A Lakeland Adventure – Day 2

Published 20 June 2011

A signpost for Black Fell

I recently spent a week in the Lake District wandering around, trying to do some fells and trying out my new camping gear. I had some grand plans before I went, but with the weather, well few of them seemed to ever happen… This is what happened on Day 2 – Monday.

Planned version: wake up, admire the beauty of the Langdale area before leaving the tent and heading up The Band to Crinkle Crags, then follow a Wainwright suggested ridgewalk to take in Cold Pike and then Pike O’Blisco before coming down to Wall End. If still hungry for more, potentially head up Lingmoor Fell but more likely head back to the campsite and maybe a pint at the Old Dungeon Ghyll.

Thanks to the weather and not being at the Langdale campsite, day 2 was naturally up for replanning. Whilst sat in YHA Langdale the night before I’d come up with the idea of walking down to Dungeon Ghyll and hope that the weather was okay enough to do Lingmoor Fell. That was before the rain started falling down heavily, and as I studied the situation the next morning, I couldn’t help but worry that the campsite would be a muddy, flooded mess and that the weather would continue to be awful leaving me with nothing I could do when I got there.

Instead I decided to head to Coniston. At a baseline I knew I could take the Cumbria Way there from Elterwater, but I’d also spotted there were two Wainwright fells nearby that I might be able to do if the weather improved.

Coming down to Elterwater via a soggy path, I walked along the Cumbria Way for about a quarter of a mile only to find that Great Langdale Beck had burst its banks and that a huge amount of the path was only accessible by using waders. Sighing, I headed back to Elterwater and studied my map.

The B5343 runs mostly parallel to the affected section of the Cumbria Way but it’s a busy road and I didn’t fancy that. Instead I took a quieter road to Colwith instead, at one point finding a soggy and muddy permissive path that the National Trust had provided to escape the road.

Colwith Force

At Colwith I rejoined the Cumbria Way and went past Colwith Force. In normal weather this is an amazingly beautiful waterfall, but heavily swollen by the rain, it was outstanding. I stood, hypnotised for quite some time until I realised that the rain had calmed down a lot so I sat down and ate my lunch (corned beef in hot dog buns – just don’t ask… nor try…)

With the rain now stopped and the skies clearing a little, I followed the Cumbria Way along to High Park and then to the A593 when I left it and joined a path which ran along a low ridge of Black Fell.

Following Wainwright’s instructions, I kept my eyes open for the path that went off to the summit and after losing it slightly, eventually found my way to the top which features a trig point bearing a National Trust sign.

Trig point on the top of Black Fell

The trig point was some rocks, about a metre or so above the grass so I naturally headed up to stand at the top. And then was almost blown to the ground by huge gusts of wind. Clinging on to the trig point for dear life, my bandanna blew off although thankfully rested itself in a puddle, and I did my best to get down safely. 1m down and the wind was barely noticeable. Bizarre but true. The soggy bandanna went into my rucksack, just in case whilst I admired the amazing view of Coniston Water.

Having lost the path on the way up, I came down on what looked like a sensible, well trod path down, only to lose it again before coming back on the lower down ridge path at a rather random point, and ended up repeating a quarter of a mile of so.

Coming through Iron Keld Plantation, I headed east to rejoin the Cumbria Way around the lovely Tarn Hows, before following a different route down into Coniston via a good solid National Trust path towards Boon Crag Farm.

Camping stove and kettle on the grass

One of the many reasons I’d settled on Coniston was that if the campsite at Coniston Hall was very soggy and the weather still terrible, I would be able to head to the YHA again. Since coming down off Black Fell the wind had been getting up quite badly but the ground was pretty dry thanks to the sun so I paid my £14 for two nights and picked a little sheltered spot near a stream. Putting the tent up for the first time (well, first time not in my garden), I made sure every guy rope was well nailed down and brewed up my first cup of tea using the dinky Trangia Mini meths stove before tacking tea (and more on camp food in another blog post!)

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