Wild Swimming - Grange, Borrowdale
Sat 9th Sep - Sun 10th Sep, 2017
Virginia Castick / Michelle Harvie
Members; Virginia Castick, John Castick, Michelle Harvie, Mark Garrod, Christine Beeston
Guest; Neil Boynton
A small but select group of members arrived at Grange campsite ready for our annual foray into the hills and watery places. The campsite was quite watery, Christine and Neil arrived late on Friday and chose the wettest spot. Fortunately their groundsheet was up to the challenge. The Casticks had arrived in the daylight and were sitting pretty above the puddles in their van. Mark and Michelle arrived Saturday morning and we then came up with a plan for the day, dictated by the indifferent weather.
We walked from the campsite along the river. I saw a red squirrel as I faffed around at the back deciding which coat to wear in the on and off drizzle. A steep uphill path soon disappeared and left everyone making their own route to Tarn at Leaves which sits snugly in a boggy patch just below the summit of Bessyboot. We all arrived from different directions at different times but were soon united in our task of kitting up for the swim. John took pictures whilst we all got in. It was only 13 degrees but most opted for just wearing a cossie. 2 other swimmers appeared and I discovered I knew one of them from the Outdoor Swimming Society Facebook page. She recognised my name too. They swam in bikinis but for some strange reason used bright orange towfloats. Were they expecting to be mown down by a jet ski??
Our next target was Blackmoss Pot in Langstrath. This was only a short distance away but involved a near vertical descent through lush bracken and a difficult wall to cross. Mark found a way through without a machete and we were all relieved to reach the flat bottom of the valley.
The Pot looked like a raging torrent compared to last time the Club was there and there was much debate about whether it was safe to get in. Michelle was pushed to the front and declared it absolutely fine. For those that haven’t been there you get in a large fast flowing pool and are then carried down through a tight deep gorge whether you like it or not. It goes shallow at the end so getting out is easy, so you run round and do it all again. Mark followed then Christine and Neil in his budgie smugglers. My excuse for not getting in was nobly lending my shortie wetsuit to Christine.
We walked down a wet Langstrath afterwards to Rosthwaite. By this time we had walked 8 miles. John and I quickly espied a bus stop and decided that our bus passes were underused and had a comfortable couple of miles on the bus. The others walked back to Grange along the river. A congenial evening rammed together in our van ended a very enjoyable day with very little rain and the sun popping out occasionally.
Sunday was as forecast and only Michelle went swimming in Derwentwater in the continual rain. We had said we would go birdwatching but the rain never stopped so just went home.
This year’s swimming prize goes to Neil for doing both swims with just his trunks and not even wearing shoes.
We have a plan for next year already........
This will be a camping meet at Grange campsite GR250168. The main aim on Saturday is to swim at Lambfoot Dub situated halfway along the Corridor Route to Scafell and a few hundred feet above it. There are other swims along the way like Sprinkling Tarn and Styhead Tarn if the weather is good. On Sunday there is a good scramble up Cam Crag Ridge in Langstrath leading to a short walk to Tarn at Leaves, another lovely swim.
Swimming is not compulsory, but of course highly recommended, and Borrowdale is a climbers paradise. Black Crag and the famous Troutdale Pinnacle is a short stroll from the campsite as is Goat Crag for you hard types. The modest but spectacular mountain route of Corvus on Raven Crag is also close by.
Come and enjoy good camping, good company and good mountain adventures.