Too Hot To Handle!
Us ‘English’ folk are never ones to complain, but it really has been a hot one today in ‘The Lakes’! I crave for sunshine and love nothing more than a spot of sunbathing. However, we quickly realised how difficult it is hiking in intense heat with such huge backpacks. 10 miles was definitely enough!
In hindsight, had we got packed up early and set off around 5:00am it would have been a much cooler start to the day and the far more pleasant option. But (a) even after 30 days of camping we are still rubbish at getting an early start and (b) we were still in ‘holiday mode’ after having 2 rest days in Patterdale. So inevitably it took us a while to muster up some ‘get up and go’ to get back on the trail. It was so nice in the Lake District we could have easily stayed longer!
Angle Tarn – Good enough for a dip!
Day 7 – Patterdale to Haweswater. (10.5 miles) – Friday 25th July 2014 – ‘Time To Cool Off’
We finally left Side Farm around 9:30am after a good, filling breakfast of scrambled egg wraps. Eggs seem to be the only thing that keep the hunger pangs at bay in the morning. (Well for at least the first half hour of walking anyway!) With a cloudless sky, it was already hot and we found it a hard slog straight away as we had to make our way uphill to 500 metres in elevation.
Leaving Patterdale and heading up!
Looking down towards Patterdale.
Panorama of Hartsop Valley to Patterdale.
Looking across to Brothers Water in the Hartsop Valley.
Approaching Angle Tarn.
Our route took us in front of the Angle Tarn Pikes straight to the tarn itself where we stopped for a much needed rest. Angle Tarn looked beautiful, so Wayne set up the tripod and began clicking away. There was already a wild camper pitched on a little outcrop enjoying a morning swim. Maybe, like us, they decided it was just too good an opportunity to miss and thought they’d stay an extra day. It was certainly a perfect spot.
Long exposure shot of Angle Tarn.
Lovely reflections and a perfect day for a swim.
*Spolier Alert* If you don’t want to have a horrifying image left looming in your head, skip the next 4 sentences. We were about to set off again when our eyes were assaulted at the sight of an old guy hiking in a pair of Speedos. Yes it was hot, but please! Speedos and a backpack are not a good look, especially when you don’t have the most athletic of bodies. (Really, it should be illegal!) He then headed to the water’s edge, downed his backpack, removed the said offensive pair of Speedos and went for a swim. Jokes aside, I guess he just likes being at one with nature. Hiking – it really does take all sorts! But what a memory to take with us from the Coast to Coast! (No Claire, we didn’t take any pictures!)
After being dumbstruck for at least a few seconds, we set off again wondering how Wayne would look in a pair of Speedos and backpack. Only kidding! There was still more height gain to come as we made our way up the trail first to ‘The Knott’ at 739 metres, then on to ‘Kidsty Pike’ at 780 metres. (If we hadn’t already taken the ‘high route’ on Day 2, this would have been the highest point on the ‘Coast to Coast’. However High Stile and St Sunday Crag took this crown as both summits are over 800 metres).
Looking north to Bannerdale.
Hayeswater from near Satura Crag.
Heading up to The Knott.
Kidsty Pike and Riggindale.
Heading to the summit of Kidsty Pike.
We enjoyed another rest stop and soaked up the wonderful view across the valley of the ‘High Street’. (Fortunately ‘Speedo Guy’ never caught up with us).
At the summit of Kidsty Pike with High Street in the background.
We continued on towards Haweswater where we were hoping to wild camp again. Looking at the map, there weren’t many suitable places so we weren’t 100% sure we would find an inconspicuous spot. Our back-up plan had we not found anywhere was to get to the end of the lake and stop in the hamlet of Burnbanks where we’d read a farm was offering camping for walkers.
Making our way down to Haweswater.
It was so hot that as soon as Haweswater came into view we wanted to have a dip. Unfortunately, as it’s a reservoir supplying 25% of the North West’s water, there’s no swimming allowed and the reservoir is fenced off preventing access to the water’s edge. So instead, we stopped at Riggindale Beck and clambered over the rocks to soak our feet in the waterfall.
Cooling off at Riggindale Beck.
But not a pair of Speedos in sight!
Long exposure shot of the waterfall.
After cooling off, we continued around the lake on the designated trail. The trail is popular with day walkers although we only saw a handful walking in the same direction as us. It’s quite stony with a lot of ups and downs and not the gentle lake stroll that you’d imagine. We stopped again at Fordingdale Bottom where we filtered some water and topped up our bottles.
The southern end of Haweswater.
It was just past there that we managed to find a wild camp spot. Just off the trail there is a wooden gate that leads down to a wild meadow. We picked a shaded spot by a tree, just behind the stone wall that’s present hoping we wouldn’t attract any attention to ourselves. But our tent just seemed ‘bigger’ and we couldn’t help but think it really stood out having ‘Berghaus’ written all over it! So Wayne tried to camouflage it with the long grass. (He definitely wants a green tent next time!)
Our wild camp spot at Haweswater.
We waited and pitched late and didn’t see anyone else – all good – until around 4:00am when we heard voices coming from the trail. We assumed some people had hiked around the lake for sunrise until we saw them fishing when we got up an hour later. We were hoping to be away by 6:00am so that we wouldn’t get spotted. We’re not quite pros at this ‘wild camping’ business yet!
Just a quick note on dinner. As we were wild camping, instead of instant noodles we decided to try a ‘Mug Shot’ for a change. These still work by adding boiling water but we thought we’d give them a go as we were enticed by the different flavours that are available. We opted for ‘creamy cheese pasta’ which was sort of OK. The main problem was that despite leaving it for longer than the recommended time, a lot of the pasta was still hard. We also found that we were still hungry! So we each had a second ‘Mug Shot’ – this time a Chinese noodle variety. Again, it was nothing spectacular. It reminded me of a ‘Pot Noodle’. So I doubt we’ll be buying these again!
Day 8 – Haweswater to Orton. (15.5 miles) – Saturday 26th July 2014 – ‘Leaving The Lakes’
After being woken by the ‘fishermen’, we didn’t really sleep much (probably as we were so paranoid about where we’d camped,) so we were up for sunrise and away by 7:00am. We weren’t sure whether the people at the lake were fishing legally, but having just wild camped we thought ‘we won’t tell if you don’t!’ We’re always careful where we pitch showing consideration to the animals and vegetation and never leave anything behind, so hopefully no one will ever know we were there. (Obviously that doesn’t include midges, which we kill with vengeance! Yes the blighters are still out to ruin our lives!)
Sunrise over Haweswater.
We were actually awake for sunrise!
Stealth mode – trying to be inconspicuous!
Reflections on Haweswater.
As we got to the end of the lake near Burnbanks, we came across our second surprise of the day. After climbing over the stile there is an ‘Honesty Box’ just before the river operated by a 13 year old entrepreneur named Thomas! Inside the box there’s a good selection of drinks and chocolate, which is just what we needed to get us going. There is also a riverside trail devised by the nearby house based on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ with a note on the tree left by Bilbo Baggins! Great if you are hiking around Haweswater with children.
Thomas’s Honesty Box – A brilliant surprise!
Bilbo Baggins invites you to walk the riverside trail based on ‘The Lord of the Rings’.
We continued on heading for the village of Shap, our next re-supply point. Just before reaching Shap Abbey on the outskirts of the village, we came across another ‘Honesty Box’ left by a farmer specifically for Coast to Coasters. As well as the usual chocolate and fizzy pop, this one had beer! All drinks were priced at a bargain £1! Although tempting, at 9:15am we decided it was just far too early for a can of Strongbow! When we reached the main street in Shap we did our usual Co-op shop for food – this time Wayne firmly in charge of what went in the basket! Then we decided to stop at the local coffee shop for a drink as we were well ahead of time.
A lovely morning walk to the village of Shap.
The remains of Shap Abbey.
Taking a break at the Abbey Coffee Shop on the main street in Shap.
Check out the woolly tea cosy!
The next section of the walk to Orton took us on the footbridge over the M6, then through farmland which was a fairly flat and steady walk. When we reached Orton we decided to pop into the village store to buy a newspaper just so we could find out what was going on in the world. Having spent over a month long distance hiking you easily lose track of major events.
An ‘erratic’ rock left by a glacier. (A long time ago!)
Crossing Crosby Ravensworth Fell.
Heading up from a gill.
Sat on Orton Scar checking the route.
Wayne in the stocks in Orton village.
It was then another mile before we reached our campsite for the night – New House Farm at Raisebeck. The sign at the entrance looked promising as it is a certified ‘Caravan & Camping Club’ site. For a brief moment I got excited thinking there could be wi-fi! But no such luck. It became a joke between us as there is literally a field (albeit flat and freshly mowed) and a little portacabin with a toilet and shower. (I need to stress ‘separate’ toilet and shower as the shower is actually locked until you pay an extra £1, when the lady will come and unlock it for you and switch on the gas!)
New on the menu: fish finger sarnies.
It’s a never ending job trying to keep up with the laundry!
The campsite sufficed however as we were able to do some handwashing and peg it out to dry before the rain came later in the night. Our feet were aching today after walking 15 miles with fresh food supplies, so it was definitely a good night’s sleep for both of us!
Day 9 – Orton to Kirkby Stephen. (12.6 miles) – Sunday 27th July 2014 – ‘A Little Extra Goes A Long Way’
We woke up to a fairly dry tent for once (usually we have to try and dry it out before we pack it away). But there were some rather large, ominous, grey clouds in the distance looming over the Lake District. We had definitely had the best weather and hopefully brought the sun along with us.
We set off after another scrambled egg breakfast (so much better than porridge) hoping to stay one step ahead of the rain. It wasn’t too far to go today in comparison to other days so it was around 9:30am when we left the campsite.
A hearty start: Scrambled egg muffins for breakfast.
The first attraction of the day marked on the map was a ‘Stone Circle’, which was quite underwhelming in real life as we couldn’t quite see it until we were higher up. It was a straightforward walk throughout the morning, basically through a lot of farmland where we had to pass a lot of cows – but we didn’t have any problems with them, so our fear is becoming less. We met 2 couples along the route, of Canadian and Australian nationality, both hiking the C2C. The Canadians were staying in B&B’s along the route, whilst the Australians were doing a mixture of camping and B&Bs. I think we still retain our ‘hardcore’ status as we’re camping the entire way!
Farmland near Sunbiggin.
On Begin Hill looking down to Smardale.
This way to Kirkby Stephen…
We had a good pace and reached our destination, Kirkby Stephen, by 2:00pm. We had to walk through the centre to reach our planned campsite and passed lots of lovely cafes, gift shops and a couple of hiking gear shops along the way. There seems to be a theme running through the town of old hiking boots used as plant pots. It’s a quirky idea but they looked really effective. (Wayne now wants to try it out with his old pair of trail runners. I don’t think they’ll have quite the same aesthetic look).
Only half a mile to go!
Kirkby Stephen – The first town in Cumbria to be awarded ‘Walkers are Welcome’ status.
Novel flower pots!
We stayed at Takoda Camping – which in our view is a fantastic little campsite that had everything we needed – and is the best campsite we’ve stayed at so far. What drew us immediately to this campsite when we looked on the internet was their reference to ‘a snug room’ with tables and chairs and electric sockets to charge devices for free. Wow – a chair to sit on! After all this time camping it’s amazing the little things you miss that are automatically taken for granted. Our backs do start to ache after sitting on the floor for a while. What we loved even more was that there are picnic tables and benches next to each pitch so you have your own table to sit at, which makes cooking, eating and writing a whole lot easier. Even better is that the campsite has wi-fi! Just perfect, especially as it is the same price as other campsites along the Coast to Coast route that have little or no facilities! We immediately booked for 2 nights and planned to have a rest day to make use of all the facilities. For a hiker – a little bit extra definitely goes a long way.
The Coast to Coast sign at the campsite telling us we have 91 miles left until we reach Robin Hood’s Bay.
We were most excited at the prospect of having a ‘chair’ to sit on!
After setting up, we popped back into town for some supplies and couldn’t resist sampling ‘fish, chips and mushy peas’ from the ‘Coast to Coast’ chippy for tea! And mighty fine they were too!
Luckily the Coast to Coast chip shop was open on a Sunday evening!
Day 10 – Rest Day at Kirkby Stephen. – Monday 28th July 2014 – ‘Taking A Breather’
Our extra rest day at Kirkby Stephen didn’t put us behind schedule as we have allowed ourselves at least 20 days to complete the Coast to Coast if we need it. We used the day to give us a chance to relax, take a breather, top up the tan and do some more catching up with the ‘real’ world. We read up on the latest world news, had a nosey on Facebook (a good source of local news), and feverishly searched the internet for information based on our ideas and future plans. Hiking is so addictive, we’ve always got another walk in mind and always find ourselves working 1 year ahead on the travel wish list!
Moving up in the world! Bacon butties and a picnic bench!
It was great to sit at the picnic table all morning soaking up some rays whilst writing a few postcards, Wayne Googling the latest in lightweight hiking products and myself beavering away on some blog posts! It was bacon butties for brunch, then we showered and headed into town around 3:00pm. It was just a quick visit to pick up something for dinner, but we did browse the few market stalls and bought a few extras from the delicatessen which has a fab selection of Thai products.
A wander through the centre of Kirkby Stephen.
We spotted this midge protection. So it’s not just us they attack!
Then it was back to camp where we continued hammering the wi-fi by uploading pictures to our latest blog post! Our dinner was one of the best camp dinners so far as Wayne expertly cooked a chicken curry with rice that turned out just as good as at home.
Home from home. Curry – our favourite!
Wayne excels himself using only the mini camp stove!
It was midnight before we made it to bed – having the internet was just too much of a distraction and we were making the most of it!
Tomorrow we return to the Yorkshire Dales and will re-visit Keld, as it is the crossing point of the Coast to Coast Walk and Pennine Way at the head of Swaledale. It is also the halfway marker of both long distance walks.
We loved the Yorkshire Dales so we are really looking forward to hiking there again! (Sadly, we don’t go past the Wensleydale Cheese Factory this time). Find out whether we managed to keep one step ahead of the rain and if Wayne finally binned his worn out trail runners in our next update!