Time for another backpacking weekend and another two Quality Mountain Days. I had a long planned trip to Ennerdale in the North-Western Lake District in mind, part of the area I’d not visited before.
On Friday I rushed home from work, threw the ready-to-go backpack into the car and set off for the three hour drive to Cumbria.
Keswick is about 2 hours from home and Ennerdale isn’t that far from Keswick, on a map. In terms of Lakeland roads it’s another hour.
The plan was to spend Friday night in the Youth Hostel before setting off, up onto the ridge along the Northern edge of the valley, along to the head of the valley and Great Gable and back along the Southern side, finding somewhere to spend the Saturday night.
I parked the car at the car park in the forest and walked the mile or so to the youth hostel in darkness. I soon discovered I was not alone…
The road had a large number of frogs hopping about and so it became necessary to use my torch to prevent me standing on them. Although I never saw what it was, there was also company in the forest to my side. I’d hear the crack of branches and movement within the trees. Despite casting my torch I never saw what was in there.
Arriving at the youth hostel I was greeted by the friendly warden. A Dutchman. We chatted briefly and I tried to impress with the six or so words of Dutch I know. I settled into the shared lounge with a couple of beers and my maps.
The next morning I took advantage of a cooked breakfast before heading out into the hills.I only had to follow the low level track a short way before a break in the trees allowed me easy access to the hills above. I paused for a while on the summit of Red Pike (755m) and took photos and checked the map. From here my route followed the ridge to the south east towards Haystacks, the final resting place of Alfred Wainwright.
Haystacks was crowded, the first time I’d seen more than a single person since I left the youth hostel a few hours earlier.I found a comfortable rock and made my lunch. Tuna and cheese wraps, pretty standard backpacking food for me.
My plan for the afternoon was to continue onward to Green and Great Gable before moving towards Kirk fell and a bed for the evening.
The crowds thinned out again as I walked away from Haystacks. The weather was superb, beautiful blue skies and not cold at all.
I’d never been on Great Gable before and had heard several people extol its virtues. I thought it was okay but nothing amazing. I preferred Kirk Fell, or more accurately the views from it.
There was not a breath of wind and so I decided to pitch my tent in an exposed place on Kirk Fell. It was a four season tent so even if the wind picked up I was confident I’d survive. The spot I chose offered me amazing views of the Scafells.
The night sky was beautifully clear and so I spent a long time out of my tent just looking at the stars and at the head torches I could see on Scafell Pike. Eventually it was too cold to stay out to I retreated to the warmth of my tent and sleeping bag.
The next morning was just as still and clear as the previous and I enjoyed the views while I made breakfast.
After a light breakfast I packed up and continued on towards Pillar and the descent back to the valley and my car.