Nether Wasdale Gathering 2014   9 comments

I like my routine and I like a certain degree of constancy in my life. This is particularly true when taking the family camping. I’ve been to too many poor quality sites, places that charge the earth for less than impressive facilities (Sykeside near Brothers Water you have been shamed). However some places roll out the red groundsheet and the Church Stile campsite is the best. Always welcoming, spotless facilities, reasonable (by Lakes standards), never too crowded and with stunning views. A bit of a drive if you want to tackle the big mountains but well worth it when you have such a lovely temporary home to return to. We’ve been here 4 years on the spin now at May Day weekend and I don’t see that trend changing. Our home from home when the first family camping weekend of the year arrives.

 

Taking the kids out of school is a bit of no-no for a weekend so this year I took the day off as the advance party to get the tent set up while the rest of the family came up late Friday. This gave me a chance to get a day of solo walking in on the Friday. I had thought of a car camp on the road over from Broughton near the Black Combe but in the end I thought “what the hell” and booked into a Travel Inn, followed by a hearty breakfast at Booths in Ulverston (a fine supermarket chain if ever there was one with outstanding cafes attached). I was up at the top of the pass by 10 and wasn’t sure how to fill a whole day. In the end I decided on a double out and back. In the morning I’d wander out to Whitfell and back and in the afternoon do the same to take in Black Combe, a long admired mountain that I wanted to climb

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

Despite the promise of sunshine it was really rather cold and windy when I stepped from the car. Within a few minutes I was rooting around in the pack for some warmer headwear. There was sunshine temptingly close but grey and gloomy was my companion for now

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

Buck Barrow – and the wonderfully named – Great and Little Paddy Crags were marvellous with some scrambling to keep me entertained.

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

I strolled with purpose out towards Whitfell and suddenly, almost unnoticed the sun came out and there was blue sky everywhere.

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

The walk to the summit was magnificent and the views from the top inspiring although still cold. From here you have the coast on one side and the full Lakeland panorama of peaks in the other. It looks like fine backpacking country on these smaller lesser known hills but as I was to find out not everywhere is quite as dry as it seems.

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

It would have been a fine spot and time for some lunch but I was still full of Booths best so returned towards the car. I thought Kinmont Buck Barrow looked worth a trek (and it was) so I headed off across the col. I should have packed a pack-raft for this. Just a hidden lake with grass in it. Mountains can be sneaky buggers sometimes.

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

I’d thought about lunch at the car but I thought that was a bit sad and I was still digesting breakfast so I pushed on towards Black Combe, over Stoneside Hill and past the charity chair. It looked like another easy stroll up to the edge but there was more hidden water to get past first (this area really has some astounding amounts of water in it’s soil).

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

I managed to find a thin path that took me to the edge and then along the top of Whitecombe Head and Whitecombe Screes all the way to the summit of Black Combe. The cloud had filled in again but the views were still fine especially down towards Barrow in Furness and Walney Island.

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

Now I was hungry and settled down on the grass for a luxury lunch of crusty bread and Morecambe Bay potted shrimps – and very fine they were too. A cold beer would have been a fine addition if only I brought one but a cuppa made an adequate replacement.

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

As I sat there looking out at the Sellafield plant I recalled that back in the 80’s the owners were a tad careless with their safety protocols and had a habit of creating large amounts of toxic waste that they weren’t terribly sure what to do with (well who hasn’t created a batch of the worlds most lethal substance and then wondered where to stash it). I seem to remember that their answer to this taxing question was to dig a big hole on Black Combe and then bury it hoping no-one would notice. Not sure if that’s true but it was an intriguing thought as I counted my fingers to make sure I still had just the ten. I still have ten so perhaps it’s all nonsense.

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

I collected my stuff and wandered off on however many legs I now had back to the car with the skies clearing again as I reached it. A pretty damn fine day.

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

black combe, buck barrow, charity chair, church stile campsite, great paddy crags, kinmont buck barrow, Lake District, little paddy crags, nether wasdale, stoneside hill, whitcombe head, whitecombe screes, whitfell

12 Miles, 20,00 feet of ascent

12 Miles, 20,00 feet of ascent

Putting the tent up was almost a pleasure in the warm sunshine – almost. I was joined by Uncle Fester for a few pints of outstanding Mild and some equally fine food in the The Strands pub – well worth a detour if you’re in the area. It was a chilly evening back on the camp site and I took some more night shots of stars and illuminated tents.

Nether Wasdale

Nether Wasdale

Alas that was as good as things got from a weather perspective. The Saturday was grey and gloomy despite a good forecast. We did a fine walk up Nether Beck to Scoat Tarn and Fell and back over Red Screes, Dore Head and Over Beck. I took only a couple of photos as the day just gloomier and colder as it wore on

Nether Beck, Over Beck, Scoat Tarn, Scoat Fell, Red Screes

Nether Beck, Over Beck, Scoat Tarn, Scoat Fell, Red Screes

8 Miles, 2,600 feet of ascent

8 Miles, 2,600 feet of ascent

The evening descended into the quintessential British pastime of a BBQ in the rain. The rain continued all night and hadn’t stopped by lunchtime the next day. What to do in this corner of the Lake District with a bunch of restless bored kids = Seascale

Seascale

And what a fine choice it was. It had pretty much stopped raining by the time we got there and the kids had a whale of time messing about on the beach and on the astonishingly slippery pier with the waves bouncing over and through it. Lunch was provided by the absolutely delightful Mawsons Ice Cream Parlour. They managed to find space for pretty much 20 of us in it’s tiny interior and looked after us magnificently despite the obvious confusions of many hungry and fussy kids. The food was outstanding but the real treat is their ice cream which is to die for. Apparently the market for full cream has declined in these healthy times so they were left with waste that they didn’t know what to do with. Answer, Ice Cream and I’m glad they did. I think a trip to Seascale is now an essential part of any trip this way

Seascale

Seascale

Seascale

It was still deeply gloomy but at least dry when we emerged 2 hours later. We wandered up the beach and passed another happy couple of hours. Kids love a beach and they forgot about what a dull and damp day it was. Happy kids = happy parents

Seascale

seascale

seascale

Out of the depths of a very dismal Lake District morning sprang a pretty damn fine day in the end.

Seascale

The Monday was a day for taking tents down and some epic football matches where I played a blinder in goal, though I say it myself, and several old family scores were settled in some brutal midfield battles. Football was the winner.

nether wasdale, church stile campsite

nether wasdale, church stile campsite

Back to the Strands for tea before the long drive home. Another weekend to add to the archives with the usual batch of great memories to fall back on when winter comes. Looking forward to 2015 🙂

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9 responses to “Nether Wasdale Gathering 2014

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  1. I have to say those south Lakeland hills look very much my sort. And I remember growing up on full-cream, unpasteurised milk, form the farm next door. Delicious.

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    • Excellent and crowd-free, good reasons to tackle these hills. Hadn’t realised just what a long walk it was until I mapped it.

      Jane remembers camping trips in the Lleyn Peninsula when she was younger where they used to collect their daily fresh unpasteurised milk in a jug from the local farm. Bet H&S rules forbid that sort of thing now

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  2. They are fine and neglected hills down in the south-west, very good walking and views – and good pitching too on the short grass. I remember Black Combe summit as crying out for a pitch in the future, but its isolation near the coast means it’s the one place I wouldn’t be at the end of a day (unless I drove up in the afternoon to start late).

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    • Totally different in character between the morning and the afternoon but both were superb. If you bring some water with you the summit of Black Combe would be a superb camp to watch the sunset. The whole area just begs to be backpacked if you avoid all the watery hollows I seemed to find 🙂

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  3. I’ve camped on Black Combe summit before – on a Friday night after work when it was just to hot at home to contemplate staying there. Found a small stream not far from the top as I recall and had an excellent night. All this some time ago of course.
    A very fine weekend it was too.
    These sneaky extra days are becoming a bit of a habit of yours. It’s OK if it rains, but frankly a bit underhand if you getting corking weather and fine views.
    The credits at the end of the video are a bit odd – that wasn’t the Saw Doctors surely? And who or what is ‘Without Gravity’ (so good they named it twice)?

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    beatingthebounds
    • Whoops – cut and paste error in the video. The song is called “Without Gravity” by a band called Without Gravity. I normally proof view my slideshow before I post them, adds a little eccentricity to the post don’t you think.

      Don’t forget that I’m a contractor so that extra day cost me a pot of cash – now, now – don’t cry 🙂

      Black Combe is a stonking mountain with sensational views

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  4. Don’t think I’ve ever climbed Whitfell though – one to rectify forthwith.

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    beatingthebounds
  5. Pingback: Scoat Tarn, Scoat Fell and Red Pike | Beating The Bounds

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