Monday, 21 February 2011

Warnscale Head Bothy/Fleetwith Pike

On the 15th of February 2011 I finally slept in Warnscale Bothy.  It started out well I had packed everything I was going to need the night before and only needed to go to the shops for an extra lighter a hat and a few cartons of some good old OJ.

That seems easy enough on the eve before the bothy stay, or so I thought after 5 shops from where I live to picking Dave up none sold them cheap arse mo fo woolly hats ffs you wouldn't believe me but its the truth, so after only getting 1 carton of OJ (small one at that) and a lighter which was going to prove its shitness we were off just half an hour late, not too bad considering our last venture lol.

We arrived at Warnscale farm where I had planned to ditch the car and after cathing the farmer a very kind one at that he offered me a space on his drive for the night all I had to do is buy 2 tickets £3 each not too bad compared to parking in Newcastle £8+ in some car parks for 4 hours but anyways back to the story......We began from my memory as I had previously been up to the bothy a few year back so no need for my new gps toy or a map for that matter, we plodded on up trying to keep pace but finding it well hard I had just over 19kgs and Dave was close to 25Kgs (he will eat them stir frys).

When we started our accent we had to make allot of stops fitness shot through the roof and left the body all I had was determination and will power, the weather was shit rain cold and the wind kept giving us a smack across the face with hard hitting rain, I think I can speak for Dave on this one by saying "yep another walk to our camp all wet and windy as per usual."  We got quite some height and the view we had didn't seem to be what I remembered but never the less we carried on until we hit the snow line, Dave thought it would be a good idea for the Katoola Micro Spikes to come out so on his went, we were just under a a big piece of rock so I took it upon myself to try and get over it to see if I could see the path again as by now we had been left the path for some time.

I told Dave to wait there and I would give him a shout if I could see anything ( I was hoping I would and that somewhere we had left the path) so off I climbed yes climbed using my hands and legs I struggled with this might back pack on my back clinging on to the weeds and rock as I got higher and higher until I hit a big piece of rock.  So if you can imagine its raining and windy am 1500ft from sea level (info from satmap) and on a small ledge filled with snow, am scarred of heights like this and now am stuck "FUCK!!!!" I thought what the fuck do I do now trying not to panic I tried for what seemed like an hour to climb this rock but could I hell it had nothing to grab on to and I needed to be about 8ft to reach the top of it so with a big breathe and some thoughts, oh and slipping my micro spikes on I had 2 options I phoned for help or I calmed the fuck down gathered my shit and tried my best to climb back down to safety.  Ok for me there was only 1 option I had gotten my stupid ass up there so I shall get it back down after all am sure Dave could have caught me I only had about 500ft to fall back to him lol.

So off I struggled it took me so long to get down I could hear Dave shouting now what do I do if I shouted back he might of thought I was injured so I kept shut and hoped he would come into view soon,  After only moments there he was and I shouted down this ain't the way Dave we have missed the path or more to it I had lead him the wrong way lol.

I could see a path that lead over a stream running down the mountain and was sure this was it Dave already heading over I caught back up and we carried on this time on the right track, from there it didn't take too long and I repeated my phrase which am sure Dave was well pissed with by now lol "think its just over that ridge."   We arrived at the both snowing and drizzle a bit of a mixture winds seemed to calm not gale force just windy.

Dave couldn't get the fire on quick enough a God send really as our gear need a bit of a dry.  I helped him by setting light to a bag of coals he thought it was a good idea to give it a helping hand with a bit of petrol and up it went, so fire on and a quick swig of Brandy we started to un pack.

I had brought up with me my small bucket style bbq from go outdoors its a classic but I also brought my meths stove that Twiglegs (Geoff) made for me so that I could boil me a boil in the bag lamb type dinner from asda sweet I tell you it also melted snow for the water so 50ml of meths and I had melted snow and boiled some water for my dinner sweet.  Thanks Geoff.

With the weather shit outside wind blowing and the rain/snow never stopping we thought lets just spark the bbq up in the bothy, after all there was nothing for it to catch a lite and well it was really smokey in there off the fire, every time the wind blew the smoke would come into the room had to leave the door open for it to work so standing in front of fire to keep warm, while am on about probs with this bothy I had to place a ridge tile back in place as it had been blown off and smashed so I stuck it back in postion and put another bit of ridge which was already up there on top to keep it in place.  ( I have repoted this to the MBA)

So back to the bbq it became so smoke filled we had to bale the bothy before we passed out lol, so me been next to the door I got out first I told Dave to be careful as he opened the door for the bbq was there but it was just too late door hit bbq, bbq went over he came out coughing and I ran back in like a fire fighter from the north pmsl grabbed the rest of the fuel what was about to catch light and moved it to the back of the bothy, I then began to pick up with tongs the rest of the coals and get everything in control whilst Dave tried to control his enjoyment. (crazy horse).

So with that lesson learnt we put the bbq outside coat went back on hood up and I cooked us some chickens what Dave had fetched well done that man, they were fucking tasty as fuck.  I went on to put the steaks on and Dave put his stir fry stuff on his MSR Dragon fly stove,  video to come of the steak cooking/eating but 1 of the best I have had to eat bloody beautiful.

Few more Brandy's and Dave with his super strength beer we talked and got merry while enjoying the Bothy experience, I read some stuff out of the book to which you can report or just simply sign your name to say that you were there but by the time we wrote in it the beer had been flowing and well I was pissed so sorry for those who have to read my dribble but well it was all donw in good heart.

I finished the night off reading about a lodger there at the bothy a Mouse and after inspecting the bothy and my bed for the night I found mouse droppings, fuck me I hate mooooousessssss...... but nevertheless I was mortal and had a very warm and comfortable sleep as there was about 5 mats down already then my mat and self inflating mat and bivi bag with alpkit pipedream 800 sleeping bag keeping me snug as a rug.

Morning came dehydrated from the cold I brought to the bothy and the fact I had actually pagged half a litre of brandy I had only 1 carton of OJ and a twirl not planning for the next day I had brought fuck all to snack upon or eat. (never being known) we both stopped in our cots until at least 9:30am I could have stopped there all day was nice and comfy but through the window I could see a beauty of a day.

I walked outside to see what I was missing and a beauty of a view right before my eyes, now if you been following this blog or YouTube videos you may already know that a view on any my camps or walks is a 1% chance its either cloudy and pissing it down or either so to see this in front of me we planned a walk over Fleetwith Pike to savour something me and Dave together have never seen a view.

After getting some footage and pics we headed off to Dubs hut for a spy and then onto Fleetwith Pike.   On the way to the summit we passed the mine shaft entrances and some beautiful views, snow was getting deep and in 1 place went above my knee slipping and sliding we made it to the top to find a man there I asked him about the side he came up Fleetwith Edge he said it was steep in places but ok.  (he didn't know I was scared of heights and going down with a bloody big pack, makes it even harder.)

Taken by Miss/Mrs Fit
He went on his way and another bloke came up from the Edge with 2 dogs, (sweet I thought can't be that bad if dogs can get up it)  Our last visitor whilst on the summit a woman came up from her own way no paths needed for this fit local, she offered to take a picture  of us and Dave returned the favor on which she laughed and said she only lived down the road and has enough pictured of her on Fleetwith to last her a life time.  She had a bite to eat and off she went down the Edge, well that's  us following her footsteps I thought, an expert local no spikes just 2 poles to get down so after awhile we headed on down spikes on.

Anyone reading this fancying some winter walking Katoola Micro Spikes next best thing to full on crampons saved my arse a few times on slippy snow and grass in steep areas.

As I walked to the Edge noting how when I usually get close to the edge you can see the path going down nope am like 5ft away and still can't see the path then at the edge "fuck me."  yep it was going to be a challenge it never helped that I was carrying such a big pack with a bloody tripod strapped to the bottom of it and it kept catching on the rocks and sometimes pushing me towards the edge.

The view from the top looking towards the Edge
Looking back now it was easy enough but for someone scarred of heights with a daft big weighty pack on not good it goes down in sections and then gets easier to walk in between these sections, we saw 2 planes well below us I caught them on cam but they too far away to see properly, cars on the honnister pass looked like ants flying along, for me this was my most challenging walk, after many breaks we made it to the bottom fuck me was I glad what a day.

There was just one thing left for us to do........yep get to the pub for a pint so bridge hotel it was bloody dear for 2 pints came to just over £7 I think, so beer in all we need was a bacon sarnie not realising the time it was like 4:45pm I thought the bacon vans are gone now so once at Scotch Corner it was chips from there at just over £2each fucking come back for the sockets I thought greedy bastards rip off Britain.  We headed off my eyes now shutting off the walk and well the pint never helped dropping Dave off and making it back home was a relief my legs putting from the walk a quick bath (radox) and off I went with the other half for a whinge and a toby cavery, job done and I can say another very good trip with MR Murphy.


  1. Great post Paul can't wait see the video.

  2. I got the start sorted last night its just getting the time am planning a more super vid hopefully get it done by the summer cheers for the comment

  3. great post always enjoy reading your blog

  4. cheers mate its good to know people enjoy them makes it easier to write or type lol

  5. Haha well done it is all true from start to finish I should no, yeah the walk back down the hill was a little hairy, wish that chimney in the bothy was sorted it would have been a better experience instead of being on the verge of death with carbon monoxide and smoke inhalation. Them photos of us are amazing mate would have liked to hire miss fit as my full time photographer, cannot wait till the next adventure where ever that maybe :)

  6. I like reading about your adventures but it would be a lot nicer if the spelling and grammer was better..

    1. I do try my best but obviously am not the best at English, thanks for supporting my blog and I hope you enjoy my more recent blogs.