Wild Camping the Northern Fells

 

Skiddaw

Rucksack packed for two nights wild camping and Oakley’s panniers were also loaded with his food, first aid kit and micro fibre dog towel.  The 6th July 2016 I was dropped off on the edge of Keswick, looking north across the A66 Skiddaw dominated the horizon. The start of the route crossed fields towards Applethwaite and Millbeck.  The first ascent was up Carl Side (746m).  To add to my Wainwright list we headed over Longside Edge (733m) and Ullock Pike (680m).

The first nights camp was planned for Carl Side Tarn in the col between Skiddaw and Carl Side.  This was my first time wild camping with Oakley and he is a big labrador.  I opted to take out the inner tent and just use the outer of the Ringstind 2, this would give us more room.  Oakley was brilliant and soon settled down to his first night on the fells.  The wind and rain got up through the night but we were fine in our tent.  I brought a selection of meals on this trip and thought I would try them all out over the duration.  My favourites would be used on future overnighters.

The next morning, in the low cloud and light drizzle we topped out on Skiddaw (931m) and turned in a Northerly direction and dropped off the back of the fell to knock off a wainwright I hadn’t done before, Bakestall (673m).  Leaving paths we navigated on to Great Calva ((690m) then down the north side towards Great Cockup (526m).

The conditions improved as the day progressed and the low cloud lifted, it turned out to be a nice afternoon and it continued into the evening.  Stopping off on the route I cooked up some lunch.  After  the noodles and snacks we added some more fells to our count, Meal Fell (550m) and onto Little Sca Fell.  During our walks in the Lakes, Oakley and I are slowly accumulating the list of Wainwrights so to add Brae Fell (586m) and Longlands (482m) we had to take a detour north to snag these two.  We set off first for Brae Fell then around the small reentrant to tag Longlands.  While dropping off Longlands two RAF Typhoon jets crossed the col in front of me, the pilots level with my position.  It was an amazing site as they peeled away and followed the contours and undulations of the northern fells into the distance.

The route I had picked then took me back onto Great Sca Fell (650m) and on towards Knott (710m).  I picked out a place to pitch the tent and gave Oakley his tea.  I collected water and put it through the Sawyer filter-water then boiled some water and made a brew and my own evening meal.  The rest of the water went in the water bottle for the next day.  While the hydrated meal was sat for the 5 to 8 minutes I cleaned my feet up and talked them and put on my crocs.  Once I was rested and camp was sorted we went up to the bench on the summit of High Pike (658m) and watched the sun slowly drop towards the horizon.  Once back in the tent we made an evening drink and settled down, the forecast for the next day would be drizzle.

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As forecast the weather had come in the next morning.  You get into a routine on multi day trips, how your kit packs and where it goes in the rucksack.  It all becomes second nature and efficient so it wasn’t long until the tent was down and packed away.  I was heading for Carrock Fell (663m) and descended down towards the road.  The cloud was down and visibility was poor.  It was good navigation practice, I took a bearing but then just used the map and the contours to fix my position on the route.  Distance and timing also used to confirm my location.  I had arranged to be picked up at the pub in Mungrisedale.  I was there a little earlier than planned but it allowed for a good brew and dry out.  It was a great few days in the northern fells and it completed all of Book 5.

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