Sunday, 16 October 2016

Dales an' Lakes, Sept/Oct 2016 pt2

We delve deeper into Cumbria, pitching up for a coupla nights near Troutbeck, off the A66. Bimbling walks are the order of the day. On a route round the back of Souther Fell we're thwarted by a broken bridge, a casualty of last winter's storms. There's a single plank crossing but sheep abound so there's no hope of letting the young hounds off leads. Crossing the raging stream with a lively dog on a lead is a recipe for disaster. We give in and deviate to a different, lower route. But we enjoy tootling about and relaxing.


We've an appointment with a pal, so move off to another Camping Club CS. With three nights booked we're planning another backpack. This time we're looking forward to being joined by Peter Dixon and his famous chocolate lab, Oscar the Mountain Dog. Peter's a bit of a legend in my opinion. In common with our friend James Boulter Peter's out in the hills, backpacking and camping, seemingly every other weekend, mostly accompanied by Lee Taylor, right through the year. Peter, Lee and Oscar are real diehard backpackers. We've yet to meet Lee, but it's only a matter of time I'm sure, especially since, like Chrissie, he suffers from Boxeritis. We've enjoyed meeting up with Peter and Oscar before though. Unfortunately, Peter's been suffering with a back problem of late. Our only agenda is to get out camping with both dogs, without adding any hard walking into the mix. Being less than fully hill fit, Peter's happy to join in with our low-key amblings. So, he and Oscar arrive at our site and, following coffee, we're off down the lanes to access the hills via Mosedale.

We're off up to the Lingy hut, a bothy on Great Lingy Hill, under High Pike. Chrissie fails Peter's test and insists on using the R word. Hence, we're soon donning waterproofs. We reach the hut. Peter and Oscar are gonna kip inside but we prefer our tent. It's up quick and Chrissie wanders off to filter water. In the rain, she can't be arsed walking far, so elects to fill our bottles from a puddle using our MSR Guardian Purifier. Controversy alert! Try doing that with your  S***** filter.


We dine and socialise in the hut. Peter does lots of quizzing around our Arctic Sweden trip, his appetite clearly whetted. But it's cool, and not long before we seek the warmth of down bags. The dogs snuggle down, followed quickly by the two of us...and we sleep, warm and cosy.

It's misty in the morning as we set off up to the summit of High Pike and we're treated to rolling mist in the valleys below us. We have a pleasing walk back to the van, marred only by the muddiest mud possible in fields before the site. Beans on toast cheers us all before Peter and Oscar leave to do battle with Lakes' Sunday traffic. We've had a great time in fine, convivial company. Cheers Pete...and Oscar; such a gentleman (Oscar that is). We put our awning to good use, drying kit in the afternoon sun.

Amazingly the forecast is good for the forthcoming week in the Lakes. We decide to linger awhile, opting for two nights down at the Caravan Club's Borrowdale site before moving on to a Caravan Club CL in Patterdale. From Borrowdale we walk along the shores of Derwent Water and me an' choccy paws climb High Spy (which sound like the worst kind of sixties American TV show).

From Patterdale we decide on a final backpack. "Let's go up to Angle Tarn". It's a cool afternoon but fine. We hear the bellowing of rutting stags. I'm delighted. I've never encountered deer in the Lakes before, let alone heard this evocative sound. It continues right through the night. At one point it sounds like there's a stag only feet away from our tent. Our return takes us on a bridleway around Silver Crag on the shores of Ullswater. I brew up for a lunch stop overlooking the lake.



So our backpacks with the dogs are over for now. It's challenging with two dogs but still, we feel, successful. For the near future we may stick with fine weather when travelling in the hills with the two of 'em, but it hasn't put us off.

Communication with James leads to a potential meet at a farm site near Dent. The size of our van sees us beaten by the ridiculous field entrance. We almost drive off the twin, concrete runways at the gate, only inches away from the stone wall. I admit defeat and, instead, reverse back through the gate, over a hump back bridge and round a right angle bend. By now there's a queue of traffic on the single track road. We resolve only to use sites where a caravan can be taken.

We finally settle at the Caravan Club site near Leyburn and enjoy cycling around the quiet lanes there. On his way home, James and Reuben join us for dinner. James regails us with Colorado Trail stories.

Then, via Altberg and Dad's in Wetherby, we're home again. Another fine trip is over. Time to unpack. Kit cleaning and fettling begins and I turn my thoughts to The Reivers Cycle Route in just over a week's time.

Life is good.

Let the adventures continue.


  1. What a cracking write up, and with superb photos too. A wonderful trip by the sounds of it. Well done one and all.

    1. Thanks Dawn. We considered it a success, as did the dogs.


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