Claire and I had been on the look out for a good weather window over the last few weeks to head out for a mini wild camping adventure. We decided on heading into the Central fells of the Lake District as Claire had not explored the hills beyond Easedale Tarn before. I like everything to do with an expedition into the hills. I love planning a route to find the quiet spots, where you are unlikely to find any other campers, as well as working out a linear journey for each day where there is no pressure to make the route circular. I dug deep into the cupboards, throwing out all the equipment in to a pile behind me before looking at the weather forecast and meticulously going though it all, working out exactly what we would need to take for the time we were out. Every gram counts. We did the same with our food, working out exactly what we would eat at meals and snacks for along the way. A heavy rucksack can make a massive difference to energy expenditure, muscle tiredness, shoulders and hips particularly, and just the general enjoyment of the expedition. Carrying the lightest bag possible over two, three, four plus days can really boost the chances of a successful trip. Next time you pack your bag for a day out in the hills, think to yourself, did I use this last time? Will I really need it this time?
We missed the holiday traffic into the Lakes by setting off mid afternoon on the Sunday and cruised past the queues of cars leaving the National Park after another sunny day. Statistics show that the number of visitors to the Lake District National Park is double that of last year and that the infrastructure is struggling to cope. By arriving in the late afternoon there was no struggle to find a parking space on the outskirts of Grasmere. Starting our walk in the early evening also meant we benefitted from the cooling temperatures. We were however boiling within half and hour of setting off, and couldn’t resist a quick dip in Sour Milk Ghyll as we climbed out of Grasmere towards Easedale Tarn. Feeling refreshed after our swim, we decided to continue past the tarn as there were already eight tents dotted around. We climbed out of the corrie towards Codale Tarn, nestled just off the footpath but below the tops, hoping that the extra bit of altitude meant a bit more breeze to keep the midges at bay. Claire even found another small pool to sit in, to freshen up before settling in for the night.
I love sleeping in the mountains in all weathers, the coolness of the summer nights coupled with the quiet. Listening to the streams running down the slopes or the odd call from a bird. Likewise, there is something pretty satisfying about being in your tent whilst the wind and rain is battering the flysheet outside.
We awoke to another glorious day in the Lakeland fells. The hills and footpaths were quiet as we climbed on to the tops with just the odd fell runner in the distance for company. Soon we reached the summit of High Raise, the centre of the Lake District. We paused and enjoyed a brilliant 360 degree panorama of the hills. We tested our knowledge of the hills in the distance before continuing on our way.
We descended into Far Easedale and had another quick dip in the gill just as the day was hotting up. The walk out was steady down the valley, looking up at the sides, which looked to offer some scrambling potential. I’ll be back soon for a closer inspection. A cracking end to our mini adventure, apart from the traffic heading out of Windermere!