Saturday, 20 July 2013

Irton Pike and a wild night out.

Irton Pike 
Irton Pike in the title is easy to explain because we zipped up there on a little five mile circular whilst we were in the Lake District,  (when I say zipped, I really meant "hauled myself up at a pace only just faster than a sleepy tortoise").

The wild night out bit depends on what you mean by "wild camping".  Up until a few weeks ago, I, like many other walkers, thought wild camping meant lugging your tiny one man tent plus food, plus bed, plus cooker etc, to somewhere remote and preferably very high up, with a beck or small lake for water.  You then enjoy the sunset, and sleep with nothing but a bit of canvas (sometimes no canvas) between you and the "wild" which usually means wind, rain and snow.   You could do it in the summer of course, but some walkers seem to like making life difficult for themselves.  So there you go - wild camping.

Apparently there is another type of wild camping - for the motorhome owner, wild camping means stopping for the night in a location that is not a campsite. You find a sheltered layby or parking area, away from houses, not on private land, and without "no overnight camping" signs. You then have to make do without the benefit of an electric hook up, toilet blocks and running water.   So there you go, that's wild camping.
Hedge Woundwort growing near our "wild camp"

But of course, in your  motorhome you'll have your gas cooker, your gas fridge, loads of water, a battery full of electric, a cupboard full of food, solid metal and glass between you and the weather and you didn't have to carry anything anywhere.  Some motorhomes are so luxurious the owners may as well be at home in front of the tele.  For me, this is not wild camping, but I have to accept the term applies.

So, bearing all this in mind, me in himself went "wild camping".  We took the campervan to a secluded car park in the Lake District and stopped there for the night.  It was a bit of an experiment to be honest, testing whether or not we could pull it off, and I am pleased to say we successfully mastered the problems of using a portaloo.  I won't go into details but there have been "lessons learnt".

We arrived at our planned overnight stop at the base of this little hill around 2 o'clock.  The idea was to go for a short walk, stay at the car park overnight, and make our way to Wasdale, just a couple of miles away, in the morning.

So, having explained all that, I'll get back to the walk up Irton Pike.

Booted up, we set off to find the path Peter had chosen for the ascent.  As usual, he chose the most direct route which of course is straight up.  We couldn't find the path at first, the trees and bracken hid it from the main path we were walking on, but after a couple of double backs we started up, making our way through spiky little pine trees and bracken.

It was quite a steep climb, but it's only a little hill, and it didn't take too long before we got to the top.
View from the top of Irton Pike.  Seatallan, Middle Fell, Yewbarrow, Kirk Fell and Great Gable on the left side of  Wast Water, Irton Fell and Whin Rigg to the right.
From there it was a circular route through the pine forest and back down to our camper van.  It was another hot sticky day, and we went through quite a bit of water on this short walk.  We were enjoying ourselves though, not rushing and taking in the views. At one point we sat on a bench to be joined by a robin, a chaffinch and a sparrow. I reckon they were checking out our snacks, and looking to come back for the crumbs once we were gone.
Bog Asphodel

Silver Knott
The last stretch of the walk was a little more .............  stretching.  It began with a little bit of difficulty following the path through the bracken, which grew higher and higher the further we went.
Watch out for velociraptors!
Peter found the way through and we reached the gate at the end of this path into the woods.  Then we got a bit lost!   Well.....  not really, because good old Gizmo, (my GPS), had been tracking us along the route all the time and knew exactly where we were and where we should be.  Not that it helped us find the path, but Gizmo did at least get us walking in the direction of the car park.  We came out of the wood just across the road from it.

Campervans are dead handy things to have.  First thing we did was put the kettle on.

Tomorrow is going to be hotter than today and we are going for the summit of Great Gable.  Let's hope the heat doesn't wear us out before we get there.


  1. That was great. It cheered me up no end, sitting here at work at 10pm on a hot Friday night. I loved the wild camping thing. The same can be said of backpacking, which to me means wandering about in wild places and spending the night wild camping. But to some, backpacking means getting a plane to somewhere exotic then moving about from hostel to cheap hotel and living off pot noodles.
    Cheers, Alen

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed this write up: very funny! :-)

    It reminds me of my childhood: we had a motorhome and went all over the place in it, several times a year if we could. I remember those days fondly, and have a sneaking desire to do it all again sometime.

    Maybe one day ...