My parents were up this weekend.  Living in the lakes while they’re down in sunny Devon is the single the hardest part of my job. It’s all very well adapting to working full time, having to ease up on the nights out and savvy up on things like council tax, but being over 300 miles away from Mummy and Daddy is another matter.

Seeing them on occasions that are so few and far between does make those occasions extra special. This particular occasion involved one night at the Punch Bowl, Croswaithe, which, though remote, is definitely worth the trip for some incredible food, four poster beds and adorable rooms and locations.  When you have a feathery, comfy bed and roll top bath to return to, the prospect of heading out into the fells seems much more attractive.  You can wash off mud and rain with bubbly foam, and rest your weary walkers feet in a cloudy bed that’s been beautifully made.

On Saturday, the weather forecast was dodgy to the least.  And when the weather in a town is dodgy, the weather on the side of a mountain is going to be gale-force winds, if not a hurricane, wet, if not verging on a biblical flood, and generally horrible.

The Langdales is one of the remoter parts of the Lake District that I have started to explore.  Apart from a very unsuccessful walking holiday there as a child, during the foot and mouth crisis when we were forced to stick to main roads and gravel bridleways, it’s a part of the Lake District that is fairly unfamiliar.  However, armed with rucksacks, waterproof trousers, gaiters, kitkats and a thermos, we set out up Stickle Ghyll, a craggy and rocky stream that led up into the mountains around Sticklebarn. The goal was Stickle Tarn, a sheltered and beautiful lake, set up in the fells on the Langdale valley.  

The rain in the two previous days to us taking off to the hills had been pretty major to say the least.  The trickling stream by which we were due to be walking had consequently swelled into a sizeable torrent.  Water gushed, rain buffeted and the wind howled as we set our way up the hill to the tarn.  There were various men, women, dogs, small animals and terrified looking sheep making their way down the fell as we set out on our way up.  

All was going well on our ascent.  The rain lashed slightly less than we expected and it was just ruddy beautiful scenery in every direction.  On a clear day I imagine you could probably see across to Scafell Pike in the distance.  This day we were lucky to see down to the National Trust car park at the bottom of the hill to check our car hadn’t been swept away.  It was perhaps a mere few hundreds of metres from the top when we came across a keen looking walker, sat on a rock, staring at the watery crevasse running down the hill.  Now, along with my massive green coat, I am a great fan of the walking leggings.  This man didn’t seem to be too familiar with the walking leggings so greeted me as such:

“You look like you should be at a dance class!”

If I had been wearing leg warmers, which I wasn’t, or been leaping up the mountainside with the agility of a mountain goat, which I definitely wasn’t, I may have been flattered.

Under the current circumstances I just wanted to be a walker, making it to the tarn where I could feast on the themos coffee and kitkat.  

“Where are you heading?” said man sat on rock.
“To the tarn,” said I.
“Good Luck.  And God bless you,” said man now descending hill.  “I bottled it,” continued man disappearing out of ear shot.

At this point, I looked up and saw that to get to the tarn, I and my parents would have to cross a ranging, waterfally torrent.  Fell walking is all fun and games until someone gets swept away.  I wasn’t going to let that spoil my weekend with my parents, so we bravely gave up and decided to go out for lunch instead.

It will forever remain as the walk that was almost a complete walk.  The whole way down my parents and I were muttering to each other that we should have forged on.  But I think it was wise to wait for fairer climes.  It also gives them an excuse to come back again soon, and we can take on the nearly-done walk.



Hello!  I’m Sophie - lover of coast, country and all things baked and smothered in icing.
Recent university graduate and bumbling my way through the life of an employed editor.