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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

3 days in the lakes , ennerdale & buttermere fells

The weather forecast for my 3 day backpack in the north western lakes suggested a wet start to the 1st day  improving for late afternoon/ early evening . Saturday was forecast shower's then improving in the afternoon  with Sunday the best day of the 3 - they got Sunday right .The other 2 days were quite different to the forecast .

Leaving the midlands at around 6am  I set off on the 3 1/2 hr drive up the M6 to the northern Lake's. I was hoping the M6 would be clear  allowing me to get to Honnister pass at around 9.30 , apart from the usual speed restricted sections it was !

Soon I was passing the Howgill's - some under cloud cover  I always love seeing these neatly Sculptured peaks .

Up until now there was no rain. Maybe I will get lucky and it will be dry I thought , however as I approached Threlkeld the rain started - heavy shower's then bright sunshine .

The showers and sun combined to produce a spectacular double rainbow over Blencathra  the colours were very vivid , but there was nowhere to pull over to get a good enough shot with good foreground interest to frame it .

Shortly after I reached the honnister pass I parked just down from the slate mine  .

Changing into trailshoes ( first time in these since October ) I put on my waterproof's , and loaded up my pack .

My first port of call was Fleetwith Pike ( a summit I've always missed out on previous visits) with it's top in cloud.The winds were quite fierce on the way up, which combined with the rain made for hard work .

Reaching the summit the mist cleared slightly allowing glancing view's of Dale Head opposite.

I measured the wind speed with my skywatch , 30 - 35mph with gust's to 45 mph - I didn't hang around for long !

Descending back towards the quarry I headed south along the path that flanks Grey Knott's & Brandreth .From There I joined Moses Trod heading towards Great Gable. The winds were quite fierce here as it was being funnelled towards me .

 Descending to Beckhead Tarn  I could see my next target- kirk Fell looming above me , it's summit in cloud .

The climb to the summit went quickly  the wind had increased to 40 - 45mph  with gust's to 60mph' and I began to think I might need to descend to find somewhere sheltered to camp .

Heading on a compass bearing north, I located the descent to Black Sail's Pass - via Kirk Fell Crag's .

Descending I could see Looking Stead with Pillar beyond looking very moody

Just before I reached Looking Stead I found a lovely sheltered spot and although it was only 3 pm  it was too good to pass on , especially as I doubted I would find any where sheltered once I reached the ridge above & pillar. It was a good choice as it started raining soon after pitching the trailstar, and continued into the morning .

Soon I was settled in the sleeping bag with a mug of coffee listening to the sound of rain on the flysheet, warm and contented. later I cooked dinner & enjoyed the rather nice single malt I had with me , followed by more coffee then later hot chocolate .

Around 10 pm I set my alarm for 6 am hoping for a good sunrise then drifted off to sleep.

I only woke once during the night , the pitch was a very comfortable one .

Morning came , and I could hear it was still raining quite heavily. Reaching for my meths bottle  I put it in the bag to warm , then snuggled back down for around an hour .

When I next awoke  the rain wasn't as heavy  so I  made myself a coffee & breakfast then got ready to move on .

Striking camp at around 8 am  the rain was now light showers and I set of on the climb to Pillar .

From Pillar the walk along the ridge to Little Scoat Fell was a delight , with good airy views of the Wastwater Fells .

The last summit on this side was Steeple. From where I intended to descend to Ennerdale Forest via Long Crag. After all the raIn  the path was very wet & boggy in places , despite this I was very comfortable in my trailshoes  and very glad to be in them .

Following the river side path east  I located the bridge where I crossed the river & headed back west to a clearing , where a path climbs alongside Gillflinter beck towards Red pike .

Following the stream up , I collected water as high as possible - which today was running almost at the top - unlike a few years ago , when I was heading for Great Bourne for a camp  where I descended quite a way without finding water. I had to drop down to Floutern Tarn on that occasion for a camp .

Water loaded I continued to red pike where I quickly located a pitch. Once again it rained as soon as I got the trailstar up , this time it was showers then sun giving a nice rainbow fron the pitch .

The pitch was a another very comfortable one  and I once again slept well .

The next morning  the day started a lot more promising , but the temp. had dropped during the night to around 0.5 c which when combined with the keen wind  gave a windchill over several degree's below ( forgot to measure exact windchill ) a few pics were taken , then coffee & breakfast , before striking camp and moving on . Despite the cold temps. and wet trailshoes my feet never felt too cold .

The walk along the ridge to High Stile & High Crag was just as scenic as I rembered , it was sunny now  and the views were spectacular .

All to soon I reached High Crag and the last summit of my trip came into view - Haystacks which already had a few folk either on it , or heading up to it .

I spent some time taking pics , looking back over my route , before finally tearing myself away and back to my car .

It had been a very enjoyable trip .

Till next time -
happy wildcamping :-)



  1. Good stuff Darron,think you had a better Saturday than me ,some lovely cloud you caught there too ...

    1. thanks peter , was a good 3 days over all , conditions made for some great views

  2. Enjoyed that Daron. This is a super part of the Lakes. Mind you they're all pretty good.

  3. Thanks David.yes it is superb.But as you say it's all pretty good - makes planning where to go difficult!