Lakes June 2013

Thursday 27th June

Carol went off to dialysis at the crack of dawn and I collected her at lunchtime. As we left Leeds it started to rain and so the forecast “shower” continued for the next 3 and half hours. We stopped at Booths’ supermarket in Kirkby Lonsdale for supplies and arrived in Far Sawrey just as the rain stopped and parked up opposite the Cuckoo Brow pub. We set off for our camp site that we’d spotted when here last. A fox crossed the path a bit ahead of us, thrilling to see her. Just as we had identified a suitable location for the tent, the midges came and started to eat us alive. Despite all our efforts with insect repellant scarves, they kept on biting us so we quickly decided that perhaps camping wasn’t the right thing to do. We weighed up a few alternatives including sleeping in the car but in the end I rang Belle Green B&B and they had a vacancy so we were able to arrive a night early. Hattie (the daughter) welcomed us in. We had a few snacks in the bedroom and some wine and then wandered down to Esthwaite Water and walked the Beatrix Potter walk which goes along the edge of the lake, very pretty. Belle Green B&B is comfortable and easy going.

Esthwaite Water

Friday 28th June

Lovely bed, lovely sleep. Big breakfast cooked by Ann and Steve. They are nice people, helpful and made me feel completely at home. We set off and parked up by the side of the road to walk up to Latterbarrow to the “mon” at the top. This turned out to be not much of a monument but more like a “standard” as in the Nine Standards. We did a bit of a circuit with a good mix of terrain and returned to the car. It started to rain again so we drove to Cockermouth, stopping in a car park near Thirlmere to eat our lunch. It rained a lot but luckily not whilst we looked round Cockermouth. Interesting little town with some good snacks. We stopped briefly at Booths’ supermarket in Keswick for more supplies including wine! Back to Near Sawrey to get ready to go out and then into Ambleside to Atelier resto where Carol had booked a table. Carol had 2 starters, one of goat’s cheese and one chicken terrine, I had 2 deep fried risotto balls with wild mushrooms inside. The food was fine and the service was good. I enjoyed watching everything being delivered by the dumb waiter. Back to Belle Green where a fire was lit in the guest sitting room. Lovely and peaceful.

Latterbarrow monument

Saturday 29th June

And another huge breakfast. Drove to Tilberthwaite and parked the car in a large car park. We walked a good part of the way up Wetherlam but Carol’s legs weren’t so good so we didn’t push it to get up to the top. Very pretty walk up the side of the beck which we then crossed further up, after a bit of pfaffing about. Lunch on the hill away from the path and in the lee of a big crag. Back down the other side of the beck to the car. Decided to tour a bit so drove to Ulverston and had a wander round. We were still feeling very stuffed so decided to cancel our booking for a resto in Ambleside and just have snacks back at the B&B. Bought some more snacks in Booths’ supermarket in Ulveston! Steve said it was fine for us to use their guest breakfast kitchen so we did and then ate in the dining room. They let us use their fridge which meant we could prepare our lunches and snacks very easily. Short walk to Esthwaite Water again and round to the car park and the boathouse, back along the road.

Esthwaite Water
Esthwaite Water
Entrance to copper mine
Entrance to copper mine


Comb over
Comb over
I can feel this path calling me
My latest scarf, fetching, n’est ce pas?

Sunday 30th June

Another sizeable breakfast. We packed up and paid up, getting a discount for staying 3 nights which was an added treat. Had nice chat with Ann. Left car at Belle Green and walked up to Moss Eccles tarn, round the southern edge of the tarn and then onto Wise Een tarn. Short detour to try to go to Three Dubs tarn but I was very put off by a few cows who were looking at me so we didn’t do it.

Back to car and final farewells to all the Crabtrees at Belle Green. Quick visit to car park at Esthwaite Water so I could go to loo at the boathouse. Lots of people fishing and boating. Then to the ferry across Windermere which Carol greatly enjoyed. Back home the scenic way along the A65 through the Dales, managing NOT to stop at Booths’ supermarket! Still lots of lumpy midge bites made more itchy by warmth.

Moss Eccles Tarn
Moss Eccles Tarn

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Bushcraft in the Lakes

Friday 2nd September
Chris and I made a good start, both managing to leave work early and setting off mid afternoon. An easy journey stopping of course at Lancaster services and loading up on caffeine and chocolatey goodies, just in case we never saw food again.
We stopped in Windermere and went to Booths as Chris had a desperate urge for instant hot chocolate and I got some trail mix. Then we drove down to the little ferry that goes across the lake and waited for it. £4 and 15 minutes later we were across the lake and parked up at the Cuckoo Brow pub in Far Sawrey.
We took some beer out into the garden and sat with the most handsome man on his own who turned out to be Steven, who we were meeting. Gradually the party assembled around our table. Woodsmoke‘s Land Rover no. 2 was being repaired and so this meant that we had to wait for some late people on the train. Eventually we set off, driving the car up the road to the front of a farmhouse, off the road, where we were leaving it for the weekend. Then all 10 or so of us loaded our bags onto the Land Rover which went off and  we set off for our 10-15 minute walk along the track to the woods. 10 minutes was more like 35 and when I looked on the map it’s over 2 km which even at 4 kph would be 24 minutes minimum so I felt Steven was a bit inaccurate with his measuring.
By the time we reached camp it was completely dark and really really dark as in the deep forest, well deep enough. The first job was to collect our bags and pitch our tents – “anywhere you like, plenty of flat and dry areas”. So off we toddled, having rooted out our head lamps, and gathered all our bags. We had not gone particularly lightweight owing to the promise of the Land Rover for the kit, however it might have been more sensible if we had as we now had to clamber across broken trees and a stream in the dark. We found somewhere flat but covered in branches, and then somewhere flat but soft and mossy so that’s where we pitched.
It was my first time with the new ultra lightweight tent, and I tried to put it up with the pole in the wrong place, fortunately Chris could see straight away what was wrong and helped me get it right.
We went back up the hill to the parachute which was strung up and provided a large dry circular area with seating and a fire for gathering round. We got the introduction talk which was mainly common sense and hygiene which is fine by me, we were a group of 13, with Chris the only girl, although I got added to her and we became a plural! Our leaders were Steven who lives in Edinburgh, John the apprentice and Willow, a Dutch woman who lives on a smallholding in Scotland. Then we got a tour of the camp, the hand washing area, the pot washing area, the badger bin, the bog box (loo roll box as signal that loo was occupied), the kitchen, and finally the latrine. By this time, I was a bit rattled and panicked as it had been quite a challenge putting the tents up in the dark and so I promptly made use of the latrine, someone had to start it off!
We then had some soup and bread and went to bed.
I slept quite well as the bed was pretty comfy and warm and then it started raining….


Saturday 3rd September
I woke to the sound of Chris gently snoring, her alarm and the torrential patter of rain. We got all the anti wet gear on and located the breakfast. You could have Alpen type muesli, Weetabix and corn flakes; tinned fruit salad or tinned pears and that was about it. I went for muesli and fruit salad. Then over to the parachute for tea, coffee or fruit tea. The coffee was instant and horrid but necessary. I didn’t want a coffee cold turkey headache.
Class started promptly at 9 and Steven, even more gorgeous in the daylight, introduced us to saws, knives and bevels. After a session of this, we went off armed with folding saws, to cut down saplings. We also did a bit of mushroom identification. This warmed us up although the rain showed no sign whatsoever of ceasing its torrent.
Steven showed us how to cut a piece of green wood with the knife and then how to cut a notch and a bevel and a spike to create a pot holder. This was very satisfying.
Willow had also brought back some alder that she had cut down, for us to use to make a butter knife. This was much harder and was a project we returned to in quiet moments and interludes, and for myself, made absolutely no improvement, but some really picked it up quickly and made some very acceptable shapes e.g. a fish, a whale.
Our companions were, Joe, Gez, Simon, Rich, Hugo, Ashley, Matt, Bruce, Andrew, Andy and the one I can’t remember who reminded me of Andy our builder.
By the time we’d done all this, it was lunchtime, actually I can’t really remember. Lunch was bread rolls with various nice fillings and salad and dressings, this was not bad at all.
Maybe the carving bit was after lunch. At some point we got a bit chilled in the wet again so off we went armed with saws, this time to cut a piece of standing dead wood.
Dragged this back to camp and this we used to make feather sticks, as demonstrated most expertly by Willow. Then over to us, and boy was this difficult.
Steven gave us a short lecture about shelters as the rain meant we weren’t going to get one made, he mentioned knocking up a loom in an hour and using soft rush to weave a mat in just another half hour. We didn’t try this but double all his timings!
Next, Steven showed us how to prepare a trout and pin it so that it would cook over our fire. Also gave us a fire laying lesson. We split into 2 teams for this, our boys all tried to be bossy all at once which was quite funny. Chris and I let them play with fire and she and I made split sticks and prongs from the green wood, to poke the fish onto for cooking.
I had never filleted a fish before so this was a new experience for me and not as bad as I had imagined. We got the trout cooking, boiled up rice in billy cans held over the fire on our pot holders and were given some sweet potato mash and onions roasted in the fire. That fish was gorgeous, best I’ve had since Chris and I did mackerel on the cliffs above Combe Martin with Mandy in the dark many moons ago. During the cooking, the rain eased and finally stopped.
Chris and I had been a little anxious about the huge foot deep depressions we each had next to our tents. These had completely filled with water during the deluge. They now started to go down a bit.
I don’t really remember what we did after supper, a bit of chat. Willow was going to read us a bit from Jack London but it didn’t happen as the conversation went elsewhere.
They brought us cake at 9 o’clock and we had thought it would be nice cake but it was like the biscuits, cheap and cheerful but actually cheap and a bit depressing.

Fire gang
Fishy on a sticky

Sunday 4th September
I slept really well especially as the rain had stopped so I wasn’t fretting it was going to come in through the big pool.
Same old breakfast.
Off promptly for a walk, great as it was a lovely day. Down to the boat house where Woodsmoke keep some of their kit including some ancient snow shoes and saws etc.
We passed Three Dubs tarn next to the camp, and also Moss Eccles tarn which has a Beatrix Potter connection. A bit more plant identification and then we sat on a little hill and Steven gave us a lecture on water. Good information, all really useful. He is a very knowledgeable young man as well as easy on the eye.
Then back to camp and rolls again for lunch.
A bit on sharpening our knives and how to make sharpening boards which are easier to carry.
Our last activity was to attempt to make fire. Steven gave us a cracking demonstration but even he was panting afterwards and he is incredibly fit. Some of the others did manage it but Chris and I took quite a while to get the bow and spindle to make an ember. We managed to make a pile of dust which could quite feasibly have turned into an ember had we longer to practice. We were slightly hampered by giggles.
Then we got our bags into the Land Rover and travelled in it down to the bottom of the track with John.
Chris and I did a bit of pfaffing with our gear and then the boys turned up on foot and we said our goodbyes and got kissed by some of them.
We drove to Grizedale visitor centre, used the lovely loos with hot water and soap, and then walked up Carron Crag (one of Wainwright’s outlying fells) from where we had great views all round.
Back down and parked up in the National Trust car park for Beatrix Potter’s house in Near Sawrey. We had roast beef dinners in the Tower Bank Arms which were huge! And beer.
Then back to the car park at the bottom of the track and a walk that took at least 35 if not 40 minutes mostly in the dark back to camp. We even took a wrong turning right at last bit and ended up back by the boat house.
We said hello to the next lot of people who were staying for a week and then into the tents. The rain had started up again but we managed a drop of whisky each.

Three Dubs Tarn
Steven the Woodsman
Chris and boat house
Cloud inversion
Pike o’Stickle
Do Not Eat


Monday 5th September
I thought I would sleep well but neither of us did. I was too hot, then everything felt clammy and damp with the excessive amounts of rain. None came in just it was all around.
We packed up the tents, said goodbye to some of the newcomers and headed off loaded up back down the track. We ate flapjack and chocolate in the car. The rain was stop start so we went to Hawkshead and had bacon, Cumberland sausage and beans and toast and not very good coffee.
Then back to Near Sawrey and a tour round Beatrix Potter’s house which was lovely. As well as having a cup saying “A gift from Hastings” she also had netsuke, even a hare with amber eyes. The house was surprisingly small. We took our anoraks off so as not to give the army of volunteers more work to do, they were drying off people’s coats somewhat ineffectively with a tea towel. I didn’t check to see if it had bunnies on it.
Then we went to Ambleside and did a tour of outdoor kit shops, just for a change. We went to a coffee shop where I had had nice coffee before but today it was too weak. I took my watch to the jewellers to fit a new battery. I returned 10 mins later than the time he had said and he said he needed another 10 mins. I went back for it after lunch, all well and good but this same man had done the same thing when he took a link out for me back in March, perhaps poor timing is endemic in this part of the world? We lunched in Dodd’s Restaurant which was very good Italian fare. Mine was a bit more soup like than Chris’ – she had opted not to have the wild mushrooms. Can’t think why as now we know which ones we can eat!!
Back home, we both thought we would sleep well after the not sleeping. I dreamt that an atom bomb had gone off over Bristol and that I had to find a source of water…

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Lakes March/April 2011

Saturday 26th March
Arrived in Longsleddale in the early afternoon. We are staying in the Coach House at Capplebarrow which is near the middle of the dale, just a few yards from the church and the village hall which are the only things in the dale apart from farms and houses. The River Sprint runs along the side of the single track road and we can see it from the Coach House. The Coach House is small and compact. There is the most enormous bed meaning we will have to send semaphore signals to each other. Very neat Morso wood burner that kicks out huge amount of heat, it compensates for the fan heater that only gives us 3 minutes in the shower room. After getting settled in we went for a short circuit along towards the head of the valley and then back along the far side of the river.

Sunday 27th March
Green Quarter
First day of forward clocks. We drove the first 3.5 km from our lodgings to Sadgill. Parked up. Lots of cars where before when I’ve been here there were none. Up a lovely stony track with burbling streams. Came across a vintage Land Rover mini rally. About 6 of them all trying to come down very steep bouldery part of path. Bloody bonkers but they seemed to be enjoying themselves. Seemed a risky thing to do to such beautifully preserved vehicles. Short stop where junction to Shipman Knotts and Kentmere Pike turns off.  Then away across the fell to Green Quarter. This is tiny hamlet next to Kentmere village. Out the other side and back onto the fell. Stopped for lunch looking over to Kentmere Tarn in the vale. On up to Green Quarter Fell. Passed Skeggles Water. This bit was quite bleak. Then on up Cocklaw Fell now overlooking our Longsleddale valley which is nice and green. On the homeward stretch with car in sight. Flapjack made by me v. good for keeping up energy levels as v. delicious.


Monday 28th March

Harter Fell
It’s about an hour and a bit to drive a mere handful of miles because we are not crows. Parked up at Mardale Head. Free car park. Set off up Gatescarth Pass. After 20 mins I realised I’d left my iPhone on full view in the car. I left Mr B and raced down and back in 22 mins!   We plodded on and eventually arrived at the head of the pass. I also realised half way up that I’d left my lunch in the kitchen at the cottage. I considered pretending I’d only just found out when we sat to eat but instead fessed up feeling now very very stupid. Mr B kindly agreed to share his lunch with me and I gratefully accepted. We found a little hollow out of the wind and I ate half his lunch. After a bit more climbing we reached the summit of Harter Fell. Much colder on the tops. Headed off west to find the Nan Bield Pass. Some fairly challenging sections for Mr B height and exposure wise. It all went fine and we easily found the head of the pass. Mr B shared his Twix with me to give us a boost for the descent. It took a while but we got back down without further incident. Mr Bs first Wainwright and a jolly good one in perfect weather.


Towards High Street
On top of Harter Fell
Me too
Smallwater from the Nan Bield Pass
On the Nan Bield Pass



Tuesday 29th March

Not a very good day for walking so we went to Kendal and wandered round a lot, then went on to Sedbergh and looked at second hand bookshops
Wednesday 30th March
Hugill Fell
This is an “outlying fell” according to Wainwright. Very wet so kept it short. Managed to stay dry with all the gear. Annoyingly it seems to be drier in afternoon which is not what forecast said. We didn’t bother looking at Williamson’s monument as it was too hard to get over wall plus high fence.
Very wet
Mafioso sheep
Thursday 31st March
It was so wet the Sprint had burst its banks in several places. Neither of us feeling like walking in the downpour so we went to Ambleside and Windermere for the day. It had finally brightened up in the evening enabling us to do a longer circuit in Longsleddale going further towards the head of the valley, looking up at Harter Fell.
The Coach House (the small building)
Cute now but may well turn into EVIL sheep
Longsleddale church, sorry but this made me roar with laughing

Friday 1st April

More rain in the morning so we went to the Abbot Hall Gallery in Kendal which was good. Too early for the Sheila Fell exhibition though.
Eating Out

The Wheatsheaf at Brigsteer

The food was quite good but we had to wait oh so long for it I was nearly climbing the wall.
Both had braised beef, why this has to come in a little round I don’t know. Horseradish mash was good. Not enough gravy as meat a bit dry. Mushrooms and shallots tasty. Braised red cabbage so vinegary I coughed on every mouthful. But cauli and broccoli cheese yummy.
Deja Vue in Kendal
My meal was fine, I had celeriac for a starter and then a filo pastry and beetroot mille feuille. Mr B ordered tuna and it came and just was not right so he sent it back. He ate some chips and then we went home and he had a nice sandwich with ham. So a mixed bag, suspect it’s best not to bother with this one again.
Eating In
We cheated on the first evening and had pots of risotto which were fine and did the job.
I made Green Thai chicken curry with basmati rice. Fab!
Also an omelette with various bits and pieces, this was a bit dry as I had not quite got the measure of the electric cooker.
We had pasta bolognese twice, slightly different each time, but very nice.
Oh and I made more flapjack this time with apple and it didn’t really stick together so more like sticky granola. I will continue to experiment with the flapjack recipe as it’s so much nicer than buying an energy bar and a lot cheaper.
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.