Van Camping in the Lake District

In early October with options fading for any sort of trip away and with the option to loan a camper van we decided on the Lake District as the perfect place to go and take a break from the daily grind. The day to day routine of moving between home and work and back again has become more noticeable with the greatly reduced travel this year.

The camper was a VW California with all the bells and whistles. Levers and buttons everywhere. It allows you to be pretty much self sufficient for a good few days though. We cruised up towards Buttermere with essentially no real plan, getting there late in the evening. Some research en route yielded a layby on a mountain pass as a decent place to stop and sleep. A couple of other vans there indicated we were in the right place. Turning up in the dark you never know what you will be waking up to but we lucked out with a waterfall right behind us and surrounded by mountains.

After breakfast it was time to get rambling. We headed up towards the top of Buttermere Moss for the view down the otherside of Buttermere itself and Crummock Water. The scenery is epic round here. We carried on up Robinson but it started to rain. As we reached the top it was time to get the waterproofs on. We continued but as the cloud dropped and visibility dropped to next to nothing it seemed pointless to carry on. A decision to head back to the van for a late lunch was made.

With two sets of wet shoes and waterproofs and a soggy dog the diesel heater in the van came into its own. If you cannot dry stuff in the lakes the fun times will be cut very short. After lunch it was still chucking it down so we went for a little drive and took in some more sights. A quick detour to have a look a Keswick and we dropped into see the team at Sick + Wrong who pointed us in the direction of a good area to camp out. Keswick was busy so we didn’t stay long.

The recommendation was spot on. We found a nice flat spot to park by a little river, surrounded by hills and with no one about. Ideal. We set up camp and went for a little stroll. It was nice to cook dinner in the van and be fully self sufficient.

The next day was really windy with visibility coming and going with heavy rain showers. Not ideal for getting up high on the ridges we were surrounded by so we figured sticking in the valleys was the way to go. We followed the river up the valley and kept going. The lakes offer stunning views whichever way you look. We headed back to the van to get dinner sorted by nightfall.

Another day and this time much brighter and nowhere near as windy. We had breakfast in the sun outside before setting off for the day. This time we headed up towards an old mine before climbing up a gulley onto the top of the ridge. We walked along the ridge to the top of Carrock Fell before making our way back down. From the top of the ridge we saw a lake high up on the opposite side of the valley so decided to head there later!

After a drink and some food we set off for a late afternoon hike up to Bowscale Tarn which we had spotted earlier. This was a short but steep climb up on tired legs. As the sun dipped the views across the valley w

That night the skies were clear so I grabbed the tripod out of the boot to have a go at a couple of night shots. It has been a while since I messed about with long exposures and using a torch to paint in the foreground. Always harder than you think to make good night shots!

With a load of bad weather on the way and keen to avoid weekend crowds we decided to head home! This also coincided with running out of water and food. We will be back though!