Duddon valley, 5-6 October 2018

This was our first trip to the South Western Lake District. It is quite far away from York, it took us over 3 hours to get here. We arrived close to 11 pm, but we only planned a short walk to the nearby forest. We forgot our camping stove at home (this has never happened before!), but it was too late to go back. We had plenty of bread, cheese, biscuits, enough to survive a day without hot meals.

The blue and red lines show our track in the first and second days, respectively. The "P" icon shows parking place, and the tent icon shows our camping spot.

We had to cross a fairly rapid stream on stepping stones, in total darkness. We had torches, but the stream was swollen after heavy rain and stepping stones were all submerged. Fortunately, the crossing was equipped with a cable, it would have been quite scary to cross the stream without it. Our feet were of course all wet after crossing, but the water was not too cold. This picture was taken the next evening, the water level dropped very significantly and the current was nowhere near as strong as when we were crossing it...

Crossing stepping stones was quite refreshing, and afterwards we quickly went up a path. We then went off path to cross a very densely planted forest but eventually got to a stream where we were planning to pitch out tent. Finding a dry and flat spot proved difficult, but we had no choice. We quickly pitched the tent and went to bed before midnight. This is what our camping spot looked like in the morning. We had a quick breakfast and were on the move just an hour after waking up.

Fighting through the forest without paths was not easy but eventually we got to Brandy Crag.

We did not find the correct scramble on Brandy Crag, but still enjoyed it, good rock, not too difficult and certainly not boring.

Irish Sea from Harter Fell.

Lunch break by Birks Bridge. The weather improved, the sun came out, it turned warm. Here river Duddon flows in a narrow canyon.

Eating cold lunch. Birks Bridge is very ornamental, with openwork and drainage holes.


We are going up towards Seathwaite Tarn. The hills are red-brown because of sunlit dead fern.

Tarn Beck forms a series of waterfalls.

Another scramble: Throng Close Buttress. We went up the wrong way again, but it was still a very enjoyable scramble.

Seathwaite Tarn.

We climbed Dow Crag directly, without a path, and then went along the ridge, with steep drops on the left. Goat's Water is below, The Old Man of Coniston is on the other side of the valley, and Coniston Water fills the next valley.

We went down a very wide path, Walna Scar Road. We then had to cross some flooded fields to get to the car. The hills were lit by the evening sun creating atmospheric views.

We got to the car before dusk, even though we covered around 17 km and climbed over 1100 m. This is not too bad for a trip with full backpacks, particularly taking into account that we often went off path. We then went to look at the stepping stones we crossed the previous night, but the water level dropped very significantly. We stopped at a nearby pub to have a hot meal and then drove to York. We were away from home for just over 24 h, but it felt like a multiday trip.

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