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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DD Hammocks Superlite Tarp

a rainy day hike in the forest

I’ve been toying with the idea of replacing my 3×3 tarp with a DD Hammocks Superlite Tarp. A tiny bit smaller but weighs in at 460gms.

A perfect tarp for backpacking to keep the weight down. The DD Superlight Tarp has 19 attachment points like their other tarps which allows it to be set-up in literally hundreds of different ways (see my post on Tarpology)

It can be used as a hammock tarp, set-up on the ground as a ‘tent’, group shelter and many more uses!Weighing only 460g and packing up very small it is ideal for anyone looking to cut their pack weight down to an absolute minimum.

Made from strong ripstop nylon with PU 3,000mm coating (completely waterproof even in the heaviest storms).  Like all of their tarps it is fully waterproof and taped along the central seam.

DD Hammocks Superlite TarpThe Superlight Range is more expensive than their other products due to the higher cost of using the lightest materials.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Size:3m x 2.9mColour: Olive Green, Coyote Brown, Sandstorm Yellow and Sunset Orange.

Weight:460g

(exc Pegs & : 4 x Pegs & Guy Lines, Stuff Sack).

Ive used this tarp a few times now and it has replaced the standard 3×3 DD Hammocks tarp in my Day Bag due to weight and size.  Also it goes in my multi day bag as an alternative to pitching a tent.

DD Hammocks Superlite TarpThe DD Hammocks Superlite Tarp is used if I get caught in the rain for a shelter to make some food or a brew.  I carry 4 lightweight pegs, a ridgeline and 4 guy lines if I’m in the forest.

If I’m hiking along the coast then I will take hiking poles to help erect a shelter.  Carrier Bags can be handy on the beach to fill with sand / pebbles to help with the guy lines.

 

All products from DD can be found here. DD Hammocks

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Lightweight multi use hammock and tarp tents

Lightweight multi use hammock and tarp tents.  I like the idea of having a choice of whether to hang between the trees or ground dwelling when there are no trees or weather and environment puts you on the ground.

Lightweight multi use hammock and tarp tentsYou have the ability to adapt and also being lightweight you are not carrying items that you won’t need.

 

Kit required

To be able to deal with these scenarios my kit is as follows.

  • 3 X 2.8 DD Hammocks super light tarp (460g)
  • DD Hammocks Frontline hammock (620g)
  • 3 season down sleeping bag (800g)
  • Tyvek sheet cut to size of sleeping mat
  • Exped down lite sleep mat (620g)
  • DD Hammocks Poncho (370g)

Total of 2.87 kg

Lightweight multi use hammock and tarp tents

This then gives the ability to hang or ground dwell. In the hammock setup you won’t feel the cold on your back as the sleep mat will be used in the hammock with the sleeping bag.

In the ground setup with your can setup a a-frame tarp using a ridge line if you have anything to tie too or you can use your walking poles and guy lines.

Hex peak setup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another option for Lightweight multi use hammock and tarp tents is the hex peak setup but this leaves the tarp open on the front but utilising the poncho as a door you can overcome water egress.  In this setup there is plenty of space in side to keep out of dripping rain but it is vitally important to setup with the rear of the shelter facing the wind.

Fully enclosed setup

There is an option for a fully enclosed tarp tent, this will stop any water egress apart from running water underneath but down fall is it will heavily condensate up due to no air flow.

So using this setup you have the ability of both hammocking and ground camping. If you had the DD jungle hammock you could lose the poncho as the base of this hammock is waterproof but I like the idea of having the poncho if the heavens open whilst walking, using it as a temporary shelter whilst stopping for lunch etc or using it as a door with the hex peak setup.

This setup with the rest of your lightweight kit shouldn’t bring your weight over 10% of your body weight.

 

 

Tarps and Hammocks By DD Hammocks

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Micro adventure wild camping on a beach

Micro adventure wild camping on a beach.

I always say try to fit work around your life and not the other way around and with me working a shift pattern which is different to friends that enjoy the same mentality towards life and same interests it is rare that we get the time to catch up and head out for a micro adventure.

This night was one of those rare occasions when the planets where inline and we could do a Micro adventure wild camping on a beach.

So a late start we got the beach around 19:00 with a few dog walkers still about we assessed the area to find there was a bit of ground swell and the tide had been nearly up to the cliff so sleeping on the beach was a no go.

A little while later we had found a space within the bracken that we could setup our tents and get stuck into our micro adventure wild camping on a beach. Micro adventure wild camping on a beach

Micro adventure wild camping on a beach

Camping on the cliff

DD hammocks 3 x 3 tarp setup as a shelter.

I had planned to hammock camp but brought a sleep mat on the off chance I would be able to hang so used my 3×3 tarp to make a shelter to sleep in.

This setup is really versatile but does leave the opening at the front open to the weather.

I had thought about this the other day and quickly had a go at developing a door using my poncho which worked really well so I am happy to use this setup whilst walking the lakes later in the year.

https://sjohav.se
Mosquito Repellant https://sjohav.se

 

 

 

I thought I would take this opportunity to try a product I was sent from a company in Sweden called Sjö och Hav that produces eco friendly products such as mosquito repellent, soaps and shampoos that are perfect for use in an outdoor environment actually in any environment as they are all biodegradable.

sjohav.se

The mosquito repellent was nice smelling, not oily like some of the ones with a high percentage of deet and felt really refreshing to put on.

That’s all ok but the main thing is do they stop those devil worshiping blood sucking, tiny, flying insects.

I always get bitten nothing has really stopped me getting bitten but that night I was bite free and considering I was sleeping in an open shelter I think it done a great job.

So hats of to Sjö och Hav tack så myket it works!

Their items can brought online although website is in Swedish it can be translated through Google.

Steak dinner

With shelters setup our Micro adventure wild camping on a beach was in full flow,  it was time for a beer and get a fire built.

Using a traditional flint and steel striker, charcloth and birch bark it wasn’t long before the steaks where on the go (apart from mine that got dropped in the sand).

I can deal with a bit of grit but pebbles are a different story.

Fed and watered well the beers start flowing we are discussing lightweight options and realise that the weight we where carrying was down to the amount of beer we where carrying.

About midnight we hit the hay and I was very comfy on my Expedition downlite.

Next Morning.

At about 04:00 I woke up and looked out the shelter to see someone walking along the beach.  I thought he’s keen, got up for a wee and realised it was my Kiwi counterpart so I decided time to get up.

Eagle Products
Sun rising over the North Sea. Eagle Products 75cl Camp Kettle.

It was an amazing sunrise, the fire didn’t need relighting just a helpful push to reignite and coffee was on and then the bacon.

Lol still trying to move the tree with his Jedi powers.

Once we where fed I had a quick dip in the sea and started to pack up.

The only downfall with using a tarp like this for shelter is the fact that it condensates dramatically as there is little top ventilation which has me thinking do I need a tarp tent?

But then that’s more kit! The idea is to carry the correct kit to be able to hammock camp and floor camp if needed. I had taken under blanket and quilt for hammock so slept in them.

Ideal setup would be…

  • Hammock
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleep mat
  • Light weight Tarp

With this setup I can cover both tree dwelling and floor dwelling if the need arises but having to put up with a wet tarp in the morning.

By 07:00 we where packed up and heading back before people started walking along the beach.

It is such a shame that we have to resort to stealth camping in the UK we left no mess, looked like we hadn’t been there at all and took what we brought in but this is how it is.

If you like your micro adventures then try this Micro adventure wild camping on a beach

http://betweenthetrees.xyz/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/img_0175.mov

Time lapse of sunrise.

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Hammock Camping: The Good and the Bad.

I don’t when and how I started hammock camping I think it came from having a cheap camping hammock in a camping box that got setup for the kids whilst camping once.

Hammock camping is so much more versatile than ground dwelling and extremely adaptable to weather conditions.

I started of researching equipment online and looking at various videos on YouTube people where posting about advice and different methods. As I said I started off with a cheap parachute hammock and a Quechua tarp I use whilst camping as an additional shelter.

Through trial, error and research I have found a method that I use regularly.

I found out the hard way that sleeping in a hammock in just a sleeping bag got really cold due to the compression of the sleeping bag underneath me.

I decided that hammock camping was for me and I researched what hammock I was going to buy.

Frontline hammock from DD Hammocks
Frontline hammock from DD Hammocks showing the mosquito net and snake skin on the right side used for storing hammock).

There’s loads out there on the market but I had chose a British made hammock from dd hammocks I really liked the look of the frontier hammock as it had a built in Mosquito net and also has the ability to slide a sleep mat into as I found out just laying a sleep mat into a hammock the mat will always move and you will become exposed to the elements.

The frontline hammock comes with tapes in each end to strap to tree trunks but after some research I wanted to adapt my hammock and install some whoopie slings into it.

Frontline Hammock showing the underblanket attached
Frontline Hammock showing the underblanket attached

The great thing about dd hammocks is the ability to attach their under blanket to the hammock. This item really does give you a warm nest to sleep in.

The underblanket hangs underneath the hammock creating a void holding warm air below you as you sleep.

Whoopie slings.
Whoopie slings make adjusting the ‘hang’ (height) of your hammock super quick and easy and no knots are required. Adjustable length is roughly from 40cm to 180cm per sling giving you plenty of room to choose suitable.
ve saif
I said it before that hammock camping is so versatile and it is, different tarp configurations for different weather, conditions and also the tarp itself  has multi-use.
Even when there are no trees to hang between there are many different ways to turn your tarp into a shelter.  Personally I find a 3m x 3m tarp the perfect size the one I use regularly is a dd hammocks 3×3 tarp but I would like to look into swapping this for a lightweight tarp.
I’ve played with different configurations for making a shelter and there’s two that I use.
Tarp
There’s many different ways to hang your tarp over your hammock and these all really depend on the conditions and weather.  If its really hot then you would want it out quite wide for airflow, if it is snowing then it would want to be in quite close so that snow slides off the tarp and perhaps if its windy the ends would be required to be closed to control the amount of wind zapping that heat out of your sleep system.
I use a 3m x 3m tarp and it is hung using a continuous ridge line.  The continuous ridge-line is made from 2mm amsteel and is about 10m long.  It runs through the centre tabs on the tarp, around a tree and is attached back to the centre edge tab using a soft shackle.  The other end goes around the tree and is attached to the centre edge tab using a soft shackle attached to a prusik knot to create tension.  Have a look at the video all iv’e done is replace the carabiners with soft shackles made from amsteel
My hammock camping kit
  • DD Frontline Hammock (with whoopie slings)
  • DD 3m x 3m Tarp
  • 8 x lightweight aluminium pegs (4 of which are rigged with 1.5m of 2mm amsteel for use with the tarp worms.
  • 1 x guy line for using if setting up a tarp tent).
  • 2 x Tree Huggers
  • Continious ridge line (made from 2mm amsteel with a soft shackle one end and a prusik knot and soft shackle on the other end.

The only other thing I would really consider is how to deal with rain running down you woopie slings.

How to stop rain egress onto hammock.

The easiest method I have found is attach a small length of line onto the whoopie slings before the hammock.

This will allow rain to follow its course and drip to the floor without getting your hammock wet.

Hammock Bling

There is so many bit you can purchase online to assist with hammock camping from clips, water breaks etc etc but to be honest by keeping it simple it has made my hanging equipment light and hassle free.  The only items of bling I have purchased is some tarp worms.  These are brilliant at keeping a bit of tension in the tarp and also allows me to have 4 x pegs with 2mm amsteel attached on them permanently so they are quick and useful when setting up the hex peek tarp shelter. Have a look at the items available at Dutchware
Tarp Tents
The great thing about hammock camping whilst hiking or even just taking a tarp is that your shelter can be built weather depending.  I don’t know what this method is called but its my favourite configuration if the weather isn’t extreme.  All that is needed is…
  1. 3m x 3m tarp
  2. 2 x trekking poles (or sticks but adjustable treking poles work the best).
  3. 7 x tent pegs
  4. 3 x guide lines (or a length of paracord)

There’s a good amount of space inside this you can fit two people and gear inside this configuration.

I could sit and write about how to errect this shelter but it would be easier for you to understand watching this youtube video on how to do it until i get time to get around to making my own ‘howto’ video.

Open Front Tarp Tent

Now the above method is ok if the weather is on your side but if it isn’t then there is a configuration to completely enclose yourself, the Tetra configuration.  Now remember a tarp shelter will not be 100% waterproof, you need to think about lay of the land, will water run underneath or down the hill.  Thinking about where you pitch this shelter is just as important as what configuration you will use.

Tetra configuration

This is perfect if the weather is against you.  You an completely enclose yourself inside, the door can be a bit fiddly to use but it will serve its purpose on protecting you from the the elements.

Problems with this configuration:

  • Can get very hot inside (only really good if major downpour)
  • Can condensate very easily if no air flow.
  • Access and egress can be a little bit of pain.

Hammock CampingHammock camping it comfortable, versatile, lightweight and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to setup.

You can camp all through the year as long as you are prepared with the correct equipment and setups.

Have a look at some of the equipment available at DD Hammocks

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