Itís been a while since I did any backpacking on foot over the hills
so I decided to visit Cumbria for a couple of high camps. I usually
leave shortly after 6am for my day walks but because of last minute
re-packing & checks it was after 06:30 when I was underway. I was
surprised how much more traffic was on the motorway with cars & vans
ducking and diving between lanes. I reached Keswick then south
alongside Derwentwater and on to Seathwaite. At the end of the lane
I reached the farmyard and turned right along the track and in to
the field which is a campsite and also car park.
Increase in car parking charges
I was astonished to see the price for parking had gone up
substantially. A days pacing from £3 to £5 and overnight from £5 to
£8. That means my planned 2 nights in the mountains will cost me
£16. I walked back to the farmyard and saw a man working in the
shipon. He said charges went up last year and were to bring theirs
in line with the rest of the valley. I didn't fancy leaving my car
on the lane for 2 nights so parked in the field near the wall and
grudgingly paid my £16 into the metal box on a pole. The email is
firstname.lastname@example.org and number 017687 77394.
There were several tents already on the large field. For many years
I've been using my Berghaus C7 Pro 70+10 rucksack for back packing.
The fiddly ratchet adjuster for the shoulder strap to waste
adjustment has disintegrated so I've gone back to my Karrimor Jaguar
GR 80 sack which is almost a kg lighter and much more comfortable to
wear. I set off to join the other walkers heading up the valley
toward Stockley Bridge.
Above Sty Head Gill
I'd managed to get my pack weight down a few kg and was pleasantly
surprised how easier it made the walk. It was overcast but felt
quite warm so soon had to take my jersey off. At Stockey Bridge I
stopped to take a photo and have something to eat before starting
the steady climb up by Styhead Gill. Along the gill where the
gradient levelled off I reached the footbridge which looks like its
been replaced in the last 12months or so. Earlier this year I saw
the Grains Gill footbridge had also just been replaced so they could
both have been done at the same time.
I passed Styhead Tarn and on up to the First Aid Shelter Box at Sty
Head Pass. There were a lot of people about but none at the box. I
headed east along the path towards Sprinkling Tarn. Before it starts
to climb is the right turn off for the Corridor Route up to Scafell
Styhead Stretcher Box
This is my way and it was interesting to note the site of the marker
cairn. Many years ago it was just a small pile of rocks and many
people missed the turn off, especially in bad visibility. Now the
cairn is about 1.5m high. The first part of the path descends then
starts the steady climb. Higher up there are stone steps which make
the going much easier.
Lots of people heading up the Corridor Route
There were many people and groups heading up the path but eventually
I reached the point where I left it to climb up towards Lambfoot
Dub. There is no path up the steep grassy slope but the going is
straightforward. Eventually I reached the area where I'd planned to
camp but found a different spot to pitch than the last time. The
weather was a mix of cloud and blue skies and felt pleasant when the
sun came out.
Camp 1 & Great Gable in the background
Using up the last of my Christmas presents - a miniature whiskey
Blencathra in the distance
View from the tent door
I pitched my Hilleberg Soulo tent which is the strongest tent
I have with its 3 poles and many guy lines. I reckoned I wouldn't
need them all. I wandered over to Lambfoot Dub to get water and
retreated to my tent. The view of Great Gable from the tent door was
rather nice. Later in the evening I was out to watch the sunset but
it wasn't as picturesque as I'd hoped.