I decided it was better to do it now than leave it, so out into the dark we went.
Turning the tent worked and we managed to drop off to sleep quite quickly.
We woke at around 3.00am to the door flapping loudly again. The wind had changed direction. Then it changed again. The problem was that Small Water lies in a steep sided bowl and the strong wind was simply swirling around us.
We drifted in and out of sleep until 7.00am when we decided enough was enough and packed up.
It was so windy it just wasn't worth making a brew or having breakfast. We would wait until we get down to Mardale car park.
Cold at Small Water.After such a beautiful day yesterday it was a bit of a shock how cold it was today. Waterproofs on we set off. Looking back, the tops were mist covered but there was still blue skies and a promising sun in front.
taking one last look at our pitch spot we realised how stupid we had been to pitch there. Yes it was relatively flat, yes it had a good water source but if it had rained heavily we could have been swept into the tarn or at best have a river flowing under the tent. If the tarn had risen a couple of feet as it could have done, we would have been paddling. We were very lucky.
Just at the bottom of nan Bield pass we chatted to a fellow on his way up. He was going to walk over Harter Fell and come back down via Gatescarth Pass. We mentioned how windy is was at the top and what a poor night we had had.
At Mardale car park it was busy even though it was still early. We didn't stop for a brew but carried on the walk. We supplemented our hunger with some dry fruit and nuts washed down with icy cold water.
Now we were down lower it seemed like a completely different day. Hardly any wind and quite warm.
Fifteen minutes walk along the road and our turn off along The Old Corpse Rd came into view. The sign says Swindale Head 2 miles. It may be right but it seemed like a long 2 miles.
The route is steep to start with passing a couple of old ruins before it levels out crossing between Mardale and Swindale commons. One good thing about a short steep climb is the fantastic views you get.
Mardale now gone under.
View across to Riggindale.
So its only 2 miles, Mmm?
Rowantreethwaite Beck waterfalls. (great name that)
The Head of Haweswater
Shepherds Huts or rest stops on the Old Corpse Road.
High Raise and Kidsty Pike in the Background.
Dropping down to Swindale Head.
The last corpse to "use" the road was in 1736 when John Holme was carried from Mardale to be interred at Shap. What a fantastic last journey.
The route drops down adjacent to a tributary of Swindale Beck. It's very boggy and especially so as we approached Swindale Head Farm. The path needs a maintenance crew urgently.
Here we met the valley road, its very quiet, peaceful and a pleasure to walk. Much new work has been completed on the Beck to promote Salmon and Trout and other Flora and Fauna.
It's been a big project, worth a read here.
Green SwindaleSo that brings an end to our 3 day leisurely backpack. Our new gear got a testing and we learnt quite a bit. Walking poles became a must have, something i cannot believe i just said. But they helped the knee a great deal.
Tired, hungry but still smiling.
Route Day 3.In total we did 31.3km and 1,267 metres (4156 ft) of Ascent.