Dried Up Waterfalls

I’ve not really planned walks before that I haven’t already done. Last week in Snowdon I took people up Ranger Path, but I’d done it before. Normally people planned stuff and asked me to come along which is great but meant I hadn’t had the chance. This time, it was just me and Steve so I planned my ideal walk.

  • Less than 15km
  • To a view point or steep drop off for a good view
  • Steep up
  • Shallow down
  • Near where we were camping so when finished we had immediate access to beer

As with everything you do for the first time, it isn’t going to be perfect but overall it was a really good walk, if a little longer than I had thought it would be. I looked at the map and figured it would be about 8-9 km but ended up being 14km.

Stephen was also really not impressed with the uphill section of the route. It was steep. REALLY STEEP. I had figured that in the heat of the day, it would be better climbing uphill in the shade of the trees. This had worked out perfectly. The other feature i figured would be nice, was to be next to a waterfall, so if we got really hot, we could dip in and splash ourselves to cool off. Natures air conditioning service of wind and cool water trickling down our skin would be great. However it has been so hot that perpetually wet England has nearly reached a water shortage. This was reflected by the complete inanimaton of the waterfall. Barely a trickle ran down the bleached bone dry rocks. You know it’s bad when grass directly next to a stream is going brown and crispy…

Still, we got to the top after an epic uphill hike and were rewarded with a spectacular view over Derwent Water and Keswick. We had climbed a hill called Barf (snigger) at the feet of a larger hill named The Lords Seat. There was a steep rocky drop off the face of Barf, which ticked my criteria and made you feel like you were standing on the edge of a massive cliff. Obligatory selfie selfied, I gave a sweaty go at Facebook live.


Facebook Live is where any tit with a phone and internet connection can broadcast their own live video stream to the world. Today, I was that tit, and this mound was my stage in front of all my Facebook friends and the Lake District. I’ve done a few of these before and they are a bit strange talking about what’s going on around you, behind you and to you, to no-one you can see or really respond to. Stephen, the saddo, sitting next to me, started to view my video stream on his phone, instead of just turning around and getting involved…

It turns out we tried quite a few technologies on this walk. At the top of The Lords Seat, we tried a “360” photo using Facebook’s app. This deceptively named feature doesn’t actually let you take a photo all around you, instead it’s just like a super widescreen image made up by moving your phone across the scene in front of you. It doesn’t work very well for me. My phone must lack the processing power or some sensors. It didn’t seem to know where it was in the sweep and ended up mashing together two images that were completely different into one bright blue and beige mess. Stephens attempt worked much better, however he has an iPhone which in this case (no other) was superior…

The walk down the hill was planned to be nice and gentle. There were a load of sweeping tracks on the map that turned out to be logging roads. If a lorry can deal with the hill then my knee would be fine. Finding them, was a little trickier as there were so many we thought we were lost for a while.

This was when I remembered my phone has OS Maps installed. This nifty app allows you to digitally load up any of your purchased paper maps in cyberspace and overlay your GPS position, making it impossible to be lost – unless you haven’t downloaded that particular area before setting off… I started the slow download of 256MB map data of the area we were walking. In the end, old fashioned the paper map and a bit of deduction found us the way forward. I think this will be a very useful app in future, if I remember to actually use it.

Walking down the logging roads was really pleasant. We meandered around the contours of the hills like a snake carving through sand. In and out of the sun, it was easy going and we chatted happily. The uphill section at the start of the walk was so tiring and energy expensive that the only words that were used were “Oh My Gosh” or “This Is Ridiculous” when referring to the gradient. We had a lot of gossiping to do so I was glad of the easy walk.

Quite by chance, that I claimed as skill, our path lead us back to the layby viewpoint we had stayed at last night. From here is was only a short steep downhill jaunt back to the farm campsite and our waiting campervans. By this time, I was starting to feel the effects of all 14kms of the walk and knew it was time for a sit down with a beer. Better than that, I had my hammock and some conveniently placed woods offered the perfect opportunity to test it out. Stephen took some convincing, but pretty soon he was comfortable in my hammock and committed to buying his own. I’d quite like to do an ultra-light hiking overnight trip when one of these days turns into this day. I think it would be a nice way to sleep, suspended comfortably between trees and certainly lighter than carrying a full tent!

The last bit of technology I can tell you about was Strava. This nifty app is mainly used by runners and mountain bikers to track their routes and progress. It has crowd-sourced records of sections of road and track, who’s travelled them and how fast it was done. This creates a huge online database scorecard so you can compare your time to the other people in the area who have done it before you. I presume this is to motivate you to try harder to become the best, personally i don’t find that of much interest. The bit of the app I’m interested in is that it also shows you a graph of your altitude over time and your pace over time. This is all available along with a map and a trace of your actual route. It’s great to have a record of the walk and see exactly where you went and how long it took you.

We discussed this around a well deserved cold beer, courtesy of Stephens fridge. I’ve got exactly the same fridge but his van has mains electric hook up so he can run it continuously, whereas I need to be a bit careful how long i leave it running. I thought I would do without mains hook up, but the more i think about it, the more i like the idea. We carried on discussing van modifications and travel plans into the night sat around Stephens fit pit again.

What a great day this has been!