Monday, 21 March 2016

Backpacking in The Lake District


As lunchtime cheese and pickle sandwiches are an inalienable right of every UBESter, the trip started on Friday 11th in a truly hilarious fashion with us taking over the SU bar - on election results night, of all nights - to prepare 84 sandwiches so we were all set for the weekend. Goodness knows what all the SU election candidates thought we were up to. 

The drive up from Bristol to the Lake District is always a bit of an epic (drivers, I salute you!) but for this trip the journey was even longer than usual, as once we arrived in Braithwaite we then had to set off walking up the hill to our wild camping spot. Rucksacks were heaved onto shoulders and staggering along in the dark we were all cursing the weight of the “essentials” we’d brought (i.e. pretty much our own bodyweight in cake, bottles of beer, lakebagging towels…). It was gone 3am before we had all the tents set up and could get some much-deserved sleep!
                                     
Cake for breakfast- Catherine Eadson 
In the morning we were greeted by a wonderful view over Keswick which got everyone excited for the day’s walking. As quite a few people on the trip had never backpacked before, we split into two teams so people could walk at the right pace for them. Both teams summited Grisedale Pike and continued on to Hopegill Head, Crag Hill, and Whiteless Pike, then descended into Buttermere for a pit stop at the pub! From Buttermere the fast team climbed up Scarth Gap to their eerie campsite in the fog on Haystacks, while the other team ended up camping a little later on the wonderfully-named ‘High Snockrigg’. On the menu for dinner was couscous with delicious cheese and chorizo - a real treat, although we were so hungry we ate it all long before the couscous was ready - followed by yet more cake (I’m still not sure how I feel about having cake for three meals a day…). After a hard day of walking all of us on the fast team were tucked up ready for bed by 9pm – the earliest most of us had gone to sleep all year!

Glissading- Alasdair Robertson
On Sunday we were surprised to wake to another impressive view – we’d chosen our campsite in the dark so had no idea that it looked right over towards Great Gable and Kirk Fell. The fast team headed to Honister Pass via Grey Knotts and Brandreth, while the other team summited Robinson. It was an even more eventful day with a group reunion on Dale Head where our routes coincided, several games of frisbee before the frisbee tragically flew off a cliff, experimenting with ‘no hands’ rock climbing at Dale Head Tarn, glissading on the last few remaining patches of snow, befriending a frog and lake bagging Derwent Water! Walking the Catbells ridge in glorious sunshine was the perfect end to a great weekend. Well done to both teams, and here’s to many more rain-free backpacking trips! (Okay, this is England, but I can dream…)

Team photo- Edward Sweet-Escott 

We’d also like to say a big thank you to the Alumni Foundation for our shiny new ice axes. Sadly there wasn’t enough snow on this trip for us to give them a proper test run, but they’ll certainly come in handy next winter!


Written by Catherine Easdon

Getting our new ice axes out! 

  
Grisdale Pike- Declan Lagan