300m to get over the pass. Paths went off in all directions at the top of the pass. They all disappeared into the mist, so it was time to dig out the compass to check our bearings, keeping on the route to Buttermere. We missed Floutern Tarn in the cloud but soon dropped out of the mist to see the head of Mosedale open out in front of us. This view didn’t look like the Lakes, more a Yorkshire Dales or Peak District view. But we could just see Crummock Water down the valley and the sun was shining there.
Lunch was had beside the beck, a nice rest although it was still trying to drizzle. A hot lunch was called for so the jetboil was fired up again to make soup and a cuppa.
We took the track around the head of the valley, taking us to Scales Force. A scramble up into the pool of the main waterfall. A decomposing sheep was trapped in the rocks, smelling pretty bad and a good reminder of the need to treat drinking water.
Then it was a gentle stroll into Buttermere to find a space on the campsite. Down there the sun had come out, it was lovely and warm and the tourists were arriving but the bus load. The entrance to the campsite wasn’t obvious, we approached from the main road, but the farmer was waiting to stop campers getting in that way. A sign hung on the gate “Morgans”. He explained that this field was reserved for a three-wheeler Morgan rally, although most of them were out on the roads. Last year he had made the mistake of missing the “g” from the sign, he didn’t think much of his customers.
After some negotiation he eventually let us through. We found a dry flat area, looking down the Buttermere valley, a delightful spot and just 3 minutes from the Bridge Inn. We had thought of having a swift drink and rest before dinner but we couldn’t seem to drag ourselves away from the sunny beer garden. A lovely evening was had and an early night for an early start the next day.