Saturday, 17 September 2011

Not Quite As Planned - Summer Walkabout

My Walkabout didn't go quite as I had planned. After arriving in Grasmere at around 7.30pm Monday evening I made my way up to Easedale Tarn to wild camp I only saw one person on the path up and I spent the night alone with only a few sheep for company. It was wet night and I soon found that my seam sealing skills were lacking as there were droplets of water appearing at the top of the Trailstar  some of which came down my walking pole but others dripping off the flysheet and onto me. Fortunately I had also taken a bivy bag along and so managed to keep my down sleeping bag dry.

I made my way to Coniston via Elterwater and Little Langdale then along the Wana Scar Road towards the Duddon Valley where I spent the night next to the disused Walna Scar Quarries ( as pictured above)
During the day I was finding it increasingly difficult the weather in contrast to the previous night it was hot,dry and sunny. I just put it down to my lack of fitness and thought that things would get easier over the next few days.

After crossing the Duddon Valley and passing Grassguards and over Ulpha Fell I dropped into Eskdale and past Boot and up to Burnmoor Tarn then descended into Wasdale and up and over the Black Sail Pass to camp in Ennerdale.
Another fine day but I still struggled especially with the hills.I had thought that I could camp near Burnmoor Tarn but the Lodge was occupied by a couple of loud drunken guys whose voices echoed over the lake. So I pushed on thinking that I would camp at Wasdale Head but again I found too many tents for my liking. Plan C to camp on Black Sail Pass was rejected when I found a group of youngsters from Outward Bound camping there.
So I found myself camping in Ennerdale which when the wind dropped and the rain started I found was a bad idea as the midges came out to feed on me! and my Trailstar leaked on me.
I didn't get a very good nights sleep as I only had a head net between me and the little beasties.They managed to get at me where the net was against my face. During the night I kept waking with the netting in my mouth.

It was still raining when I woke and packed away trying to aviod the midges.
I joined the Coast to Coast path up Loft Beck to Honister Pass it was as I was struggling up the hill in the rain that I realised that the joy had gone out of the trip and my thoughts started on how I could abandon it and get home.So after joining the Cumbia Way at Grange I managed to get a mobile phone signal I re booked my coach tickets to return home from Keswick the next morning.

After spending the night at the C&C campsite in Keswick I caught the coach home passing through many areas that I would see rioting on television over the next few days.

Over the weekend on my return home I developed what I took to be flu and then a cough which became worse with a tight feeling to my chest which was very wheezy. But being a man I waited a couple of weeks before being forced by my wife to visit the doctor who prescribed me with an anti biotic (Doxycyline) and an inhaler. The Doxycline comes with a warning to keep out of sunlight so all in all the summer didn't turn out quite as I had hoped. Where I thought I would return home leaner and fitter instead I am overweight and unfit.


  1. Jeez Graham - that all sounds a bit miserable - I have to say that the Trailstar would not have been my first choice in the Lakes in the summer unless you had an inner of some sort. Such a shame - we invest so heavily emotionally in these trips and when we decide to cut them short it's dreadfully disappointing.

    Hopefully you are back to fighting fit now and ready to have another crack at it now the midges are easing off?

  2. Thanks Alan,I'm feeling a lot better now.
    I will be on the lookout for some kind of bug netting for the Trailstar over the coming months but until then I still have the laser competition to use if I think the bugs will be out.

  3. Disappointing time for you. Sorry to hear about your trip getting cut short. As Alan says go have another crack.

  4. Hi Graham. I found myself reading this post while looking for posts on the Trailstar. It is a shame your trip did not turn out as planned.

    I have a Trailstar and I was wondering if you had managed to source some form of protection from those biting little blighters?

  5. Hi Bryan,
    The Trailstar is a great shelter I have yet to buy an inner but I hope to buy a Oookstar inner from Oookworks in Cumbria in the New Year.
    There is also the option of importing a Pentanet from USA
    Some people use a MLD Bug Bivy
    but I would prefer more room than that.

  6. Many thanks Graham, that Oookstar inner looks the business, with plenty of space. I am going to need some form of inner on the TGO Challenge next year otherwise I could get eaten alive.

    I'm just slowly sealing my Trailstar at the moment (one seem at a time) and hopefully will get out in it before the end of the year.

    Thanks for the info.