Author Topic: TR - Lingcove Beck wild camp  (Read 363 times)

richardh1905

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TR - Lingcove Beck wild camp
« on: 21:58:11, 28/07/20 »
Lingcove Beck wild camp    27-28th July 2020

I didn't really get out much over the weekend due to the atrocious weather, and Monday was no better. But the forecast was for the rain to clear, so I decided to chance it and go for a wild camp up at the top of Lingcove Beck, right in the Wild Heart of the Lakeland Fells. I had visions of climbing Bowfell and Crinkle Crags on my way out.

The drive up Dunnerdale was interesting, shall we say - lots of water on the road, some big pools hiding formidable potholes, so care was needed. I parked to the east of Cockley Beck bridge, and started walking at around 1630, still a few spots of rain, so on with the Gore Tex.



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The clouds were down - I couldn't see the top of Hardknott Pass, and Wrynose was hidden in the murk, but march orchids in their thousands lined the road - lovely, despite the gloom.


Wrynose Bottom - the clouds down on the pass


Orchids in profusion


Cockley Beck Bridge - the river was swollen after all the rain

I crossed the bridge and headed up the road towards Hardknott Pass, my intended route up Moasdale barred by a small beck in spate. I had to continue up towards the pass for a hundred yards or so before I could find a place where I could cross safely with a heavy pack. The path up to Moasdale was awash with water, literally a stream in places, but I enjoyed the climb up into the valley, despite inevitably getting my feet wet - I consoled myself with the fact that you can only get your feet wet once, and that I had a spare pair of dry socks inside a ziplock bag tucked away in the depths of my rucksack.


The path up into Moasdale - in places this was more like a young stream than a path!


Water cascading down the fells - but at least the clouds were lifting

My enjoyment stopped when the path seemed to end abruptly, and I found myself making my way across a vast bog - in fact the entire head of Moasdale seemed to be one giant bog. No choice but to plod on, and eventually I won through to firmer ground on the headwall of the valley.


Looking back down into the head of Moasdale - one giant bogfest!

From here the going improved somewhat - tussocky grass replaced sphagnum moss, and I started traversing up the eastern side of the Lingcove Beck valley that I had entered from the south, my eyes drawn to the sunlit head of the valley. In fact, I became a little obsessed with reaching this sunlit haven, imagining it to be some kind of 'inner sanctuary' containing an abundance of perfectly level sheltered pitches beside tumbling becks - I was to be disappointed.


The sunlit 'inner sanctuary' at the head of the Lingcove Beck valley

Traversing across the side of the valley was slow going. I had left the worst of the bog behind but the ground was rough, and there were several small becks to cross - in normal conditions these would be no bother to step across, but after all the rain they demanded respect - I had a heavy pack and was on my own in deserted phoneless country, so I took care.


The clouds finally clear Bowfell. I was aiming for the head of the valley beyond the rocky knoll

I eventually rounded the knoll in the picture above, but instead of my imagined paradise, I was greeted by a windswept boggy bowl. The sensible thing to do would have been to retreat back down the valley for half a mile, but I pressed on regardless, casting around for a small patch of level ground to pitch up on. I eventually found a spot, hard up under the southern slopes of Bowfell, very exposed, but dry and level enough at least, and in an absolutely magnificent position.

The clouds had cleared and the sun made an appearance, but the wind was gusting strongly, and I had a bit of a struggle in getting the tent up - I took my time and was thorough: it's not a race. Once up and secured, the Lightwave tent seemed to handle the gusts well enough, so I relaxed and settled in. Time for dinner, eaten sat upon a convenient boulder whilst taking in the magnificence of my surroundings.


My exposed pitch at the head of the Lingcove Beck valley, with Harter Fell in the distance


Lightwave T10 Trek tent being put to the test!


Adam-a-Crag, the western flank of Crinkle Crags

I had a rough night, to be honest. The wind dropped off a bit initially, but then picked up again with a vengeance in the early hours, and to cap it all, it rained on and off throughout the night, too. The tent took it well, but I was constantly being awakened by violent blasts of wind that caused the fly to crack like a whip, and the whole tent to shake. At least I was warm and dry, and my confidence in the tent has been boosted - it really is a little toughie. Eventually I managed to snatch a couple of hours sleep as dawn was breaking, but I felt pretty worn out. The weather was pretty vile, too, and it was easy to abandon any thoughts of going up onto Bowfell and Crinkle Crags. I got away around 0700, and started retracing my steps back down the valley. The becks weren't so full of water, but I still managed to slip and crack my knee, discovering later that the rock had slashed a hole in my overtrousers, 'Tracksters' and knee!


Looking back towards Bowfell - I did wonder whether I should have 'gone for it', but the clouds and rain returned shortly after I took this picture


The top of Scafell obscured by clouds

Rather than return via Moasdale, I decided to descend down the Lingcove valley all the way to Eskdale, and then return to the car over Hardlnott Pass. A path of sorts runs down the valley, tentative at first. The beck tumbles down a series of cascades and waterfalls before it meets the River Esk at Lingcove Bridge. I spotted no less than FIVE tents in the vicinity of the bridge, and I must confess that I felt slightly superior when I said 'Hi' to one of the campers peeping out of their tent in the sheepfold - they were the first person that I had seen since leaving the Hardknott Pass road yesterday afternoon.


Lingcove Bridge with Eskdale beyond


A particularly fine waterfall on Lingcove Beck - one good thing about heavy rain is that it brings out the best in waterfalls


Waterfall on the River Esk. I descended the valley to the right.

The walk down the valley was pleasant, despite the intermittent rain and sodden paths, and I didn't even mind the walk over Hardknott Pass. All the same, I was glad to get back to the car. Around 10 miles in total - it felt like more!


Looking back up Eskdale towards Bowfell, a very photogenic mountain from this direction


Hardknott Pass between the showers
« Last Edit: 13:08:30, 29/07/20 by richardh1905 »
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Ridge

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Re: TR - Lingcove Beck wild camp
« Reply #1 on: 22:43:32, 28/07/20 »
Lovely photos Richard, I hadn't realised quite how much rain you have been having up there.
I know what you mean about walking on to some imagined Shangri-La only to discover it is worse than where you were.

April

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Re: TR - Lingcove Beck wild camp
« Reply #2 on: 06:59:32, 29/07/20 »
That was a "wild" camp alright  O0 Your tent looks a good'n in the wind  :) Lovely pics of Lingcove Beck, there is a bit of water in there!

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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Lingcove Beck wild camp
« Reply #3 on: 08:29:29, 29/07/20 »
Lovely photos Richard, I hadn't realised quite how much rain you have been having up there.
I know what you mean about walking on to some imagined Shangri-La only to discover it is worse than where you were.

Thanks Ridge - yes, we've had a lot of rain recently, at times torrential, even here in Grange-over-Sands. My newly sown lawn has at times looked more like a paddy field  :o  I certainly made sure that my planned route did not include the fording of any major streams, as this would have been downright dangerous on Monday evening.

I've since noticed that my would be Shangri La is named Green Hole on the map! But despite the wind, it really was a magnificent spot, totally wild, not even a dry stone dyke or fence post in sight, and only a very faint path - not many come this way. Upper Eskdale (of which Lingcove Beck is a tributary) really is the 'Wild Heart of the Lakes', as I like to think of it - I don't know anywhere else so truly wild south of the border - and I love it!
« Last Edit: 11:30:46, 29/07/20 by richardh1905 »
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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Lingcove Beck wild camp
« Reply #4 on: 08:33:40, 29/07/20 »
That was a "wild" camp alright  O0 Your tent looks a good'n in the wind  :) Lovely pics of Lingcove Beck, there is a bit of water in there!

Thanks April, it certainly was. But it is funny how, with time, the mind erases the discomfort and long sleepless hours listening to (and feeling) the wind battering the tent, and amplifies the good points, the wilderness, the solitude, the fantastic evening views, memories that will stay with me for a long time  :)

I'm pleased with the tent, it is a bit tricky to pitch, not for beginners, but once up it seems to be fit for purpose, which for me is four season wild camping. And 129 for a 4 season 40d silnylon tent with DAC poles is a bargain!

Lingcove Beck, and the bit of the River Esk that I followed, were spectacular. I couldn't have crossed Lingcove Beck on Monday night, even as far upstream as I was - far too dangerous.
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karl h

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Re: TR - Lingcove Beck wild camp
« Reply #5 on: 21:34:27, 29/07/20 »
That looks a great spot Richard. O0
I agree that in Lakeland terms Upper Eskdale feels very remote. ( even though you are probably only a couple of miles from the road ) ;)
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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Lingcove Beck wild camp
« Reply #6 on: 09:20:59, 30/07/20 »
That looks a great spot Richard. O0
I agree that in Lakeland terms Upper Eskdale feels very remote. ( even though you are probably only a couple of miles from the road ) ;)
It would have been a great spot if it hadn't been so windy!
No - I take it back - it WAS a great spot, totally wild, worth the sleepless night.


On the subject of remoteness and wildness - even though I was only 2.5 miles from Cockley Beck (as the crow flies), my pitch felt very remote and very wild, with no sign of man at all: no fences, sheepfolds, walls, forestry, anything. And even the path up the valley was of the 'hit and miss' variety, not much more than a trod really. Very few sheep around, too - I really did have the valley to myself. Not nearly as remote and wild as the Fisherfield Forest or the heart of the Cairngorms, mind, but amongst the best that England has to offer.

I've been looking through my photos from my Kentmere walks, and whilst the fells there are lovely, they don't have the same feeling of remoteness at all, there are walls and fences running over the top of the fells and they just don't feel as wild to me. Maybe I have been spoilt by the Cairngorms.

Looking forward to visiting the headwaters of the River Esk soon. :)


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beefy

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Re: TR - Lingcove Beck wild camp
« Reply #7 on: 13:42:33, 30/07/20 »
Great stuff Richard O0
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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Lingcove Beck wild camp
« Reply #8 on: 16:07:05, 30/07/20 »
Great stuff Richard O0


Thanks Beefy  :)

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Mel

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Re: TR - Lingcove Beck wild camp
« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 20:42:16 »
That really does look a super spot for a wild camp.  The waterfall looks pretty splendid too.

richardh1905

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Re: TR - Lingcove Beck wild camp
« Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 22:33:44 »
It was a stunning location, Mel, rather exposed in the wind, though. The waterfalls were fantastic after all the rain.
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Dodgylegs

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Re: TR - Lingcove Beck wild camp
« Reply #11 on: Today at 10:35:32 »
Thanks for the insight into your Lakeland World!

forgotmyoldpassword

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Re: TR - Lingcove Beck wild camp
« Reply #12 on: Today at 12:49:35 »
Thanks April, it certainly was. But it is funny how, with time, the mind erases the discomfort and long sleepless hours listening to (and feeling) the wind battering the tent, and amplifies the good points, the wilderness, the solitude, the fantastic evening views, memories that will stay with me for a long time  :)

I'm pleased with the tent, it is a bit tricky to pitch, not for beginners, but once up it seems to be fit for purpose, which for me is four season wild camping. And 129 for a 4 season 40d silnylon tent with DAC poles is a bargain!

Lingcove Beck, and the bit of the River Esk that I followed, were spectacular. I couldn't have crossed Lingcove Beck on Monday night, even as far upstream as I was - far too dangerous.


Looks a lovely route and some quiet countryside to yourself always helps the soul.  Agree completely that once you get off the beaten track there are often lots of little adventure spots where you can just relax without any great mileage done but totally out of the way.


Likewise the tent seems quite solid, you've obviously got confidence in it by now and hopefully shall accompany on many adventures!  Did you end up changing any of the pegs or adding guylines at all?


What works for me with exposed pitches is a set of earplugs in my first aid kit just in case I need them.  If I'm confident about the tent/pitch (aka the site isn't about to flood) I don't want to be woken up for heavy rain at 3am or for high wind making the tent flap, I'd rather be fresh when I do wake up and deal with it then.