Slackpacking The Quiet Fells

Friday

The weekend was ‘booked’ a couple of months ago – the specific brief being a chillin’, slackpacking trip – and dry, warm weather was ordered.

James came up with the plan to mooch about the Shap Fells, whilst bagging a few summits at the same time. Beautifully quiet, with far-reaching views, we didn’t see another soul all weekend.

And although we’re not allowed to moan about sunny weather, it was hot. A bit hotter than requested to be honest, with building humidity.

James kept wandering off to bag Marilyns or something along the way, while I fearlessly guarded the packs, and we did quite a lot of sitting about in the heat. Thank goodness for a fresh breeze to tone the temperature down a little.

We pitched high, with great views of Shap and Sleddale Hall (Withnail and I) in the distance, and a water source about 5 metres from the tents.

Even with a fresh breeze blowing most of the night, it was warm enough to leave the outer completely open.

I could even watch the sunset without getting out of bed.

 

Saturday

Another gorgeous morning.

A bit cloudy, but both the heat and the humidity started building straight away.

Dropping into a bit of a boggy bowl when we set off, we were suddenly sheltered from the breeze and getting mobbed by both midges and horse flies.

A high ridge was then joined before dropping into a beautiful valley.

A fledgling stream at the top end seemed a good spot to both take on water and have First Lunch. Caps and sun hats might also have been soaked in the water, in an attempt to help cool us down. The heat and humidity were showing no signs of abating.

Another high camp had been planned for this night, but it was becoming apparent on the local weather forecasts that we were on the edge of a Yellow Warning Area for evening thunderstorms. Plan B was put into action then, as a risk reducing exercise, climbing up and over the next ridge and down, down into the next valley, to pitch low for the night.

Of course in an ideal world, you don’t want to be pitching either too near to water or even each other, if there’s lightning about, but the boggy, tussocky terrain didn’t give us an awful lot of choice to be honest and we figured the most important thing was to be right off the tops and the slopes.

We were both absolutely melting by this point. Not quite feeling melted enough, however, James asked if I would be happy to bravely stay put and guard the tents, whilst he went off to bag another couple of tops on the next ridge, before the storm was due in. I had no problem with that. I set my chair up, got my snacks out and put a brew on.

 

He was gone a couple of hours, and just before he got back down to the tents, thunder could be heard rumbling in the distance.

Thankfully for us, though, that was it. No more thunder and lightning, just a bit of heavy-ish rain for an hour or so in the late evening. It started to cool down and I slept really well.

 

Sunday

What a difference this morning! Back to chilly, windy, dampy normal! No rain though and a far more comfortable heat index.

Another slackpacking start had us setting off around 10am, back up onto the second ridge we’d crossed yesterday, and then along the ridge to bag another couple of Marilyns/Naomis/Bettys (or whatever they were).

Climbing higher, the wind got stronger and stronger. It wasn’t ridiculous, but enough to make you brace against it occasionally. I love weather like that.

I find humidity so draining, it was great to be moving today without feeling totally worn out from the moment you set off. The views weren’t bad, either.

After the last summit, we descended out of the wind and had a break for First Lunch, before making our way down and back to the car.

An excellent weekend.

8 thoughts on “Slackpacking The Quiet Fells

  1. I know how you feel about humidity, definitely draining weather, much prefer hiking in cooler weathers. Still looked a great time and everything always looks great in the sun and blue skies, even if you do end up sweating your proverbial’s off 😂
    Atb Mark

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m loving the Shap Fells – such great solitude. That last walk you did was the one I was supposed to do this week with a friend – until I got myself a second job that is! I’ve had to work all week instead of having the week off. Got another 2 months of that to go as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. They look like quite hard work in the heat. All trackless grass in lower sections at least. I hate walking when it’s humid (doesn’t everyone I guess!). Shame the thundery weather put paid to a summit camp. My son was in the Southern Highlands and got a thundery soaking. Saw a bloke walking in a storm with a Brolly up!!

    Liked by 1 person

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