The campervan was packed with food, fancy dress and bedding and ready to go to a festival the other weekend but Dave came down with a bug the day before we were due to set off. It was a huge disappointment but we made up for it with a last-minute trip to the Lakes the following weekend.
Inspired by John Townednd’s Blencathra feature on Countryfile I had Tweeted asking for for campsite and Blencathra walking route recommendations and Mark from Mark’s Walking Blog replied with a pic of his camper pitched up with Blencathra in the background. He had stayed at Burns Farm only the weekend before and stated it was a decent campsite and in the ideal spot to get onto the mountain quickly.
— markswalkingblog (@markswalking) May 15, 2016
Christine from Dixe recommended ascending Blencathra via Hall’s Ridge which isn’t as dangerous as Sharp Edge.
It had been a couple of years since we had been to the Lakes and Blencathra was already on my bucket list. Well, all the mountains in the Lakes are! We’d been up Helvelyn and Scafel but my weird desperation to get up big hills is a long-term condition and seeing Blencathra on the TV made my heart race with excitement.
It wasn’t until 4.25pm on the Friday of last week we made the decision to just get in the campervan and go. Dave was still at work so I ran around like a headless chicken gathering up maps and waterproofs and calling the campsite to check they had space for us if we arrived late. By 8pm we were on our way.
We awoke on the Saturday morning to dark cloud and rain covering the mountains around us but the weather was due to clear up that afternoon. After a hearty fry-up we set off walking to the quaint village of Threlkeld and up onto Hall’s Ridge. The rain had sodden our coats which I had treated with re-waterproofing stuff in the wash. It hadn’t worked.
The accent was tough on our un-exercised legs but we took lots of breaks to enjoy the views and catch our breath. The earthy ground became rocky and the ridge narrowed as quickly as the wind picked up.
As I’ve grown older I have also grown more cautious. The sound of the wind and the feeling of it pushing my body was unnerving and I clung to the rocks on all fours like a sloth to a branch. Dave, on the other hand, is more goat-like and trotted over the rocks without fear.
The route wasn’t difficult but it did test my nerves a bit. The wind definitely made it more dramatic than it actually was!
We reached the top came quicker than I had anticipated but there wasn’t much to see. We we’re surrounded by foggy cloud but I insisted we went slightly out of our way to chance getting a view of the tarn. Dave laughed at me. Understandable as we couldn’t see very far in front of us. “It will clear” I said confidently. “Just like it did when we reached the top of Lochnagar”.
We huddled behind a rock to shelter from the noisy wind and tucked into our packed lunch while taking in the amazing views. I took the opportunity to test out the striking HydroFlask I had been sent to review. The choice was between filling it with hot chocolate or tea. Tea was victorious and was a good choice. Tea keep flask tea tasting good and to avoid having to carry milk separately, I always fill my flask with hot water and add the milk into the flask. Tea bags are carried separately in a small container meaning the perfect tea can be poured, even on the top of a mountain.
I LOVE the bright colour of the flask. The HydroFlask is available in loads of other bright colours, 3 different capacities and 2 different mouth sizes. This one is a ‘standard mouth’. Some may say it’s just a flask but I’m a sucker for aesthetically pleasing accessories; as long as they have a practical function. It’s an ‘Instagrammable’ item, don’t you agree? I love the photo of the bright flask against the natural earthy colours of the stone wall and Blencathra as its backdrop.
The website is pretty swish and, as a marketer, I love the design and copy throughout the website. It clearly explains why the HydroFlask isn’t just another flask due to its TempShield™ double wall.
The decent was gentle and by now the air was warm and the sun shone brightly.
A landed helicopter just ahead came into view and then spotted 15 or so people gathered close by. Many were wearing red so we concluded it was Mountain Rescue. We couldn’t see what was going on so cautiously made our way down so as not to interfere.
We had hoped it was a demo or a training exercise but, on overhearing the group of walkers amongst the red-wearing team, we figured it was a real emergency. Later we read on the internet that it was 70+ year old man who had suffered a heart attack and the Mountain Rescue team saved his life using a defibrillator. Thankfully the man was located at the foot of the mountain, just a few hundred meters from the road, meaning the rescue team on the ground could get to him quickly. Considering the poor visibility we had experienced on the tops, it could have been a worse situation if the team had had to make their way up to the top on foot.
It was quite a sad end to the decent but we cheered ourselves up with beverage at the Horse and Farrier Inn bee garden in Threkeld. We supped our drinks in the warmth of the sun while peering up to mountain tracking the route we had taken. Afterwards, we plodded back to the campsite to fall asleep in our camping chairs with a beer in the last of the evening’s sun. Perfect.