Epic 2-day Hike and Wild Camp in the Upper Esk Valley
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While Scafell Pike is often crowded,, most people ascending to the roof of England do so from Wasdale or Borrowdale, thus not appreciating the magnificent valley to the south-east. Taking in the major fells that ring the head of Eskdale, this round includes many of the highest, most interesting and most popular peaks in England, taking in both Scafell and Scafell pike.
Traversing some of Lakeland's biggest fells in a clockwise fashion, we’ll be splitting this route over two days and camping high up in the Esk valley where we hope to get incredible views (a d a sunset). We will be slowed by carrying our camping gear with us the whole route and we will have to take great care while descending the scramble route from Scafell to Scafell Pike, but because we’re camping, we get two whole days to take in this breathtaking landscape.
Never wild camped before? This will not be an easy introduction to wild camping; however, as long as you've camped before and have access to a lightweight tent and brew kit, you can do this - see below for details of kit required. That said, some mountain walking experience and a good level of fitness will make difference between a memorable trip and a miserable one.
- Distance: 24 km
- Ascent: 1770m
For full route, see here *Please note that exact route and camping location is heavily weather dependent and subject to revision*
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What to bring
In addition to the usual hillwalking gear - details below - you will need to bring your camping kit. Unlike car-camping, however, wild camping requires lighter kit and a nit more thought to ensure that you have everything you need for a safe and comfy trip, without buckling beneath the weight of it all; your full rucksack (including water) should weigh less than 16kg (and less than 25% of your bodyweight).
- Lightweight tent - 1-2 man 3 season tent is ideal
- Sleeping matt
- Sleeping bag - make sure this is kept dry
- Spare dry clothes (leggings or long johns are great to change into)
- Extra Water containers (hydration bladders can be a pain to fill from a stream) and purification tablets
- Camping stove and pans, plus fuel
- Knife, fork, spoon
- Head torch and spare batteries
- Hygiene kit - tooth brush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser, biodegradable soap
- A small trowel (plastic is best) and loo roll
- Ziplock bags for your rubbish
- Drybags - for protecting all your kit items
- Midge repellant - they love to come out while you’re having your evening meal
- Swimmers (River Ask has some amazing swim spots!)
Regular Mountain Kit:
- Rucksack: For carrying all your camping kit, a daypack is no use, You should source an expedition pack or otherwise comfy pack of 60-90litres
- Boots: waterproof and breathable hiking boots with good ankle support
- Gaiters: recommended for wet weather or boggy conditions
- Socks: proper walking socks will keep your feet dry and help prevent blisters, and carry a spare, dry pair
- Walking Poles: always optional, love them or hate them, but give them a try and decide for yourself
- Layered clothing: lets you quickly adapt to changes in the weather and body temperature. Go for a base layer (vest or t-shirt) and a mid layer (a micro fleece or shirt) and in cooler weather add an outer layer (a windproof jacket or thick fleece)
- Trousers: no jeans as they become heavy and cold in the rain, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry and on warm days shorts are OK
- Waterproof jacket: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry.
- Gloves: Windproof, or better still, waterproof gloves are the best choice, bring a spare pair if expecting rain.
- Hat or cap: stay warm in winter and shaded in summer
- Sunglasses: for any sunny day, even in winter
- Sun cream: can be useful even on cloudy and winter days
- Emergency equipment: additional high energy food, a survival bag, a whistle, a medical kit, a torch and something to make fire (either storm proof matches or a firelighter
- Map and compass: the walk leader will have these, but if you like map reading or want to develop your skills, bring yours along
- Mobile Phone: keep it in a waterproof bag for use in emergencies, and a spare battery/charger is a good idea
- Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
- Waterproof bags: keep spare clothing, electronics and anything else dry even when your rucksack leaks by using Ziploc type food bags or, better still, outdoor activity waterproof bags
The wild camping code: Leave no trace
This is the crucial rule of wild camping and ideally you will create minimum impact on your desired area so it still remains natural and wild. Better still, you should leave the site so no one can tell you’ve even been there.
Food & drink
We'll be carrying everything we need for two days; that means in addition to the usual daytime lunch and snacks (x2) (nuts, seeds, oatcakes/crackers, cheese, cereal bars, sarnies, chocolate etc.) we'll need an evening meal and a light breakfast. Good lightweight foods are instant noodles, powdered soup, instant porridge, muesli, milk powder. It's worth remembering that rice and pasta can take quite a while to cook, which means using more gas. Real fruit and vegetables can be very welcome luxuries, but can be heavy.
We'll be sure to camp near a water supply so we can restock for day 2, but you may wish to bring water purification tablets or boil water before drinking.