26th-29th May 2017
A lots changed for me over the past few months. I’ve gone from living on my own in Bakewell, spending weekday evenings and weekends exploring the surrounding Peak District, to living back at home in Leicester, with a new job and old, familiar surroundings. With the obvious change in surrounding landscape between Derbyshire and Leicestershire you’d have thought this would limit my ability to get out into the wild areas of nature, but it’s almost worked in the opposite way. My lust for the outdoors has been fuelled by the contrast in my day-to-day surroundings, and on top of having more money in my current situation, I’ve also learnt to drive. All these combined mean that I’m more mobile than ever, with nothing stopping me from jumping in the car and heading to the mountains at a moments notice – the boot of my car is pretty much set up for this situation at all times.
Having only recently returned from the Lake District, and spending two days in-between exploring the Peak District I was really enjoying spending so much of my time outdoors, as I packed up and set off for another weekend in Cumbria, this time camping in Borrowdale with Natalie Byrne.
My favourite thing about camping is the feeling you get as you arrive, set up and first get to appreciate where you are. Sometimes this feeling occurs the following morning as you wake up to see your surrounds; other times, like this instance the sky is full of stars and your wanderlust is satisfied almost the moment you arrive. After spending an hour under the night sky we hit the hay, hoping for dry weather the following day.
After spending the morning getting Breakfast in nearby Keswick we made our way over Newlands Pass to Buttermere. Fortune was on our side and we’d managed to coincide the picturesque mountain pass with a vintage Ford Escort tour of Cumbria, and so were blessed with dozens of brightly coloured sports cars to photograph.
Arriving down at Buttermere we took off for a lap around the lake, aiming to stop on the far side for a hot drink and test out my new stove. Bought to enable my already unhealthy addiction to tea, my Alpkit Brukit Jackal had arrived the previous week and I was looking forward being able to rustle up a brew wherever I am in a matter of minutes.
As we made our way back towards the car along the North side of the lake the heavens opened, and we suddenly found ourselves in a thunderstorm. There’s something exhilarating about the power of nature, especially in the mountains. This was the first occasion that I’ve heard thunder bouncing off the hills all around, making you really feel its full force.
Returning back to the campsite for the night (now that the rain had stopped), we paused at Honister Slate Mine, at the top of the famous mountain pass, to watch the sunset. The afternoon’s storm appeared to have washed away the majority of tourists in the area and we were fortunate enough to have the sunset to ourselves.
The following day we made our way down to Seathwaite to start a longer walk that was to take the day. We headed along the valley before heading up the side and along to Styhead Tarn. After stopping for lunch the real climb began as we aimed straight up the side of Green Gable, reaching its shoulder after some sweating and panting. The views from the top of Green Gable that day are some of the best mountain views I’ve experienced. Cloud rolled over from the Wasdale Valley, gripping the edge of Great Gables crag and pouring into the valley below us. Periodically we’d be shrouded completely in cloud as it danced around us. Heading back down to the valley flow was a gentle and comfortable walk, but I really felt like I could have spent longer up top; the beauty of the clouds up there was incredible.
The following morning we packed up camp and returned back home. I used to feel down on the return journey home from trips, but the regularity at which I’m travelling, and the ability to go as and when I please has changed that. Now I just feel a buzz, excited at what I’ve done, and where I’m going in the future