Wild camping in the Lake District
The time had come to head 6 hours up north for a week of wild camping in the Lake District.
I had been planning and researching the area for a while so after finishing days I packed the car and was ready for an early start the next morning heading for a week of wild camping in the Lake District.
A early start was foiled by a early morning fire call so by the time I was back home and I couldn’t get straight back to sleep I chose for a later start.
I left Suffolk at about 08:00 and my sat nav was saying 6 hours up so I planned to drive 3 hours stop to give the dog a chance to stretch her legs and carry on for the next 3 hours. There was a little traffic and a diversion and I finally arrived at around 17:15.
Starting point was Bowness Knot car park. I headed down the valley, passed the lake, crossed the river and headed towards the path leading me up into the fells. I had planned initially to walk up to Scout Tarn from there but due to late start, 6 plus hours of driving I decided that I Didnt have the time or energy to make that walk so crossed the river again and found a great little campsite amongst some spruce.
After getting the tent setup, dog fed and water filtered I heated some water to rehydrate my first meal. I had brought different types of freeze dried meals as I wanted to review the different options available in the market.
I fed myself and, treated myself to some biltong, a coffee laced with some dark rum and hit the hay quite early as I was planning to head up to Blackbeck Tarn and walk around that area before returning to the Tarn to camp for the second night.
Heading up to Inominate Tarn & Haystacks
Up early coffee and freeze dried rice pudding for breakfast I packed up and headed down the valley. Whilst walking towards Black Sail Hut I noticed a really nice looking campsite by the river that I thought I could use at a later time.
Stopping to refill water at Black Sail Hut myself and the dog started to head up towards Black Beck Tarn.
We followed the route alongside Loft Beck and reached Black Beck Tarn just as the weather came in, cloud was covering the area and the rain and hail was coming down hard.
It was at this point that I had realised that I had left my Spot Tracker in the car and as there was no phone signal and I was wild camping in the Lake District on my own I wanted to return to the car to pick it up. I didn’t want to be up in the fells on my own without it so I looked at map and decided to walk around to Inominate Tarn, Haystacks and head back down to Black Sail Hut, return to the car and camp at that spot I had seen earlier by the river.
Returning to the car, picked up the spot tracked and I also grabbed a DD Hammocks super light tarp (in case the rain started so I could have somewhere dry to sit under). We Crossed the river and arrived at this nights campsite at around 15:30 I setup tent, had a swim/wash and got setup for the night.
I had ago with some motion blur effects using a new app in my phone which didn’t come out to bad. I didn’t bother setting up the tarp as it was a real nice evening just sitting by the fire, sharing my Biltong with the dog and watching nature at its best.
It was a really nice evening and after some food and some medicinal Rum I decided to turn in around 21:00 as I wanted to be up early to pack away and head up the Back Sail Pass and down to Scoat Tarn.
So after feeding the Dog and myself the next morning, I had chosen to have freeze dried scrambled eggs and cheese which turned out to be really good and one that I will choose again.
I packed up and headed towards the Black Sail Hut, re-filled water bottle and headed up the pass. To reach the top it was 2.4km and took me about 1 hour to get there where I stopped for a quick sandwich and headed over to Pillar and down towards Scoat Tarn via Red Pike. Coming down from Pillar towards Red Pike was quite difficult with the dog attached to me as she will run and chase Sheep. Luckily there wasn’t any about so I could descend safely.
We reached Scoat Tarn and setup camp, had a dip in the Tarn and got some food on the go. I had a go at some time-lapse photography and called it a night.
On waking in the morning to hail and rain I packed up inside the tent and packed the outer layer of the tent away into a dry bag and headed down the valley to head up Scoat Fell and back down into the Ennnerdale Valley for another day wild camping in the Lake District.
By this time the cloud had come in and the rain/hail was quite heavy. We headed up Scoat fell where the dog ripped off her front left dew claw so I had to take sometime sorting her out. I cant emphasize enough the need to be self sufficient when wild camping in the Lake District
I took a break after reaching the top of Scoat Fell and looking down onto Ennerdale Water I could see the rain was really heavy there.
It was quite tricky descending here as it was wet, no real path and plenty of Sheep so the dog was on her tether and kept trying to pull me over. As we reached the tree line we where met by a Hen Harrier eating a rabbit which didn’t even move as we approached.
Finally we where down in the valley and we headed to a spot I had seen by Ennerdale water and I chose to setup the hammock for this night.
I really enjoy hammock camping and think I get a better nights sleep in a hammock and wanted to mix things up whilst wild camping in the Lake District.
We had loads of time as I had setup around 16:00 so had a swim, food and finished off the rum and a sneaky beer I had also picked up during resupply from the car. Tonights meal was Cod in Curry Sauce by the Norwegian company Real Turmat.
I love these meals but at £9.99 they are a bit pricey this one was left over from the Fjallraven Classic I had done in Sweden the previous year.
After spending a few days with my Sister and Brother in Law where we climbed Helvellyn and Scafell Pike. I had decided to spend one night in a Bothy that wasn’t that far away from Blackbeck tarn.
Overnight in a Bothy
I chose to park at the Honister Slate Mine and walk up from there it costs £10.00 to leave the care there overnight. Dubs hut is the first and easiest to get, very popular, sleeps 6, multi fuel stove (although fuel will need to be carried in).
Half an hour from Dubs Hut it Warnscale Hut hidden from view it isn’t the easiest to find and by judging by comments in visitors book many people have had to make more than one attempt to find it.
It was built in 1750 for slate miners and was left in ruin until 1985 when the MBA completely renovated it to be used as a bothy. As mentioned it is small and able to sleep 4 with a multi fuel stove to keep warm as previous bothy fuel will need to be carried in.
Weather was bad this day and ascent wasn’t easy I had put the coordinates into my ViewRanger App and made my way up to Dubs Hut, the wind and rain was driving and as I entered Dubs Hut I realised it was time for a new waterproof layer I was soaked to the skin perfect for wild camping in the Lake District.
On entering the hut there was 4 lads brewing up who offered me hot water, they had overnighted at Warnscale hut and recommended that I ahead there. Few people came and went after eating soggy sandwiches and I found the power to put on my WET! wet gear and looked at the map to find where I would be heading. I needed to go down the valley a little way and cross a river.
As I reached the brow of a hill I could see to my left a scree of slate on the mountain side and looking at ViewRanger I could see I was near and then due to the bad visibility I noticed a metal flue as the whole side of the Bothy was camouflaged into the scree of slate.
Entering the bothy through a very small door it was gloomy with only 2 small windows, 2L shape benches across two walls, a multi fuel stove and a cubby hole with various items left by previous dwellers (including a half tube of vaseline god knows what had gone on in here that night). I setup my bed and wished I had fuel although it wasn’t cold it would have been nice. I hung up my wet clothes and got some water on the boil for some soup.
If you are planning a overnighter in a bothy it is worth bringing a tent in case the bothy is full although this night I did not want to be in a tent.
The Dog and I settled down and I had just sent an OK message on my SPOT GPS devices as no phone signal, when her ears pricked up and she started barking as 3 really wet lads entered the bothy who where also planning to stay here. My thoughts of a peaceful night where gone but when one said “we’ve brought coal” I thought brilliant.
They sorted themselves out and got there food on the go which was duck stew which they shared with me and a very happy dog! They had to leave early due to commitments so it was about 22:30 for lights out. Now I am a cold weather person and not that keen on boiling hot rooms, it was so hot in here this night I was in my boxers on top of my sleeping bag.
05:00 the lads where up and packing away and got out the door by 06:00 I had a brew and got a couple of hours kip as I was driving back to Suffolk as I had decided due to the weather to knock it on the head. I packed up, had a tidy and prepared myself for the onslaught of gales and torrential rain outside.
It took me under an hour to reach the car and with a quick change of clothes I was heading home with another micro adventure ticked off. What a great experience wild camping in the Lake District.
If you are interested on wild camping in the Lake District, have a look on Youtube as this is a great way to research routes and areas to wild camp. Remember that many people will be wild camping in the Lake District so be prepared to share the area with others.