A walk from Kirkstone Pass to Grasmere

Brotherswater

Over the bank holiday me, my dad and the dog spent several days walking and camping in the Lake District. All the links go to photos.

We set off from the carpark at the top of the Kirkstone Pass, and then walked down the valley into Patterdale. The walking was quite easy as it was all down hill on grass with nice sunny weather. Sometime around mid day we stopped by the side of Brotherswater for some food and a drink before walking into Patterdale itself.

In Patterdale we found an updated weather forecast which indicated rain within the next two days, so rather than going on a previously planned route we changed and walked up Grisedale where we spent the first night sheltering from the wind behind the topmost wall of the farm. The campsite was a fairly flat piece of ground, and it was nice not hearing the usual sounds of where I live all night. Being quite tired from walking I fell asleep sometime after 8pm and woke up again at around 8am the following morning.

In the morning after having some breakfast our route took us past Grisedale Tarn and over into Grasmere. Grisedale Tarn would have been a much nicer place to camp, but since it was an hour’s walk away I would have probably slept most of the following day after the first day’s walking.

On the way down from Grisedale Tarn we found a rather strange concrete water storage tank which was empty. The Lake District is full of strange pieces of machinery related to collecting, storing and processing water. It’s not unusual to find some evidence of water collection even in the deepest most remote valleys. After having something to eat in a cafe in Grasmere we checked up on the weather and were reliably told it would rain the following day so changed our plan once more.

Rather than spending a day walking in rain, followed by a night sleeping in rain, we planned to camp the night somewhere out the village before catching the bus back to the car. Easedale Tarn is a nice place to walk to, so that’s where we headed to. We never made it to the tarn, discovering a wide flattish meadow where we spent the night instead. I’ve camped in several places that have been fairly awful, and only a few that have been nice places I’d want to go back to. This little meadow is definitely somewhere nice to stay the night.

In the morning we woke up to pouring rain and mist, and after packing everything into our rucksacks, walked back into Grasmere, had some more food and then caught the bus into Ambleside. In Ambleside the plan was either for me to walk up the Kirkstone Pass to collect my car, or to catch a Taxi. Fortunately for me we found a taxi waiting and I was quite happy to trade £10 for a ride to the top of the pass in a warm, dry car. I could have quite easily walked, but it would have taken an hour and I would have arrived soaked at the top.

We took with us enough things for three days of wild camping, meaning we had our tents, clothing and food with us and carried it around all the time. My rucksack weighed a fairly substantial two stone (or 14Kg) and took noticeable effort to carry. By the end I’d developed several pressure sores on the sole of my left foot, and sore parts on my shoulders from the rucksack. None of these were from badly fitting boots or gear, but more due to me no longer doing walking as frequently as I used to.

The weather started off dry but windy, however by Tuesday it was raining, and it is exceedingly difficult keeping everything dry while trying to pack a tent away. At some point you have to get out of the tent to put that away, and it’s not good to get the inside part of your tent wet if you wish to sleep in it again. Camping in the rain is what people on mountain skills courses do, it’s not something you do for fun and entertainment. My tent didn’t leak, but it was starting to go rather floppy with all the moisture and condensation was starting to form on the inside, so I’m fairly confident I would have started to get wet after a few more hours inside it.

There are other pictures if you visit the main gallery page. Here is also a link to a video I made, once I’d arrived at my car in the Kirkstone Pass, and here is a video of our second campsite.

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