Mountains, Forests, and Roman Forts (Oh my!)

Current Song: ‘Lost Lula’ Pharis and Jason Romero

I’ve just returned home from a weekend of camping with EUMC in the Lake District!  Back in my room, I finally took my first shower in two days, put on my sushi pajamas, and brewed a proper cup of Earl Grey.

The location for this meet was the Lake District, an area in western England filled with lakes, mountains, and cute slate houses.  This weekend was also my first time in England!

We drove down Friday night and arrived at the campsite around 11:30.  Every pitched their tents in a hurry.  It’s a little frantic when everyone first arrives to get the best spot – you want to be close enough to the bathroom and water spouts but far enough away to enjoy the campsite.  It was also pitch dark so you need a head torch if you want to accomplish anything.

Here’s a quick map of the route:

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Saturday morning I got up around 7:45.  The first morning is always the best – since we arrived at night you couldn’t see anything beyond your head torch.  So in the morning when I crawled out of my tent I got my first views of England!  It was so beautiful.  The mountains are not as high as they are here in Scotland, but there are more forests and especially in the Lake District… lakes.  Getting ready for the day, I made a quick breakfast on my stove and figured out a plan for the day with my friends.

you can see our tents on the far left hand side.

you can see our tents on the far left hand side.

We all decided to hike the ridge west of the campsite that included the peaks of Bow Fell, Crinkle Craig, and two other peaks that I honestly can’t remember the names of.  We left camp around 9:00 AM and drove to a car park about five miles from the campsite and then set out for the day.

might be a natural rock stacker tbh

might be a natural rock stacker tbh

The weather was stunning – I was so glad that it wasn’t raining and there was just enough cloud cover to provide shade but still sunny enough to stay relatively warm.  It was honestly a great hike.

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We did however, run into a fell running race.  For those of you that don’t know what fell running is – it’s a blasted insane sport of literally running down a mountain side.  I envy the runners abilities, but they are honestly insane.  I tried fell running just for bit after a huge wave passed by us and I literally fell… running.

The trek was long, around 12 miles by the end of the day, so we had to keep pace to be back to camp by 5 but we did take our time.  There are springs and small ponds all over the tops of the mountains so we skipped stones for a bit and broke for snack breaks.  It was nice to be able to just sit and enjoy the countryside – of course you had to watch where you sat.  Sheep are goats are grazing everywhere.  A few joined us up on the peaks.

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We made it back down to the car park around 4, and decided to walk back to the camp.  Along the way we ran into rows of wild blackberries and we could have gotten home a lot sooner – but a lot hungrier!  My group even filled bag to save for breakfast Sunday morning.

the full view of the ridge from the distance - we started on Bow Fell which is just out of the picture on the right.

the full view of the ridge from the distance – we started on Bow Fell which is just out of the picture on the right.

That evening everyone at camp cooked their dinners and sat around chatting about their routes.  A few groups had actually gone climbing – which sounds so fun.  I’ve been going to the indoor gym and have been bouldering and top roping, but I am looking forward to learning how to outdoor climb.  I’m just so up for trying new things and love a challenge (typical American).

dinner time - camping style.

dinner time – camping style.

Around 7:30 everyone started the trek down to the pub for the night.  Some of the older members of the club said that pub was five miles away, but honestly it only felt like three.  Either way it was a nice walk through open fields with, for the millionth time, dozens of sheep.

When we got to the pub I was excited to see that they had Old Peculier on tap.  I remember my dad always said to look for it and try it.  It was actually pretty good.

shout out to dad for the drink recommendation.

shout out to dad for the drink recommendation.

My group soon set to planning for our next day.  We pulled out the map and started to look in the opposite direction of where we had gone.  That’s when I saw it and nearly threw my drink.

In Ambleside, about eight miles away was a Roman Fort.  We devised a route through the village of Langdale, then take a path in wooded area, up and over a small ridge and then down into Ambleside for lunch at the Fort.

the small village of Langdale.

the small village of Langdale.

Amblside in the distance

Ambleside in the distance

Sunday morning we all got ready quickly and set off by 9:20 AM.  It was definitely a change of scenery from the day before.  We started along a river and into a forested area that looked like a cross between Narnia and the Lord of the Rings.  Then we had a nice ascent to the top of a ridge that overlooked Grasmere Lake.  From the top we could see Ambleside, the largest town in the Lake District and set course for Lake Windermere and the Roman Fort.

climbed and mountain and so pumped for this fort.

climbed a mountain and so pumped for this fort.

I was so excited to see the fort.  It was in the middle of a pasture and you could walk right up to the ruins.  There wasn’t much left – save for the foundations of the gatehouse, officer’s house, main building, and the granary.

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We broke for lunch in of course the granary.  Which I don’t know if is the coolest or the nerdiest thing I could have done.  I was just imagining how many ancient Romans would have gone to that building for food – it seemed like the perfect place to stop for a meal.  We had a little extra time after lunch to look around the fort itself.

lunch in the granary. #nerdalert

lunch in the granary. #nerdalert

It was actually my first Roman Fort in Britain.  So it was exciting to finally see the stuff that I have been studying for so long.  Also, it’s probably because I didn’t grow up with it basically in my backyard – but I still can’t get used to having Roman ruins like this just laying about in the middle of a cattle field.  It’s so crazy!

actual tears.

actual tears.

more tears.

more tears.

We took a shorter route back to the campsite and stopped at the pub nearby.  Everyone was super happy about our routes and I was honestly still through the roof about the Roman Fort.

Back at camp, everyone packed quickly and then we were on our way back to Edinburgh.  I slept most of the way home – totally exhausted but definitely glad that I went.

Now, I’ve got classes starting at 10:00 AM tomorrow, but I’ll probably just take Monday slow and enjoy my lectures.

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