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Thursday, 23 June 2016

Howgills Wild Snoozathon

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I like to have a camp-out at solstice time and it would be nice to actually witness the sunrise. In the past the solstice sunrise has been missed by a series of unfortunate incidents – too much whisky and a shivery wait on Bolt’s Law resulting in a retreat into a sleeping bag and then waking up at 09:00…. several soltsices involving gales and tipping rain… drifting off into a reverie under a basha on Middlehope Moor and so on and so on.

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And ,me and Dawn and LTD had recently had a series of camps where we had to get up, feed, pack up and move on for another day’s slog on the beer-trek and the prospect of spending a day camping in one place was attractive as an anti-dote to the hard work…

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So we decided on a solstice camp for a couple of days in a place where, if an unhidden sunrise were to occur, we would be bound to see it. And then we could spend a day doing nowt at all. Green Bell in the Howgill Fells was chosen.

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We didn’t quite get to the top. I meantersay, it’s two miles from the outer suburbs of Ravenstonedale where we’d abandoned the knipemobile AND it’s all uphill AND the wind was blowing a bit of a hoolie AND we found a sheltered shelf with an old sheepfold and an equally old sheep plus a little spring of water pure and cold and straight out of the ground. It was only just a little tilted but it was there we spent the next two nights.

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And it had a view to the North and East – mainly the North Pennine scarp from Stainmore along to Cross Fell and North-West to the edge of the Caldbeck Fells. Inspecting the view would take up a fair amount of the time available.

Sunrise #1 was spoiled by the sudden appearance of a huge black cloud and some drizzle, so I snuggled back to sleep.

Sunrise #2 was just a hint of orange, so I snuggled….

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Lucky spent the bulk of morning#1 asleep under my down gilet and most of the rest of the day stretched out in the sun. We did have a little walk up the 50 metre climb to Green Bell summit and along to Randygill Top and back – joined by Dawn. It was a brief interval of brutality, though, on a day mainly taken up by reading, drinking tea and drifting off into dreamy-sleepy-snoozy land where the only difficulties and frustrations involved the perenial struggle with Kylie’s ever-difficult bra strap and that strange dream about living in a house with loads of water pouring in through holes in the roof.

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I spent a large part of the afternoon watching a stonechat feed three  fledglings. Fascinating stuff watching the little-uns dip and “chat” and scutter around after Mum who kept up a supply of bugs (I assume) all afternoon. It seems they have their favourite rocks and stones to perch on. Its a long long day in midsummer for a little bird.

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Morning #2 was equally action-packed and we eventually dragged ourselves away late morning back to Ravenstonedale for a chat with a farmer clipping his ewes and the quick bagging of Little Asby Scar, an easy stroll from the road to a delightful limestone pavement with a huge view of everything.

I reckon we did nine miles altogether. Far too much. Far, far too much.

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John J said...

Nice. Very nice.

Quinn said...

Sounds like a nice change :)

Dawn Linney said...

It was a lovely wee trip, thanks Mike.

Mick Graham said...

Was the Little Spring you camped by the source of the mighty River Lune?
I camped by Roughton Gill in the Caldbeck fells 21st. and had a cloudy sunset.

Chrissie Crowther said...

Looks like slackpacking at its best, Mike!

Mike Knipe said...

Mick: I had to google the source of the River Lune and, from the pics on geograph, it certainly looks like the place where we camped. It's producing a trickle of very nice water but I had to engineer a small cup-sized puddle to get water with no silt in it.