Sometimes the forecast changes and you wonder why you bother packing! This was to be one of these days… Ste was driving up as I’d assured him of snow and bursts of sunshine… Oh how wrong I was…
We sat in the car looking at the persistent rain. We had to drive down Langdale to pick up Ste’s tent at the campsite so we stopped at Chapel Stile on the way for a feed…We watched the straight grey rain bouncing down. I defended myself fiercely to Ste as he tucked into his toastie and me my Corned beef hash!! Of course, it was all the fault of the Met Office!! We headed off and battled our way through floods! We were soon at the campsite and were back on our way again soon. I suggested we drive to Coniston before giving up on our plan altogether…The backup plan was to get drunk at mine J
We were soon in the café at Coniston drinking coffee and eating huge slabs of chocolate fudge cake that over faced us both! So far, I had ingested 7000 calories and not moved for more than 20 meters! And still the rain fell. I sat dejectedly trawling the forecasts for a glimmer of hope. And still the rained bounced. We both knew it was falling as snow above 400m but neither of us were keen on getting drenched on the way up.
We were soon back in the car and heading back towards Ambleside. We’d spent a small fortune on food and drinks and fuel and were pretty much resigned to heading back to mine. A small patch of blue appeared on our way past Yew Tree Tarn… I was mildly excited. Ste was as keen as me to get out so I suggested Langdale-again! We were soon heading up the valley for the second time in a day. I suggested Lingmoor as we have bivvied there before and knew the lie of the land and the walk in wasn’t huge. We decided that as it was still raining we would have a quick drink in the Wainwrights Inn..Why not J We were soon beside the fire chatting about anything and everything. Ste is good company; we have always got on since meeting a good while ago for our first bivvy.
It was time to do battle. We were soon faffing at the back of the car and deciding what and what not to pack! It’s a pleasant walk in and takes in the Elterwater Quarries, a lovely indigenous wood and the old mine road that leads up to all the disused working near to our planned spot. We were quickly heading up through the woods as darkness crept up on us. The rocks underfoot were slippery and tree roots were always ready to trip us up.. We reached the gate and the rain had all but stopped and the clouds were breaking. The temperature started to drop as we stopped to fill up with water at one of the mountain streams. We headed up the zig zags before reaching the next gate and then we were on the open fell top. We had both opted not to use headtorches and let our night vision do its job; its amazing how you can still see so much when its nearly pitch dark. A keen wind blew and it threatened to be a chilly night. At last we reached our spot. We set about getting the tents pitched as bad weather never seemed too far off and the sky was threatening more showers. We got pitched in time before the first of several squalls came through. The noise on the tent always makes me smile. It’s a great sound when you are warm and dry. The wind was gusty but the Terra Nova Southern Cross and Ste’sHilleberg Soulo held up nicely.
Dinner was soon served out of its usual bag! Ste lit up his tent with his multi fuel stove-it always looks so cool!
We chatted casually between gusts and showers and drank wine as we did. It was a night of stars and squalls! Before we knew it, we were both out of wine and ready to turn in. The squalls became more sleety and snowy…maybe it would be whiter in the morning.
We shouted our ‘goodnights’ and soon I was drifting off listening to the wind and rain battering the tent!
I awoke a couple of times in the night but soon dropped off again. When the morning came, there was a strange feeling…A muffled quiet. As I unzipped my inner door I could see the snow immediately! Oooooh, it was exciting! As I opened the door I was greeted by a lovely view. Everything was white. The snow was quite wet but very beautiful to look at. It took a few shouts to rouse Ste but he was soon taking in the amazing view! Stoves were soon on and coffee was being consumed. We decided we would have breakfast at mine.
I laid back, coffee in hand and looked out at the view. I always feel privileged to see such things-even when the weather doesn’t play ball. It’s still amazing to experience such things and to share those experiences with your mates from time to time J
Now it was time to break camp. My least favourite thing…I was so cosy. Pulling on cold boots in the morning is never fun and the cold hands are usually painful… As we finished taking our tents down the weather started to turn again and another squall came through. We were soon shouldering our packs and taking bets on who would end up on their arse first! Luckily, we both stayed upright!!! We were treated to the sight of two beautiful deer as we headed back into the woods… Brilliant to see!
Soon we were back in the rain, luckily we weren’t far from the car and a short drive home to my house for coffee and bacon and egg sandwiches!
A great night out with company for a change! Thanks to Ste for persevering!