A last minute, windy adventure.
As with any new purchase, the urge to immediately try out your new gear is overwhelming. Putting on a down jacket, outside, in the blistering heat kind of overwhelming.
So it was no different when Me and Polly bought a new tent. We’ve both spent a lot of time in the hills, but neither of us had wild-camped before, and a new tent was all we needed to take that step.
So the tent was bought, tested in the garden and approved for use by all (Review to follow soon!). Now all we needed was a reason to use it. Cue the weekend of 4th July 2020. Polly was due to be in work until early afternoon on the Saturday and the government had said we could travel and stay the night, so we planned to drive up to The Lakes quick fast to enjoy our new tent.
Then came the Yellow Warning. Yellow warnings are one of those things that throw all sorts of doubt on a trip. Sometimes it’s a case of ‘Do I need the big coat?’, sometimes it’s a case of ‘let’s just stay cosy in this pub for today, hey?’. Our Yellow warning was for wind across most of the country with sustained 40mph with gusts of 60mph. Survivable, but could be interesting.
After some discussion, we decided to throw caution to the wind (pardon the pun) and go for it. We are both relatively well seasoned, the route planned was moderate, the warning wasn’t in effect until after we were due to arrive at the site and the proposed site was sheltered.
Parking in the Patterdale Hotel Car Park for a reasonable £4.50, we made our way up and into the fells. The view down into Patterdale Valley were amazing, even with a troubling weather front chasing us up it. The incline was a challenge, 1200 ft in 2 miles is no easy going, but the footpath was very well established, I barely checked the map all the way up. Covering the route in little over 90 minutes, and with low visibility (cloud at around 400m) we set up quickly and started cooking up some steak and mushroom for ciabatta, settling down for the night with a couple of cans of ale.
A night that comprised of a grand total of 30 minutes sleep. The wind that came in was significant to say the least, but the most notable achievement was how well the tent had performed in what could only be described as the most brutal night it could have ever seen. Short of a bent midsection of pole, it stood up well and kept the elements at bay.
As the daylight came back around, we made the decision that the 9 mile hike in the persistent yellow warning winds was probably a poor move, so made our way back down to the car. This, I believe, is a very important decision making process when out in the wild. Having respect for nature and your own capabilities will keep you out of trouble for your entire life. Our chances of summiting in clear weather were 0, and our chances of completing the hike in a timely manner and without injury were pretty slim.
On the way back down I was quickly reminded why I love The Lakes so much – so many smiley faces, on the way home from the local shop, newspaper under arm and a spring in their step. I almost felt guilty for leaving on such short notice!
Below you will find a handy widget showing the route we took up to angle tarn. I highly recommend using ViewRanger as your primary routing app, it’s very intuitive and easy to use! Always carry a paper map and compass to keep on top of your skillset though.
Follow my route
Click the view ranger logo to follow my route yourself.