In December last year, I wrote about a couple of the goals I’d set myself for the year, and whether I’d completed them.
I failed on the 6 routes up Snowdon, but completed that earlier this year.
My attempt to do all the “Julia’s” was still outstanding. Nikki and I get away as much as we can during the summer and the lake district was calling us once again.
However, I can’s push my own projects onto other people (well not too much) so I hoped that while we were away, we’d get chance to visit Castle Crag, along with our other adventures.
We had a packed program of interesting walks and nice places to eat and drink in the evening.
Doing something like that with a special friend or someone you love, is, to me, about as good as life gets.
As I’ve said before, if I won £10,000,000 tomorrow, I dont know what I’d be doing. But the day after that I’d be out hill walking . So off we go.
We had bad experiences last year in summer at some camp sites in the lakes.
One who’s name won’t be mentioned was like a refugee camp, and hopelessly over booked.
However, they’d taken our booking (and our money) and when we arrived, just basically told us to “find somewhere” without the least concern.
There were tents 3 feet from ours on 3 sides and people having party’s into the night. But, we turned that trip around, and did some of our most ambitious walking routes.
This year, we’ve tried to learn from that experience.
I’ve always believed that most people say they want “cheap”. But what they really want is “right”, and if its cheap, then that’s nice, but its most important is that the object/experience/employee etc, is above all “right”.
There’s a camp-site in the centre of Keswick. I’ve passed on it before as its quite expensive, but considering our experiences, I thought it was worth a try.
It’s quiet (strict rules on the camp-site that are enforced. A refreshing change). A measured out pitch and space for the car (you have to tell them the dimension when you book, and they pick the perfect spot).
A short walk into town, on the bank of the Derwent lake, and enough showers so nobody has to queue.
So once the tents pitched, the beds inflated and sleeping bags out, were off into town for some nice dinner and a few drinks.
After a great nights sleep and a quick breakfast in our tent, were off out for the day.
It’s our first walk of the weekend and we’ve decided on Scafell from Seatoller.
We arrive at Seathwait farm and park the car.
It never stops amazing me, that some of the oldest hobby’s in the world (walking and camping were practised by the Romans and the Greeks) are still susceptible to fads.
Camping “pods” were hot for a time.
Pretty much a garden shed, with a radiator and plug to charge your mobile. But it meant you could “camp” without having to put up a tent, and knowing that no matter how bad the weather got, none of it would effect you.
For full transparency, I stayed in one about 6 years ago, with the famous Dizzy-Dave and it was fab.
On close inspection of the camp-site, it appears that Yurts, the private jet of glamping world and favourite of Ray Mears and thousands of Mongol’s are taking over the lake district.
We set off, on an interesting route from Walking World.
Would have been fab, but in honesty, the weather was appalling and navigation especially difficult.
We get to the top, get back down and relax for the evening.
The following day, breakfast on route, as we head for the honister pass.
In the slate visitor centre, you can do a tour of the mine, enjoy a drink and a cake in the cafe, and see some truly beautiful piece of slate, turned into horrendous tourist tat !.
This time, we headed straight to inominate tarn, the final resting place of Wainwright.
Great to visit it again with Nikki, as it has a special place in the hearts of many hill walkers.
We continue on, and “conquer” haystacks. We did a previous walk from Buttermere a year or 2 ago, where we did 3 fells in order, but failed to complete the 4th, haystacks.
It was nice to put things back in order.
In the evening, were in high spirits.
A place that’s recently opened, eS bar. A mixture of Spanish Tapas and Mexican, which we both really like.
In the morning, we wake and the weather isn’t very good.
We decide to wander around the town and do a bit of exploring (I think its an awful waste, when people visit the lakes, and spend a WHOLE DAY wandering around somewhere like Ambleside or Keswick.
In the daytime, I’m normally in the mountains, and usually spend time in town in the evenings having dinner and drinks (unless I finish a walk early when I might have a pint or 2 before heading back to get showered and changed for the evening).
On this occasion, it seemed okay to indulge for 2 hours, getting breakfast, visiting the Rohan shop and walking to the bank of the lake.
I was surprised when I couldn’t find a cafe I normally visit. There was a building site there, and I realised it had been knocked down and a new one was being built !.
The National Trust were doing trips to the island (only open a few days each year), but were fully booked. At £8 to canoe there yourself it seemed expensive anyway.
in the afternoon, we decided to head for Castle Crag. An easy walk, that seemed suited to the weather.
Setting off on the walk, I see another Yurt. The lakes are being taken over, 1 Yurt at a time :).
A fairly easy walk up to castle crag.
At the top, a sort of graveyard for rocks.
Very atmospheric and almost spooky.
I take a moment and congratulate myself on completing all of the Julia’s.
From the top of Castle crag, you can see Derwent water lake.
We stop off at a cafe on the way back, and then head for home.
Another adventure complete.
A week later, and I’m in Tenby.
I get a lift down with Dave and Sam, and its decided for a change, that instead of having chippy when we arrive, were going to have a barbecue.
On route, I buy some can’s and some Findu’s Chicken burgers, which have defrosted by the time we arrive.
I eat my burgers, have a few cans, and then off for an early night.
What I hadn’t realised was there was a Triathlon going on over the weekend.
At 6am in the morning, the PA system starts blasting from Tenby.
Although were more than a mile away from the town, the wind changed direction, it sounds like a car cd system with the window down, right outside your tent.
I can’t sleep, so I get up for a walk and wander into the town.
I grab a coffee in the town (my favourite place right by the ocean, Dennis cafe is open, but only doing take out, so I get coffee and continue wandering around).
It’s cheesy to say it, but its then that I realise how lucky I am.
This truly beautiful place, the world is just starting to wake up, and there’s practically no-one around and I can enjoy it in peace.
I find out that St Catherine’s (the sort of Island/Fort right next to Tenby) is now open and you can visit it, and go on a guided tour.
As I wander along, I run into Sue, Aled and assorted other friends, setting out on a walk.
The bus has left (he MUST have left early, as we were easily there on time).
Ridiculously, a minibus is hired, and he actually charges less than the bus would have (so we give him the change as a tip).
This time, were walking from Amroth, via Saundersfoot, back to Tenby (I’ve usually done the walk in the other direction, so I’m quite looking forward to this.
Obviously on an arduous walk like this, it was necessary to stop for refreshments (I had a pint).
On the trip, was the famous Christine. As lean as a greyhound, she was in front of me for the whole of the walk.
We continue the walk, the coastal scenery is as fantastic as its been on my 2 previous trips.
Get back, get cleaned up, and its into town for a few pints and something to eat.
I get the chance to peruse Sue and Aled’s new camper van.
I’m pretty inspired. I don’t know quite when exactly, but I’m going to have one of those 🙂
The triathlon is complete for today, so the town is alive with exuberant (and tired) people.
I can never resist fish and chip here, so instead of having dinner in the bar we were in, I nipped out, got a take away, ate it and then went back to the pub.
By 10:30pm, I’ve had a fantastic day, so I head back to my tent.
On Sunday morning, a trip home is imminent.
We know we’ve got a really long way to go, and we’ve got to set off early.
We wander down to the beach, to see the Triathlon competitors preparing for final event of the weekend.
So, its with a heavy heart that I head for the Dennis cafe for the last time.
Cheese on toast and a pot of tea. The company of all my friends, and this years trip is finally over.
But, what a fab weekend. I’ll be back again next year.
The search for adventure continues…