Monday, 30 June 2014

Wild camp

It was Matthew's birthday on 22nd June and he wanted to do a wild camp. He had done it before in May last year with his friend but they had done a rather adventurous one , wild camping beside red tarn then walking complete with huge rucksacks over striding edge ( a scrambling path with sheer drops either side) up to Hellvelyn . To make matters worse it was raining and misty and looked terribly dangerous. I said I would do a wild camp with him but I needed something a little more sedate! I also made it clear that I would only go if it was good weather! 

It's something I really have wanted to do but it also scared me, what if something happened and we were miles away from anywhere or what if someone came and told us off for camping there! So we picked the destination of our wild camp carefully, although neither of us had ever been up to the top of the old man of Coniston we knew it was fairly easy to get to and not too far out of the town for if we did find ourselves in trouble, we also saw on youtube that other people had camped there and what it was like. 

We went on the Saturday 21st which was summer solstice -the longest day of the year and gorgeous weather. We got to Coniston for about 5.30 and set of steadily up to the Old Man, it's a lovely walk there are great views to Lake Coniston below, you walk through a disused slate mine and then eventually get to a low tarn just below the summit, we stopped to fill up our water bottles. Matthew had this nifty bit of kit a filter thar fit on the top of a platypus bottle then as you pour the water through it filters it making the water from rivers, stream, lakes and tarns drinkable. The last bit of the walk was a killer, quite steep with our heavy bags and feeling hungry the only thing that kept me going was knowing that  we had a container full of chilli that I'd made in the morning for our tea.

We got to the summit at about 8 and it was lovely the sun was low in the sky and the views were amazing, we put up our tent facing east so that we could watch the sunrise in the morning, there was already a couple camping on the other side facing the sunset the summit is big enough that neither one of us would be disturbing the other.

We had our tea of chilli con carne and rice which tasted great and filled us up nicely. Max had his tea too, he was behaving really well considering there were sheep roaming about up there too.
After tea we watched the sunset and Matthew used his birthday present, an action camera similar to a GoPro to take a time lapse of the sunset. 

And I have to say it felt magical being up there and watching the sunset and getting in my pyjamas on the top of a mountain, it felt good. I was a convert! We had chocolate and a hot drink and I had a hipflask with Baileys in and Matthew had one with brandy in. It was perfect I even had phone reception so I could post my photos on Instagram! 

We went to bed very content and hoping to get up at about 4 to watch the sunrise. I was woken later by the sound of voices near our tent, loud voices, I assumed they had come to watch the sunrise so I asked Matthew what time it was, but it was only half 2! They walked away and I tried to get back to sleep, I was just about to doze off when they came back, one man in particular was so loud and kept singing and I couldn't get back to sleep so at 4 we got up. But as soon as we got up they left! It was so strange they hadn't even watched the sun come up, it was like they'd just come to annoy us! 
But the sunrise was beautiful and again it felt like such a magical experience.

We had a walk planned for the Sunday which took us along the ridge to another couple of mountains then down to another tarn then back to the path we came up. It was hard going, our bags were very heavy and it was very warm, the paths were also very rocky. We set off at about 8 and only get back to the car at about 12 then went for a drink in Coniston before heading back. 
I would definitely do it again although I wish I'd been able to sleep more and would probably do a shorter walk on the way back. 

Plus it's two more things to tick off my wish list  - Wildcamp ✔️ Watch sunrise✔️

Thanks for reading 

Abigail x