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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Trip report: 9 days in the hills of England and Wales

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sabconsulting

High Wycombe, UK

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Posted: 10/12/15 12:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Friday

Another week another trip - or so it seems.

We wanted to get away for some hill walking, so put in an early shift at work and headed off north in the afternoon for the Yorkshire Dales.

The journey took around 7 hours, mostly because about 50 miles of it was done in first gear on a 3-lane highway.

We eventually got off the big roads and into the countryside, and arrived at the farm we were camping in after dark. Thankfully we have stayed there before so know where everything is. Also thankfully the weather was good this time - last time it was in the snow, which is OK for the truck, but less desirable for me when I have to walk 200 metres through snow to get to the showers.

Saturday

In complete contrast to last time, the weather was glorious - these were our camping neighbours:

[image]

Last time we climbed Ingleborough in the snow, this time we set of for the next of the three peaks in that area - Pen-y-Ghent. We were not alone it turned out:

[image]

In Britain there is a "Three peak challenge" - this involves doing the three highest peaks in the UK in 24 hours. They aren't that high, the highest being Ben Nevis at 4400 ft, but to do three in 24 hours when one is in Wales, the other England and the third in Scotland is a tough challenge. Yorkshire has three smaller peaks in close proximity and people have taken to doing a mini challenge there - hiking those three peaks in 12 hours - they are close enough to hike between them rather than having to spend hours in a car).

Thus we passed group after group of people, often chattering merrily in their various charity fund raising t-shirts, rushing past us in the other direction. I guess they were chatting at this stage because it was the first peak of the three they needed to do in that day - they were probably less talkative by the third peak.

Near the top:

[image]

Coming down the other side - notice the dry stone walling, a feature of these parts - with plenty of stone lying around in every field, why carry fencing when your building materials are lying all around you - laying it correctly is still an art form:

[image]

Back in the valley we crossed over in the direction of Ingleborough - the peak we had climbed in the snow last time. I wanted to join the walks up, to get a better sense of the geography. I find driving to a car park, doing a walk, then driving to another car park and doing another walk doesn't really give a sense of the geography as it does if you join the various walks up - you can then appreciate that point X is only just over this hill from point Y, despite it being a circuitous car journey. On the way we passed the old railway station:

[image]

The previous day we had heard a steam train on this line, but were too far away to see it. Today as we ate our sandwiches a couple of guys walked onto the station carrying cameras and tripods. We stuck around for a little while, but no trains came by. We carried on our walk, and later we did hear a train pass, but it was clear from the sound it was just a diesel electric. Maybe these guys got the time table wrong, or maybe they were so keen on any train that hanging around on a cold station platform for an hour just to photograph a diesel-multiple-unit was justification.

Walked through one of the local farms - now this guy has the right tool for the job:

[image]


'07 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab diesel + '91 Shadow Cruiser - Sky Cruiser 1
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sabconsulting

High Wycombe, UK

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Posted: 10/12/15 01:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sunday

So that was two of the three peaks done - now to do the highest - Whernside.

We drove to the Ribbleshead railway viaduct and started our circular walk there:

[image]

Unfortunately still no sign of steam trains [emoticon]

Interesting style - I'm not sure why there is a person sized gate on the right and a child-sized gate with steps on the left:

[image]

A bit more misty today:

[image]

On the summit. I'm not being macho - I just get hot easily, so I am in shirt sleeves to avoid ending up soaked in my own juices [emoticon]

[image]

Because of the large number of visitors the trails need constant maintenance - I guess these pallets will have been dropped by helicopter ready for installation as paving:

[image]

Finally back in the valley we do at last see a train - but just another of these little diesel-multiple-units - not very romantic really:

[image]

We drive a different route back to the campground, passing through the little town of Ingleton. This car park in the centre of town, and convenient for the folk music festival running that weekend, allows overnight camping for £2 charge - which is not bad given the location:

[image]

[image]

We walk across the bridge - there is a sign for a waterfalls, but we find they want £6 per person to enter - so we don't bother. Instead we walk out of town and get to watch a local farmer expertly herd a flock of sheep using 2 dogs and a quad bike - he was so efficient it was a master demonstration of sheep handling:

[image]

He did miss one sheep though, which hid around the back of a barn. After he had left it came sneaking out but found all its friends gone. But its flocking instinct took over and it tentatively made for the small flock of a different breed of sheep. There was a bit of a stand off and some posturing as the other sheep weren't too sure about letting it into their flock:

[image]

Now we have finished our walk and back at the campground the weather improves:

[image]

And Sally can strike up a conversation with our neighbours again:

[image]

Best of all tonight was curry night:

[image]

sabconsulting

High Wycombe, UK

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Posted: 10/12/15 01:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Monday

Two fairly big walks in two days, so time to rest our legs. Rather than waste that time we decided to move onwards, north west to the Lake District.

We stopped in Kendal (of the Mint Cake fame) for a cup of tea at a cafe - or actually it turned into a large mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows on top, and a portion of chocolate cake [emoticon]

[image]

Parking was fairly tight - I got Sally to guide me back as close to the wall as I could get without hitting it with either the camper or the truck's tow hitch:

[image]

There is a really nice church in Kendal:

[image]

[image]

Then on towards our campground. This meant crossing Kirkstone pass, so we stopped at the top to check out the view. It wasn't a promising view for hiking:

[image]

I decided to stay in the truck cab, since it looked a bit windy out there too:

[image]

The campground was just below the pass, and was fairly empty:

[image]

But it had a very big advantage - a pub on site. It would be rude not to take advantage of that:

[image]

sabconsulting

High Wycombe, UK

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Posted: 10/12/15 01:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tuesday

Back to walking today.

For ages Sally had wanted to climb Helvelyn. It is only 3100 ft, but bad weather a fair hike to get there and back and some rock scrambling make it a bit more than a casual morning's walk.

Unfortunately the weather forecast is a bit wrong. It is meant to stop raining at dawn, but it continues raining heavily, only easing mid morning, and stopping at lunch time. This makes the scramble up Striding edge, one of the ridges leading up to the peak, rather less desirable:

[image]

It does however mean we have almost the entire hike to ourselves.

[image]

[image]

[image]

But it was all worth it for the view at the summit:

[image]

Strangely we decided not to hang around too long at the top, so headed back down via the neighbouring ridge - Swirral Edge:

[image]

As you might have noticed - as soon as we start descending we get a view - which means the weather is improving. We may have had the summit to ourselves, but those who came 30 minutes later would have had a tremendous view from up there. I guess you can't win them all.

Most people go directly down from Swirral edge, but we carried straight on and up to another summit which gives a great view of Striding edge, Red Tarn (the small glacial lake) below and Helvellyn on the right

[image]

However impressed you might be with your efforts - there will already be a sheep there when you reach the summit:

[image]

These are Herdwick sheep - which appear to be the sheep equivalent of a plush toy, which somehow doesn't seem appropriate for the harsh climate up there. I started referring to them as Snugglewicks which seemed more appropriate, since I suspect they suffer more than any other breed of sheep from having small children continually rushing over to try to hug them.

We descend and round the corner to see lake Ullswater below us:

[image]

And its back to the campground, where the pub awaits:

[image]

[image]

Vinsil

Oregon

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Posted: 10/12/15 01:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great pics, thanks for sharing. Would love to tour your country someday!


2017 Ford F-350, crewcab, 4x4, 6.7 diesel.
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sabconsulting

High Wycombe, UK

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Posted: 10/12/15 01:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wednesday

We decided not to move the camper today and do a walk from the campground - there were some interesting hills directly behind us:

[image]

Sally chatting to some of the guys from the National Trust doing footpath maintenance. They have quite a hike to get to their place of work, carrying tools:

[image]

On the first peak - Hart Crag - and there is a view:

[image]

It was a good job we remembered to take a picture at that point, because that view wouldn't last. Further on and higher up at Fairfield:

[image]

We found a different route down - if possible we always try to do a circular route, so we aren't going over the same trail twice:

[image]

sabconsulting

High Wycombe, UK

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Posted: 10/12/15 02:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thursday

That was another 2 days of walking done, so time for a rest day again. Sally was adamant she didn't want to spend 7 hours on a motorway on Sunday, so wanted to get down south during the week. So we decided to head south past Liverpool and into Wales, then on down to the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons in Southern Wales.

Of course, now we were leaving the weather was looking great:

[image]

We stopped for lunch at Welshpool - we'd had a problem with the sink in the camper blocking. Something to do with Sally trying to wash rice down the waste trap [emoticon] , so we parked in the supermarket car park to get some shopping, and one of those sink plunger things:

[image]

Welshpool has an old steam railway too and some canals:

[image]

We've used the same campground in the Brecon Beacons a couple of times, but last time found it was very busy and they had a habit of closing the bathrooms for cleaning at exactly the time everyone wanted to use them. So we checked out another campground nearby, and it was great - on the side of a hill, but with some level sites, and stunning views:

[image]

Sally trying to use the sink plunger:

[image]

We didn't need this after all. My camper lacks a grey tank, so instead I have an old bicycle wheel inner tube attached to the sink drain, which I dangle into a plastic jerry can thing to collect the grey water. So I drove to the black water dump area and used the hose there (that is only used for cleaning toilet cassettes, so is already dirty) - I put it up the inner tube, gripped my hand around it to seal the tube on the hose, then turned the water on to blast the blockage back into the sink.

This worked quite well, as Sally discovered, since she was bending over the sink at the time trying to see what was happening down there [emoticon]

Closer inspection did make it clear that I need to find a new waste trap from somewhere - an everyday part in the US, but a different size and type to the ones fitted over here:

[image]

byrdr1

Elon, NC / Central Piedmont

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Posted: 10/12/15 02:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for sharing..
randy


2014 F-350 SRW CC/LWB 4X4 6.7PSD
2011 Keystone Cougar 327RES
Happy Campin'
Randy
Piedmont area of NC


sabconsulting

High Wycombe, UK

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Posted: 10/12/15 02:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Friday

After our rest / travel day it is back to walking again. There is a nice hill immediately behind the campground, so we decide to tackle that:

[image]

It was misty in the valley, but we soon climb out of that:

[image]

[image]

Never far from a sheep:

[image]

[image]

An old survey point at the summit:

[image]

The peak at the other end of the hill:

[image]

Back at the campground Sally asked me to get the gas stove out. We have a nice 4-burner stove in the camper, but I carry this 35 year old stove in the truck. It gets used when we want to fry something since it means we can do it outside rather than spraying the interior of the camper with pork fat [emoticon] . It may smell great at the time, but on a cold early morning, waking up to the smell of last night's sausages and bacon.

[image]

A happy man with his fry-up:

[image]

* This post was edited 10/12/15 02:21pm by sabconsulting *

sabconsulting

High Wycombe, UK

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Posted: 10/12/15 02:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Saturday

Off to find another walk this morning. After all the hills we decide to do something flatter. Means tackling the back roads first though:

[image]

We park up, cross the canal and walk up the valley, along the disused railway, now used as a logging track:

[image]

[image]

OK, I did end up including a hill in the walk:

[image]

Over the other side of the hill and we drop down to the canal:

[image]

[image]

We walked back to where we started along the canal. A nice new bench had been fitted, with a map of the canal engraved on it:

[image]

Before returning to the truck we drop into the local pub for a pint.

Sunday we pack up and drive home - a pleasant drive with little traffic, partly due to taking a detour around Oxford to avoid a well known traffic hot spot. We were home for lunch, and ready to clean up the camper for its next use - next weekend!

Steve.

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