I now realise independence and freedom are two different things. I am very independent – I own my own home, pay all my bills, don't rely on anyone for money, do most of my daily activities alone and don't rely on anyone for help in most situations. And for the most part I like it. But freedom is something different – a state of mind which has been is stolen away by modern life. I don't feel free working the 9 to 5. Some days it's like a physical weight pulling me down. And so to nature I must go! I only get the sense of freedom when I get out in the countryside, and most of all when I climb mountains – as John Muir famously said 'The Mountains Are Calling And I Must Go', and it is like an addiction.
Seathwaite is officially the wettest place in England. And on the weekend I visited it was easy believe. The mist that gathers around Scarfell Pike just seems to turn every cloud that passes into a heavy downpour…onto my tent. But if you can get over the fact that you will come away with a large bag of wet socks and spend at least half your time putting on and then taking off you waterproofs Seathwaite is somewhere you'll find yourself returning to time after time. It is 9 miles from Keswick and just off the road over the Honister Pass to Buttermere. The valley is at a dead end and runs adjacent the the River Derwent who's source comes down off the surrounding fells. Seathwaite is a popular starting point for those tackling Scarfell Pike but other noteable walks include Great Gable, Glaramara and High Spy, and the pass via Sty Head to Wasdale is certainly worth exploring. Low level walks include to Grange or Keswick and a visit to the Honster Slate Mines is recommended. The campsite is on a farm right by the River Derwent. I won't lie, as a lay in bed I had visions of me and Rooh floating down to Keswick, it was that stormy. I visited in July and was one of three camping group. A quiet site perhaps due to its rural location and competitive campsites closer to the B5289. Don't expect to get a phone signal (although there is a phone box at the farm). I got one as I climbed Newhouse Gill. The nearest shop of any kind is Grange, although limited. Refreshments and meals can be found at the YHA near Rosthwaite, Stonethwaite or Grange. My advice would be to come with all your own supplies. The access road is very well maintained. It looks nearly new so I'm guessing that the storm in 2015 totally destroyed whatever was there originally and now it has a new surface, bridge and walling. Infact visiting when it was raining, in July, it was hard to imagine the catastrophic damage Storm Desmond must have had on this area.
There was no one there when I arrived and little signage or instructions (just what I like!). So I pitched up and headed off on a walk. The owner came round in his land rover in the evening and collected my money. He was quite chatty and we got talking about Malham – they often visit on their holidays – funny how we both enjoy each other's homes as holiday locations.
£6, £1 more than the cheapest I've stayed at in the Lakes. No charge for dogs which I like. Can't say fairer
than that when he charges £3 for the car park nearby!
It's a field – fairly flat and therefore quite boggy in places. I found it hard to get any pegs in which was a nuisance on this occasion because of the wet and windy weather. Non the less I've seen worse. The views are really 'Lakelandy' and there is a lovely waterfall right by the field which flows into the river. I had a few neighbouring sheep – it's the sort of place where sheep outnumber humans.
The toilets are public, run by the National Trust. Not the cleanest I've seen, but the liquid soap provided is better than the alcohol gel normally supplied (re-reading thro through this I had to laugh – as if you would choose a campsite over another just because one didn't have liquid soap…I have a sad life). The washing up facilities are good but the showers arnt amazing. I wouldn't have cared much, for £6 a night you can't expect much, but I had to pay £1 for the pleasure of a shower. As soon as I put the money in it started running! So I quickly stripped only to realise the door wouldn't shut…so I took the quickest shower in history, and having successful returned from a day out in the rain without any wet gear I had just dredged the lot in one go! So anyone visiting don't shower in Number 1, the door doesn't shut! And only put the coin in when you are clothe-less for optimal usage! Don't expect a hot shower, luck warm at best. They were clean though!
Just the flowing River Derwent and cascading waterfall. The odd sheep. And for one evening the annoying Bollywood blasts of next doors music. The rule is no music after 10pm. They obviously couldn't read.
This is the sort of campsite I like. No forward bookings taken. You turn up, pay next to nothing, get the basics, are left alone to explore, and leave having paid peanuts for life long memories. I'd like to visit again when it's less rainy. And although it didn't ruin my trip the weather did hamper my plans to climb Scarfell and Glaramara. The descent of Sty Head to the campsite is in danger of becoming my favourite 'comedown' route in Lakeland. The pretty pine forest, tarn and fells full of bracken make me wish I could have stayed longer.
I'll be blogging about the walks I did whilst staying here in my next entry.