Archive for the ‘buckbarrow’ Tag

May Day Weekend – Buckbarrow   12 comments

A very short post from the final day of our excellent weekend. Takes a while to eat breakfast and pack down the trailer so no time for a full day walk. No problem, as the delight of this campsite is plenty of high quality short walks on the doorstep.

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Today it was Buckbarrow, the prominent rocky summit at the back of the site. A very nice stroll over the fields leads to the base in 20 minutes and then a short but very steep climb (with the odd rest) has you on the summit rocks.

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The views across the lower reaches of Wasdale open out as you climb (the campsite is centre right in the photo below).

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There are plenty of rocky outcrops to tempt the scrambler. This rather greasy looking ramp looked beyond my skills but in fact turned out to be much easier than it looked.

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I picked my own route on the less dramatic outcrops.

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Its a cracking spot to look across Wast Water at Illgill Head and the screes.

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And across the lake to the Scafell Pike and Scafell range.

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We had another long stop on the top to enjoy lunch followed by a very brisk walk down so we could hit the cafe in Seascale for another huge ice cream based evening meal! Who says you shouldn’t finish the day with waffles and ice cream. Great end to a classic weekend packed with quality walks and good company.

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The quieter side of Wasdale   12 comments

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With a mild hangover (spot the pun from the previous post) we spent the usual eternity agreeing where to go for a walk. Not fancying using the car or the crowds no doubt attracted to the honeypots higher up the valley, we hit the heights of Buckbarrow and Seatallan. Hills of contrast, one rocky, one grassy. A nice combination that see’s very few footprints if my experience is anything to go by

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Over the fields and a steep climb alongside the tautological Gill Beck.

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Buckbarrow is splendid summit if you can call it that. In reality, just the rocky end of the grassier Seatallan but littered with small rocky outcrops. I’ve climbed it several times in the past few years and its become one of my favourite places.

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DB Senior who apparently wasn’t all that keen on a walk had a whale of time scrambling up some pretty tough little routes. Always adds to the pleasure for me to see one of the younger members of the gang enjoying the mountains same way I used to. I feel like I’m passing on the baton as I get older (more of this in a couple of posts time!)

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It was an overcast day but a few glints of sunlight kept us bright and the clouds were off the summits making for pretty fine views

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We stopped for a very long lunch after a long stretch where we walked for almost one hour! We compared stoves (my Jetboil won of course), talked nonsense with a little politics thrown in and laughed at great deal

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Time to move on as OGS was getting restless. I compared middle aged ailments and injuries as we strolled to the broad grassy summit of Seatallan. The views from here are unusual in that you see hills and valleys you wouldn’t normally see or know of. Here we have Haycock and Caw Fell above the wonderfully name River Bleng. Looked a fine spot for quiet wild camp some time

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We could see the Isle of Man although its summits seemed to be in cloud

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The main Scafell Pike range looked impressively dark and forbidding

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The descent towards Middle Fell was impressively steep and I declined the offer of an ascent of Middle Fell in return for a very wet, soggy and leg grazing traverse around Greendale Tarn.

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The rest of the day was whiled away with the steep descent along Greendale Gill and the return across the fields to the campsite for a chilly BBQ in the ever increasing wind

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Quite a long walk in the end at 8 miles and a very one enjoyable one as well. Nothing to challenge the brain so the focus is just on enjoying being out with good company both young, old and very old (sorry OGS!)

Seatallan

Nether Wasdale Meet Up May 2015   13 comments

When we first visited this fine and quiet corner of the Lake District in 2011 we had 4 of the sunniest, bluest days in memory. I thought then that we’d probably pay for that good fortune and so, in a way we have. We’ve had a few good days in the past few years but mostly the weather has been disappointing. This year was no exception

We’d decided to head up a day early to make the best of things and the Friday was a pretty nice day. A long drive followed by pitching the camper at Church Stile Campsite (now with added shop full of local produce) left us time for an afternoon stroll up Buckbarrow.

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

A fine rocky hill and one small enough for a worthy place in my guide book. Short on distance and height but big on views over the South West fells and coastline.

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

The bright skies with dark broody clouds made a very fine backdrop.

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

Even TJF seemed to enjoy the walk

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

The day finished off with a grand meal in The Strands pub and beers in the campsite with the gang as they arrived

The forecast for Saturday and Sunday was dire and it was raining by the time we set off on Saturday morning. Enthusiasm was low as we trooped across the fields but it was at least good to catch up with friends and be out and about. The rain seemed to be increasing as forecast so we abandoned the plan to climb Middle Fell instead plumping for an amble to Greendale Tarn to fill the day.

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

In fact the weather didn’t deteriorate as badly as we thought and after a lunch by the stream decided to climb Middle Fell anyway

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

Whilst not exactly balmy summer weather it wasn’t as bad or as wet as we’d feared and in the end we made quite a good day of it. By the time we’d reached the campsite the rain had set in and the wind was blasting the campsite. It pretty much wiped out evening frivolities and the planned BBQ as everyone  went to bed to listen to the rain. It was a wild night with roaring winds that rocked the camper from side to side and was still raining in the morning. It did stop but it was grim and dreary. Luckily we now have a wet weather plan – Seascale, its beach and the fabulous Mawsons Ice Cream Parlour. We dined like kings and ate like gluttons, the ice cream here is to die for. After a stroll on the beach we went back to the site and, as you’d expect began eating again. Despite still being grey, it was at least dry and therefore a BBQ was feasible. Who says you need warm sunshine to eat outdoors. Most people actually but that’s not the point. It was a fine evening with everyone in much improved spirits after a pretty dismal 36 hours.

Monday was much better. Sunshine warmed the camper as we breakfasted and encouraged the kids out on another walk.

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

Buckbarrow is such a good hill that its worth doing twice in the same weekend!

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

It’s perfect for the kids as after a steep start it’s an easy walk and we enjoyed a long leisurely lunch (part 1) by the stream.

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

The top is littered with crags giving everyone a chance to practice their scrambling skills. Little DB Junior had to be encouraged not to try the E-Grade rock climbs solo!

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

Another lunch on the top and we all wandered down in slightly different routes.

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

I paused at Greendale Gill, camera in hand hoping someone would provide some entertainment and fall in. Despite a procession of unwilling stooges no-one did. Some people have no sense of theatre

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

Despite almost 2 days of rain in the middle it was a pretty damn fine weekend, good company made up for a lack of warm sunshine and let’s face that’s the most important thing

Annual May Day Gathering – Nether Wasdale 2013   9 comments

Let me take you back to May Day Bank Holiday – yes the first one, still a long way behind with posts :). The annual gathering of my old university friends and their kids at our now spiritual home at Church Stile campsite in Nether Wasdale. We’ve been here for the last couple of years and had a right royal time. There was a change of owner over the new year so there is always a worry that things may change but the new owners proved to be extremely welcoming and friendly. They have kept the site just as it was, not too crowded with immaculate facilities and fantastic location with it’s own play area and footy pitch for the kids. Being away from the main walking hotspots it retains a very quiet family orientated atmosphere. In short, everything I want from a campsite. I’d like to think we can continue coming here for many years to come. We had our own little corner of the campsite near the football pitch and the woods, just perfect. We’ve already booked for next year.

Church Stile Campsite, Buckbarrow

Church Stile Campsite & Buckbarrow

The weather wasn’t very spring-like and I had to put the tent up in the pouring rain on the Friday night. The next day was bright and cloudy and Mrs Hardman very kindly offered to escort the kids to the May Day fair in the village so the rest of the adults went for a walk. I’ve often been told how wonderful Mitredale is so we fashioned a plan to take in Irton Fell and Mitredale and then back over Illgill Head

10.3 Miles,

10.3 Miles,

On the way through the splendid pastureland that holds Flass Tarn we came across this tree that looks like it had been torn asunder in a storm leaving a great view of its innards

Flass tarn

Storm damaged tree near Flass Tarn

After a short steep climb over Irton Fell we dropped down the other side to pick up Mitredale. Never one to turn down some R&R, I enjoyed a short rest and first lunch on this handy bench with fine views across to the Black Combe above Barrow

Irton Fell

Old Timers on Irton Fell

Irton Fell

View south-west from Irton Fell

We entered Mitredale and I have to say my first impressions were not favourable. It was heavily farmed with a succession of untidy fields, reclaimed forests and soggy, muddy paths. I wasn’t all that impressed.

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Entering Mitredale

Then we passed through a gate and suddenly the real Mitredale was revealed. A narrow twisting valley with a small stream, absolutely stunning and a pleasure to amble into it’s hidden confines. It gave the impression of being little walked, unsurprising as it’s not an obvious route to a well know summits which is where most visitors to the Lake District head.

Mitredale

Uncle Fester in Mitredale

Mitredale

Upper Mitredale

It saved the best till last. The valley ends abruptly in a small rocky cwm with several tumbling waterfalls. The sun came out and the spot was magical. A lengthy stop was in order to take in the scene. It would make a cracking campsite if you could find a dry spot – t was a little soggy underfoot!

Mitredale

Lunch!

Mitredale

Head of Mitredale

We headed off towards Illgill Head, scrambling past the waterfalls onto the open fellside above

Mitredale

Waterfalls

Mitredale

GM atop the waterfalls

The views across Esdale Moor, Burnmoor Tarn and to the Scafell range were superb but it was clear the cloud was bubbling again

Scafell, Burnmoor Tarn, Eskdale Moor

Scafell, Burnmoor Tarn and Eskdale Moor

Harter Fell

Harter Fell

It was a long climb to the summit over the tussocky grass, always tough without a path. By the time we had all reached the summit it was cloudy and cold and I was starting to regret the optimism that had driven me to wear shorts for the day. Time to press on along the edge of the cliffs that tumble into Wast Water leaving the famous Wasdale Screes behind them

Whin Rigg, Illgill Head

Whin Rigg from Illgill Head

The path along the edge gives some sensational views and several eyries perched out above the cliffs and ridges. Most people seem to wander the lower path across the screes. I’ve been up here a couple of times now and it’s always deserted. It a superb route and one I urge you to try when in the area. Preferable to sharing your day with the massed hordes on Scafell Pike

Whin Rigg, Illgill Head, Wast Water

Illgill Head & Wast Water

We took our time sticking to the edge and peering down into all the gullies and admiring the rocky ridges. One ridge looked especially tantalising, like an alpine ridge but getting to the bottom of it would be another matter entirely

Whin Rigg, Illgill Head, Wast Water

Illgill Head & Wast Water

Whin Rigg, Illgill Head, Wast Water

Hardman looking hard

We didn’t linger on the second summit of Whin Rigg too long, partly because it was flippin cold and partly as time was pressing on and we all had hungry kids to feed. We strolled briskly back to the campsite and took part in that quintessentially British activity of having a BBQ when it’s really far too cold to do so 🙂

Church Stile Campsite

BBQ Time!

Seriously it wasn’t too bad, it stayed dry and there is nothing I like more than eating outside (and playing with fire). It was a very sociable evening and we were up until it got dark which coincided nicely with the time when it really was too cold to sit outside

Church Stile Campsite

Too cold to eat outside?

The Sunday was a pretty miserable and cold day interspersed with numerous showers. We made the most of things by loads of high quality football games full of keen tackling, one-touch passing and incidents (I was never offside!). Those kids not interested in such madness were given the treat of feeding the lambs on the farms – huge than-you to the campsite owners for inviting the kids – they absolutely loved it

Church Stile Campsite

Feeding the lambs

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TJF and her new family

The rest of the day was taken with a stroll by the cold and windy shores of Wast Water but it was pretty grim so no photos I’m afraid. The Monday looked set for much of the same with a dark grey sky and the threat of rain in the air. I played the usual game of trying to time the taking down of my big family tent before it got wet – it’s a bugger to dry out at home. Then around midday and out of nowhere the sun broke through and within the hour we had a clear blue sky above us. We decided to take the kids on a stroll through the fields and woods that mark the ground between Nether Wasdale and the lake

Greendale Gill

3.7 Miles

It’s another joy of this spot that the local walks are just as stunning as the tops. These paths around the fields are marvellous for a quiet ramble with the kids. Plenty of stiles, streams and bridges and the views along Wasdale and of the local hills are enchanting. Sometimes when you’re on a big walk you become too focused in clocking the miles, bagging the next peak to really enjoy your surroundings. A walk like this gives time to enjoy the company, look at the wildflowers, enjoy looking up at mountains rather than down from them. Sometimes a walk just needs to be a walk

Nether Wasdale, Mill Place

Nether Wasdale, Mill Place

Nether Wasdale, Scale Bridge

Nether Wasdale near Scale Bridge

Whin Rigg, Illgill Head

Whin Rigg & Illgill Head

Ashness How

Rogues Gallery

Whin Rigg, Illgill Head

Whin Rigg & Illgill Head

Wasdale

Wasdale

We stopped at Greendale Gill and under the now warm sunshine it was magnificent. The kids took their shoes and socks off and scrambled about in the stream while the adults relaxed in the sun. It was the highlight of the weekend for me, as you know I’m a big fan of mountain streams and waterfalls

Greendale Gill

Greendale Gill

EWO and OGS

Greendale Gill

Taking things easy while the kids get wet

It was a shame the afternoon was already slipping away and we all had long drives home. We reluctantly packed up and headed back towards the campsite after an hour of happy play and chilling out.

Greendale Gill

Fun in the sun

Greendale Gill

Young Indiana Jones

Greendale Gill

TJF

The fields between the Gill and the Campsite were equally enchanting. Bright green fields under a deep blue sky is an alluring combination.

Nether Wasdale

Over the green fields

Wasdale

Looking back to Wasdale

It was just a delight strolling across the grass and looking up at Buckbarrow. This is one of my favourite views anywhere

Buckbarrow

Buckbarrow

Buckbarrow really seems to hold my attention when we’re hear. It’s crags always look ready for some scrambling and it’s summit rocks and hollows are a delight. Proof that mountains don’t need to be high to be big.

All too soon we were on the final leg and heading back to the campsite. After some pretty unsettled weather, we finished on a real high.

Buckbarrow

Howeward Bound

All that remained was to say some goodbyes but on a whim, rather than a soul-less meal on the Motorway we went to The Strands pub for a mighty fine meal in their sunny beer garden. A fitting end to another cracking weekend. If Carlsberg did Lake District weekends……

Nether Wasdale Gathering – Day 2 and 3 Wast Water Wandering   4 comments

After the Pillar day out I felt obliged to spend some quality time with kids and friends in the campsite – or more correctly the weather looked crap and I couldn’t be bothered with a long walk. The campsite is a great place to spend some quiet time. It’s not crowded, the facilities are excellent and the views across the fields to Buckbarrow in particular are majestic. There are a few photos below of the kids at play, the campsite and the moon on the first night to give a flavour as my “rest day” was less than photogenic (for the moment – that would change).

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L swings in the moonlight

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Moonlight

TYG, HMB and GM went for a fell run and for a time the weather looked pretty awful and it even sleeted at campsite level. We let the kids play (they don’t seem to notice the poor weather) and we chatted over several brews.

After lunch the weather looked a little brighter so we agreed that some kids would walk to Wast Water (they all seemed keen to see it) while the rest would set off later, drive there and walk back, collecting the cars later. Inspired move.

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ED gazing at Wast Water

As the afternoon moved on the sun came out, first fleetingly and then in full bloom by the time we reached the lake shore.

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Classic Wasdale

I’ve never stopped at this particular spot before and whilst it’s a little crowded the situation and views are superb and the kids have rocks to climb on and a stream to play in. Rather than head back the adults sunned themselves on the rocks while the kids played. This is what childcare is about.

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Simple pleasures

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Lazy pleasures

It was still a couple of miles back to the campsite and there was tea to be cooked so most of us headed back.

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Walking the lake shore

The walk along the lake shore was cracking with the classic views across to the Wasdale screes and up the valley towards Great Gable and Kirk Fell. The walk was enhanced by watching some scuba divers emerge from the dark but exceptionally clear water.

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More classic Wasdale

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S poses for the camera

As you leave the lake behind there are a choice of routes across the fields back to the campsite all enchanting in their own way. I’m not sure whether it’s just been the clarity of the light in the last couple of years or the time of year but the fields seem to be the greenest I’ve ever seen. I haven’t touched up these photos so hopefully you can see what I mean.

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Green green grass

We passed goats, pigs, small tarns and green lanes before you emerge onto the wide open fields above the campsite with stupendous views right across Wasdale. Buckbarrow is the one that catches my eye and from both below and on it (we climbed it last year) it’s one of my favourite Lakeland summits.

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Buckbarrow

We headed back to the campsite to cook tea and enjoy the now cloudless but ever cooling evening that delivered another frosty cold night.

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Chapel Stile campsite

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Evening sunshine

The final day was windy and threatening and it seemed a race against time to get my huge family tent taken down before it got wet. A race we won I’m pleased to say. A few of us decided to go for a short walk across the fields before the long drive home but the threat of heavy rain was always in the air so we headed back after an hour, said our fond farewells and headed home.

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Wasdale mud

Another cracking weekend with our little posse and the weather was pretty kind to us in the end. In fact the worst of the weather was while I was unpacking the car when I got home – a right soaking

I’ll leave this weekend with my musical ensemble and for no better reason than he’s my favourite comedian here is the first of several dead-pan one liners that will be decorating my blog from the weird and wonderful Steven Wright:

“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.”

or

“I bought some batteries… but they weren’t included… so I had to buy them again…”

Nether Wasdale – May Day Weekend 2011   2 comments

For as long as I can remember all my old university friends have got together for a camping and walking weekend on the first of the May bank holidays. Over the past 10 years as our respective families have grown so have the numbers and now it’s quite a major gathering. This year, thanks to Will and Kate we got an extra day although it made it hard to find a campsite with space. Fortunately The Yorkshire Gardener (TYG) and EWO rang around and got us all into the Church Stile campsite at Nether Wasdale, an inspired choice as it turns out. The weather has been pretty poor the last few years so we were hoping for something better this time around.

My lot arrived first on the Thursday evening and after a warm welcome from the owners found a perfect spot to accommodate all the tents.

The Jones family home at Church Stile

By late evening most of the party had arrived and all the kids were playing on the park and building dens in the woods while the adults put tents up and had a few beers. The site is superb with nice well laid out camping pitches, superb views and excellent facilities.

Buckbarrow from the campsite

EWO promised a decent day on Friday and wall to wall sunshine for the rest of weekend. If you read my blog you’ll know he always says this. Would he be right for once? Read on.

Friday – Middle Fell and Seatallan


The day was lovely and sunny although with a cool wind. We agreed that J would look after the kids and I’d head off for a walk so a few us headed for Middle Fell across the fields. It was warm but a strong wind was blowing that was to become a feature of the weekend.

GM and EWO, Buckbarrow behind

After climbing halfway up Middle Fell we decided it was time for a break. GM and Hard Man (HM) had found a quality spot complete with back-rests so this turned into a very lengthy stop to allow a snooze in the sun and in the case of HM and UF some loud snoring. It tried to rain and looked very threatening towards Scafell but it soon faded

"I wasn't asleep!" - could have fooled me

Galvanised by the rest we plodded a further 30 minutes to the top of Middle Fell.

Approaching Middle Fell summit

EWO with Scafell range behind

After all that effort we decided that another lengthy stop was in order once we found a sunny spot out of the wind.

Time for lunch -again

HM needed another sleep (he’s getting on poor fella) while the rest of us watched three people acting rather strangely down by the Lake. Opinions ranged from dubious terrorist related activity to the making of a porn movie (prompting many smutty remarks). Most of decided we needed some more exercise and pushed on to Seatallan while UF and S went back to the campsite.

Middle Fell

Seatallan is a nice grassy hill with some interesting views over the little-visited far western fells. The Isle of Man was clearly visible and the first signs of much clearer weather were appearing. It was a pleasant easy stroll across the grassy slopes of Buckbarrow and back to the campsite. 7.7 miles and 2500 feet of ascent completed at a very leisurely pace

GM, HM, EWO heading home

A BBQ in the fading sunshine seemed in order and while the kids built their den in the woods the adults sat round in the late evening sun and then cold wind, chatting until we all agreed it was far too stupid to sit outside any longer

The gangs all here

Women cook, men BBQ

Saturday – Whin Rigg

Before we move on to the days activities I must point out the disturbing attire that J now chooses to wear in bed when its cold. I’m not sure which kind of “special” retailer one visits in order to acquire an adult sized baby-grow but I doubyou find them in the high street.

Words fail me....

For once EWO was right! The clear skies that he +promised were here although the wind was now pretty strong. My turn to look after the kids so J and the ladies headed off to repeat our walk of yesterday while me ED and few others took the kids off to climb Whin Rigg, the southern summit of the long ridge of the famous Wasdale screes.

Wasdale Screes, Whin Rigg summit to the left

Wasdale Screes, Whin Rigg summit to the left

The wind was incredibly strong so we didn’t think the kids would like it on the top so we headed down to find some shelter by the river. After a bit of searching we found a lovely spot in the trees for a picnic and the kids got chance to play by the river, chucking stones and the like

Little rogues gallery

Picnic by the River Irt

Aaaaaahhh!

We decided to give Whin Rigg a go although ED didn’t feel his youngest (he’s only 3 bless him) would make it so he took his lot off for a lovely stroll by the Lake and we headed up the steep slopes towards the top.

The start of the climb

The wind wasn’t as strong as earlier and I have to say that all the kids (age range 4 to 11) did really well and all made it to the top. There were some low points but that was easily fixed by a plentiful supply of biscuits for that sugar hit.

Biscuit time!

Victorious on the summit

The views were sensational with a deep blue sky set off by the green hills and dark inky blue of Wast Water.

Wast Water and the Wasdale Head Mountains

They all seemed pretty pleased with themselves for getting to the top but the cold wind and late hour meant we couldn’t linger so we headed back along the ridge and down towards the campsite

Homeward Bound

The valley bottom just before we hit the road has one of the most beautiful open pastures I’ve ever seen that was just sensational in the evening light. It only took about 10 minutes to cross but it was one of the most memorable 10 minutes walking I’ve ever had. Hope these photographs do it justice.

Despite a pretty long day, 6.4 miles and 1800 feet of ascent, the kids all seemed to have energy to spare for yet more play and the usual tactics to avoid going to bed. Have to admit that I was pretty jaded as well. Back at the campsite we had a belated celebration for GM’s birthday with lighted balloons, cake and chocolates and of course a few beers.

"Happy Birthday to you"

The wind really picked up through the night but the tent seemed ok so I pretty much slept through.

Sunday – Red Pike, Scoat Fell, Steeple

It was a double-take look as I emerged into the daylight to see that well over half the tents had gone. Several had blown down in the night and several more people had bailed out early morning and gone home. “My camping days are over” seemed to be a common theme. The rubbish bins were full of discarded tents and MM had a jolly time scavenging the ground for lost pegs to call his own. Apart from a few loosened pegs all our tents seemed fine

Time for another proper walk. The weather if anything was even clearer and even windier than before. MM drove us halfway up the Lake and we set off for Red Pike hoping to meet ED who had set off earlier and was also traversing Yewbarrow.

GM at Over Beck bridge

Wasdale Screes

Another couple of very lengthy stops in the sun, by Over Beck and Low Tarn, put pay to that plan.

Lunch by Over Beck

We eventually got moving and reached the summit of Red Pike in a ferocious wind but with a sky as clear as I’ve seen in the UK for many a year. It’s been several years since I’ve been up here and I’d forgotten just what an awe inspiring valley Mosedale and the crags of Red Pike are.

Scafell & Scafell Pike

The walking on the grassy ridge was just sensational and one of those days when you just don’t want to go down.

Red Pike

Mind you let’s keep it real here, we did plan on doing Pillar but it looked a long way off so we settled on the much nearer and easier Scoat Fell and its excellent views to the north over Ennerdale and the Solway Firth.

The Buttermere fells from Scoat Fell

Ennerdale Water from Steeple

We did manage to pick off the small rocky outlier of Steeple but then it really was time to head back. We descended by Scoat Tarn and Nether Beck, a superb Lakeland valley with endless places for wild camping.

Nether Beck below Scoat Tarn

Another cracking day on the hills, and another 7.8 miles and 3,300 feet of ascent.

The balloons from the previus night had popped but the lights were still working. GM and EWO displayed a childlike wonder at the effects of a small light when placed behind a finger, in the mouth, up the nose and in the ear. Must have been the tiredness but I haven’t laughed that much in ages. Nice finish to a grand day.

GM discovers "Light"

Monday – Buckbarrow

Yet another day of cloudless skies and wind and a morning spent taking the tent down and packing – much easier when it’s not raining. Quite a few of the posse headed off to other commitments but my lot together with TYG/EHO and kids plus MM and F headed for Buckbarrow, the small rocky hill that overlooks the campsite.

L, Z, D and J striding out

The walk over the fields was lovely but as soon as we started the climb it was clear the kids needed feeding so we found a quality sheltered lunch spot by the stream.

Lunch by stream for kids and responsible adults

We all need our beauty sleep

Fully fuelled the kids made great time to the top, enjoying scrambling on the summit rocks.

Scrambling on the summit rocks, Scafell behind

TYG, E and D reaching the top

Z & L practicing their new climbing skills

The wind was fierce but we did manage to find a sheltered spot for another stop to allow L and Z to throw sheep s**t and moss at us. The way down was steep but the final walk across the fields and through the flowering gorse was a fitting finish to a cracking weekend.

The gorse in full flower

D & EWO discuss maths

A shorter walk today a mere 5.5 miles and 1,500 feet of ascent but an ideal little mountain for the kids to enjoy.

Buckbarrow - our mountain for the day

A lovely meal in the local pub with MM and F finished things off nicely and we headed home. These smaller fells away from the magnets of Scafell and Great Gable are cracking hills. Considering the weather and the fact it was a holiday weekend we saw only a handful of people on each of the days we were out. Flickr photos here and compilation on YouTube is below:

I’ve nearly run out of superlatives so I’ll finish with my favourite one – AWESOME!

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