Day 3’s short 7.3 km route with 723 metres ascent and 683 metres descent.
Day 3 was yet another day with an unplanned stop – but this time in a good way!
In a first for me, I actually decided to stop simply because of the natural beauty that surrounded me. I figured that the whole point of a hike is to have fun and enjoy the scenery, not to necessarily see how many km one can walk in one day.
It happened when I got to Seathwaite Tarn. It was a combination of the weather, the snow capped mountains and beautiful scenery that convinced me to stop early and enjoy perhaps the best Wild Camp spot that I have ever used.
I’m glad I made the decision, as I have many happy memories of this day firmly etched in my mind. It certainly made for a great contrast with the previous day which was completely rain drenched with little in the way of visibility.
I could not believe that I had ended the day on such a high, especially as by this time the previous day I was in throws of first stage hypothermia!
Once again, I’ll let a handful of photos tell the story:
The night was a cold one! Everything has frosted up – including the camera. I do feel well recovered from the previous day’s hypothermic episode. So it looks like I’m good to go again!
The picturesque scenery to the West from my camp location. It’s amazing how the change of weather can drastically alter the look of the landscape. (Click for a larger version)
Here I’m starting to pack everything away. It appears that the camera got damaged from the water of yesterday’s rain and the subsequent cold of the night. The outer lens doors no longer open properly and all the photos show a low contrast – presumably from fogging of one of the inner lenses. Many of the photos in this post had to be manipulated with photoshop to make them a little more presentable.
Once again I leave the ground as I found it for other’s to enjoy.
I now continue on with the climb up Harter Fell that got so rudely interrupted the previous day.
Across from me to the West I can see the Crook Crag peak that I had climbed over the top of the previous day. I wonder what kind of a view I would have had if the weather had been better? Down below one can see the wind-spread pine saplings from the nearby Dunnerdale Forest.
The weather couldn’t be more different! I can actually see blue skies and where I am going! This is a photo from the base of Harter Fell looking Northwestward toward the coast.
Climb on!!! The terrain isn’t too bad, but the weather is unseasonably warm. I found myself having to stop at intervals to take various items of clothing off.
Harter Fell seems to possess many false ridges. Just when you think you are nearly there, you get to view more hill when you clear a ridge-line!
I can start to see the crags at the top of Harter Fell, so I’m nearly there!
Across from me to the West I can see that I have now come up to about level with the peak of Crook Crag that I crossed the previous day. I am really revelling in the views, especially as it was a Monday and I knew everyone would be at work beavering away! 🙂
The crags at the top of Harter Fell start to near!
I have now gained so much elevation that I can see over and beyond the Crook Crags to the West. In the far distance I spot Devoke Water – the final tarn stop of my previous walk to the Lake District.
*Zoom On* A close up of Devoke Water. Just seeing it brought memories flooding back from my previous walk. I can remember the feeling of elation when I first saw Devoke Water after a long day of hiking in very hot weather. I also remember the extremely relaxing wild camp on its shores. It is amazing how old memories get triggered!
One final push then I will be there. The slope seems to reduce in steepness too, as a further incentive to keep going!
I have now cracked the main part of the climb. The slope has reduced to such an extent that I am no longer tiring as I hike up it. Should be an easy finish to the top!
The view from near the top and just below the crags of Harter Fell to the West. I’m now wondering where the trig point is!
As i study the crags above me I see the tell tale tip of a trig point! Wooot! Just got a short climb up the crag then I’m there!
Victory pose from the top of Harter Fell at 653 metres elevation. I spent a bit of time up here taking a lot of photos and some videos as a memento of the climb!
The view from the trig point is outstanding – especially to the snow capped mountains in the East.
To the Southwest one can get a much better appreciation of the Forestry Commission’s logging work. It seems they have managed to destroy a lot of forest What this photo doesn’t show very well is the rising white moisture vapour from this Fell as the sun started to heat the hill up.
The view to the Northwest from the top of Harter Fell.
The Trig point at the top of Harter Fell. I particularly liked its olde-style stone work – far more pleasing to the eye than the standard concrete ones!
I head down off the crags and take off the Osprey Exos rucksack to enjoy some snacks with a gorgeous view. I spent 30 minutes here just eating and taking it all in!
A before and after shot of a latrine I dug on the Fell – see if you can spot the filled in hole on the right! I cannot emphasise how much easier it is to cut these deep and cleanly with a survival knife. I’m guessing that many survivalists would be horrified at the primary purpose of my survival knife! 🙂
*Zoom On* In the distance to the East I can see Seathwaite Tarn – my next destination. The water fall running off it to the right of the photo is extremely large and very loud!
The descent has now started. It varies between very steep and sections like this where one can just walk down normally. The view as I descend is amazing – this is what hill walking is all about!
I take a last glance back toward the peak of Harter Fell – I really enjoyed my time on the top of that peak.
Down below I can start to see the forest that I will need to handrail to get to the road that I need. At this point the slope starts to steepen once again requiring care with ones’ footing.
These steep sections with loose rock are extremely slippery under foot requiring more care than usual. Down below I can see the building complex that I need to walk to just past the forest.
Unfortunately on the way down, despite my care, I do slip resulting in a few scratches on my left arm. Note to self: must take more care on descents!
It is now midday so I decide to stop off for some lunch. It is the perfect spot, a great view, a good rock seat and running water very near by!
The view form my lunch spot – a proper ‘wilderness’ view!
I finish lunch and start to hand-rail the forest. The going is extremely boggy in places. Logs like these have been put down to aid footing. But I found these to be very slippery and unhelpful, so I just waded across! The Scarpa SL boots remained water tight – as usual!
When I get to the bottom by the road, I see this sign. I guess it does explain why the Forestry Commission is doing so much logging in this area…
I eventually get to the buildings that I spotted on the way down from the Fell. It is just a case of taking the pathway to the Northeast to take me to Seathwaite Tarn.
I soon spot the bridge I need to cross the River Duddon to take me to the road up ahead where I will hang a left. I love the architectural stylings of the bridge!
The River Duddon is very fast flowing. I’m surprised by the blueness of the water in places.
I’m now headed North East up a road that is hand-railing the River Duddon to my left. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for a track to my right which will ultimately take me up to Seathwaite Tarn.
I leave the road behind as I find the track and start ascending it. The view down the valley is gorgeous!
The track is extremely boggy in places. It is at times like this that I’m glad to be wearing the Scarpa Activ SL boots – despite their heavy weight.
I’m now in the Pike How Forest. I just need to follow this track downwards to a stream then turn to cross a stone wall in order to start the ascent to get me to Seathwaite Tarn.
Here is the stone wall leading out of the forest. I need to head up the valley ahead then hang a left up the hill. The whole area is sodden with water from the heavy rains that this area has been experiencing.
I have now made my left turn and I’m starting the ascent-proper up to Seathwaite Tarn.
Things steepen up a little, but I don’t mind as it gets me out of the boggy areas!
The view back toward the way I came. I already seem to have gained a fair bit of elevation. I really love the browns and reds of the terrain in this area.
Across from me to the West is Harter Fell that I had climbed this morning.
I can tell that the hardest part of the climb up to Seathwaite Tarn is about to come to an end!
Just a little further to go!
I clear the ridge-line where my breath is taken away by the view of the snowy capped mountains.
I start to head Eastwards with the intent of getting to Seathwaite Tarn. The scenery in combination with the weather just blew me away!
As I climb Eastward I soon spot the Dam marking the most Westerly point of Seathwaite Tarn. Nearly there!
As I gain some more elevation I get to see the actual tarn. It is now a case of hand-railing it Eastward to start the climb into the snowy mountains!
I get to this point where I am quite literally gobsmacked. I have never seen scenery like this. Here I was, on my own, with perfect weather in perfect scenery! Up ahead I spot a sheltered flat bit of green grass. I can’t quite believe it! It’s like Wild Camp Nirvana! Camp spots like these are extremely rare. Great view, out-of-the-way, water-on-tap and to top it off perfect flat ground!
I get to the grassy area and ponder for a good ten minutes or so. The question I’m deliberating on is whether or not to cut today’s walk short to camp here. This is such an idyllic location, with such good weather, that I knew I would not find anything like it for the rest of the walk. I knew this was an opportunity to be seized! I sweetened the deal by also convincing myself that an early stop here would also allow me to dry out my kit. That sealed the deal for me!
The tent goes up! All my wet kit is laid out in the hot sun to dry out from yesterday’s downpour. I cannot believe that this time yesterday I was starting to develop the initial symptoms of hypothermia – it seems a complete world away! I take the time to read my ebook, take many photos and videos and to just enjoying chilling out in this beautiful isolated location. Once again I briefly thought of all my colleagues at work on a Monday and realised just how lucky I was!
One of my first tasks after making camp is topping up all my water bottles. Even the water here is crystal clear. This place really is Wild Camp Nirvana!
The view from the tent – just stunning! With scenery like this, why would anyone ever want to leave the Uk? 🙂
Today’s meal is Sweet and Sour Chicken with a mug of hot Chocolate!
As the kit dries out I start packing it. The tent is also made ready for the evening. I can’t help but have an ear-to-ear grin!
I climb up the hill side by the tent to locate some good routes onto the ridge-lines around me. I figure it is best to identify these now whilst the weather is good and I can see them! Down below the Akto tent is basking in the Winter’s sun.
The sun soon starts to set in the West, signalling the end of a very enjoyable day.
And it’s goodnight from camp Nirvana! 🙂
Tune in next week for Day 4’s write up and my first introduction to snow!