Saturday, April 7, 2018

Easter at Patterdale and the Quiet Site

After a couple of months of being stuck in doors it was good to get out in the hills. This time we took advantage of the easter break and stayed in a camping pod at the Quiet Site near Ullswater in the lake district. We were in for a lakeland mountain adventure.

Starting the ascent of Fairfield from St Sunday Crag

After the mini beast from the east we were expecting winter conditions on the high fells. "Have you got all your walking gear" that's may favourite , somewhat annoying phrase? Before we went away I checked the walking rucksacks myself and added the phrase don't forget your thermals.

We drove directly to the lakes  after a pleasant drive over the Kirkstone pass we stopped in Glen Ridding took our packed lunch upto Lanty's tarn and enjoyed a pleasant evening. Keisha and Louis were keen to go to the quiet site.
Sheffield Pike
Glen Ridding and Ullswater
Lantys Tarn

The camping pod's at the quiet site are basically insulated timber huts, they are very cosy with heat, light and some electrical power. The people at the quiet site are very friendly and very diligent, the site is very tidy and overall it's a great place. I can't recommend it enough. It's particularly good if you are staying with your children. Keisha and Louis were soon settled in and requested various goodies from the Saucy Sausage. Keisha and Louis had drawn my attention to this years April Fools joke.

A camping pod, in high summer!

We awoke bright and early and headed out in good time, parking up at the Deepdale Bridge at the foot of the Hartsop Above How ridge. We walked back int Patterdale and headed up onto Oxford Crag above patterdale. I chatted with a group who were also making there way upto St Sunday Crag.

GPX file on open street map for the Fairfield Route

Look at the wave patterns in this picture!

We soon gained height on and stopped for some food on the col before St Sunday Crag. At this point the rain started. We huddled in our shelter tent ate some lunch and put overtrousers  and our top waterproof layer.

St Sunday Crag!

Starting the ascent of Fairfield from St Sunday Crag

The final slopes of Fairfield offered excitement as expected there was a fair amount of snow along with patches of hard ice. I had to make Keisha and Louis use their boots to cut steps and to drive their walking poles into the snow.

As expected, as we gained the summit of Fairfield, conditions on the mountain did not improve. I was glad that I had insisted on properly packed rucksacks. My concern now was that they had good equipment. Our walk continued along to Hart Crag, I stopped a couple of times to check position as the visibility had gone. To gain the Hartsop Above How ridge I took a bearing, it wasn't long before visibility improved and we could see the line of our route along the main ridge. The rain however did not ease, by the time we had arrived at Deep Dale bridge, we had all received a good soaking.

The following morning was bright, after the epic of the previous day we were quite late in waking up. We were all fueled up with bacon sandwiches, cereal and hot chocolate. It was time for our next day out.... hooray.

GPX file on open street map of Place Fell Route

The plan was a relatively easy day out, avoiding the higher fells, we went for a walk over Place fell. Looking across the valley to Helvellyn this appeared to be a good plan.

Our plan was to ascend the steeper side of Place fell and to descend via Bore dale hause. Parking in Patterdale we started the ascent from the lake side track along Ullswater which starts at Side farm. We quickly turned off this path headed up the fell side walking towards a hill called Hare shaw. On the way up we stopped for a number of things.

As well as stopping to observe a kestrel hunting we found a cave a little way along was a bench offering a great place to sit, take stock and just enjoy.... yes... even my crazy youngsters managed this! But not for long as you will see!

Keisha and Louis seemed to enjoy proceeding somewhat off the beaten track, this yielded a benefit in that we discovered an antler on the fellside. This provided an excellent little walking stick up the fell side.
Everyone seemed happy making there own way up at their respective paces. I'd found a new, handy walking device and my two youngsters discovered another application for walking poles!

The views are wonderful from Place fell, it has a great mountain feel. At the top were just below the cloud base. It was brightening.

As we descended back down to Bore dale hause the weather continued to brighten. This time Louis and Keisha wandered ahead. On the odd occasion they waited for the oldman to catch up.

Louis started running down the gentle slopes we then all started to run. From the top of Boredale Hause we were all racing Keisha and Louis chose a slightly different path. The race then really started because we were watching one another and the pace increased. We all had great fun!
All that was needed was a well earned ice cream and a cup of tea at the end.
Louis is the king of the Hill!
We had a great weekend with a mixture of mountain adventure and pure fun. The first day provided a reminder of the need to treat the mountains with respect. We all appreciated having the right gear but I have some concerns that we need to invest in better kit for the youngsters.

Excellent references describing similar Place fell walks

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