This is my least favourite time of the year in Malham. Summer school holidays. But thankfully it's followed by my favourite time of year, September, when the Autumn leaves begin to appear, and the shorter evenings allow me to watch the sun set over the tarn every evening. So back to my trip, squeezed in before the schools broke up.
I reviewed Seathwaite Farm campsite (where I stayed) in my previous post.
I love arriving at a new location and setting off on a walk just to explore, no plotting a walk – a map doesn't give you any idea of where is actually nice to walk. So after pitching my tent I headed up Sourmilk Gill which I could hear and see from my tent- the crystal clear waters are striking and remind me of the waters of glacial rivers in Switzerland. I continued up all the way to Base Brown and then couldn't resist to climb the extra couple of hundred feet to the top of Great Gable. Although when I was reaching the top (in a t-shirt) others were coming down in thick coats and GLOVES….I started to worry! The views from Windy Gap of Buttermere were great but the wind certainly didn't feel like a slight July breeze. I briefly looked at the map at the top to see where I could go next in the time I had left. I chose the longer route – the weather was clear and I had my emergency provisions. Turns out this particular path was actually just scree so I spent about half and hour on my bum trying to find another path further down. I secretly love this sort of adventure. It was fun, and the views to Wasdale were worth the scourged hands! Rooh didn't find it a problem! Having made my way down I looked at the map again and realised I had to actually climb another 400m to get to Sty Head which I didn't really want to do having got jelly legs thanks to the very steep decent of Great Gable. But nonetheless I had no chose and off we went. I always find once you have walked so far you actually feel like you could walk forever, plus the views keep you going. When I got to Sty Head there was a fantastic view of Sty Tarn, a pine forest, waterfall and Seathwaite valley. I got back to camp in the early evening and enjoyed having much of the campsite to myself. Little did I know that would be the best walk of the whole trip. Why do I never appreciate dry weather until it tips it down!
Day two begun dull and dreary and my legs ached from the strange positions I found myself in the scree decent the day before. We drove to Keswick to get some supplies, and I knew the weather was going to be better there. We walked along the Keswick to Threlkeld railway path as far as we could before meeting the river, and remains of a bridge which was destroyed by the floods in 2015 (I returned again the next day only to find part of the boardwalk was now closed because they feared it would collapse into the river!). It was a quiet walk and out the rain thanks to the sheltered woodland. A nice warm up morning walk. We drove back to camp only to find half a collapsed tent. I stress this wasn't due to my inability to erect a tent! The tent pegs wouldn't go in the rocky ground. Anyway I managed to rescue it and parked my car to shelter the tent from the strong wind.
The weather for the rest of the day was poor so my plan to go up Scarfell was looking increasingly unlikely. Never the less I started up towards Stockley Bridge but I only managed half an hour. I was walking against a strong wind and the rain was heavy. Why put myself through this, it is meant to be a holiday, not a boot camp! So, reluctantly I turned round and decided just to walk where my feet took me. Which in the end turned out to be a rather good idea. I discovered Jonnney's Wood at Seatoller and then continued up to Honister Slate mine, a really fascinating place which sort of feels like the end of the earth. I'd love to go back there when the weather is better. And if I were able to be a hermit it is definitely where I'd build my hut. We turned around at that point and made our way back to camp via Rosthwaite. It wasn't a walk that really achieved anything other than it satisfied Rooh, oh and I also came up with a new invention – gaiters for your arms. Nothing worse than wet sleeves – you heard it here first. At least I didn't waste the day and actually Honister is definitely where I want to explore next. I was a bit fed up though, the weather can be a make or break for me and both Saturday and Sunday looked bleak. Reluctantly I decided to go home a day early. This wasn't the relaxing holiday I had hoped for.
Day three allowed me to pack up in heavy rain and laugh at all the groups of walkers heading up Scarfell knowing full well it was pointless – the views wouldn't stretch the length of your arm! After lunch the rain cleared and by that time I'd mapped a walk from Keswick which took me to the top of Latrigg and a surprisingly nice view of Keswick and Bassenthwaite. I was expecting fog and mist, I started to regret having packed up my tent…..the walk circled around the edge of Latrigg and down Brundleholme wood. This seemed like a secret hideaway thanks to all the signs saying closed (again because of damage along the footpath after the Christmas storms of 2015). My 'no plans' approach to walking is now my favourite way to spend my day. You can just go where you feel like – total freedom.
Having got home a day early I didn't want to feel defeated so I had a quick trip to Colt Park below Ingleborough. Ingleborough is my go to place whenever I need a 'pick me up.'
So 3 Wainwrights ticked off and plans to visit Honister and Buttermere next. My tent might just be dry in time….
I know this entry is pretty dull and poorly constructed – this is because I wrote a lovely long piece on each day only finding out after it wasn't being saved!! So this is a rushed second version – and only something I can put my photos up alongside!