For last years’ significant birthday, my OH had planned a surprise weekend away. I’d surmised we were off to the Lakes, and knew I required my walking boots and big rucksack fully packed and prepared for a hike!
We headed up from London on the train. I was anticipating a Penrith bus to Keswick or train from Oxenholme to Windermere interchange - but to my surprise our tickets were for Carlisle. From here we changed on to a little Northern Rail train, and took a lovely ride North of the lakes all the way down the coast to Ravenglass. I’m less familiar with this side of the lakes, so at this point I didn’t know the train excitement wasn’t over! And following a lovely ale in the railway pub, we climbed aboard a tiny steam train, and rode the rails all the way to Eskdale! It was somewhat hilarious using this miniature tourist attraction as an actual form of transport and we arrived gleefully into the little village of Boot, staying our first night in the YHA Eskdale.
The next day we set off early, walking along the river into a very quiet little valley. The first 30 mins actually caused a bit of panic as my heavy backpack was causing my shoulders to hurt at an alarmingly early stage in our walk! Pausing to stop, we lengthened the back of the rucksack to ensure the hip strap was low enough, and weight was resting in the correct place. This solved the problem, and just 10 minutes later I was feeling much better.
The path through the valley was gaining height, as we headed up into what I now know is the Great Moss. It’s so quiet on this side of the lakes, and this big cavernous valley feels really very remote. The terrain flattens out here, and it’s a little boggy, but we made our way across to the far side, and then began climbing up again. I still didn’t know where we were going, although as we left Eskdale behind, I started to wonder if the very large mountains in front of me might just be the Scafell range?! Some cryptic comments from others on the way down referring to “the” top, made me realise we were on our way up the highest peak in England!
Reaching the ridge, it was very strange emerging from this peaceful side of the mountain to meet the masses coming up the main Wasdale track. We’ve been up Scafell Pike a number of times together - but always from Borrowdale, so it was fun to bag the peak via such a different route. Following a quick visit to the top, a pre lunch wee (whoops!), a marriage proposal (accepted) and a very happy packed lunch later, and we were on our way down Scafell Pike towards Sprinkling Tarn.
We had a lovely evening camping by the tarn, watching the sunset over Great Gable, before heading over Allen Crags and Glaramara into Borrowdale the next day. I am pretty familiar with this area of the lakes but have therefore become rather complacent, at times following my “instinct” rather than the map! This had us accidently come off the Glaramara ridge to the East, which can prove rather dangerous if you don’t realise your mistake, and meant we had to retrace our steps back up (argh!) to the ridge, and take a decided turn to come down the main body of the mountain. Mistake corrected, we next negotiated the little scramble (whoops forgot about this one well!) - rather haphazardly hoying my large pack down first, followed by an equally graceful bum slide.
The route was fairly straightforward after that, and we landed in Borrowdale for what we felt was a well deserved golden ale outside at the YHA (symmetry with beer always important in your routes!). A very enjoyable, and arguably, eventful, 2 day excursion in our favourite part of the lakes!
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