Floutern Tarn 18-19 September

It really was this WET
Stir crazy

Carol and I set off early and arrived in Ennerdale after stopping for M&S treats and then to eat them. We both had sandwiches we’d made at home as well.
We parked the car and set off up the path to Floutern Tarn which we reached without event at 4.00 p.m. This time we found a flatter spot a bit higher up than previously. I quickly erected the tent and got the beds made up and then it started to rain. And then it continued to do so for the next 18 hours without cease.
At first it was ok because we had things to do, latrines to dig, organising our little space for maximum comfort and ease. We had a cup of tea and a little rest. We took some clothes off and then put a whole load more on as it went a bit nippy in the wind and the rain. It did not remind me of this song at the time: Drive All Night. Then it was time to cook the dinner. The tent has a good sized porch so we could cook without getting drenched. Starter of chick pea curry, followed by basmati rice and chilli con carne. C provided buttered brown bread. We finished it off with some chocolate. Then more hot drinks, whisky and sherry. We did a quiz, played some games, did the crossword. Hot food and drink make all the difference, whatever the weather.
We did of course have to leave the tent for the loo, yes in the dark and the rain, so misty I could barely see the walking pole marker post but mainly staying in a very confined space for such a long time is quite hard work. We did sleep but not brilliantly. The tent kept us warm and dry but you can’t really sit up in it very easily, it’s a good job we seemed to be not too bad at tentiquette. By morning I was going mad just to move my legs further than the tent door.
We woke at about 8.00 a.m. Some tea and coffee, and a rain check! Oh what a surprise still bloody raining and no sign of the tarn a mere 30m away.
We packed up everything possible from within. Then stepped out in all our gear and stowed away the tent. Soon got warm by walking back up the hill. The path is pretty distinct which is a good thing as there was very limited visibility. It was really a great relief to be walking about.
At the first gate you come to, we met a man and dog. We chatted and he told us that the farmer who owns the land including the tarn, has a penchant for waving his shotgun at “trespassers” – in inverted commas because the tarn is on Access Land i.e. we have a right to use it. This is the 3rd time I’ve camped there now, and I feel reluctant to go back. This farmer is known for his negative attitudes and the Ramblers have done Mass Trespasses on his land but to no avail.
We got back to the car and then guess what, it stopped raining! After a bit of pfaffing about, we got into the warm and dry and drove off to our next meal stop.
I felt I needed to get some pampering after 18 hours of rain, so we went to the hotel which said we could check in from 2.00 p.m. We arrived at half past and our room wasn’t ready so we had to wait for another half hour. After this annoying start, we got into the room which felt very hot. Turned all the radiators off, but this made no difference at all. So from one extreme to another. We opened all the windows but it just stayed hot. I even ended up sleeping outside the covers for most of the night, that’s how blooming tropical it was!
After all the rain we needed more water so had a shower/bath to clean up, went for a swim which was nice as the water was cool and then another shower/bath after the swim.
We pootled about a bit, read the paper etc. Got some ice in a bucket and dunked the wine in it.
Time for dinner, I had smoked salmon blinis and mushroom stroganoff. C had fillet of salmon and sticky toffee pudding. All very nicely done.
We returned to the sauna bedroom, drank all the wine and fell asleep.

Cloud carrying 18 hours of rain

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Hot camping

Saturday 7th August
Carol and I set off from home at 8.30 and drove to Lancaster services. We stocked up on supplies at M&S and had a caffeine hit.
Some time later we arrived at Ennerdale Water, having eaten a picnic just after Kirkland. With the benefit of hindsight from my previous trip in May with Chris, we parked up on the roadside next to the footpath, thus cutting out a slog up the road with heavy rucksacks. We set off promptly along the footpath which seemed even more overgrown just 3 months later. Thanks to my email to the council, the bush that had blocked the path entirely had been removed, entirely. However a bit further along, a huge branch had come down but it was easy to get past it so not sure another email is required, there are probably more important things that need sorting out.
C had not got the gaiters on and it was damp underfoot, so I went back to the car and all was fine. These were very necessary as what had been desperately dry in May was now quite the reverse. We plodded slowly and steadily and took about 2 hours to reach the tarn. It is such a beautiful spot and so easy to reach. We’d both been worried that someone else would have got a pitch there before us but we were in luck and we saw no-one after a small group right at the start of the walk.
First job was to dig the latrines, job done efficiently with the iPood trowel, only 99g. We got the tent up very quickly, and made it nice and cosy, this time karrimats, then self inflating mattresses then sleeping bags. C located various stones which we used for the stove, our cups etc. We had a cup of tea and a look at our surroundings. Floutern Tarn is such a good spot for doing the wild camping. We pretty much camped in the same spot that CH and I had done in May, we couldn’t find anything flatter so there was a small slope.
I started to cook the dinner, and the minute I did we were subject to a very heavy shower so I heated up the Bombay potatoes (starter) in the rain while C languished in the tent. I didn’t actually mind at all being ensconsed in my waterproofs. For the main course, I served chilli con carne with lime and coriander rice. This was great too and C provided some buttered bread. The rain had stopped so we sat out on the rocks to eat our dinner and admire the view.
After washing up, we looked at the view again and then got in the tent as we were getting bitten although the insect repelling fabric did work fairly well. I tied mine round my neck and the wee beasties stayed away from my head at least. We did some crosswords by headlamp and drank whisky and sherry. It was remarkably warm in the tent. When we did eventually go to bed, I found I was very hot and threw everything off, such a contrast with my previous experience in this same place. We slept quite well although the next mission is to find a way to stop the sleeping bags slipping off the blow up mats. We did also slide down the tent as we hadn’t found a totally flat spot. I don’t think there was one to find.

Loaded up
Just before the cloud burst
Floutern Tarn and tent

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Sunday 8th August
We woke up about 7ish, having slept surprisingly well. Looking out of the tent, I couldn’t see anything at all as we were in such thick mist. It had started to lift a bit by the first cup of tea/coffee. We breakfasted, C on Weetabix and me on muesli and yoghurt. Then to pack up. This does seem to take a long time and we didn’t get walking until 11.00 despite being a smoothly oiled machine.
We got back to the car quite quickly as our packs were much lighter and it’s down all the way. We then drove round to a car park near the western shore of Ennerdale Water and walked with our lunches to the beach to eat. This was very private but as the water was a lot higher, there was a lot less beach.
We strolled around a bit of the lake and then did a small diversion to get back to the car park. C was all for swimming in the lake and I was all for climbing up to the Pinnacles. We agreed to come back and do these things although these would be separate activities as there is no way I am swimming in the lake. Wild camping fine, wild swimming is not for me!
We got back in the car, drove up and around the top of the area along the A66 and then dropped down to Patterdale. Our B&B was Deepdale Hall and was set off the road. It’s a nice old farmhouse but we weren’t sure in the long run whether it really deserved its 4 stars. 3 stars yes. We got in and I had first dibs in the shower, lovely to get clean as I had managed to get really grubby! We both got ourselves presentable. I had to go and ask a man downstairs not to play his music as it was disturbing us. C had a good go on this one! He stopped immediately although he did seem a bit on the surly side. I worked out later he was the son of the household which consisted of father Chris aged 58, son Jimmy about 30 with wife Robyn and the twin girls. The man playing the music turned out to be Jimmy.
Time for dinner so we drove to the White Lion in Patterdale. We sat next to a couple from Nuneaton who entertained us whilst we waited for dinner. The man was an inveterate liar but this wasn’t totally terrible as he kept digging himself in. They’d both done the C2C several times. Pub grub, C had steak pie and chips and I had vegetable risotto and salad. Not much rice in the risotto and very greasy but quite filling.
Back to Deepdale and we settled in with some very strong wine that just appeared magically out of my suitcase. Nice to have a book to read, I managed to find where I’d stopped in Sarah Waters’ Little Stranger. Harder than it sounds, I’d got the book free as a download but it came in 2 x 3 or 4 hour files, so every time I  did anything else with the iPod like change a playlist, it meant I had to start again at the beginning. This was so annoying I’m surprised I managed to get through having half the book read to me. A treat then to have a real book to hold and turn the pages, also much quicker than being read to.

Bowness Knot
Ennerdale Water
Hot camp site


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Monday 9th August
Got up at 7.15, had another lovely shower. Breakfast at 8.30, we both had the full English. Not bad and generous but a bit on the greasy side and I wasn’t over fussed on the sausages but admit I am very fussy about sausages and not even sure why I ordered it as don’t usually eat a huge breakfast. I also had melon and cereal and yoghurt. The coffee although real was too weak for me. I paid up and Mr Grumpy Bum still looked surly so we decided we wouldn’t be going back there. Shame, as the location is excellent.
We drove down the Kirkstone Pass to Ambleside, it was incredibly misty so didn’t see a lot. Parked up and went straight to a cafe for me to have my caffeine fix. Then into one or two outdoor gear shops. C bought postcards and stamps. I left my broken watchstrap at a jewellers to be replaced and Nigel said it would be half an hour. He lied and it was nearly an hour which meant we were late back for the car park but lucky as the car parking police were not around. I bought a present for a friend who has a birthday later in the month. C got a pasty for lunch from Greggs. It rained all the time we shopped and then stopped as we drove out to the Wrynose Pass. We tackled the Hard Knott pass too with a few intakes of breath from the passenger seat and my foot down on the very steep bits. Stopped at little car park and walked up to Hard Knott Roman Fort, we lunched on the north wall near the corner lookout. The fort is excellent but we missed the bath house as I’d forgotten to check in Wainwright who mentions it, before walking up. Our original plan had been to climb Hard Knott itself but although we stayed dry there was still a lot of mist coming and going.
We returned back up Hard Knott pass, seems a lot easier going West to East. There was a very irritating gold coloured open top Merc driven by a child with an older male passenger, blasting out loud music and who then got stuck going up Hard Knott so I waited until he had managed to get going again. Then he had stopped for no reason so we passed them and they were behind us. Then they turned round to go the other way. Then they came up behind us again so I pulled in for them to pass and that was the last of them. With luck they had a flat tyre some time soon as they were driving me nuts.
We got back to Ambleside at about 4.30 and then headed for home. Short stop at Lancaster services and home at 6.30. Great break.

Hard Knott Pass
View towards Boot
Hard Knott
Hard Knott Roman Fort

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Chris and Jak’s Lakeland Adventure Friday 140510

Floutern Tarn
Ennerdale Water

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I didn’t sleep very well as was concerned about my rucksack being too heavy. I arrived at Chris’ house to find her still squeezing the kitchen sink into her rucksack. We set off and stopped at the services near Lancaster to take advantage of Marks and Spencer. We took advantage of a few other things and nearly froze to death waiting for our drinks at Costa Coffee, which wasn’t giving me any points for my Costa Coffee card. We both got nice healthy salads for lunch and filled wraps for the next day’s lunch. About an hour later we arrived at Bowness Knot car park which thankfully was free – I’m not sure what we would have done if a ticket machine needed to be fed with money over 3 days. We lunched before getting going.
We finally left the car park and plodded along the road, it was hard to get used to the full pack and various aches and pains came and went. Set off along the footpath only to find that it was obstructed by a fallen tree/bush. This meant we had to crawl through dragging our packs with us. We took it all slow and steady, stopping to watch shepherding by quad bike, motorbike and dog. Seemed to involve a lot of shouting for no particularly obvious purpose. No whistling or arcane gestures sadly. Whatever happened to “One Man and his Dog“? That answers that then, how weird it’s still going, bit like the Archers.
We continued to rise gently and reached Floutern Tarn at about 5.30. We were very careful about picking a camp site, and ended up close to the lake’s edge but not too close on a nice dry spot which was reasonably flat and a bit sheltered from the wind.
Next we pitched the tents which for me took forever as I’d put it away with some of the tent attached to the wrong bits of the flysheet. Chris got her Vango Banshee up pretty quickly. My Vango Spirit followed. By this time it was starting to get a bit nippy so I trudged back up the hill to find a phone signal, fabulous views across to Haystacks.
Returning to camp, we quickly got cooking. Settled on 2 curries and rice. This was just about the right amount of food and was hot and quick to prepare. Great. Then Chris came in my slightly bigger tent to do the crossword. Then although it was still light it was time to try and get warm enough to sleep. This proved hard for both of us, Chris only had a lightweight down bag with silk liner so she wore most of her clothes. I had a heavier weight down bag and was warm on top but my feet were like lumps of ice. Eventually when it finally got a little bit dark, I took my socks off and rubbed my feet together and then they got warm and I managed to sleep. My self inflating sleeping mat was good, a huge improvement on Karrimats.
I’m not sure how much less I would carry to keep the weight down, my tent is heavier than I thought, 3 litres of water is heavy but I used most of it. The most important thing we didn’t have was any rum!

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