Thunder, lightening, 55 Mph winds and a whole lot more….I know lets go wild camping on Scafell Pike…


What a bonus it is to have mates who are expert mountain leaders, winners of mountain marathons and generally extreme outdoor nerds….or is it?

What was I to do the August Bank Holiday was nearly here, a number of parties beckoned, a few less than challenging walks were on the agenda and it all looked to be rather…well dull!  The call arrived, would I like to camp up a mountain somewhere in the Lakes, not sure where but high enough not to bother the natives?  Well yes I would, had I camped before, well no I hadn’t, did I have a tent or even a sleeping bag…no…get the picture?

Someone had all the gear...not me sadly

Arriving at Borrowdale I was met by the experts who proceeded to suggest a myriad of items that they were sure I had not got, not considered and frankly thought unnecessary (a stove, a silk sleeping bag liner, food….the list seemed endless).

Would I like to know where we were going, a map pressed forward, no not really as long as it was a big tough climb, the sun was shining and there was plenty to see I didn’t really care.  So off we marched with a bag that was astoundingly heavy, especially given it had none of the pre-requisites loaded.

Water, fuel and all those good things, not mine sadly

Day one, straight up the corridor route via a mountain rescue tea and cake tent, were they kidding this was supposed to be wild!  Oh well it was for the Help the Heroes team, sun still shining the site for the tents was reached, Sprinkling Tarn, gorgeous.  Ummm anyone know how to put a tent up?  Ah Mo, nerd one proved to be an able assistant and my 20 year old tent was launched (more on that later)…bags back on sans tent and we were off up Great End (the last Wainwright).

Genius my tent all loaded and ready to go...

Ummm as the fog started to roar in and the wind began to pick up I began to think twice…we marched at pace back to camp to arrive in a storm, stoves at the ready, oooops I had not got one, a cup of tea was made for me but my supper was half a COLD pork pie and an apple.  Bed at 19.00 hrs ummmm the wild in wild camping was not living up to its name.  OMG the wind got stronger…and stronger…thunder…lightening…sheep eating my tent…Georgie where is my three season sleeping bag…why is it so cold..why is it so dark (oh the sleeping bag hood wrong way round)…is that a stranger trying to get in….OMG the tent is blowing away…aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah help…..where is everyone OMG and then it was 07.00 hrs and time to get up….hang on I have not been to sleep yet.

I should have run back down now...

My ensuite facilities at Sprinkling Tarn...if only

Out of the tent with a big smile, pretend…pretend…, lovely a bowl of muesli with water for breakfast, delicious, pretend…pretend…, “want some hot porridge Annie”…”oh no I am fine thank you Clara…”..pretend…pretend…”slept well did you?  Warm enough?…”oh yes thanks…snug as a bug…” pretend…pretend lets have a picture of a happy Herdy to show all is well..

A wry smile from the Herdy..

Bags packed, sun shining it was off up Esk Pike, Bowfell, past Angle Tarn and down into the stunning Langstrath valley for another night of hell….sorry wild camping, Mo Mo what about us nipping down to the pub it is only a three hour walk…please.

The sun shone and things were looking good, it was very windy at the summit but made for a lovely leg stretcher, lunch stop, oooops yes don’t worry I had packed….a muesli bar, ummm read the list next time Nunan.

Off down the valley, no one else followed, what was going on?  After a few hours a camp site was sought, ah not here..it is flooded, oh nor here..it is flooded, ah Annie stand by the waterfall and we will find somewhere to camp..it seemed another night of fun was ahead…as the rain steamed in backed by a following gale.  I had had enough, PUB….but wait…Mo had warmed her tent with a stove, had got some spare Pringles and cashews and a litre of wine.  HURRAH the wild was back in the Wild.

Annie's tent ... note the chaos inside... in the Langstrath Valley

The rain ceased, stoves out, food cooked, (second half of cold pork pie for Annie) and with a sip of wine things seemed a little better, bed at 20.30 and guess what I slept, the strange noises drowned out by a totally drained body…I had nothing left to give….except thanks to Mo and Clara the mountain experts, nerdy though they are, know what they are doing and thank goodness bring a few extras for the twerps like me…

Mo making Annie a cup of Lemon Balm tea...delicious and the only hot thing I had for three days

Joking aside, it was a great adventure, to be recommended but do take the gear that you are told to, do take food to eat, do think twice about carrying four pairs of walking trousers but not carrying a three season sleeping bag…should I continue?

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