This was to be the longest journey yet for my new motorhome, over 250 miles North West to The Lake District. Parmeet, Blossom, Barney and myself left London at 2:30pm, finally arriving at The Quiet Site near Ullswater seven hours later. Tim had already arrived and was doing his best to support the local economy in the bar. Unfortunately the bar was to close at 10:00pm on the Friday night so we only had time for one quick drink before calling it a night. The girls and I did not really envy Tim and Barney who had to share a chilly camping pod whilst we closed the blinds, turned the heating on and settled down for the night.
The plan for Saturday had been to hike up to Helvellyn. Originally we had planned to ascend via the famous Striding Edge but the mountain forecasts seemed to indicate this route was only for those with ice axe and crampons. We heeded this advice and decided to find an easier route. Tim and I were not too disappointed since we had both been over Striding Edge before. There were a few other hikers on the paths but most people we met were mountain rescue team members, the first group being SARDA members who were training the rescue dogs.
It was a little after we met the dogs that Blossom and Parmeet decided to head back, probably a wise decision as their footwear was not really suited to the deeper snow we would encounter higher up. Their afternoon was not totally wasted as they took the opportunity to take a trip on the Ullswater Steamer to Howtown.
Barney, Tim and I pressed on finally reaching the summit of Helvellyn in good time. We then decided to walk on towards Striding Edge to see how the conditions had affected the route. A member of mountain rescue coming up via the ridge, complete with crampons and ice axe warned us not to attempt it. Whilst we saw a few coming up the ridge kitted out in full winter kit, none were attempting the descent.
On our way down we stopped briefly to escape the winds and to watch the mountain rescue helicopter in what looked like a training exercise. Once back at the car park in Glenridding we found a note on the car left by the girls who would not return until 5:30pm, giving us lads the chance to visit the pub and watch the rugby.
In the evening we headed out to Keswick to eat in a pub Tim knew quite well before returning to the bar at the campsite. The bar really does deserve a mention as it has so much character. There is a huge open fireplace, animal heads on the wall and even a bear skin. There was even a playpen for the under 5’s but we could not find the adults playpen despite a good search.
On Sunday we decided to do a walk that started from the campsite. The Aira Force waterfall walk was the obvious candidate at a little over 8 miles. It offered some great views of Ullswater before we reached the waterfall itself.
When we reached Undercragg cottage which was mentioned in the walk notes we knew we had almost reached the finish.
The final mile or so was on tarmac and we arrived back at the campsite weary but happy. The weather had behaved itself all weekend which is not always the case as anyone who has visited The Lake District will know. We said goodbye to Tim who only had a short journey back to Cheshire and headed for the M6 southbound. Another seven hours later and we were back at Hatton Cross at the end of a long but enjoyable weekend.