2 Night Wild Camping Lake District Hiking Adventure
Why Backpack when you have a Campervan?
It's been a while since we have been backpacking and wild camping with a tent. When you get a campervan you get spoilt and the idea of sleeping under a bit of material in high winds suddenly becomes unappealing when you have a warm cosy van with heating!
However - you can't beat waking up to a sunrise on top of a mountain and travelling with everything you need with you on your back. You don't get that same feeling of freedom in a van as you get when backpacking - it's incredibly liberating.
We have a few trekking trips planned from simple over nighters to bigger routes including the Haute Route or Tour of the Monte Rosa in the Alps. We therefore wanted to do a kit test along with a 'can we still do it?' test?'!
Where to go Wild Camping in the Lake District
The weather looked reasonable for a weekend in July in the Lake District so we decided to drop everything at the last minute and planned a long weekend wild camping trip. We tend to use the MWIS and the Met Office to plan our adventures in the UK around the weather as they seem the most reliable. They can both give you a good indication of what the weather is like on the summits rather than just in towns/villages.
After having a quick discussion about the best place for a 2 day hike and where we could leave the car we quickly decided on the Langdales. We knew there was free (albeit limited) roadside parking by a bridge and if all else failed there was a car park that offers a 7 day parking option. There are so many places in the Lake District it can be hard to choose. Our advice would be to pick an area or main valley such as Wasdale, Skiddaw, Borrowdale, Patterdale and Buttermere etc. Then plan your walk around the duration of your trip. We have more information about this and specific information about finding a wild camping spot please check our blog post: Planning A Wild Camping Trek.
There are plenty of other locations we could have gone to but the Langdales are our favourite little bit of the lakes and there were plenty of options for us to come back down earlier or later if needed due to the horseshoe shaped route we had in mind.
2 Night Wild Camping in the Lake District Itinerary
Night 1 - Friday Night Hike and Wild Camp
We aimed to get over to the Langdales by 4-5pm in the hope that there might be a free parking spot next to the bridge just up the road from Old Dungeon Ghyll - however it was still full when we arrived. We therefore ended up paying £28 to park the car in the pay and display opposite the pub - I know it seems expensive but it's worth it to know your car is left some where safe for 3 days and everything else on the trip would be free!
From there we followed the main footpath from the back of the pub up to Pavey Ark and Stickle Tarn. We just took this relatively steep path nice and steady whilst getting used to the heavy rucksacks but still got up there in an hour. After watching a few people go up Jacks Rake and filling our 2 litre water pouches (find out how we find and treat water here) up from a stream leading to the tarn we headed up a fairly indistinct path towards Seargant Man.
Stickle Tarn with Pavey Ark behind.
We didn't really have a plan about where to wild camp that night other than we wanted somewhere around Seargant Man/Pavey Ark as it would be a bit further away from Stickle Tarn which is a bit of a hotspot for wild campers and we wanted to be out of sight. As we were walking up the path 3/4 of the way up to Seargent Man we spotted an interesting looking waterfall over some crags and what looked like a nice flat spot tucked away out of the wind.
Our waterfall and water source for the night!
We traversed across the fell side and bingo - found an almost perfect spot for the night well away from anyone other than super cute Herdy sheep! I say almost perfect as it could have been slightly drier but it's rare to get a wild camp that's perfectly dry, flat and tucked away.
Wild Camping below Sergeant Man.
After pitching the tent we sat down and enjoyed a meal of dried pasta and soup with Oreo biscuits for dessert! Not the healthy food we normally eat but its the lightest. We then sat on some rocks and admired a beautiful sunset over towards Coniston.
The view from our wild camp spot below Sergeant Man.
Day 2 - Saturday Hike and Wild Camp
We had a fairly early start to pack everything away and comply with wild camping ethics. It's also the best part of the day for photos and seeing wildlife.
After a bowl of fairly unappetising instant porridge and a big cup of instant oat latte each (these are great if your vegan) we packed the tent away and headed up to Seargant Man. The view from this modest craggy little peak is fantastic and spans across to the Langdales, Windermere to the south, the Helvellyn range to the east and the Scafell range to the west.
After soaking up the views we headed down to the path that cuts across to Rossett Pike. As we had a version of the Bob Graham Round planned for a couple of weeks later we decided to cut out some of the peaks we had to do on that to ease us in gently with the weight. We therefore cut out the Stickle's and skirted down the side of Rossett Pike down to Angle Tarn where we had another cup of coffee and an early lunch.
A small tarn near Rossett Pike.
From there we headed to the right of Angle Tarn up the easy path which plonks you in the col between Esk Pike and Bowfell. We headed up to Bowfell which was a good tester for carrying the extra weight on more rocky ground. We quickly made our way down the steep horrible path off Bowfell down to Three Tarns for another Coffee and fodder break. The view from Bowfell and Crinkle Crags is simply stunning - you stand at the top end of the Langdale Valley feeling like you are on top of the world!
The view of the Langdale Valley from Crinkle Crags.
After a short rest we continued up over Crinkle Crags which is one of our favourite peaks in the Lakes - the mini peaks seam to go on endlessly with lots of interesting craggy features to keep your mind occupied. As we were coming off the end of Crinkle Crags we took some time to look at the tricky gully with a chockstone at the top which some people have come a cropper on in the past when not finding the main path off. There is no way we would have wanted to try that with a heavy pack on!
The dodgy gully and chockstone on Crinkle Crags.
We had a couple of tarns in mind for our Saturday night wild camp - the first was just off Crinkle Crags and the other was at Angle Tarn but we had a feeling the tarn might be busy. We found a cracking little spot (albeit a bit rocky) that the tent just fitted into with the most fantastic view down the Langdale Valley.
Saturday nights wild camp overlooking the Stickle's and the Langdale Valley.
It was also a stones throw from a small tarn so we had plenty of water for the evening. It's at times like these that you realise why sometimes wild camping is so much better than being on a campsite.....we enjoyed supping the remainder of the Jack D we had from the first night whilst staring at the stunning view out of the tent door.
Day 3 - Sunday Hike
We had an early start as we had to get back over to Yorkshire to meet family for a birthday. We didn't care though as the walk down from our wild camping spot past Angle Tarn and down to Spool End Farm was stunning. If we had the whole day to play with we would have gone on to summit Cold Pike and Pike of Blisco and probably stumbled into a pub for Sunday lunch!
We had an absolutely fantastic weekend out in the wilds and it really grew our love back for wild camping in the tent after the luxury of campervan travel. We hope you enjoyed reading our 2 night Lake District wild camp itinerary - as usual please do feel free to contact us with any questions or leave a comment below.