TGO Awards and a meander about Wasdale and Eskdale

Buckbarrow, Wasdale, Lake District
Buckbarrow, Wasdale at sunset.

The other week, I was fortunate enough to take a well earned break away from my desk and head back up to Cumbria. First off, was a visit to Kendal for the TGO Awards where some of the great and good of the outdoors get together, have a laugh and celebrate – of sorts.

Some of the winners announced were controversial to say the least. You can read about the public voted ‘bloggers category’ on Alan Sloman’s blog HERE. I must admit the winner did raise many eyebrows at the event, and I had my money down on James’ wonderful blog to win (HERE). There’s quite the backstory to that particular subject – grab a cuppa and flick through Alan’s blogposts.

‘Pub of the Year’ was another public voted category, some jeers and guffaws came from the crowd when the Dog and Gun, Keswick was announced the winner. You can read about my thoughts on the pub HERE, based on it’s recent takeover by a PubCo and consequently refurbished.

The managers of the pub approached me after the event and agreed with all I and many others have had to say on the pub’s recent takeover whereupon they informed us that it’s takings have dropped markedly since (50% no less at times). Their frustrations with dealing with a distant PubCo who ‘know better’ was very apparent. I felt sorry for them. Perhaps TGO should’ve pulled the hostelry from the nominations? It’s not like they weren’t warned. I emailed the magazine and told them a couple of times. As far as the wider public is concerned many would’ve been oblivious to this legendary pub’s current status.

To rub salt in the wound on the public voted categories of the awards, a big laugh from the crowd came when it was announced that Amazon UK came second in the ‘Online Outdoor Retailer’ of the year category. What the heck??? Go figure. I think next year, TGO should carefully consider and vet public nominations for the awards. After all, there’s not a great deal they can do about public voting, but it can be open to abuse. Alan touches upon many such points as these over on his blog – a rather heated debate.

All said and done, it was great evening and a good craic was had by all. Even though I was nominated in two categories, I only popped along for the social side of things as it’s a great event. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the awards for the past three years and I always have a good time.

The following day I headed west with David Powell-Thompson to Wasdale where I was going to spend a couple of nights catching up with friends before returning back home. After a drive over both the Wrynose and Hardknott Passes, David dropped me off at Boot before heading out to work for the day leaving me to enjoy a wander on the fells back to Nether Wasdale.

Despite some promising early morning light, much of the day was dull and overcast but dry. I’ll admit it was rather liberating to be out and about with such a light load on my back! But some habits of mine just don’t go away. I didn’t really stick to a route I told David about, instead choosing to meander about the moors above Eskdale to visit the stone circles before crossing open country and a limb breaking stagger along the bottom of the Wastwater Screes – to finish at The Strands Inn and Brewery. If memory serves me right, I spent over an hour just relaxing and admiring the stone circles!

The day started bright, and ironically ended bright too. I was in no rush for the top ales and food at the pub – preferring to take my time and enjoy the spectacular light of a setting sun casting it’s golden rays into the mouth of the Wasdale Valley. Superb!

That evening I headed to The Bridge at Santon to catch up with more friends and enjoy a peek at the legendary ‘World’s Biggest Liar Competition’. More laughs and ales and I was ready for a good kip.

The following day me and David took a stroll up, around and about Hard Knott fell visiting the always impressive Eskdale Needle – which affords a really rather dramatic view of England’s highest mountains.

A much needed break away from my desk, a top trip with top company – refreshed and cleansed of all the world’s ills I returned back home during the weekend, thankfully avoiding some horrendous rains in Cumbria.

David Powell-Thompson
Before attending the TGO Awards, David and myself were interviewed for a video the Lake District National Park have
commissioned concerning the area’s application for World Heritage Status.

tgo awards
Left to right at the TGO Awards – Mark Gilligan, David Powell-Thompson, Alan Hinkes, yours truly and Dan Richards.
Picture courtesy ©The Great Outdoors Magazine.

Brook House Inn, Eskdale Lake District
Early morning light in Eskdale.
Ulpha Moor Eskdale
Even on dull and overcast days the Lake District still affords atmospheric views.
stone circle Brat's Moss Eskdale Lake District
One of the stone circles at Brat’s Moss.

stone circle brats moss
A distant Scafell overlooking one of the neolithic sites.
Bowderdale Farm Lake District
Bowderdale Farm from the Wastwater Screes.
Wastwater and Wasdale
Looking west by Wastwater as the evening light began to fade.
Red Scress Wasdale Lake District
You can see where the local name “Red Screes” comes from eh?
Yewbarrow and Great Gable Lake District
Yewbarrow and Great Gable at sunset from Easthwaite Farm.
Rainbow glides over Whin Rigg – it really was a superb evening.
irton fell
Final light descending behind Irton Fell.
The Strands Inn and Brewery, Nether Wasdale
A joy to behold! Much needed refreshment was on the cards.
world's biggest liar competition
At the Bridge Inn, Santon – David Powell-Thompson, Eric Robson and Gordon Swindlehurst who was reporting for BBC Radio Cumbria.
Eskdale Needle Lake District
David at the foot of the Eskdale Needle.
This crack in the rock looked promising for a bivvy spot!
eskdale needle scafells
Eskdale Needle can be found on steep rough ground on Hard Knott.
Hardknott Fort Eskdale Lake District
The roman fort by the Hardknott Pass in Eskdale.

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