It seems like such a long time ago, especially having been working from home due to coronavirus for a year now, but I sitting at my desk at work, I happened to mention I fancied going wild camping. I work with plenty of brilliant people, two of whom are Angela and Beth. As it turned out, they also fancied a bit of wild camping and so we had the start of a plan! After synchronising diaries, and geeking out over the OS Maps app (ok, that was mostly me), we had a date and location in mind. Now it was time to prepare.
Standing at 290 metres, Castle Crag is the smallest fell in Alfred Wainwright’s pictorial guides. However, what it lacks in height, it more than makes up for in character. I’ve walked up Castle Crag a few times, and know how lovely yet interesting it is, so when my Mum decided to join me and Rowan for her first Lakeland hill walk, it seemed like the perfect choice. And given that the route I’d planned took us to, what Alfred Wainwright described as, the loveliest square mile in Lakeland, we were in for a brilliant day out.
I love it when someone goes hill walking for the first time and gets the bug. After walking the Langdale Pikes and the Old Man of Coniston, I was out with Beth again, this time to tackle Bowfell on another hot day. Nigel also joined us as we set off early from Manchester to arrive at the National Trust car park by the Old Dungeon Ghyll pub (LA22 9JY) by about 10 am. After toilet stop and a check to ensure plentiful supplies of suntan lotion, we set off towards Stool End (snigger) farm. Our route would take us along both the valleys we could see, but whilst the tops of Mickleden were clear, clouds shrouded Crinkle Crags at the head of Oxendale.
Our first weekend away in Tormund proved to be extremely lucky with the weather. After a brilliant day out exploring Birkhouse Moor and Red Tarnand a surprisingly comfortable night in the van, we woke to warm sunshine and wisps of cloud in the blue sky. We had already decided to take it easy on the Sunday so after a bit of a lie, we started the day with a breakfast of kings in the fresh air.
You may remember from my first Wainwright walk post, Cold Pike and Pike o’Blisco, we used to get around the Lakes in Old Peg, our brilliant old campervan. We’ve missed having a van so last year, after much scrolling through eBay, we bought Tormund the Transit. And our first trip (after the back garden) – the Lake District. Travelling up on Friday night, we stayed at Sykeside Camping Park and after tea in the pub and a wander down the lane at the back of the site, we settled in for the night.
After a grand day out on the Lakeland Trails 23k in June, I decided to keep the trail race ball rolling by booking on the Lakeland Trails Keswick event, opting for the 15k challenge. With my base training from June’s adventures, I figured I could keep on running over summer and be ready to maybe go for a quicker time. But the best laid plans and all that – short breaks to Whitby, a family holiday to Arran and just way too much heat (and maybe too much too eat) over summer meant I didn’t get out to train anywhere near as much as I would have liked. I found myself in the position where I was just out to get round and enjoy the route, which is no bad position to be in.
Earlier this year, we were in the Lake District, walking the Wainwrights again. Returning to Great Langdale, we decided to revisit Lingmoor Fell. Rick and I had walked here with the mutts one snowy day eight years ago. We decided it would be the perfect fell for a walk with Rowan, especially given the shorter days.
After having such a fab day out in the Langdales, me, Angela and Beth decided another day out in the Lakes was long overdue. The October weather forecast was pretty changeable, with some strong winds and rain forecast. We decided that we would go ahead – we’ve got waterproofs! Given the forecast, we were careful with our choice of walk, opting for Coniston Old Man for a clear route and relatively short day.
After listening to me harping on about walking in the Lakes, my friend Beth decided she would like to go hill walking. As it would be her first walk, we wanted something with not too many miles, but at the same time, managing to satisfy Beth’s motto of “go big or go home”. The Langdale Pikes with their stunning scenery and little bits of scrambling opportunity were hopefully, going to be the perfect walk. So, joined by Angela, we set off early one Saturday morning in July.