Sunday, 10 February 2013

Ultimately Ill-Fated Whernside Camp

duncan sike camp

We started out quite well with sausage butties in a cafe in Kirkby Stephen and the drive to Ribblehead went well, as did our local request for somewhere to leave the knipemobile for a few days (I won’t reveal this as parking at Ribblehead is at a premium on weekends and we wouldn’t want hoards of would-be backpackers dumping their cars at inappropriate places). And a pint of Timmy Taylor’s at the Station Inn was another good omen.

dawn below whernside

And so we set off hopeful – into the cold, grey and snowy afternoon.

After a while, it became obvious that we were running out of daylight, so we determined to pitch camp and carry on to our intended destination the next day. I mean, there’s no point in plodding on when you’re not really in a rush – we had three days to go four miles and back. The idea for the camp was to have a few days relaxing, eating, reading, maybe having a little wander about and by this gentle expedition, to re-establish Dawn’s post-op feet with the wild world of tussock snow and bog and, maybe to mull over plans for the spring and so on…. We had stew, we had spuds and cheese and onions, and ginger cake, and custard and all kinds of ultra-lite comforts. You know the kind of thing….

first camp Grain Head

I had a good night. Dawn didn’t. I noticed on the news that four hospital wards in Leeds had been closed due to an attack of the nasty winter vomiting bug norovirus and, symptoms given over the radio seemed to match Dawn’s condition quite closely.

view from duncan sike

Nevertheless, in the morning, and , probably hoping that the worst was over,  we completed a plod of about a mile and a half to Duncan Sike, which, when it’s not under snow, is a beautiful green wold high above Dentdale with pure streams and soft and level places for tents. Its a really good wild camping spot, in other words, and the local rabbits like it too.

does this qualify as a wild camp?

An afternoon of snoozing and reading was had. Dawn’s night proved worse than the previous one and what with her wobbly and unhappy condition, request for a warm and comfy hostel bed and a Radio Tees weather forecast mentioning “snow” and “disruption” there was no doubt that we should bail out and make for Kirkby Stephen for Dawn and the far side of the Pennines for me. So that’s what we did although there were certain elements of Napaleon’s retreat from Moscow about the walk out, the only things missing being the drums and artillery undercarriages embedded in the snow. A nice lass on her way up Whernside donated a bit of medication for Dawn’s angry digestive tract, and more pharmaceuticals were obtained in Hawes.

force gill

I dumped Dawn at the hostel in Kirkby and bolted for the County Durham border, pausing only briefly to have a full English at Chochs cafe in Brough ( excellent value and delicious and a good test that a constitution is working properly)

It was all really very bad luck,really, and whilst it wasn’t exactly the planned relaxing little camping holiday was pretty much wrecked as far as Dawn was concerned and she’d have probably had more fun sticking hot needles down her toenails, physically, we actually did pretty much what we’d planned to do.

ribblehead viaduct

As for me, I learned not to put too much water into a Fruzion kedgeree (breakfast) and that the minced lamb meal is quite nice and I’ll probably get some more of that for later expeditions.

Poor Dawn – this was really just such bad luck, but in the face of almost complete debilitation, she walked off the hill, although not necessarily in a very straight line - which is probably more than I would have done…

The pics are quite impressive, though innit?

 

9 comments:

Louise said...

That's a real shame, I hope Dawn is feeling better now!

I really like the Fuizion meals, but the amount of water needed can be a bit hit and miss. I've had a pasta and a couple of curry soups before and David has had a slightly less than rehydrated full English but the spaghetti bolognaise was brilliant. I think they are a better price than a lot of these types of meal and I love free P&P, does it for me every time!

John said...

Oh hell, Dawn isn't enjoying a good run (no pun intended) at the mo. I'll email the poor girl....mind you, that might finish her off!
JJ

blogpackinglight said...

That's a real shame. Hope Dawn recovers soon.

blogpackinglight said...

Dawn is having a rough time. Hope she gets well soon.

Oldmortality said...

Hmmmm. Was there a slight whinnying noise from the sausage butties ?

chrissiedixie said...

Poor Dawn, hope she's feeling much better now after a few days back in a comfy, warm bed rather than a cold, snowy tent.

Alan R said...

Such a shame after all the effort Dawn made to get there. I'm sure the potatoes, cheese, onion an Fuizion went down well.
Pic's are good though.

Meanqueen said...

Yes, the pics are quite impressive. Poor Dawn, fancy dragging her out there when she isn't well. I remember my night at Ribblehead, smashing pub.

Dawn said...

It was an experience I never want to repeat. As yet I am still not right. Somehow I seem to recall Mike saying something about the retreat from Moscow as we headed out. He mentioned something about a long, slow drum beat. Or was it the death march Mike was humming???