It's after tea when I get parked up in Patterdale and head up Arnison Crag behind the hotels. Instead of keeping to the wall side I stupidly head for the ridge and pay the price of wading through deep bracken. It's getting dark but I need to keep going to finally find water below Trough Head in Hag Beck.
Dawne has given me some pre cooked stew to heat up for my tea . This is not a success as my cooking system is designed for boiling water, pouring it on a dried meal and leaving it in the pot cosy for 20 mins. Thin titanium pans and thick stew don't work on an uncontrollable meths stove.
The tent performs well as it's quite windy in the night. It has an open mesh floor which is draughty. So maybe if it was raining it would blow through. The draught did seem to prevent condensation on the single skin Cuben Fibre. At 500g the tent is very light. I've used my Leki pole as the support, but had to lengthen it with a home made section from an old Black Diamond pole.
Next morning after 2 bowls of porridge I power up into the mist on the east ridge of St Sunday Crag.
No views off the summit but as I head towards Birks I get a super view of Nethermost Cove.
A knee jarring descent off the end of Birks sees me quickly back at the car and home in time for dinner and cutting the grass in the afternoon.
A bright and breezy morning and heading up Langstrath for Cam Crag ridge. The idea is to drop down into Comb Gill and put up my new tent. Have n't had time to sleep in it yet but want to see what it's like in the field. It will be somewhere to eat my sandwiches in.
I head left off the path to scramble up a little gill.
The ridge ahead is a classic grade 2 scramble originally classified as a moderate rock climb.
I've just done the introductory buttress and am sat having a rest when a head appears over the rocks and it's an old friend: Murray.
He's with some other lads and they've bivvied in the shelter below the crag.
After a chat I let them get on with the next buttress as they will be far quicker than me.
As I reach the top it's already clouding over and I make a steep descent along the edge of Dove's Nest into the Combe.
The bottom of Combe Gill.
So I ordered this tent/tarp from the USA earlier in the year. It took 5 weeks to come but is an incredible piece of technology. I've gradually lost weight with my tents, Akto 1600g , Power Lizard 1100g, but Z Packs Hexamid above is only 454g.
So I'm just having my dinner in it and seeing what it's like.
I've got the beak, the cuben ground sheet and complete bug protection. It probably does not cope with wind like the Trailstar but for summer use I'll give it a go.
I could not see the point of forking out for the Trailstar as according to my reckoning by the time I'd added a nest or bivvy for bug protection and included the stakes I might as well use the Powerlizard.
So I'll need some practice at pitching it correctly as I had a crease in the back.
I may need to find a way to extend the trekking poll as it was way beyond it's limits.
Well it didn't leak, I just need some time to try it for real.
As I pack away the tent it's damp and drizzling. I need to get to Middleton in Teesdale Coop for supplies. A scone and coffee wouldn't come amiss either.
This section is mainly rough pasture or hay meadows. There's lots of bullocks in the fields. Mostly they ignore you but I found them a bit intimidating when they stand in a heard right in front of the stile you are heading for. Wall climbing became my speciality.
Middleton in Teesdale. Half day closing, despite being 10:30 ish half the shops were shut. Maybe that's what it means.
The Tees is a big river and the path follows it for miles. There are lots of flowers and spectacular water falls.
Eventually a roaring can be heard and I turned a corner to the site of Cauldron Snout. Special.
It's getting late and I want to get beyond the farms to camp. Maize Beck looks promising. The far horizon is High Cup. Hopefully I won't need to go that far.
Oh yes I do. The midges are terrible by the beck and there's no wind. At High Cup there's a breeze, well half a gale actually, but no midges.
How far can I walk in a day back packing ? I now have the answer. 29 miles, never again.
This is all worth it as the next day is beautiful.
Just after this I tip the whole bowl of porridge in the gravel. So when I get to Dufton walk the half mile into the village as last time there was a shop. It's now gone. So I had to walk to the train in Appleby hungry.
I can't see any reason for anyone doing the Pennine Way for going all the way down to Dufton just to climb back up to the escarpment to go over Cross Fell. I would just keep height and walk around the plateau.
Last twist, I'll get some breakfast in Appleby but as I pass the station to get there I just check the train times. What time is the next train to Carlisle? 3 minutes time. Bugger.
Another beautiful day and I head down to Thwaite in Swaledale.
I'm so busy being annoyed with the constant signs to keep to the path and walk in single file through the field that I head off down the valley for 10 minutes before doubling back to head up and over to Keld.
I arrive at a quiet time at the tea room. 10 minutes later and theres a big queue out of the door as cars full of folk arrive.
Theres now a long slog up to Tan Hill. I wear a hat and long sleeves so the only bit of skin consistently in the sun is the back of my hands. They getting sore so I wear my spare socks as gloves.
A pint of lime and lemon, some chips and a panini a bit of a rest and I gaze out on the vastness that is Bowes Moor.
I'm glad I don't have to cross this in the mist. I still find it an eerie place, no sign of crows, buzzards, peewits curlews or any thing. But lots of grouse feeding stations. Half way across I see a distant 4 wheel drive on a ridge and I'm sure they are watching me.
Eventually God's Bridge and the A66 appear. Got to cross the moor on the other side of the road. A likely water source / camp in Deepdale.
I camp near a little gill below the horizon above the shed. I was ready for the cup of tea.
20 miles walked.
Up at the crack of dawn again I'm porridge powered into Hawes. A second breakfast and an ice cream the I'm heading across the fields to Hardrow.
The path then heads up the ridge to Great Shunner Fell. I am very sweaty and do a left and bushwack into the valley bottom for a bath and a clothes washing session.
This turns out to be a fenced off area where they have excluded sheep. There are loads of rabbits in the lush grass. Peewits and curlews on the slopes and for the first time I see a buzzard.
More bushwacking back to the path and Great Shunner summit appears.
I drop off the other side and get the tent up. The phone is going flat as I've had runkeeper running all day, so I plug it into the solar panel. Despite being heavy I brought the power monkey battery as well. I've got the Kindle and GPS to keep charged. Unfortunately the battery despite being fully charged developed a fault and wouldn't switch to supply. Had to bin it when I got home.
Just got the tea cooked before the wind dropped and the midges went crazy.
15 miles walked. 2 ice creams, 1 scone, 1 full english.
Up at the crack of dawn and over the summit of Fountain's Fell. A bit of a loop round to the end of Pen y Ghent.
This was the most popular hill by far as a lot of 3 peakers were coming up from Horton.
The way ahead on the white path. It swings off to the left down to Horton. Then it goes up the valley to the right in the distance. One of the peculiarities I noticed was how the route does a big loop out to somewhere then back again.
It was worth it for the Pen y Ghent caf.
The guidebook I was using said there's a shop, but it was shut down.
Did I mention the clegs? The next few miles were farmy and clegy.
Water was a problem in the farmland and even the above beck on closer inspection didn't tempt me.
I only have aqua mira drops and this water was the colour of wee.
Eventually I found an ice cold spring on Cam End and a suitable hollow to pitch the tent.