Sunday, 26 July 2015

Lakes 2014: Day Nine


So as I already mentioned on the most recent Back at Sea Level post - and as those of you who know me/follow me on social media will know - the Yeti and I recently got engaged. Which is ridiculously exciting.

What you might not know is that we already have a date for the wedding! (eek). So why am I yammering on about this at the start of a post about last year's holiday to the Lakes?  Well because Day Nine was exactly 3 years to the day before the our wedding date. That's not why we picked it, by the way, but I realised this while sorting through the photos and got pathetically excited, and so I thought I'd share.

No more wedding talk now, I promise.


The day started with a little photo-taking session on the banks of Wast Water. You don't need me to tell you that Britain's Favourite View is going to be awe-inspiring. That's a given. But as this was the first time visiting the area with a half-decent camera, I wanted to make sure that we got a fair few photos.

I'll do a big post of the photos we took that day at some point, but for now I'm sure you can get along with just the three (above, below, and one towards the end).


Then it was into the car and off to Eskdale to start the Yeti's ideal day: a ride on La'al Ratty - aka. the Ravenglass-Eskdale Railway (or RER).

The decision to do this was partly injury-based (the previous day's soggy hike had not been kind to Sam's knee, nor my ankle) and partly because the Yeti... well... likes trains.


Have you ever seen anyone so bloody happy? It's like I'm marrying the heavy metal version of Roy Cropper...



Ravenglass was pretty lovely as well. We pottered around for a little bit, exploring the beach and the the tiny town (I even saw my first Natwest rural areas mobile bank bus (or whatever it's called)).

Given how landlocked Sheffield is, I'd not seen the sea for over a year - and I'd not been on a beach for even longer, so this was additionally exciting for me. Plus, we got to see some jellyfish - massive ones too!






We had a quick nosy at some ruins of a Roman bath house...


Then headed back to Ravenglass station to get the RER back to Eskdale.

I was a woman with a plan: we were going to Eskdale so I decreed that we were going to find the famous Woolpack Inn and have a pint and dinner there before heading back to Wasdale.

...Yeah, we never actually found the Woolpack Inn (even to this day I don't know how we managed to fail on that front). So instead we ended up in the lovely beer garden of The Boot Inn, eating burgers. Which could have been way worse in the grand scheme of things.


Then it was a drive back to Wasdale campsite - stopping off for some photos on the way...


...Then a walk to Wasdale Head Inn for a few pints to round off the day (well, after I'd got us lost, of course).






Next time: Don't go to Maryport. Just don't. But definitely do go to The Strands Inn. It's awesome. 

Flashback: VideoDay 1, Day 2 (am/pm), Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6, Day 7, Day 8

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Back at Sea Level: The Big Announcement


This weekend just gone, the Yeti and I visited his family in Shropshire. It was a lovely weekend filled with mini adventures, a lot of laughs, and a lot of good food (including my first ever try of venison!).

But this bit was my favourite...



The Yeti popped The Question!

Looking out from the dam on Lake Vyrnwy (the image at the top), Sam turned to me and said "If I don't do this now, then I'll never get round to it" and produced the ring from his jacket pocket. The Romance. 

So now in addition to the PhD, training up for the Lakes, and generally surviving life, there's now a wedding to plan as well. And it will more than likely have a very subtle hill theme. Because we can.

And because Bitches Love Hills.


Lakes: July 2013

The Yeti has been my hiking buddy, navigator, and in-stream rescuer for over two years. Since before he had a beard(!). 

Together we've survived food poisoning while in the hills, my attempts at map-reading, and a daft number of injuries.

I've always loved having him by my side, ever since our first hill-walk (the Mam Tor circuit - what else!) way back in May 2013 for our one-month anniversary. Strong, smart, athletic, patient, and generally awesome company - he's everything you could ever want in a hiking partner. So I'm pretty glad that I've bagged him for keeps; on the hills and off them too. 

Lose Hill 2013 (our first hike)

Lakes 2013 - Ice cream in Grasmere

Yorkshire Dales 2015

The Wrekin 2013

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Lakes 2014: Day Eight


Given that I was a total wuss at the time (and am somehow even more wussy now), the Yeti and I didn't do the obvious thing and have a crack at Scafell Pike, despite being camped right at the foot of it.

Instead, we decided that it would be a fun idea to climb Illgill head - which made sense: it'd still be a nice little challenge, it would be a personal best for height for both of us, and would tick off another Wainwright. And, best of all, Illgill head is said to have amazing views.

So we set off fun of excitement and general good cheer.


We were aware that the clouds were massing, but a spot of light rain for an hour or so had been predicted for the day (according to the campsite's information board), so we weren't too worried on that score. We just donned our waterproofs ready for the short spell and carried on.





But the cloud did not seem happy to budge; the wind picked up a little, and the clouds descended further - as evidenced by these photos that almost look as though my camera was dying...



Telling ourselves it would soon pass - that the cloud would have lifted by the time we get to the top, ready to see the incredible view, we carried on (I mean, we would have carried on either way, but I really had my heart set on seeing that view...).

Considering I'd been hill-walking for 2 years at that point, the level of self-deception involved there was heroic.

I'm sure you can all guess what happened next...




Yep. Welcome to cloud city.

That second photo is of the Yeti at the summit. Suffice to say, we didn't see that spectacular view.

Nonetheless: it was still our biggest hill to date, still another Wainwright, still another achievement. And it was also our first time in cloud, which was actually a pretty awesome experience (even if it did mean we missed out on an ace view). Turns out those things are cold - which most of you will know, but I didn't.

Waterproofs back on (for heat if nothing else), we headed back down the hill towards Wasdale, eager to get to the famous Wasdale Head Inn for some well-earned snap.






The rain seemed to let up a little by the time we got back to the campsite to drop off Sam's rucksack - but we were so shivery by then that we ended up getting changed into some dry clothes and (after some pouting from me) driving to the pub instead of walking. What can I say? Being soggy is not fantastic for morale sometimes.


When we got back to the campsite later, full of warm comfort food and pop, we were heartened by the news from the info board that the next day was due to be sunny, lovely, and warm.

Though we experienced some trust issues with that information board for the rest of the time there.


Next time: In part due to an injury, the last day of good weather is spent on la'al Ratty and staring lovingly at Britain's Favourite View.

Flashback: VideoDay 1, Day 2 (am/pm), Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6, Day 7

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Lakes 2014: Day Seven


Wow I'm bad at keeping up with things - including my own to do list. Sorry about  that. But now only 9 months on from the last post, I can continue where I left off reminiscing about mine and the Yeti's visit to the Lakes.

Now almost a year ago to the day, here is Day Seven of the trip.


Day seven was a pretty chilled affair - it started gorgeously with low cloud over the hills, which always seems to be the case on our last day at Langdale (well, the two times we've been, at least).

That Sunday was moving day: we packed up our stuff at Great Langdale Campsite ready to head west to the site at Wasdale. Given my lack of coping when we'd originally attempted to drive to Wasdale a few days before, we decided to take the scenic route.


We were hoping to pop to Kirkstone Pass Inn for lunch but got there too early, and given the large number of tourists that were already congregating, we decided to leave it until a quieter day (which has yet to arrive). Still, at least it was 100% less cloud-filled than the last time I had gone (way back in 2012).



What's more, we got to drive up and down the Struggles - and the Yeti got to look pretty chuffed with himself about it.




In the end we just drove directly to Wasdale, me getting terribly overexcited at the amazing scenery, and Sam trying to concentrate on the unfamiliar roads despite me making high-pitched noises next  to him.

I'd been to Wast Water two years before, and had longed to go back ever since, so seeing this out of the windscreen was a great feeling.


We eventually found Wasdale Campsite (pro tip: watch out for the large rocks on the left, they're to let you know you want to be turning right for the campsite and car park) and after a lot of milling around looking confused, we eventually found a National Trust person who told us to "just pitch anywhere".

So it was a very different kettle of fish to the more structured arrival at Langdale (where you're given a pitch number according to your tent size and any requests you might make (like requesting the same pitch again... which I tried)). We pitched up, the tent facing out towards Scafell.



Wasdale campsite feels a very different creature to Langdale, it was eerily quiet the whole time we were there and - for want of a less stupid way of putting it - the hills surrounding the site feel a hell of a lot less friendly, and way more imposing. I also noticed I felt a lot more nervous when I'd venture out at night for the loo than I did at Langdale, but that might have had more to do with familiarity.

I am by no means diminishing the site, it's amazing, the staff are great, and honestly it's still somewhere I can't wait to return to one day - it was just so surreal how different two campsites could feel.




But I digress.

Unpacked and pitched up, we decided to go for a wander down the road and have a nosy at Wast Water. We didn't walk too far as we were eager to get back to the tent to make some tea, but we did spend a lovely hour or so on the bank, skimming stones, and taking the blurriest self-timer photo ever.







Next time: The Yeti and I head up our highest hill to date which is remarked to have some of the most incredible views in the western Lakes.... which we didn't get to see. We also spend some time literally in some rain clouds; these two events may be related.

Flashback: Video, Day 1, Day 2 (am/pm), Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6