It is nice to arrive on a campsite on a Thursday. It is so quiet and especially so here at Baysbrown. Thanks to the huge camping grounds I almost had a field all to myself. Inevitably this all changed on Friday evening when I came back to the tent. Lots of people….lots of children….and lots of barking dogs. That’s the curse of a large site, in season too busy for the likes of us. I have already reviewed this site in a previous post here so I won’t bother to review it again. Little has changed, the chavs still descend on a Saturday.
On Thursday I had an afternoon free to do a walk before dinner. I only have one Wainwright left to do in this area, and perhaps it is the most tame in the Langdale valley – Lingmoor Fell. It was hot and humid so the walk up wasn’t that pleasant but the views were good and on another occasion it would work well to do it along with a walk around Blea Tarn and Little Langdale.
Friday looked promising to start – the sun came out, it was hot and there was little wind. I caught the bus to Ambleside (I’d had enough of driving and anyway my car was acting as a barrier to prevent anyone from pitching too close to us!) and decided to walk from there over Loughrigg Terrace and up to Silver How. I have done all these fells before but decided that was best since by this time the mist was coming down to low level and the rain had begun. The plan was to walk the tops all the way to Dungeon Ghyll, and perhaps to Stake Gill (one of my favourite views is from the top of here looking right down the glacial valley) if there was time….there wasn’t. I made a classic mistake. I saw some people who were obviously lost in the mist. They didn’t ask for directions so I boldly strode past them confident I knew the way. A little after then I too lost my way. I whipped out my phone to use the location app but didn’t really trust it. It said I was going in the opposite direction to where I thought I was heading, meaning in effect I had gone full circle. I swore blind I hadn’t so I kept trudging through bogs/bracken etc in mist. Eventually I saw someone on a path….going the other way….I looked at my app again and decided it probably was correct, I turned round and just kept going. I started to feel a bit rubbish. No views, deathly silent, no assurance I was getting anywhere fast but then the mist started to clear and I got a surprising and pleasing view of Harrison Stickle. It was just what I needed to keep going. With visibility still quite poor I dropped down at Dungeon Ghyll and just returned to the campsite. It was interesting to see the work that is being carried out at Dungeon Ghyll and Stickle Tarn. They have to survey the ghyll every 10 years and in order to it correctly they have to divert the ghyll course which comes out of the tarn, allow it to dry up to examine it. It wasn’t the best walk, Rooh couldn’t be off the lead and it only stayed dry towards the end of the day but if BBC weather is anything to go by my planned walk up Bowfell on Saturday should turn out better.
Post Script – Why do camper insist on pitching right by you at 8:30pm and start an airpump akin to a jumbo jet engine. This then goes on for an hour and a half….how much air can one fit in a lilo!?
Saturday – I woke up to a suffocating heat inside my tent. The sun was beating down and there didn’t seem to be any spare oxygen for me to breathe! When I opened my tent door I got a stunning view of the Langdale Pikes. I didn’t need much persuasion to get out of my sleeping bag and start my day on the fells. Everything seemed to go right during the day. I think was being rewarded for not giving up on nature yesterday when the weather was bleak and the views were non existent. Lucky in that I got a free parking space, in shade, in Ambleside allowing me to get some provisions (emergency Mars Bars, drinks, dog treats etc) whilst Rooh slept in the car. I drove to Dungeon Ghyll expecting to have to pay for parking but again I found a free bay under a tree. I had read about a route up Bowfell, starting with something along the lines of ‘Do not attempt this walk if you do not like exposed steep edges’. I didn’t use to take much attention of these warnings but after my near death experience on Jack’s Rake last year I tend to be a bit more cautious. I wanted to at least give this new route a go….so I headed up a quiet ghyll called Whornsey, below Bowfell, and again my luck was in, two other people were following closely behind which gave me the confidence to continue – if I got stuck they could help me! But infact the route was fine and I needn’t have worried. Once we got onto the main path to Bowfell the ‘crowds’ were about….the curse of the Wainwrights….but it wasn’t too bad. Esk Pike was worth the climb – the view of Scarfell was great. When we dropped down to Red Tarn and down Mickleden Beck it was around 3:30 so it was a lot quieter. There were many highlights along the route thanks to the weather – the views kept me entertained for 6 hours. Now I know most of the fells I can name them all whilst I walk! I particularly enjoyed taking a dip in Dungeon Ghyll at the end. My feet felt so refreshed! I could have done another 10 miles….well maybe…. Back at camp the chav population had doubled. In went the ear plugs, out came the book.
Sunday – A rest day of sorts. Work tomorrow. Back to being a ‘normal’ human being. It is not that I do not like people. It is that I do not like too many people. Anyway, I packed up my things in record time and drove to Elterwater and walked to Little Langdale and then to Greenburn Reservoir, a now disused body of water providing a nice tumbling waterfall to walk by. It was very peaceful at the reservoir (an ancient moment apparently!). I stood there for a while with Rooh, no one was around, and just took in the views. By doing this I create a memory to look back on when I am at work the next day. Not enough people just stop and take things in.
In two weeks I am going to Borrowdale which I am hoping will be quieter than Langdale. The campsite was too busy for me. I won’t be going back in a hurry. It was a good trip but anymore walks here will have to be done in September. I’m hoping to do Scarfell Pike, along with some other Wainwrights in that area. Great Gable looked enticing….and so did Glarama….but if it decides to rain the whole time that will change.
And as I leave the Lakes I find out it has been granted World Heritage status which saddens me greatly. Obviously it is worthy of such an accolade but this will just bring in more tourists. People will argue that this will provide more revenue, more jobs, but this argument is used to justify so many things which are plainly wrong (nuclear weapons/selling arms to third world countries). Wainwright wrote about his fear of the Lakes becoming too busy, and that was 70 years ago! Of course I’m a hypocrite- I go there as a tourist, and the worse sort because I hardly spend any money! But I don’t leave a trace…I dare say some are not so careful. Anyway rant over. I hope my fears are unfounded