Last weekend was an absolute scorcher and ideal for a spot of fell walking so we loaded up the kit and headed out on Friday for a long walk and two nights of wild camping. The plan was for a few small hills on Friday and an extended Langdale Round over the next couple of days. My mate Michael had already bagged five Wainwrights by the time I got to the Lakes at about 7.30pm so we decided to aim for three smaller hills prior to pitching up, Ling Fell, Sale Fell and Binsey. We took these three at a leisurely pace and spent a while amongst the heather on the summit of Binsey to find a suitable spot to camp. After pitching the tents we got dinner on and drifted off pretty quickly.
We took a trip to Keswick for breakfast at the Old Keswickian in the morning, had a leisurely gander round the shops and then set off for the exciting drive down into deepest Langdale and the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. The National Trust car parks down this way will happily take £13 off you for the privilege of overnight parking but the Hotel offered a couple of spots for the price of a donation to the Air Ambulance. Everyone’s a winner, apart from the NT in this case.
The day’s first target was Pike of Blisco at 705m. By midday the temperature had risen to the mid twenties and the going was laboured but the excellent views in all directions more than made up for this early fatigue.
The depression to the south houses Red Tarn and rises up to our second Wainwright of the day, the 701m Cold Pike. The full English breakfast we’d munched a couple of hours before hadn’t fuelled me sufficiently and I was starting to flag as we approached the tarn so a stop for an early lunch was in order before powering up the Pike to earn smashing views towards Crinkle Crags, our next objective.
Anyone who’s wandered the Crinkles in low cloud will appreciate how easy it is to lose track of where you’ve come from. We had to take a couple of seconds to correct our course before ploughing on to the highest point and an exceptional vantage point above Great Langdale. We didn’t hang about for too long as there was still a bit of ground to cover but we did stop off at Three Tarns to refill the canteens – this was to become a common theme for the weekend.
Bowfell was next, and we made reasonable work of it but my feet were feeling it a bit by the time the climb was underfoot. Passing Great Slab, the summit and its resident crows were in sight and within our grasp before long. Now call me an amateur but I think this might have been my first proper views of the Scafells ever, and they look magnificent.
We descended through a field of rocks, missing the actual path, towards Esk Pike. The climb was short but punctuated by a number of frustratingly false summits, with the sun dipping down over these horizons just to reappear again as we made the top and got an eyeful of Great End. We had planned to camp down at Seathwaite Fell, just on the other side of Sprinkling Tarn (the location of our last wild camp), so that’s what we did.
I was in the Scarp 1 and Michael was in his brand new Hilleberg Akto. We soon fired our stoves up with this being my first trip taking just my Jetboil Zip, meaning I had to go with food that only required hot water or boiling in the bag. Tea was a LWWF Tees Valley Beef Meatballs and rice followed by hot chocolate. The bugs were out so the inners got zipped up in fairly short order, with a peaceful night’s being helped by having the outer door rolled up for a winning view of the descending clouds.
Arising in the morning we got packed up and stopped at Sprinkling Tarn for a water top-up. I used my Sawyer Squeeze once again, and I’m really impressed with it. Great End was looming overhead as we made the slow trudge across Esk Hause to Angle Tarn and on to the 651m Rossett Pike.We stopped off at a little tarn to resupply with water and to have a bit of dinner. Barbecue Beef Super Noodles supplied the carbs and salt required for an assault up the grassy slopes of High Raise from Stake Pass. This might have been the toughest part of the day since we were trudging along at the hottest point in the afternoon with a array of bugs vying for our attention on a relentlessly steady slope up to the High White Stones. Alas, we made it and where Michael continued on to Sergeant Man (a hill I had already tackled on a walk with Simon) I made haste towards Thunacar Knott and the Langdale Pikes, hooking back up about 10 minutes later.
Pavey Ark, Harrison Stickle, Pike o’ Stickle and Loft Crag quaked beneath our boots but my newly acquired blisters were burning and I was ready for a proper drink. After 13 Wainwrights and 3 Trail 100s for me and a handful more for my compadre we dropped slowly down towards the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel where drinks, crisps and cars waited patiently for our arrival.