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 :-)