As we reached the coll between Brown Hills we hit dry land, and thought, this will do nicely.
We got the tent up and off i went back up hill to get the water. (Don’t say it, i know!) I should have got the water when we were coming down hill. Anyway it was a 3L water container so i only had to go the once. The container proved a sod to fasten the press seal and it will have to be replaced forthwith.
Coming back down to the tent the snow started, quite heavy but only for a few minutes. Too heavy to get a brew going so we waited out the squall in the tent. Weighed down with a few stones. (not yet in place in above photo).
We had a good spot and stunning views.
We were looking forward to watching the sunset and the oncoming of the dark sky filled with stars. What romantic drivel!
What happened next was just about as opposite as it could get.
Before we had even unpacked all our gear and had 5 minutes shut eye, a blizzard came in and gave us a real wake up call. From being able to see Yorkshire 5 minutes earlier we now couldn’t see across the valley. It went dark, very dark. We were a touch hungry after our days walk but there was no way of being able to prepare any food. We just had to sit it out.
When it all abated we got out to have a look at our different world. It seemed surreal. Two complete opposing seasons within an hour.
What was green, now white.
Sheffield Pike in the background.
Striding Edge, Helvellyn, Lower Man, Catstyecam and Swirral Edge looking alpine.
Throughout the evening the snow rushed through and then cleared, off and on for a couple of hours. It was fantastic to witness first the buffeting and pummelling of the wind and snow against the tent and watch as the gloom moved eastwards and then south skirting Sheffield Pike and down towards Patterdale.
Quite unbelievable that the High Street Group of mountains was evading all of it. They stayed totally green.
We had spindrift inside the porch of the tent and some snow also got blown through the air vent. it’s not a 4 season tent so i expected to get spindrift in the porch but i will have to do a mod to ensure the air vent stays tight in future. If snow can get in then so can rain.
The scenery just got better and better and watching the light change on the mountains from the comfort of our sleeping bags was a privilege to witness first hand.
For Sheila, this was her first high up, “Bad Weather” camp although not her first snowy encounter in a tent. She has had numerous at low level.
We just lay with the doors open when we could and listened to the music of the band Iona when the flurries came in and the doors got shut.
View from my sleeping bag of the High Street range.
As it went dark the wind died down and the flurries decreased. I woke up at 12.15am and was cold but i must of dropped off without being fully in my bag. The temperature had dropped to minus 5C and it was a noticeable difference. We kept checking outside to see if we got a mass of stars but the moon was too full and night too light. The moon light enhancing the brilliant white of the mountains.
Sheila shook me and said it was nearly sunrise and we should get up. Which we did. It wasn’t one of those sunrises to remember but it still coloured the fells to a degree. The three images below.
Back to bed for a couple of hours and still no sign of anyone venturing out. We had breakfast al fresco and enjoyed what time we had left up high.
Sheila’s boots had frozen to the ground, the leather now hard as plastic ski boots and the laces like twigs. Half an hour in the sun sorted them out.
Just as we finished packing up and checking to make sure that we had left no trace, the first adventurer passed by.
Our route was now a short journey back to the car which would see us complete the tops back to Dockray.
Brown Hills are a boggy lot and not great for wild camping and running water is scarce. However the views from the summits of Ullswater lake and surrounding higher peaks make it worth a visit.
Looking back from Brown Hills to the Helvellyn Range.
The weather was glorious although still a bit of a cutting wind. The tops are ideal practice grounds for compass work. It has been a real pleasure to walk this area and it’s highlighted a few gear changes needed. A very successful wander.
Common Fell 545 Metres
Ullswater from Round How
Back in Dockray.Today the tops we did are:-
NY377 194 Unnamed spot height 550 M
Swinside Knot 553 M
Watermillock Common Cairn 545 M
Common Fell 545 M
Round How 387 M
Bracken How 370 M.