Mosedale Cottage, Eastern Lake District to Grizedale Tarn
14 miles and 3600 feet ascent
Me and Eion set off early anticipating an arduous walk on this leg. Namely from tired limbs and the considerable ascent we had to endure. The cloud hung low and there was a slight wet mist in the air but as the hours went by it soon lifted.
I was looking forward to reaching the summit of Harter Fell that overlooks Haweswater in the Eastern Lakes.
A fell that has a reputation for fine views of the area but alas today it was not to be.
Sure, we got glimpses through the cloud but it was slow to lift and clear. Plus, it was bloody cold and windy. Lower down we were roasting and higher up we were freezing!
But it was nice to hit some well-worn paths after the miles we had done previously on open country.
This leg had a sharp mental focus for us. We were aware of the climbs involved overall and moreover the descents too. The mileage wasn’t too bad at fourteen but we had our minds focused on reaching Patterdale in reasonable time for a final push upto Helvellyn.
Saying that as we walked through the clag on High Street we soon realised we were never going to ascend and camp on Helvellyn.
The winds were too strong and it was bitterly cold. We encountered hail and sleet par the course so far and so took the decision to pitch at Grizedale Tarn for shelter.
All said and done as we made our route off High Street the weather began to improve visibility-wise.
We could now see Angle Tarn, Kidsty Pike ad over to the Helvellyn massif.
Fine views of which we couldn’t help but feel we arrived in the Lakes proper.
Funny we thought the latter because by this point we were beginning to see many other fellow hikers and walkers.
Eion joked he forgot what people looked like as we plodded on with mucus dangling from our noses like dew on grass. Aye, it was cold but we kept the humour going.
Bit of a British trait don’t you think?
Times can be bad, the circumstances can be terrible but we always try to make light of the situation with humour. It’s what keeps us going no?
I think it was the American travel writer, Bill Bryson who observed and commented on his like for British humour in times of adversity. He talked about while he sat on a train that was for some unknown reason delayed. The train was still stationary at it’s platform and Bill asked how much longer they were going to wait to a fellow bearded passenger who replied, “Let me put it this way. When I got on this train I was clean-shaven”.
And as it happens, we did meet some folk from the U.S.A near Kidsty Pike. The weather was foul and we probably looked and smelt as bad. But they were cheery enough chatting to us as they made their way on Wainwright’s Coast Coast Walk.
Fair play to them. They were kitted out all OK and were even backpacking the route as opposed to using any Sherpa services. And I say that mindful of our weather and what they usually get on the other side of the pond in comparison – though of course that depends where in the states they are from.
We were complaining about the conditions and these two Americans were enjoying it! Hmmmm…..maybe it’s a matter of “points of view”?
Near Angle Tarn Pikes we found a secluded spot away from the queues of walkers heading up and took in the fantastic panorama of Patterdale. Click on the picture below to enlarge, it shows the very scene I’m referring to.
It was at this stage that not only the weather improved immensely (lucky us again!) but we truly did feel like we had arrived into the Lake District.
It doesn’t matter where you bloody look in the Lakes it’s just so damn picturesque! Even weeds look beautiful up there!
But on we went with the tempting thought of a pint of ale and a bag of pork scratchings in the White Lion pub.
Holding that thought gave our legs a good rush of adrenaline. It was also a reminder we had to nip into the local post office to pick up some meths for our stoves as we had both run out. Food was OK, we just needed fuel for cooking.
While sat in the pub I belatedly removed my boots and socks to give my feet a good airing of which no one paid any attention to nearby – thank goodness. We joked about each others beards that were forming, commented on how bloody tasty pork scratchings are and talked about how we could now sit in the pub ALL DAY and not care about anything else.
But we put those tempting thoughts aside and began our walk up Grizedale for Grizedale Tarn.
It was late afternoon and shepherds were hearding sheep, lambs were playing around as kids of any species do – naughty buggers – and soon enough we were in the shadow of St Sunday Crag and not too far from our night’s pitch.
We sat for a a few minutes to catch our breath and admire the scenery when I stood up to put my pack back on and I wobbled around like a drunk.
My legs wouldn’t move properly! They felt like they were made of lead! I honestly had to swing my hips initially to get them warmed up and going again. That felt very odd and I suppose was a sign of how challenging our route had been over the past few days.
Thankfully, my knee injury didn’t worsen and my big blister had completely worn away to new skin.
We reached a windy and cold camp at about 6pm and found a sheltered spot right by the tarn. Tents up, beds sorted and food on the go we wrapped up and took in the scene.
It was while we sat there getting the cookers to boil water that I then heard some loud voices nearby – though it was windy.
I did think “Oh, bugger! Who’s spoiling our peace and quiet?” when I realised I recognised one or two of the voices.
I went over to look and there were five people walking our way to take shelter by a large boulder. It turned out to be some of the Trail Magazine crew whom I’ve met before.
I went over to chat with them. I assumed with it being about 7pm they were to be setting up a wild camp of sorts but as it turned out they were out late doing a feature for the magazine.
We chatted about where they’d been and of course where I was upto on my C2C and not long after they were on their way to Grasmere for the night. Graham Thompson did mention that the weather for the next couple of days was more of the same which cheered me up. Sure, it was cold and windy but at least we had scenery to enjoy instead of pea soup.
I then took a gentle wander around the shores of the tarn and soon after put my aching body in my sleeping bag for the night.
The next day was a bit unknown for us.
We were aiming for Sprinkling Tarn by Great End in the Western Lake District. I’m familiar with that area having wandered and wild camped round there many many times.
But the bits in between were unknown and so it was hard to gauge the time of our next night’s camp.
We had arranged to meet two friends for that wild camp (hoping they may bring a couple of cans of beer) as a wee send off and morale booster as me and Eion then make our final push for the west coast….