We decided the 8th to the 11th of August would fit our schedule the best, rang the rest of the lads with the six of us meeting at our start point at Burnbanks Village. The village is situated near the lovely town of Shap, nestling on or near the dam head of Haweswater, out start point was grid NY5081 1610.
As always we start these trips with a kit weigh in, some being over 40lb, others being under 30lb. Every time we venture out as a group the kit layout changes and the weight is coming down, I was in the 32lb region with all my kit and three days food.
We started off on the track that hugs the northern shore of Haweswater, the weather was kind with broken cloud and sunny spells.
Steady track along the northern shore of Haweswater
Haweswater looking east at Mardale Head
We then decided to take the track up Mardale Beck to Small Water Tarn, here we had a break and took in the scenery. There was plenty of fish rising on the water and a pair of Buzzards cruising the heights and thermals above us.
Small Water Tarn
Stone shelters on the bank of Small Water
After we had rested and basked in the warm sun for a while, we set off up the short but steep Nan Bield Pass. The weather was hot at this point and it was a slog to the saddle at the stone shelter. It was getting on in the day and we needed a camp for the night with water. We found a flattish piece of ground near a very small puddle, so we decided to camp NY 4520 0960.
Nan Bield Pass with Small Water in the foreground and Haweswater behind
The view from camp 1NY 4520 0960
We set camp quickly and got into the routine of washing, sorting out the feet, feeding ourselves and doing any admin that was needed. A good site of a Peregrine quartering just to the east of us topped off the day. The weather promised a good sunrise, so I set my alarm for 4 am.
I woke before the alarm and headed up Mardale Ill Bell to catch the sunrise, I wasn't disappointed.
Sunrise over Small Water and Haweswater
Early morning camp
The rest of the lads started to surface, we had breakfast and broke camp. We were on the trail for 07:30, warming up the muscles on Mardale Ill Bell, with a peak over the steep edge down into Blea Water.
Then onto High Street and carried onto The Knott.
Joe coming down off The Knott
We headed for Angle Tarn and I spotted a few Red Deer down in the valley near Rest Dodd, I wish I had a bigger lens for the camera. As we observed there was a large herd on the other side of the valley.
Red deer who have got the scent of us
Herd of Red deer
We passed The beautiful Angle Tarn and Angletarn Hause, onto Boredale Hause and down into Sides Farm in Patterdale.
Southern end of Ullswater.
We had coffee and cake at the busy little cafe at the farm and decided to high tail it up to Red Tarn at the foot of Helvelyn. As it was nearly the hottest part of the day we waited for a while in the shade of some Pines and chilled out. We new the track up the side of Helvelyn from Grassthwaite Howe would be a slog to the Hole-in- the-Wall.
We set off with the heat being around 25 degrees Celcius, you could feel the sun being radiated off the track onto you, many harsh words and a lot of sweat later, we emerged at the Hole-in-the- Wall, relieved that we had a shorter ascent tomorrow.
We hit the level track that leads to Red Tarn, dropped the backpacks where you are going to camp, ran to the water and cooled off the feet. Camp was set quickly, with the normal routine getting under way with military like precision.
Camp two at Red Tarn, Awesome.
The evening at Red Tarn gave us a sun set to remember, with the temperature dropping as we turned in for the night all satisfied that we had had a great day on the trail.
We all woke early the next morning and were on the trail for a little after 7am. We took our own path up from Red Tarn to the start of Striding Edge. We all decided to take the top route along the thinnest part that gave all of us a great buzz.
Tony enjoying the scramble on Striding Edge
Down climb off Striding Edge
Full view of Striding Edge
We were all at the trig point on Helvellyn at 08:30,admiring the 360 degree views of the surrounding fells.
CHECK OUT THE 360 DEGREE VIDEO VIEW ON TOP OF HELVELLYN
Then with a spring in our step we took the trail to Whiteside Bank, down off Brown Crag which was so steep our toes were bursting out of our shoes, then onto our final destination, Thirlspot Campsite at Thirlspot Farm.
We had done it, all involved really enjoyed the three days and more is planned for the future. The main topic of conversation was as normal, how can we get the kit lighter and more efficient for the job in hand. All members of the party went away with new idea's and kit list's to try out next time. brilliant.