A late breakfast/early lunch at Tebay and we headed out. Amazingly the sun was shining!.All very pleasant. Some gentle walking, following footpaths and bridleways over the river Lune and on to Roundthwaite. An easy, steady plod brought us up to Burn Gill and an ideal spot for a camp. It was still early and we had only covered a few miles, however, it would most likely be difficult to find a spot higher up toward the ridge. Being early, Mike headed up for a wander to a nearby top while I went for an explore up the gill.
A pleasant, relaxing afternoon was had by all.
Wednesday morning broke dull with low cloud covering the hills. It remained dry though. We headed on up and over Roundthwaite Common. A few checks of the compass at the cairn marking Winterclough. A moment of displacement put us on the wrong side of Crookdale Crag. A bit of tussock bashing and bog hopping brought us back on course. A dog leg detour to avoid a barbwire fence and then we scooted across the A6. Following the line of the wall we headed up the hill toward Gargill and then around by Whatshaw. Common. The water saturated ground made for some hard going.
Aware that rain was forecast for the latter part of the afternoon, we picked our way down to Crookdale and set up camp. Our chosen spot on a bend of the river, set back a tad from the river on a raised area. of ground. Although not expecting any serious weather, the tents where in an exposed position and thus a few rocks where placed on tent pegs, just in case!
Sure enough, the forecast rain duly arrived around tea time. By that time we where snug and cozy.
The rain continued on and off for most of the night. Thursday morning saw everything covered in an overall greyness. There was no visibility, a grey shroud enveloped all. Thin, mizzly rain, the sort that rapidly soaks everything, scudded down the valley, driven by a boisterous breeze.
There was little option but to hunker down and wait out the weather. This was a mite frustrating, the five day forecast had not predicted weather such as this. Sunshine and showers had been forecast By the evening the rain was increasing in intensity, in fact a heavy, continuous downpour. The wind too was rising and buffeting the tents. The voice of the river had changed from a low, pleasant murmur to a throaty roar.
Several checks of the water levels indicated an alarming rise in its volume. More checks during the night showed that the river was continuing to rise. Another factor I noticed, (being bare footed) the ground was becoming increasingly saturated. Uneasy, I began packing. In the early hours water was flowing under the groundsheet. Mike came over, somewhat concerned about the deteriorating conditions. His tent was just a little higher than mine. As water began to deluge through the tent I nipped over to Mike's tent. he also had packed, ready to bail out. Thankfully we managed to sit it out until first light.By then the water level in my tent was well above the tops of my boots and rising. The surrounding area was now awash too. Another half hour or so and Mike's tenacious perch would also have gone under. Mike warned of a deep channel just behind me but I plowed on through. The water was knee deep and quite fast flowing. The river now was a roaring, boiling malestrom. Quite awesome, it was pity we could not manage a photo but cameras where deep in our packs
It was an arduous climb up the hill as we retraced our footsteps back over to toward the A6. Packs where heavy with sodden tents. Underfoot we floundered through flooded ground and clinging bog. Some more bog wallowing saw us descending Bretherdale and back to Tebay.
Mike was heading home and I booked in to Kirkby Stephen hostel. (kirkbystephenhostel.co.uk) There is always a warm welcome there and Denise is a lovely lady and ever helpful.
On the Saturday I took a stroll up to Nine Standards and back rather just sit about twiddling thumbs.
Not the easiest of trips, however, we did manage to get a little walking in.