Wednesday, May 20

Lake District: 3 Tarns Wildcamp: Fri May 15th

No matter which method I try the trip northwards always turns into a test of traveller stamina.

Stepping on the 8.15 train there was a vicarious thrill in hiding amongst the commuter crowds, but with a more interesting day ahead for me. This journey I changed at Manchester Piccadilly, rather than the usual Birmingham link. On this first visit I mentally linked the glum faced rushing crowds to their like named counterparts of London's Piccadilly Circus. Another madhouse I avoid like the plague. But on the plus side this was the only connection needed with the next train taking me directly to Windermere, and a quick hop aboard the 555 Lakeland bus onto Grasmere finally arriving around 5pm.

It had started raining as the train neared Cumbria, and judging from the steamed-up bus windows, Lakeland rain had been falling all day. Not looking good.

A usual wander around Grasmere village trying to find a hot meal at a reasonable price. With the usual failure as the daytime cafes closed for an hour or two, only to turn into bistro/restaurants for the evening. Their menus and prices leaping up to match their pretentions. Even the Red Lion Hotel, a past haunt for a good value meal, seemed to have joined Grasmere's fleece-the tourist. I finally grabbed last orders at the Miller Howe Cafe, watching the rain endlessly fall from my window table.

Oh well. Time to go with the flow. Quite literally.

Full foul weather gear on I walked along deserted roads of the village, following the road past Dove Cottage and up to the easy cart track leading to a favourite spot of mine, ALCOCK TARN (GR:348 078)

After 10 minutes on the track the mix of rainfall and humidity meant continually steamed up spectacles, ditched for the rest of the walk in. A rain soaked trudge up the path, found the tarn quiet as normal, and I quickly pitched, collected water and put on a brew before slipping into the warmth of my new Mountain Equipment sleeping bag. Only 8pm and in bed already.

The rain and wind continued intermittently as I lay listening to my MP3/Radio.

Putting on my final brew for the evening, above the noise of the wind-buffeted flysheet, came the clear sound of a cuckoo in the valley below. I stepped outside for the pre-sleep pee ritual. Visibility around me was down to less than 20, but still the bird's call continued for several minutes.

Hardy birds these Lakeland creatures. Never heard a cuckoo with a cough yet.


Hi John, great read this - especially as I was due to head for Grasmere last friday myself! Given the forecast of heavy winds and rain I gave it a miss but you were far more hardy than me!

Cuckoo with a cough - nice!
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