On Friday, I put up another tent, loaded it with stuff and abandoned everything for a wander up Eskdale using, mainly, the Eskdale Trail which basically wanders up Eskdale as far as Jubilee Bridge where,on approaching from a great distance, I spotted an ice cream van, or perhaps a mobile bacon butty and hot tea establishment. Unhappily for me, or , maybe, happily for the cardiac arteries, it turned out to be an Outward Bound bus. Bugger. Me and the dog had squirty cheese and oatcakes instead. It wasn’t the same, though.
We continued our wander up into a more scenic and rocky landscape (see the intro page of Alan Rayner’s blog to see what it really looks like – it was far too dull today and hazy for any decent pictures.
At the first flat bit at the entrance to the Great Moss, and quite close to the path to Scafell Pike, I put up the akto, brewed up, had lunch and then me and the pooch had a nice long snooze in the warm tent whilst the River Esk burbled and talked to itself quite close by…… ZZzzzzzzzzz
A couple of twitchy dog dreams later, involving running whilst not getting anywhere – it’d be about six o’clock by now, I suppose, me and the dog set off for a stroll.
First we strolled over a little outlier of the Birkett Scar Lathing. This was a mistake. I was supposed to bag the thing but cut down a wide gully to disturb some campers in the little corrie below before I should have done. I thought it went easily… dhuhh…
Pretending that I knew what I was doing – I went on to climb the grassy slopes of Throstlehow Crag – another Birkett and which gives a fine view of the top bit of Eskdale just as it lurches up a steep bit next to all the waterfalls.
We returned to Scar lathing by a crag-avoiding route around the back and repaired to the akto for dinner and dreamy snoozy sleepy times.
At about nine o’clock, or so, I became aware of engine noises and peered out into a beautiful moonlit starry night to witness a helicopter hurtling by just overhead. It circled the corrie several times, hovered over Mickledore for a bit then went away.
Later it came back again for another six or seven circuits. And then again for a third time. Its one of the noisiest nights I’ve had for a while…..
A fine and sunny morning lit up the tent somewhat later and me and the dog had our breakfast and wandered off to bag High Gait Crags. This is another Birkett stuck on the extensice South ridge of Esk Pike – a wonderful way up that particular hill – full of great views and rocky knobbles and lumps – and very quiet.
I was going to bag Pike de Bield – another top a little further up the ridge, but decided to leave it for another day and we returned to the tent for another brew and a walk back down to Fisherground.
Somehow I missed the turnoff for the valley path and ended up yet again outside the Woolpack with a pint of Red Pike. I had another to celebrate and wandered down to the Boot Inn where, fearing that I might be dehydrating somewhat, I took the sensible, careful and healthy course of having another two pints. It was a very warm day.
Even later, I managed to somehow find myself once more in the George IV (King of Prussia) where not only did I acquire beer, but also a large portion of steak and ale pie (I was a bit concerned that the squirty cheese I’d been eating might not contain enough protein, so I had to do the healthy thing.)
We slept well.
On Sunday I came home.
I’d intended to do this trip in August, but the craving for a new dog got the better of me and I put it off till now. I’m quite glad I did, really. And the dog loves it inside the tent and generally behaves very well although he doesn’t ever want to get up in the mornings….