Luke,Lynsey Max and I backpacked the Lake District in Northern England for eight nights to celebrate dissertation hand-in. What a smelly, rainy, wet, challenging and mountainous adventure! On our first day we tackled some pretty serious bog-land. Our boots were soaked through by the time we made it to our first camp site goal at Bleu tarn. I managed to fall face first into a bog at one point- no surprise there. I tested what seemed like a solid piece of ground only to find that it was just a floating bit of moss. Despite what felt like endless mist and rain, we thoroughly enjoyed this adventure and found ourselves wild camping in some of the most beautiful and remote sites in England.
At one point (see photo on left) we hiked through the cloud layer to a sunny scenery spotted with sheep. After a long days hike with heavy packs it felt like we crossed out of this world into a sheep-clad heaven.
We traced a general eight night plan in a pub in Keswick before embarking on our journey. However, we readjusted our route each night depending on our progress and weather conditions. We did not use GPS and depended on our topographical map and compass for navigation. Although, 'trails' are often depicted on the map--they may or may not exist on the ground and are rarely clearly marked. At one point, we fell off the trail and got lost in a misty bog with impossible visibility. We had to 'shelter in place' on a hillside and woke up to a fantastic view of the country side.
Sometimes it's nice to get lost. Sometimes it is also nice to have an excuse not to shower for ten days and instead wash ones hair with Dr. Bronners in a freezing waterfall.
We stopped over in some horrible town once to fill our packs with food before hiking on in smelly shoes with bloody blisters for the second half of our trip. While in town, we were followed by a herd of cows on the road. How delightfully English.
Although 'free wild camping' is discouraged in England, we managed to find remote sites out of sight and sneak by without being caught for the entire trip.
After a challenging year and an exceptionally difficult summer of research and thesis-writting, this trip was the perfect getaway and experience a chance to experience a side of England we missed from our academic playground in Oxford.