Sat 9th Sep - Sun 10th Sep, 2000

Lakes Camping Weekend

Graham Harkness

Buttermere Camping Weekend

Members : Graham Harkness, Sue Harkness, Margaret Williams, Frank Williams, Virginia Castick, Joanne Castick, Sandy Gregson, Jim Gregson, Joe Flynn , John Dobson

Prospective member : Tim Clancy

Guests : Dave Hall, Ros Clancy, Jane Hayes.


An excellent weekend thanks to all that turned out, it was a great pleasure to see old friends and new faces.

During the week and even well into Friday afternoon the weather did it's best to confuse so when we arrived at the site on Friday night and found Frank and Margaret perched on top of a little hill Sue and I were very pleased that we had some company. Aspiring member Tim had called during the week but there was no sign, not that I had the faintest idea what he looked like in any case.

Rushed to get the tent up in the dry, wind now rising as promised, rain threatening. Camp was just about habitable when an aged hooligan on a large red Suzuki roared into the car park, this I recognised as my friend David, at least a quorum I thought.

Sleep followed swiftly assisted by a few pints of Black Sheep, which in case of misinterpretation by the seedy minded, is a fine bitter beer.

SATURDAY - An agitated Cumbrian voice woke us about 8 o'clock on the Saturday morning. Frank had engaged the farmer, who was collecting the campsite fees, in a discussion on the common agricultural policy. I paid the man and was just settling back for 5 more minutes when a voice enquired if Graham Harkness was in that tent and what time we were setting off. This was Tim who with amazing observational skills recognised my Blacks Mountain tent from among all of the other 4 tents on the site.

With such a crowd it was now necessary to get up and do something, fortunately the rain had stopped and the day was looking more settled. I just about had time to get back from the loo when who should appear but Virginia and Joanne who in short order had up 2 more tiny tents. Now it was a rush to get breakfast and get ready, and start arguing about what to do.

Just when we could not agree the Gregsons showed up. We collectively settled for a well worn but worthy rout up Scale force and south east along the ridge. Most of us had not done it for a long, long time and surprisingly there were a number who did not remembered having ever walked that way. By now the sky was clearing nicely and we did get away about 10:30, after I had packed and Jim had gone off to find somewhere to park for free. The party was completed by Tim who for his comfort and company had been joined by girlfriend Jane and sister Ros.

The weather was beautiful, the walk along the valley bottom and up Scale Beck was idyllic.

Once we started to climb away from the beck above Ling Comb and towards Red Pike the party started to string out, as it does. The views along the ridge were among the best I have ever seen. It was not quite totally clear but every peak in line of site was visible and the colours and mist blended perfectly.

At Scarth Gap Frank, Margaret, Tim, Jane and Joanne headed down. Jim and Sandy had hit warp speed and disappeared into the distance. Graham, Sue, Virginia, Dave and Ros continued most pleasantly over Hay Stacks and cut over to come down Wanscale bottom. By then it was a warm clear and very cosy autumn evening. As pleasant a Lakeland day as one could wish.

Later in the pub who should turn up but Joe and John who had been climbing. They had queued for Troutdale Pinnacle and then finished up on Little Cham. for good measure.

SUNDAY - Just to be awkward the weather did what it was forecast to do, it rained hard all night and into the morning. The rain stopped for breakfast, which was nice, but we decided to abandon climbing on Grey Crag and go with Midge who wanted to tick off a couple of Wainwrights. The route was up Whiteless Breast, to Whiteless Pike and then onto a little rise called Wandope. It rained and steamed and mists swirled and all told it was very good. The ridges around there are interesting narrow and very steep sided. On the way back Midge, Dave and Graham took in a little ridge called Low Bank and got some superb views up and down Buttermere.

On the way down we met Joe and John who were on the way up and going further.

Guest Tim, friends and siblings had a lie in and went their own way, the tents were still there when we left but they were not, so I hope we see them again.

As a bonus we did get most tents down in the dry and were able to enjoy a last lingering cup of tea before heading home. A most enjoyable weekend.

Graham Harkness

Meet Promo:

Enjoy the majestic beauty of Buttermere in early Autumn. Grand rock towers, lakes and trees touched by gentle sunsets. After a challenging, but satisfying day, in the last red rays of the sun, from the door of your own tent, mug of tea in hand, gaze upon the beauty around you (or look at the hills, suit yourself).

Camping in Lakeland on the campsite just behind "the Fish" right next to the Bridge Hotel (I think it is) Buttermere Village.

NGR 174170. Turn into a small road leading to the pub and turn right between the pubs to a small car park. Cross a wooden foot bridge to the camp site.

On the Saturday I will suggest a route for a KMC stroll and maybe set foot on some easy rock on the Sunday Local attractions include Grey Crag in Burtness Combe. Gillercomb Buttress and Pillar Rock.

Information and approximate numbers to Graham Harkness.

Graham Harkness

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Karabiner Mountaineering Club