The Vault Regulars

Saturday, October 20, 2018

A jolly trip into Cumbria. Part1.

We quickly got our gear together and got the hell out of Dodge while we still could. It had been such a long time since we had backpacked we struggled to find the exact kit we wanted. However we were off.
Train from home to Grange over Sands cost £9 each and dropped us at the station around 11.00 ish.
From Lancaster the rain had started and the hills were nowhere to be seen due to low mist. I was feeling a bit low, remembering the time I did a similar trip in 2017 when the weather was horrible and I had to change route. I really had hoped for good weather this time.
Full wet weather gear was donned at the station but we were only walking a short distance to a cafe for a coffee due to the fact that no refreshments were available on the train.

Our first milestone was the top of Hampsfell via Eggleslack Wood and was achieved without wearing waterproofs. The rain abated and the mist started to lift, we enjoyed the abundance of fungi on show. Having climbed up the wet steps of the Hospice on Hampsfell summit I lost my footing coming down and clobbered my wrist hard. Thankfully I hadn’t broken it but it remained sore for a few days. Over the coming days i noticed how poor the sole of my Ecco boots were on wet rock.
 The Hospice on Hampsfell top.

 Cartmel village

We quickly found our way down to Cartmel for lunch, walking through an inquisitive herd of cows on the way. It’s so expensive in Cartmel we wished we had just bought a sandwich from the shop in Grange. I should have remembered from last time. The place was dead, we only saw 6 people unlike previously in the summer time.
The footpath across the race course was open and it was a pleasant walk eventually joining a minor road to How Borrow.
From the trig point the views are fantastic in all directions and although the breeze had picked up and was a bit chilly we stayed awhile. After about 10 minutes a solo day hiker was making his way up so we descended leaving him to the peace. This was the first walker we had seen.
How Barrow with the Coniston fells in the background.

We were heading for Bigland horse riding stables where I had pre arranged to camp overnight. The route from the trig point to Bigland is a lovely walk through rolling agricultural land and forestry.
As we dropped down to cross a minor road at Grassgarth I felt a bit light headed and shaky. I had no idea why.
I knew it wasn’t far now to our stopping point so I said nothing to Sheila. We got to the stables and introduced ourselves. The paddock was a bit rough but the compensation of being able to use the lounge and showers and electricity made up for it.
We got the tent up and then what ever was causing my nausea came back with a vengeance. Sheila noticed I was white and shaking and I felt very close to fainting. I slept for a little while and then made the effort to get to the lounge for a sit down and had something to eat.
Pitch at Bigland equine centre.
Returning to the tent I just tried to sleep. It was dark when I awoke and it was around 9.30 pm. I was still feeling rough and took some settlers to help with the nausea. In my head I started to think about plan b and plan c etc. Nothing was clear cut, I wasn’t thinking straight.
Before I eventually dosed off I told Sheila that if I feel this bad in the morning we need to make a decision what to do.
It was a long night.
Next morning we had breakfast and I felt a little better. The day was a decent one weather wise and I had an inner determination to do the walk because it was this next stage I missed last time, due to the torrential rain. I said to Sheila that we should walk as far as Newby Bridge and make a decision there if to carry on or not.

The nameless tarn or reservoir as its marked on the map.
The Swan Hotel at Newby Bridge.

We slowly set off down hill and picked up our path across Low Brow Edge and into the woods called Bishops Allotment. The map here shows a dog leg path at SD 3617 8449 which we tried to find but it doesn’t exist, the path going NE just continues on.
Ten minutes later we were passing a small reservoir, nameless on the 1:25,000 map, we noticed a nice spot to camp and made a note of it.

Onward down a green lane and then a minor road we soon arrived at the Swan Inn, Newby Bridge. We sat down with a very reasonably priced coffee and discussed how I felt and what decision to make.
We are carrying on I said. I missed this bit last year and I am determined to do it now. I wasn’t feeling any worse so hopefully I can only improve as the day goes on.

We took the path left over the railway bridge which goes through Wintering Park and leads to Finsthwaite with its beautiful church and quiet village. Then around lovely High Dam picking up a path leadening eventually to Crosslands. I’d seen some of this route on Alistairs blog  and also on Conrad’s blog It didn’t disappoint, it was a delightful walk and I was feeling much better too.
The sun came out which also brought out quite a few walkers and bikers. The views across to the Coniston mountains was just fantastic. I was so pleased to be here.
Just before reaching Crosslands we managed to be in the middle of a “shoot”. Many guys carrying shotguns and Pheasant for the pot. In the confusion we meandered off track but it didn’t make much difference to us, our path rejoined the route a little further on but it wasn't a public right of way.

The Church at Finsthwaite

 High Dam
 I think we are on this map.

Heading for Crosslands.

Reaching Rusland church the sun was warm and a low wall provided a good spot to have a late lunch.  A couple of visitors came up to have a look in the church, we said hello but were ignored. This became quite a feature of this whole walk, many people we said greetings to either ignored us or just grunted. We found the rudeness very strange. I said to Sheila how amazing it was that we have become invisible.
A good track leads from the Church road to Force Mills where we could hear the power of the water way before reaching the falls. A stiff march up the road soon brought us to Bowkerstead Farm and our overnight stop at the campsite.
Considering it was a Friday night we were surprised and pleased to find the site quiet. Having chosen a pitch with a bit of height just in case the forecasted rain appeared we showered and headed for the Eagles Head pub.

                                Evening meal booked at the Eagles Head, and it was superb.

The pub has new management, the prices have been reduced and there was a good atmosphere. We found the food, the service and staff to be excellent. We wish Gary well for the future.

As predicted it was now raining hard, just like it was the last time i was here. I was thankful that we had pitched slightly higher than the general height of the field and also that i was feeling a lot better than last night. It poured all night and we drifted off to sleep listening to the rain drumming on the fly sheet.
What could be better.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Off to Cumbria

Having returned home from Greece and done some repairs in the house I still haven’t sorted my photos out to post on the blog.
However, Sheila’s sister and OH are here and are looking after Dorothy which has given us an opportunity to go for a hike.
Finding our gear has been a bit hit and miss after all this time and my rucksack definately is not light.
All I can tell you about the trip is this.
We get the train to Grange over sands tomorrow (Friday). Go up Hampsfell and across to Bigland tarn via Cartmel and the coastal ridge.
We camp overnight at the stables and then head off via Newby Bridge and High Dam to the campsite at Satterthwaite. This part of our walk was missed when I did this in 2017 due to the awful weather I had, so I’m really looking forward to this bit.
From Satterthwaite we head over the top to Coniston and the next day up and over the Walna Scar to Seathwaite where we will camp at Turner Hall and visit friends and probably volunteer to do a few jobs.
Depending on how long we stay in Seathwaite will determine which route we go next, we will head to Windermere to get the train home. It will either be up and along all the Coniston tops and down to Elterwater or Back over the Walna and through Grizedale to Far Sawrey.
We have to be back in Manchester a week on Wednesday at the latest. Fingers crossed for good weather.

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