Camping: Eskdale Day 1 – Whitsun weekend 2016

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We just followed the footpath signs … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’m finally catching up with blog posts, and here, at last, is the start of our camping holiday in Eskdale at Whitsun. But he’s getting so good at taking pictures, now, we have 146 from this weekend alone and I’m having to select just a handful for illustrations. So I’m splitting this holiday into separate days.

We only had 3 actual days, beyond the 1 day either side for travelling. And on the first day the poet decided he wanted to go for a walk because he was sick of sitting in a car and not being able to see all of the scenery properly.

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Rhododendron bokeh. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

So, rather than using a guided walk or a map or anything like that, he decided we’d just follow one of the many, many footpath finger signs and see where we ended up. And we ended up walking for more than 4 very beautiful miles.

Of course, it also gave him chance to have a play with his camera. It’s a good job he has a memory card now. He was able to take loads, see how he was doing, and delete any that weren’t any good – and still he ended up with almost 200 before paring them down to the final 146.

We decided that we’d quite like to go and see the local waterfalls, and the sign said it was only 2km away. Then it was 1.5km, then 1km … and then 1.5km again … Had we missed them?

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(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

No matter, there was plenty of other scenery to look at and lots of footpaths criss-crossing each other. And one finger sign pointed to “stepping stones”.

We did find those, but it seemed to be the local picnic spot and there were quite a few loose, big dogs. And Rufus doesn’t really like it when there are other dogs vying for attention. So we chose a path that ran alongside the river and think we found ourselves on a path that ran parallel to the one to the waterfall.

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Dipper. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The poet spotted a little bird dipping and diving, and Rufus and I were ordered to “keep back” while he tried to snap it, as the dog making a lot of noise would no doubt frighten the poor little thing away.

Well, there turned out to be at least 2 dippers, and it was when me and Rufus came crashing along anyway that I spotted one that was much easier to see than the one the poet was tracking.

He said that’s just typical. He’s being very good and quiet and trying to get a good shot of a really shy bird, then I come along, making as much noise as possible, and point out one much closer.

We followed the path back, and rejoined the one that led to the waterfall (2km … hmm). And gradually, what started out as quite a gentle river-level walk was starting to look a bit hilly. A bit UP-hilly. And Diane doesn’t really do hills …

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(Picture: Ian Wordsworth) (Yes, really – he’s getting very good.)

We carried on regardless, in case it levelled out again. (It didn’t.) And gradually the path not only got higher, but it also got more narrow, more winding, and slightly more dangerous with a river immediately to one side, slippy rocks and boulders underfoot, and a very hyperactive dog.

A few people were coming back down, others were giving up and waiting for the more adventurous members of their parties to go up and “do it” and come back when they were done. One dad refused to let his kids (4 of them) climb the last bit, and the poet was worried that the dog might pull me over and down to the water.

My balance isn’t brilliant and we usually let the dog off his lead under those circumstances, but with so many people and so many other dogs about, we didn’t want to risk it – and, to be honest, I didn’t fancy the last part of the climb anyway.

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Dalegarth Falls. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We hadn’t come all that way not to see what we’d eventually set out to see. So the poet continued up alone while I waited just below with the dog.

Watching him struggle around part of the “path” and need to hang on as he rounded a particularly tricky bend, I knew we’d made the right decision. And he didn’t stay up there very long anyway. There wasn’t enough room for a start, and he just wanted to take the photographs and then come back to me and the dog.

We picked our way back down – which was easier than going up – re-joined the road and made our way back to the campsite. It was a real treat being so close to such lovely scenery without having to get in the car.

According to MapMyWalk (I’m not going to waste a picture slot here with a screenshot this time), we walked 4.14 miles and burned 617 calories.

And all the while Scafell Pike was there, in the cloud, alongside us.

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Scafell Pike. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)