An invite landed from James. Did we fancy joining him and Reuben for the weekend at Eskdale Camp Site? Seemed like a nice idea – why not?
So, 4:30ish on Friday afternoon and we were zooming – well, going pretty slowly really around the M60 – up the motorway. We thought that about 3 hours would get us to Eskdale, but there had actually been a rather nasty accident involving a lorry and two cars on the road near Newby Bridge, which turned our journey into a bit of a 5 hour epic. Luckily, the reports say that no one had life threatening injuries, although two of the seven people had to be airlifted out.
I rang the campsite whilst we were stuck in the traffic to say we were going to be late, and they couldn’t have been more accommodating.
Dinner was a bit late then, but very welcome. By that time, as my granddad was fond of saying, ‘My stomach thought my throat had been cut…..’ The journey was soon forgotten mind, as we sat eating pizzas and were joined by James and a few beers.
We awoke the next morning to a temperature of around -4C. Crisp and frosty.
The plan for the day was an assault on Sca Fell, but unfortunately my special Boxer is no longer up to tough hill days like that, so Dixie and I set off with the others but turned back after about an hour and a half.
It was great being able to set off walking direct from the campsite.
The route took us straight up through a couple of fields and onto the fellside.
Any stretches of water on the path were still frozen.
Before long, we arrived at Eel Tarn.
A rather nice spot, actually.
No time to linger though, and we continued upwards towards Great How.
Not far off Great How summit, I decided it was time to turn around with Dixie. She absolutely hates it when I do this and obviously doesn’t have any understanding of why she has to leave everyone else waltzing off into the distance, but on tough, long walks I have no choice any more. The last thing I want to do is to either push her into a situation which is just too much for her now and totally exhaust her, or walk her so hard that in the evening her arthritis is giving her a lot of pain.
So, we headed off back down towards Eel Tarn again. (If you fancy a peek at what the others got up to on Sca Fell though, hop on over to Geoff’s blog for a few photos.)
It was definitely time for lunch when we got back there, so I cheered her up by giving her one of her favourite meaty pouches.
And a peaceful spot for lunch it certainly was.
We continued on down, back to the van, undertaking a slight detour through the village of Boot on the way.
And later that evening, after the other weary wanderers had all returned, we sat down to one of Geoff’s rather nice chillis, a few more beers and the 50th anniversary episode of Dr. Who.
Sunday morning was a good 6 degrees warmer than Saturday. Still dry and fresh, though. James had planned a long route involving some Wainwrights, and had said he would knock on our door at 9:30am. Luckily he was a bit late, as we were still fast asleep at nearly 9:00…..
We were returning home that afternoon, whereas James was staying another night, which meant that even Geoff and Tilly couldn’t join him for a full day out, so the Crowther clan embarked on their own half day jaunt up to Burnmoor Tarn.
An old trackway – supposedly haunted by a bolting horse carrying a corpse from Wasdale to Eskdale – leads out of the village of Boot and up on to Boat How.
Views open out as height is gained.
Once again, a very peaceful place. We saw no one else at all.
In fact it was so quiet – and sheep free – that Dixie had a real treat and ended up off the lead for most of the walk.
Our return route took us over Whillan Beck, under Great How and back via Eel Tarn once again.
I can’t believe how lucky we were with the weather over the weekend.
It’s always a treat to walk on a cool, crisp day, without sweltering in the heat.
All in all, a smashing weekend. Good company, excellent walks, great weather and lots of happy dogs to boot. Many thanks to James for the invite.