The large Free Car Park in Kirby Stephen provided a handy starting point, it was already quite warm as I shouldered my pack, then with Max in tow, we headed back to the main street, turning left by the church towards Franks bridge. A section of the Coast to Coast path was then followed along quiet country lanes. I love starting a backpack this way.. it gives a real sense of leaving civilisation behind..once the climb into the hills starts I always feel as if a heavy weight is lifted from my shoulders, my mind clears, and then I can fully relax and enjoy the surroundings, the only thing I need to think about is getting to the next waypoint on my route, it's a feeling that is hard to put into words, but for me it's like coming home, to a place where I'm truly at ease and at peace with myself. Backpacking really is good for the soul.
Day 1 10.3 miles ascent 2895 ft.
|Views beginning to open out.|
Eventually the country lane ended and I joined a path heading up towards Hartley Fell following the stream - which was dry lower down, but flowing further up. From what I've read streams in these parts, and the Yorkshire Dales often display this same characteristic, disappearing under ground at lower elevations, but flowing quite well higher up.
After stopping for max to cool down in Faraday Gill we continued up. Soon Nine Standard Rigg appeared on the sky line and we continued on the top.
|Approaching the Nine Standards.|
|The Nine Standards.|
On reaching the Nine Standards ( a line of impressive large cairns ) I met the only people I would see until I reached Wild Boar Fell on day 3. After exchanging pleasantries, I Left them to head a little south to the summit cairn before heading South, South West over a little boggy ground towards Dukerdale.
|Emerald green boggy ground.|
I decided to stop for lunch here, relaxing in the warmth of the sun whilst taking in the view, one of the nice things about summer backpacking is that you have a lot of daylight hours to play with.. I tend to take more breaks in summer than I do in winter, on the whole its a more relaxed affair.
After around half an hour I continued NW to Tailbridge Hill - another excellent viewpoint !
|View from Tailbridge Hill.|
Next up was High Pike Hill and I descended SE towards the minor road which I crossed then continued over initially boggy ground, past a few sink hole's where a path ascends to the summit.
|Looking back to Tailbridge Hill, from ascent to High Pike Hill.|
From there I continued on towards my intended camp spot for the night - High Seat, where I quickly located a very good pitch. A brief look at the map showed a water source not too far away on the Western side of the hill - Sloe Brae Gill which I descended finding a good running supply near to Trough Riggs. With my usual 4 litres added to my pack I ascended back towards the spot I located earlier where I set up camp for the night.
|Archy Styrigg from near camp.|
|Time to Relax.|
|Pitch on High Seat.|
|Sunset from High Seat.|
|Sunset as seen from my Trailstar.|
Once in the Trailstar I removed my Trailshoes allowing my feet to air for a while, before applying Gehwol cream, then fresh dry socks which I covered with a pair of Rab Vapour barrier Socks- excellent for keeping fresh socks clean and dry around camp, more robust than plastic bags, and only weighing around 50 grams for a size large.
Lighting my meths stove for a brew, I poured myself a single malt whisky then relaxed whilst I waited for the water to boil, reflecting on a perfect day in the hills. The sunset was a good one and after taking a few pics I returned to the Trailstar where I cooked dinner, tonight's menu was a soup starter followed by a summit to eat chicken fajita which was very nice. I don't take freeze dried meals often, I usually prefer my own concoctions - usually based around a pasta n sauce, noodles or instant mash, it is far cheaper than shop bought meals and with a little imagination it's easy to come up with a tasty, filling meal. Desert is usually a chocolate bar.
I woke around 4.30 am, there was some lovely pre dawn colour showing giving signs of a good sunrise, lighting the stove for a coffee I got dressed and once the water was boiled with a coffee in hand I sat in the porch watching the different hues in the sky.
|Early morning light on camp.|
|Sunrise from camp.|
|Camp on High seat & moon.|
After breakfast and another brew I set of under blue skies towards Archy Styrigg.
|Leave no Trace.|
Day 2. 12.76 miles ascent 2205 ft.
Although it was early it was already quite warm, today was going to be another warm one !
Archy Styrigg was soon reached then I headed SE passing several large cairns before heading S then SE to Hugh Seat.
|Looking Back to Last nights camp.|
Continuing South, Little Fell Brae was crossed before ascending to Ure Head then I continued a short way S to the last hill on this side - Sails.
|Ure Head from Little Fell Brae.|
Ahead lay a long valley walk out to the final destination for the day - Baugh Fell. Following Hell Gill Grains I arrived at a Bridle way which I followed N to Hell Gill Bridge, from where I headed south to How Beck Bridge which was crossed before continuing to Shaw Paddock then down to a minor road.
The road passes under a railway bridge and shortly after I took a waymarked path to Shaw Paddock.
There was some extremely boggy ground here so I left the path to try and find a dryer line further up.
Once I reached Shaw Paddock I had a good look around before ascending Rowan Tree Side topping out at The Haggs , more boggy ground was crossed before I descended via Flust Gill, Joining 'A Pennine Journey ' I followed this W to Rawthey Gill Foot.
|Hell Gill Grains.|
|High Shaw Paddock.|
|Boggy Oasis on the Hags.|
|Big Skies, Wide Reaching Views.|
I initially followed Rawthey Gill then branched off to ascend over pathless ground, heading for a prominent gap in the skyline. Further up I followed Broken Gill, collecting very good fast flowing water before topping out near to the East Tarns. From to there I continued to Tarn Rigg Hill before following the wall to Knoutberry Haw where I decided to call it a day and make camp, I considered heading to West Baugh Fell Tarn to shorten the next days walk, but a lovely flat grassy pitch combined with fantastic views convinced me to stay put. It was a repeat of the previous evening and another good sunset followed.
|Camp on Knoutberry Haw.|
|Home for the night.|
After sunset, just before it got dark there was some lovely 'blue hour ' light, I grabbed 1 last pic before retiring to my Trailstar to food,brews & whisky.
Again I awoke around 4.30 am more predawn colour signalled another good sunrise.. 2 in a row! I was being spoiled :-)
|Early morning light on Knoutberry How.|
After Breakfast and another brew I packed and set of towards West Baugh Fell Tarn .
Day 3. 13.2 miles. Ascent 1775 ft. Descent 3402 ft.
Passing West Baugh Fell Tarn ( forgot to take any pics here, but did get some video footage which can be seen in day 3's video below) I descended towards Rawthey Gill Foot where I stopped to freshen up before a steep climb to Swarth Fell, passing Holmes Moss Hill en-route.
|Swarth Fell summit cairn.|
From Swarth Fell I descended towards a pool at spot height 619 mtrs , before the final climb of the day - wild Boar Fell. Taking a little detour I peered down on Sand Tarn ( Again I forgot to get any pics, but got footage shown in day 3 )
Once at the summit cairn on Wild Boar Fell I found a spot to have lunch. I noticed quite a few folk in the distance around The Nab... the tranquillity of the last couple of day's was coming to an end.
After lunch I continued to The Nab where I took the last pics of the trip, with a long drive back I descended over easy ground back to Kirkby Stephen.
It had been a wonderful trip - 3 days of near unbroken sunshine, fantastic sunrises/sunsets, light winds and no rain! in a new area to me, and one I will return to again- maybe a winter trip to see it with its winter coat on.
|Max and me on The Nab.|
Thanks for taking the time to read. Where ever your path takes you, may your journey be a good one..
Till next time, happy Wildcamping.