Monday, 4 October 2010

Nearly Neanderthal

Yesterday we got back from an impromptu weekend walking in the Lake District with (big) James and Dan. On Thursday night (after the AGM at which I was elected Women's Captain and James Mens Captain! - more on that some other time) (big)James asked us if we wanted to come walking, and bivvy in a cave known as the Priests Hole. Never having done any wild camping, let alone bivvied in a cave before, I was very excited. (James has slept outdoors before, when he was younger) So we packed up waterproofs, lots of warm clothes and on Saturday at 8am, headed North.

It was a relatively clear drive, and so we arrived in Ambleside at 1 and set off at 1:30. After a steep climb up a road known as The Struggle, we were out on the hills, and climbing up to Red Screes. The weather was grey but not rainy, and below the low cloud, visibility was fantastic. At the top of the first summit, we were just above the cloud line, and the difference was immdiate, as it became much colder and damper. We dropped below the cloud again, and then up to Dove Crag, where we needed to climb to the top before descending carefully around to the cave. Unfortunately when we got close enough to see it, we could make out some figures standing in the entrance. Drat! Another group had got there first.

The Struggle
Looking back towards Ambleside and Windermere
View from the top of Red Screes

Cloud touches the summit of Dove Crag
The cave is at the top of the highest crag

Reluctantly we descended into the valley just below, to the campsite at Sykeside. But the tents we in the car in Ambleside, some 9km away. And the last bus had already gone. So (big)James heroically walked back along the road, back down the Struggle to the village, while we stayed with a pining Jess in the wonderful pub at Brotherswater. An hour and a half later, he returned in the car with the tents, the largest of which (to sleep me, the Jameses and Jess) was set up before we went to the pub. Dan said his was so easy to set up, he'd do it later. After a nice evening in a warm pub, we headed back to the campsite. Dan's tent took a little longer than the 5 minutes he had promised, and needed a little help, as he was not as sober as he could have been! But it was soon up, and we slept very well. Jess, disgruntled at having been left at the pub and then being kept up past her bedtime, sulked by (big)James feet.

On Sunday morning it dawned very wet. We felt for a huge group of fellrunners competing in a relay in the rain! We had a nice breakfast at the pub, and then went our separate ways. James' boots had proved not really to be up to much on Saturday, and his knees and ankes were hurting. So he and I spent the day in Ambleside (having been driven over there by (big)James), while the other two went walking or a few hours. It as a very pretty little village nestling at the North end of Lake Windermere, and we enjoyed a relaxed day eating, drinking tea and reading the Sunday papers in various cafes. We also went boot shopping for James, and although we didn't actually buy anything, he now has a clear idea of what would be best for his feet, as he has narrow feet and weak ankles. Apparently Italian walking boots are made to a narrower fit ususally, so Scarpa boots would be perfect. He also need to make sure that they have decent, high ankle support. So, hopefully, next time we can go further and do more!

A wet morning at Sykeside

In Ambleside, the buses have bike racks!


  1. You are dead right about Italian boots being narrow. My old Scarpa's used to fit me but my feet have spread over the years and now they pinch my toes. 30 years wear isnt bad though - they really last.

  2. Those windswept views are gorgeous!