Wild camping in the Lake District

Wild camping in the Lake District

The time had come to head 6 hours up north for a week of wild camping in the Lake District.

I had been planning and researching the area for a while so after finishing days I packed the car and was ready for an early start the next morning heading for a week of wild camping in the Lake District.

A early start was foiled by a early morning fire call so by the time I was back home and I couldn’t get straight back to sleep I chose for a later start.

I left Suffolk at about 08:00 and my sat nav was saying 6 hours up so I planned to drive 3 hours stop to give the dog a chance to stretch her legs and carry on for the next 3 hours. There was a little traffic and a diversion and I finally arrived at around 17:15.

Arrival

Starting point was Bowness Knot car park. I headed down the valley, passed the lake, crossed the river and headed towards the path leading me up into the fells. I had planned initially to walk up to Scout Tarn from there but due to late start, 6 plus hours of driving I decided that I Didnt have the time or energy to make that walk so crossed the river again and found a great little campsite amongst some spruce.

First nights camp.

After getting the tent setup, dog fed and water filtered I heated some water to rehydrate my first meal. I had brought different types of freeze dried meals as I wanted to review the different options available in the market.

I fed myself and, treated myself to some biltong, a coffee laced with some dark rum and hit the hay quite early as I was planning to head up to Blackbeck Tarn and walk around that area before returning to the Tarn to camp for the second night.

Following Lofty Beck.

Heading up to Inominate Tarn & Haystacks

Up early coffee and freeze dried rice pudding for breakfast I packed up and headed down the valley. Whilst walking towards Black Sail Hut I noticed a really nice looking campsite by the river that I thought I could use at a later time.

Black Sail Hut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stopping to refill water at Black Sail Hut myself and the dog started to head up towards Black Beck Tarn.

wild camping in the Lake District
Inominate Tarn

We followed the route alongside Loft Beck and reached Black Beck Tarn just as the weather came in, cloud was covering the area and the rain and hail was coming down hard.

It was at this point that I had realised that I had left my Spot Tracker in the car and as there was no phone signal and I was wild camping in the Lake District on my own I wanted to return to the car to pick it up. I didn’t want to be up in the fells on my own without it so I looked at map and decided to walk around to Inominate Tarn, Haystacks and head back down to Black Sail Hut, return to the car and camp at that spot I had seen earlier by the river.

Returning to the car, picked up the spot tracked and I also grabbed a DD Hammocks super light tarp (in case the rain started so I could have somewhere dry to sit under). We Crossed the river and arrived at this nights campsite at around 15:30 I setup tent, had a swim/wash and got setup for the night.

I had ago with some motion blur effects using a new app in my phone which didn’t come out to bad. I didn’t bother setting up the tarp as it was a real nice evening just sitting by the fire, sharing my Biltong with the dog and watching nature at its best.

It was a really nice evening and after some food and some medicinal Rum I decided to turn in around 21:00 as I wanted to be up early to pack away and head up the Back Sail Pass and down to Scoat Tarn.

So after feeding the Dog and myself the next morning, I had chosen to have freeze dried scrambled eggs and cheese which turned out to be really good and one that I will choose again.

Scoat Tarn

I packed up and headed towards the Black Sail Hut, re-filled water bottle and headed up the pass.  To reach the top it was 2.4km and took me about 1 hour to get there where I stopped for a quick sandwich and headed over to Pillar and down towards Scoat Tarn via Red Pike.  Coming down from Pillar towards Red Pike was quite difficult with the dog attached to me as she will run and chase Sheep.  Luckily there wasn’t any about so I could descend safely.

Tent setup at Scoat Tarn.

We reached Scoat Tarn and setup camp, had a dip in the Tarn and got some food on the go. I had a go at some time-lapse photography and called it a night.

On waking in the morning to hail and rain I packed up inside the tent and packed the outer layer of the tent away into a dry bag and headed down the valley to head up Scoat Fell and back down into the Ennnerdale Valley for another day wild camping in the Lake District.

 

Ascending Scoat Fell.

By this time the cloud had come in and the rain/hail was quite heavy.  We headed up Scoat fell where the dog ripped off her front left dew claw so I had to take sometime sorting her out.  I cant emphasize enough the need to be self sufficient when wild camping in the Lake District

I took a break after reaching the top of Scoat Fell and looking down onto Ennerdale Water I could see the rain was really heavy there.

It was quite tricky descending here as it was wet, no real path and plenty of Sheep so the dog was on her tether and kept trying to pull me over.  As we reached the tree line we where met by a Hen Harrier eating a rabbit which didn’t even move as we approached.

Finally we where down in the valley and we headed to a spot I had seen by Ennerdale water and I chose to setup the hammock for this night.

Frontline Hammock and Superlight Tarp by DD Hammocks.

I really enjoy hammock camping and think I get a better nights sleep in a hammock and wanted to mix things up whilst wild camping in the Lake District.

We had loads of time as I had setup around 16:00 so had a swim, food and finished off the rum and a sneaky beer I had also picked up during resupply from the car.  Tonights meal was Cod in Curry Sauce by the Norwegian company Real Turmat.

I love these meals but at £9.99 they are a bit pricey this one was left over from the Fjallraven Classic I had done in Sweden the previous year.

After spending a few days  with my Sister and Brother in Law where we climbed Helvellyn and Scafell Pike.  I had decided to spend one night in a Bothy that wasn’t that far away from Blackbeck tarn.

Overnight in a Bothy

I chose to park at the Honister Slate Mine and walk up from there it costs £10.00 to leave the care there overnight.  Dubs hut is the first and easiest to get, very popular, sleeps 6, multi fuel stove (although fuel will need to be carried in).

Half an hour from Dubs Hut it Warnscale Hut hidden from view it isn’t the easiest to find and by judging by comments in visitors book many people have had to make more than one attempt to find it.

It was built in 1750 for slate miners and was left in ruin until 1985 when the MBA completely renovated it to be used as a bothy.  As mentioned it is small and able to sleep 4 with a multi fuel stove to keep warm as previous bothy fuel will need to be carried in.

Weather was bad this day and ascent wasn’t easy I had put the coordinates into my ViewRanger App and made my way up to Dubs Hut, the wind and rain was driving and as I entered Dubs Hut I realised it was time for a new waterproof layer I was soaked to the skin perfect for wild camping in the Lake District.

 

Dubs Hut

On entering the hut there was 4 lads brewing up who offered me hot water, they had overnighted at Warnscale hut and recommended that I ahead there.  Few people came and went after eating soggy sandwiches and I found the power to put on my WET! wet gear and looked at the map to find where I would be heading.  I needed to go down the valley a little way and cross a river.

As I reached the brow of a hill I could see to my left a scree of slate on the mountain side and looking at ViewRanger I could see I was near and then due to the bad visibility I noticed a metal flue as the whole side of the Bothy was camouflaged into the scree of slate.

Warnscale Hut

Warnscale Hut

Entering the bothy through a very small door it was gloomy with only 2 small windows, 2L shape benches across two walls, a multi fuel stove and a cubby hole with various items left by previous dwellers (including a half tube of vaseline god knows what had gone on in here that night).  I setup my bed and wished I had fuel although it wasn’t cold it would have been nice.  I hung up my wet clothes and got some water on the boil for some soup.

Window view

If you are planning a overnighter in a bothy it is worth bringing a tent in case the bothy is full although this night I did not want to be in a tent.

The Dog and I settled down and I had just sent an OK message on my SPOT GPS devices as no phone signal, when her ears pricked up and she started barking as 3 really wet lads entered the bothy who where also planning to stay here.  My thoughts of a peaceful night where gone but when one said “we’ve brought coal”  I thought brilliant.

They sorted themselves out and got there food on the go which was duck stew which they shared with me and a very happy dog!  They had to leave early due to commitments so it was about 22:30 for lights out.  Now I am a cold weather person and not that keen on boiling hot rooms, it was so hot in here this night I was in my boxers on top of my sleeping bag.

 

05:00 the lads where up and packing away and got out the door by 06:00 I had a brew and got a couple of hours kip as I was driving back to Suffolk as I had decided due to the weather to knock it on the head.  I packed up, had a tidy and prepared myself for the onslaught of gales and torrential rain outside.

It took me under an hour to reach the car and with a quick change of clothes I was heading home with another micro adventure ticked off.  What a great experience wild camping in the Lake District.

See Planning for trip to see what gear I took.

See Review on Freeze Dried Meals

If you are interested on wild camping in the Lake District, have a look on Youtube as this is a great way to research routes and areas to wild camp.  Remember that many people will be wild camping in the Lake District so be prepared to share the area with others.

 

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Micro Adventure Wild Swimming

Micro Adventure: Wild Swimming
Wild Swimming in Sweden.


Wild Swimming is a fantastic way to have a micro-adventure close to home – low on hassle and high in adrenaline and fun  Take part in a Micro Adventure Wild Swimming.

 

 

Daniel, author of the Wild Swimming  and Wild Guides was speaking at the fundraiser Night of Adventure organised by Alastair Humphreys and the brilliant charity Hope and Homes.

He tells us about his own journey into wild swimming, and his favourite places around the UK for adventure.

Micro Adventure Wild SwimmingWhen you slip into the water, swim along a willow-lined river or plunge into a mountain waterfall, you are doing more than just enjoying one of nature’s greatest and healthiest highs.

You are opening up a whole new world of magical adventures – adventures that are abundant in in our wet and seabound country.

Bring on a whole new way of exploring our landscape without masses of kit of clutter.

My own micro adventure wild swimming adventures began in a Huckleberry Finn  kind of way.

I grew up on the River Waveney and by the North Sea in Suffolk.  I learnt to swim in the river, building rafts, Kayaking, rope swings, camping out on the river bank, surfing, fishing and canoeing.

It is not looked at as normal in the uk to be swimming in rivers so I challenge you all to bring wild swimming to Blighty just be careful.

Choose your area well, do not put yourselves in danger and make sure you know of any dangers.

Some Dangers

Polluted water

Under Currents

Sharp objects

Cold water shock

Hypothermia

Make a day of it.  Find an area where you can spend the day taking part in other micro adventures such as fishing or outdoor cooking.

Micro Adventure: Wild Swimming / Outdoor Cooking / Fishing / Hiking / Sailing / Canoeing the list goes on and on.

It doesn’t cost the earth and can be normally done in your nearby area but please check the water is safe before entering.

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Micro Adventures

What is a micro adventure? In short it’s simple it’s a micro adventure, these micro adventures are simple to organise, cost effective, normally local, challenging, builds new skills, confirms friendship and family bonds, new and easy to organise.

In a busy urbanised world it is easy for us to get sucked into that 9-5, tech controlled world where we sit armchair surfing, becoming keyboard warriors, ooze and criticise YouTube videos of people doing just what this blog post is about finding the time to fit in micro expeditions into our busy life. Look at it on the flip side we work say 9-5 that means you have from 6-8 to do something so you are fitting your work hours in to your adventure time. Finish work head to the beach, cook some food, watch the sun go down, sleep on the beach, get up and head to work.

I’ve mentioned before the need to get out and use the outdoors to our benefit our mental health and this is one way to do it. I recently read an article in the magazine ‘bushcraft and survival skills’ written by Dr Catherine Calderwood ( Chief Medical Officer of Scotland) staying there is increasing evidence that outdoor activities and learning outside the classroom increased academic attainment and improves well-being.

Like I said it strengthens family bonds and friendships, give yourself some ME time or just adjust your usual dog walking into something different.

So what is a micro adventure?

It can be almost anything from a paddle down the river with a stop for lunch, fishing, hiking, wild camping, geocaching, primitive fire lighting the list is endless.

There are plenty of books / YouTube channels about micro adventures available so here are a few ideas of what there is to do but the main thing is tailoring what you do to what you can do within these urbanised time / money constraints. You should look at a micro adventure as a espresso short, full of flavour and only half the size of a Americano.

Here’s a few micro adventures.

  • Breakfast outside

Pack up your bag the night before

  • Polska Kiełbasa

One of the best things we do in the summer is cook Polish Sausage over an open fire. This is typical summer micro adventure in Poland, spending the warm summer months sitting around the fire grilling smoked sausage and washing it down with some fantastic polish beers.

These sausages can be brought a your local Polish deli, my favourite and the best ones I think are called Slanska. Lay the sausage and cut just through the skin diagonally then turn the sausage and cut diagonally again to create little squares, flip the sausage do the same on other side then stock them on you stick you have whittled and heat them (as they are hot smoked) so they go crispy. Serve in bed rolls with Sarepska (polish mustard) and pickles.

  • Wildswimming

This is so frowned upon I. The UK but pretty much everywhere else swimming in rivers and lakes is as normal as waking around them. The issue in the UK is knowing where is safe to swim. Regularly in the summer months whilst dog walking or paddling we will all end up in the river. One of my most memorable camping moments was in Sweden whilst heading to the Klarälven we camped one night in the Glaskogen Park. I was woken early morning by the sound of Wolves in the distance. I got up lit a fire and had a early swim whilst waiting for the Coffee

  • Canoeing

This sport is so adaptable to what you can afford, what you want to do and time constraints. If you don’t have space, money and time to make it cost effective then find somewhere locally to where you are where you can hire canoes / kayaks to head out onto the water for a true micro adventure.

Take your lunch with you and stop somewhere and cook a lunch. My two love to use the Kelly Kettle to cook some noodles on the river bank

  • Fire lighting

Simple day out try different methods of lighting fires. From a bow drill to magnifying glass. Get the family involved, have a competition in who can do it the quickest.

  • Geocaching

This is a great game to play with the kids they love finding the little caches especially when they are full of trinkets. Download the app on your smartphone and search your local area for geocaches head out for the day and use your phone to locate the caches. Some can be tricky and you might need to work out some clues to find where they are hidden.

  • Sleeping on the beach

This is a great one to do any day of the week. I usually pick my two up from school and head straight to the beach for a swim, get the Kelly Kettle out, make some tea and pitch a tent for the evening. There’s always some dry driftwood about for a fire in the evening.

  • Shelter building

There’s not much needed for this a load of trees, some brush for thatching and a good bit of time. Take some food, open fires I’d keep away from but take a cooler and cook something simple. Our Kelly Kettle gets used a lot for these little adventures. Search online for some plans on different types of shelters.

  • Hammock camping

This is now my most favourite method of camping. It is so versatile and it is so comfy and I sleep so well. You don’t need to spend a fortune on hammock camping kit to start of. Have a look online for a cheap hammock and have a look at my post on hammock camping.

DD Hammocks do some really good priced kit worth having a look at them.

  • Winter camping

As long as you’ve got the right gear it doesn’t really matter what the weather is and personally I love camping in the winter. You do really need the right gear because there’s nothing worse than being cold or wet this time of the year. A pleasant evening camping in the winter can become a very miserable night very quickly without the correct gear.

Good clothes, warm clothes a spare change of clothes, 4 season sleeping system and a waterproof shelter is a must. Even if you are setting up for a day outside it is a great feeling building a shelter, cooking food and watching the world go by your shelter.

  • Sunday roast outside

There’s nothing like cooking outdoors and a Sunday roast is a great way to get out and enjoy eating outdoors. Even if the weather is poor, erect a shelter and get the fire going and throw a joint of meat in a ditch oven and let it slowly cook.

Lamb is one of my favourites to cook. Cut 2 onions in half and rest the joint on the onions, out the lid on and place some coals on the lid to evenly roast the meat. Add vegetables after about 45 minutes and let them slowly cook be careful not to cook it to quick or hot from the bottom.

  • Dog walking

This is one of my regular trips out. Dogs need walking everyday and when I have time I’ll take my pre packed day bag and head out along the river or in the forest and spend some time to sit and reflect, brew a coffee and sometime take my breakfast with me.

  • Whittling

There’s something very therapeutic about whittling a piece of green wood into something or even nothing. You don’t need expensive tools. The two knives I carry cost about £25.

There’s loads of videos on YouTube or grab a book and see what you can make. Take your brew kit and sit and have ago with a coffee under the trees.

  • Wild camping

There’s not many place in the UK where this isn’ frowned upon. If your lucky you will know some places where you can get away with wild camping: beaches and riverbanks are a good first option. The main rule is setup late, leave early and leave no trace.

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