Sunday 26 January 2020

Backpacking Barbon to Barkin Top and Back

 There's been a bit of a hiatus in the blogging, mainly due, I think, to the busyness of my walking and other activities (Christmas and so-on) But, I'm determined to restart for 2020 because, according to my diary (OK, it's a spreadsheet) - 2020 could be quite busy too.  So.....
I may or may not have mentioned this before (Too busy to look ... can't be arsed looking back over blog posts, me , JJ and Beryl , who is not really called Beryl at all, applied to do the 2020 TGO Challenge which happens in May. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned TGO challenges before in this blog (too busy to check) so regular readers will know what it is and any others who don't know probably do know about Google. Sooooo......  Me and JJ and Beryl (wot's not called Beryl) and Lucky The Dog determined to have a few days backpacking in a kind of practise sort of thing, but not really a practise, but just because we know each other and we all do wild camping etc. and we found an unusual space in our spreadsheets where all of us were available at the same time. Soooooooooooooo......... we went to Devil's Bridge at Kirkby Lonsdale which was to be the intended start of our adventure until we decided that Barbon would be quieter and a better place to abandon two cars. It was foggy. It was murky. It was a bit drizzly. And we were a bit late, so we walked from Barbon until we found a nice place to camp, which happened after just two of the Queen's miles - a little platform next to a waterfall at Blind Beck. It went dark. It got mistier. An owl hooted. Lucky The Dog snuggled into his Woofbag, stuck his nose up his bum and didn't move much at all for the next 15 hours, other than to scoff a dentastick, a bonio, two handfuls of kibble and a pouch of Pedigree Vital. He had the same meal at dawn the next morning after snoring and farting the night away in between lively running-about-barking dreams.

 We progressed - up the track to Bullpot Farm and into Easegill, which turned out to be not so Easy. (I done a joke, there.....) We fought our way up Easegill through the mist and out into sunshine and on to the top of Crag Hill where the clag returned. We briefly bagged Great Coum and in looming darkness, stumbling over slippery scree and thickening fog, pitched at the first available flat bit next to a small stream. The night streamed in through the flaps and dampened everything inside the tent. In the meantime, Beryl, wot's not really called Beryl at all , provided a rendition of "Flower of Scotland" as I was waiting for my Beef Stroganoff to rehydrate (15 minutes, don't eat the oxygen eater and don't forget to flare your bottom. (That is to say, the bottom of the food pouch thingy, or you get crunchy bits where no crunchy bits ought to be)

Once again, Lucky The Dog took to his cosy stink pit , following almost exactly the same routine as the night before. The night was warm and damp and mizzly and damp and dark. Very very dark. And long, although, technically, a little bit shorter than the night before, it being after the solstice and everything.

Not really very early next morning (we're on holiday here, this is not a route march, this is supposed to be fun and civilised) - after my third half a tonne of porridge, we set off again - downhill this time, to the Barbon-Dentdale road where it was still foggy. The downhillness didn't last long and after a lunch by a small beck which, along with some cheese and a tot or two of cheap whisky, provided me with a short but unnerving dream, the next night,  about having worms up my nose after JJ pointed out that the water we used for brewing-up had "wrigglies" in it. No more downhill for a bit. Instead, we lurched and heaved ourselves uphill to Barkin Top and Calf Top - also known as Growling Bottom (in-joke can't be arsed explaining  you would struggle to understand. And, as I thought that my GPS was faulty , but in reality, I'd switched it to "battery save " mode where the screen goes blank after a few seconds, I took the opportunity to navigate by compass to descend The Calf, which is the ridge who's top is called Calf Top innit? This went remarkably well and we soon eventually found ourselves at a lovely camping spot beside a beck of clear and clean water of the kind that makes lovely tea and very nice chili con carne in a pouch. Lucky followed his now well established camp routine, only this time, because we didn't have far to go, he enjoyed an extra couple of hours in bed.

 And so, after a brief trespass where we ignored some "get out, clear off, you can't come in here" signs; followed by a little quiet road walking, we stumbled in to the Barbon Inn, where we were all made very welcome and where we had lunch and jinkies. JJ might have mentioned how nice the Timothy Taylor's beer was a few times.....   and that was that. We're all off in different directions, it seems, over the next few months, so it seems most unlikely that we'll be able to get together again before the actual TGO challenge. We're hoping to walk from Oban to Lunan Bay. Our vetter says our route is "interesting".  Below is a pic of Lucky The Dog fully rested after a marathon sleep of almost 15 hours. That's FIFTEEN hours. Without even a break. Remarkable....