In the morning, as usual, I felt the inside of my flysheet for condensation so that I could dry it off before I packed up. Hm? That’s odd ….. no condensation. The wind had dropped, so there should be some. Oh hang on, it was there but it was frozen. Ah, that would explain why I had to put extra clothing on in the night. I’m not a girly wimp; it was arctic up there.
Apparently, those noisy boastful hillbagger-types who had so rudely interrupted my afternoon nap were the other half of our party and we’d agreed to meet them down there. I didn’t really know where there was but I was sure we’d bump into them at some point. Besides, none of us believed that they would really have camped where they said, as any normal person would have noticed how close they were to a pub and camped in the beer garden.
We set off – me wearing nice dry socks – and took Route A across a bog. This was authentic TGO Challenge training.
We came across some excavations in the rock so Lucky the Dog decided to go and investigate. In this photograph you can see he is quivering with excitement at having found a troll living deep underground.
We found the others standing round doing nowt. Typical; such a lazy bunch. Giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming that low blood sugar was responsible for their inertia, I offered round the Werther’s Originals. This seemed to do the trick; they were soon saddled up and chomping at the bit.
We then walked along for a while then waited while one of our party went back for his walking poles. This was actually one of the highlights of the day for me as I sat on a very nice rock in the sun while I waited. I didn’t sit and think; I just sat, which is one of my most favourites things to do in the mountains – apart from sleeping, of course.
Before long we’d stopped again next to a bus stop and some toilets. This was a little annoying as I needed neither of these facilities. However, it did give us the opportunity to form another schism. Hurrah! The harmony had lasted too d*mn long. One party looked at the map and identified that there was the possibility to visit any permutation of one pub and / or two tearooms between our current location and our planned campsite. The other party said something about a hill. So, off I toddled to the pub.
The preferred menu option was the fish finger sandwich. When I heard it was sick squid, I assumed that’s what it was made out of but it turned out to be the price. Maybe a little steep but everyone seemed to enjoy it.
We must’ve then walked some more – although I can’t remember too much about it. The farm campsite had plenty of room so we had loads of choice where to pitch. After a bit of lounging around we decided that it would be a marvellously team-spirited thing to do if we went and met the others as they came off the hill. It was not our fault that they had doggedly stuck to the plan and gone up hilly things but we shouldn’t let their dogmatic execution of the rules come between us. We’d started as a team and we should finish as a team. Besides, if they weren’t coming back then we needed to decide who was going to eat their reserved meals in the pub later that night.
We knew which direction they’d be approaching from so we wandered off that way. No sign of them. We pondered a bridge which was not where we needed it to be. Still no sign. We gave up and went back to the campsite. I admit, I was now worried. We’d let these poor fools go wandering off into the hills on their own. If they couldn’t even find a big blue pint pot on an OS map then how were they going to find their way safely off the hills? To help me cope with my own anxiety (and also because I thought it was about time I looked at the map myself and figured out where we were) I went for a short walk on my own.
When I got back, the wanderers had returned. Putting on a nonchalent air I pretended that I hadn’t been out searching for them but was actually just on my way to the tap, so did anyone want their bottles filling? (48 litres later I was starting to regret that offer. The sooner someone invents dehydrated water the better).
The evening was spent drinking beer and eating risotto. Yeah, risotto. I won’t be going there for my vegetarian tea again.
Day 3 dawned at dawn, as is the convention, and we set off at 8:30 ish for a simple walk along the Cumbrian Way. Absolutely no chance of a schism today. Well, apart from when only half of us stopped for a bacon / egg butty and the other half where nowhere to be seen. I enjoyed my egg butty and I particularly enjoyed the pot of tea with an extra pot of hot water. That’s classy, that is.
The reappearance of a mobile phone signal helped us to discover that Team B were rapidly approaching our intended destination for the day. We had two choices; get a move on and catch up with them, or go to the pub. It was a very nice pub.
By the time we reached Braithwaite, most of the others had thinned out and gone home. They just couldn’t handle the pace, apparently.
After a Little Sit Down and a natter, I strolled into Keswick and had the cream tea I’d been promising myself [I was worried I’d not been eating enough] then put up my tent on the Keswick Camping and Caravanning Club site which – as a backpacker – was much better than I had been expecting. I’d had a great weekend; a good mix of (just enough) walking, camping and beer with a decent bunch of people. If I’d been doing the TGO Challenge this year, this would have been just the sort of practice I needed. Thanks to everyone for the organisation and the good company.