Sunday, 28 February 2010

Bowscale Tarn Camping

No Wainwrights this weekend.  I went out to test a new tent I have been sent and also to take a friend on his first wild camp in the snow.

We set out on Saturday afternoon for the short walk from just outside the village of Mungrisdale to Bowscale Tarn.  It wasn't long before we were in the snow.  To make it a bit more interesting we left the path and took an ever increasingly steep route up!  

But it was worth it as the tarn was frozen and look stunning.

The frozen Bowscale Tarn

We soon found what we thought we be a great spot to pitch the tents, so with the light fading it was time to get some shelter and some food before the sun went down.

The tent on test - more details of its performance to follow

Jordi's tent along side mine

'Camp' Jordi!!!

With hot food and drinks consumed it was time for any early night - 7 pm!!  Well it was dark and getting very cold, so not much else to do!

The last of the days sunlight

We woke as the sun came up, and the ground had become very crunchy with the overnight freeze.  My boots were frozen solid and it took a while to be able to tie the laces!

Sunrise at Bowscale Tarn

With breakfast cooked and eaten and the still frozen tents packed up, we decided to head back home for a warm shower.  Good conditions to test out a new tent, but I don't think I will be using this over the trusted Akto.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

High Tove, High Seat and Armboth Fell - 5.3 miles

Yet another clear and sunny day in the Lakes! Today I was joined with my first guest Wainwrighter!  Hopefully it won't be the last, people are always welcome to join me!

We headed up to the NT car park at Watendlarth, stopping off a surprise view on the way up.  From the car we took the clear path heading towards High Tove.  As we gained height it was clear that Watendlath Tarn was frozen.

Watendlath Tarn frozen over

The clear path soon disappeared once we crossed the fence line.  But the normally boggy underfoot conditions were frozen so it was a pleasant stroll across the plateau to the cairn marking the top of High Tove. 

Carin on High Tove, with Dale Head behind me

Sarah on High Tove

High Tove cairn with High Seat in the background

Armboth fell in the foreground and the Helvellyn range in the distance from High Tove

From High Tove we followed the fence up to High Seat.  There we encountered the odd patch of snow, but nothing too deep.

High Seat summit cairn

The trig point on High Seat

Looking towards Helvellyn from High Seat

Me on the trig point on High Seat!

The wind picked up a little on the top of High Seat, so we dropped down to find some shelter to have a break.  And what an eventful break it was.  Firstly we meet Sail Chapman.  Who is he you may be asking?  Well last year at the age of 5 became the youngest person to complete all the Wainwrights!! An impressive achievement.  He was out helping his sister complete her round.  I often think that the parents of these 'youngest to do....' types must be pushing them.   But it was clear that Sail and his brothers and sisters were having a great time out in the fells.  I just I wished I had half their energy!!

After they had left two young ladies (from eastern Europe I think) came and asked the classic question, "do you have a map?"!  If only I had a pound for every time I get asked this!!  They had go a map from the Barrow house Youth Hostel and set off.  When I say map, what I mean is a hand drawn route, not to scale missing some important features! So I showed them where they should be heading and off they set.  I haven't heard of any news stories of 2 young ladies getting lost......

From High Seat we decided to head back towards High Tove and then onto Armboth Fell.  This doesn't have an obvious top, so we took a direct line across the heather to what we thought was the highest point.

On top of Armboth Fell

Sarah and I on Armboth Fell

Looking across to High Seat

The sun came out and the views were wonderful :-)

The clouds started to build to we decided to take the most direct route back to the car.  As we descended into Watendlath, we could see some people at the side of the tarn.  So when we got the car, we decided to go and see what they were up to.  To out amazement, they were diving under the ice in the tarn.  Rather them than me!

So that's another three completed, and yet another day in which the weather was stunning.  So far I have been very lucky with the conditions, long may that continue. 

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Mellbreak & Hen Comb (13/02/10) - 6.4 miles

After last weekend's break I headed down to Loweswater for an early start.  Really glad I did as I go to see a young deer with its mother and a red squirrel before I had made the car park!  At the Maggie's Bridge National Trust car park I found a VW camper van, not sure what they were doing but they quickly close the curtains when I pulled in!

From the car I headed towards to Kirkstile Inn, they preparing breakfasts for the guests and it smelt wonderful.  However, I was string and walked passed and headed for the farm track which would take me to Melbreak.


As I walked through the small plantation of pines I saw my second red squirrel of the day.  I did try to get a picture, but I didn't have my zoom lens with me so the result wasn't worth putting on here sadly.  From there the path steeped and I was soon onto the scree.

The path through the scree on Mellbreak

There seemed to have been some damage to the path during the winter which I guess is to be expected on this steep scree.  However, it wasn't so badly damaged that I could make progress to the summit.  The clouds were starting to build as I reached the top and I wondered how much longer I would be out of it.

Looking south from Mellbreak towards Red Pike, High Stile and Fleetwith Pike in the distance

Mellbreak's summit cairn with Grasmoor and Whiteside in the cloud

Looking north towards Loweswater

From the top I headed down what turned out to be a much steeper path that I expected to Mosedale.  I saw the first walkers of the day as I descended, and they stood and watched me for a while, think they thought I was mad!  

Hen Comb

Once down in the valley the path headed south along the side of Mosedale Beck.  There was clearly some damage from the heavy rains back in November.

Land slide in Mosedale

Seeing the damage I was concerned that the footbridge I was planning on crossing was still going to be there.  But to my relief a study metal bridge had survived the bad weather and I crossed making my way up the steep grassy slope of Hen Comb.  

There is no path up here, which made it slow going.  As I headed up the sun came out and some of the clouds lifted.

Hen Comb summit cairn with Mellbreak and Grasmoor in the background

Looking south from Hen Comb with Buttermere in the distance

From Hen Comb I decided to head back to the car.  It was a much more gentle decent than from Mellbreak, over Little Dodd and towards High Nook Farm and back to my starting point.

On the way home I decided to drive over the old Mosser Road.  It has been a while since I have been over it, and since last time it has become very interesting!! The sign saying unsuitable for cars is quite correct, but my the Landy managed just fine!  At the top four buzzards were circling just above the road, which made a nice end to the day.