After some poor winter conditions over Christmas and the weather forecast to warm up a bit. We decided to seek pastures new.
Not in search of conditions but just for a little bit of a change. After recent membership of a local mountaineering club in search of new climbing partners, Liz and I decided to stay at the club hut for a few days.
The location of the hut is just outside the little village of Braithwaite. Not being too familiar with the lakes. Previous trips only to Grizedale a few times mountain biking and climbs up Scafell Pike and Helvellyn, we bought the relevant OS maps and set about planning some days out.
First impressions where it didn’t take too long, straight up the M6 early on New Year’s Day with hardly any traffic. Soon we were weaving down the picturesque lanes of the lake district heading towards Keswick surrounded by fells and snow capped mountains. Beautiful. But also unfamiliar, there is seemingly so much scope here for new adventure and the best bit was this is just a tiny section of the place.
We arrived at the hut too grey skies and rain, quickly getting our stuff inside and all the relevant amenities on. This charming little holdfast is situated away from any main roads and in a little woodland surrounded by lovely views of the Cambrian mountains. It is equipped with a fully stocked modern kitchen with superb cooking facilities and a spacious, comfy lounge area. It definitely has a homely feel with a large dining table (that doubles as a ping-pong table) and well stocked bookcase. Off towards the side there are two bedrooms with four bunks in each complete with modern mattresses, it truly is a little bit of luxury. There is even switch on lights, electricity powered by the solar panels and there is running water supplied from the mains! Get this, there is even a flush toilet and gas powered shower in the annexe. Spoilt!
We soon settled in and got a log burner going before we made some food and constructed some plans for our few days here. We decided for today we would have a little walk around the immediate woodland before finishing off in the little village to try the local pubs. Perfect.
We tried both pubs out in the village and settled on the Royal Oak being a firm favourite. Open log fire, good ale, friendly staff and a lovely character in the architecture. Just the way a proper English pub should be!
Walking back under light of our head torches the rain had finally stopped and we were treated to a beautifully clear sky, lit by a full moon and ribbons of stars. It was magical, what a way to begin the New year! Just a beautiful location completely immersed in nature all around.
The next day, a miserable start and only forecast to get worse. Rain, all day! Never the less if you’re going to get wet, you may as well embrace it. We geared up and set out to walk some Wainwrights’ right from the hut door! We stomped on up the well trodden paths from the village and were rewarded early on as the visibility wasn’t too bad just yet.
As we continued we became wetter and wetter, still smiling, undeterred we carried on, not exactly cold. The landscape was gorgeous as well. Surrounded on all sides by beautiful sweeps of grassy slopes plunging down into river lined valleys next to searching views between the shoulders of the fells, hamlets and woodland packaged into tight little spaces down below that conformed perfectly to the stunning topography.
And the fells themselves had an individual character all of their own. Lone hills and networks of ridges, rolling vistas and mountainous outcrops with huge gaping drops below them. The terrain wasn’t challenging by any means and neither was the navigation, but it was defiantly stunning. Inspiring scenes, all brand new and through the goggles of a downpour making the lighting all the more mystical.
Heading on into the rain, the wind began to really whip up and intensify the rain. As we headed into cloud the conditions worsened and disillusioned at the prospect of us having nothing to look at we changed our route to come back over the lower down Causey pike.
We stopped for some dinner in a sheltered spot and enjoyed some phenomenal sandwiches that we bought from the local shop. Homemade cheese savoury rolls. Out of this world. We began our walk back to the village with our ascent up Causey pike, still smiling and still raining, we reached the top and enjoyed the beautiful view over Derwent water.
Full of beans, we now had our destination back in sight despite being absolutely sopping wet by this point. I think we were definitely ready for a pint in the Royal Oak. Being out in the rain and wind all day definitely takes it out of you. But spirits still high as we enjoyed the final views at the top and watched the weather really starting to close in behind us, it appeared we had made the right decision to change our route slightly. Shortly afterwards we worked our way back down in the direction of Braithwaite.
We arrived back at the hut and got our wet stuff off hanging them above the lovely little log burner fire to dry. After sorting our kit out and having the luxury of a nice hot shower after a long day out on the fells, we had a couple of games of ping-pong on the huge dining table before heading off to the pub for the evening to have some food and a few drinks.
Leaving the hut, the rain seemed to of eased off a touch and we arrived at the pub relatively dry. After a fantastic meal, we made our way back in again torrential rain. Nothing a nice log fire wouldn’t dry out!
The next day, again bad weather, we planned to head off to Grizedale on our way home for some mountain biking and had a super day out on some very muddy tracks. All things considered a fantastic trip, despite the wind and rain, a beautiful location and some brilliant scope for future exploration. There will be a definite return here and maybe in the future when I get the chance to shoot off for the day I will have to flip a coin between the Lake District and Snowdonia. Surely not?
Check out the video of our trip HERE, only short as I saved the battery for the next day mountain biking! Read following day’s events here.