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Walk and Travel in Cumbria and Beyond

Wild Camping Weather

Wild Camping Weather

It has been so glorious the past few weeks.  Weather almost unprecedented in Cumbria, Scotland and Yorkshire for that matter.  Being outside has been wonderfully pleasurable. 

No need to worry about rain, the cold or wind whipping through the layers.  No weather excuses then.

Nothing to stop me hiking up and hill and staying there.  For a night.  All that superlight kit I invested in under the pretext of ‘oh, it will be well used’ has hardly.

So I set off, making sure not to take more than my Osprey 35L pack.  Leaving Hartsop about 7pm with a mind to get up to Angle Tarn.  A hope that one side the sunset would grace the water and the other I’d be washed by early morning rays. 

Hayeswater

Hayeswater

As often in life the people you meet make an ‘adventure’ complete.  Revelling in the fact I might not see anyone I was mildly irritated to catch the eye of a walker behind me, as I turned to close a gate.  A man whom had only a fraction of the Father Christmas’ girth, but had a beard to match.  He walked briskly up with his shepherds crook and checked he was on the right trail to Hayeswater, which he was.  We fell into step and my irritation dissipated. 

Hartsop Dodd

Hartsop Dodd

Veron was more than ten years older than I, and apologised in case he held me up.  When in fact I was wondering if I could keep the pace with my tent and the stupidly heavy camera stuff I’d decided to bring along.  Exchanged thoughts, histories and aspirations made the rise up to the reservoir pass with remarkable ease.  We parted as I swung left and Vernon went to investigate the water.

Looking back there were people camping on the shore line.  I smugly carried on hoping there would be no more higher up.

cotton grass

Light was playing around with dark, dropping shadows in between the drumlins and rolling deep greens across the higher hills as joyful cotton grass danced round water on slender stalks.

Tents though preceded me.  Not really surprising as Angle Tarn is on the Coast to Coast and what better weather to be walking it.  I didn’t join the ‘campers’ by the tarn.  Fearful of midges.  Not to mention company. Company may have decided to leave me to my solitude.  Midges did not.  Hood pulled up, sleeves pulled down, yet more than 30 seconds in one place and a haze of spiteful attackers surrounded me.  So much for lugging up my tripod and various lens.   After cooking my pasta it was a case of point and shoot a few skies and retire to read my book, safe in the confines of my tent.

Angle Tarn

Angle Tarn

A deep booming conversation echoed across the valley just after day break.  Clambering out to see what the commotion was I looked down the hill side where five red deer were mid conference.  No photos.  I knew as soon as I turned to find such frivolities as a camera all trace of deer slip away.  I lasted about five minutes until the midges, who clearly never sleep, descended on my feet for breakfast.

Bannerdale Valley

Bannerdale Valley

Further sleep was a futile.  Sleeves, hood, tea and porridge.  Pack up and go.  Early cloud clung to the hills, so I didn’t grieve too much at having missed the sunrise.   A family of geese were certainly gleaning more pleasure from the midge ridden tarn than I.

Placefell

Place Fell

Slowly the sun crept through the haze and brought the summer back again.  No one else was around until Boredale Hawse, where a 75 year old Coast to Coaster had made an early start to try to win the race with sunburn.

And that was it.  Solitude until I arrived back to Hartsop.  A rather surprised couple were putting their boots on and wondered at my early start!

If you want to camp on the hills, remember, ‘pack it and and pack it out’.  There is no ‘right to camp’ included in the ‘right to roam’ and a land owner would be within their rights to ask you to move on.  Be discreet, camp in small numbers if not alone, make no noise and leave no trace.

PS, It’s raining again!  

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