Walking

Video: Lake District

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Some time ago we spent 5 days walking and wild camping in the Lake District and totally forgot that we’d filmed the whole thing! Alas, we introduce a rather belated video from a trip last summer. We hope this video will give you an insight into the ever changing weather, sheer beauty and the day-to-day walking lifestyle of the Lakes. Not to mentioned the huge cream teas that we devoured in every village!

If you’ve never wild camped before it’s a truly liberating way of getting face to face with the great outdoors, but with most of life’s little luxuries stripped away. It teaches you to really consider your needs against your wants, how to improvise and makes each day an adventure. Some days we walked for 10 hours while others were more like 4 but after some dinner cooked up on a stove and good nights sleep next to a lake you’re always ready for a big hike the next day.

Anyhow, here’s the video:

We wrote a whole article about wild camping in the Lake District, which is the perfect companion piece for planning and budgeting for a loop around the lakes. Here it is:

 
 

Video: Mark Walking The World

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So following on from Ali's walking video, Here is my 10 months of travel condensed into a few minutes. We recorded little moments of walking, trekking or hiking (they're all the same thing right?) from across the globe that took us all across these countries: Slovenia, Slovakia, Russia, Mongolia, China, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Jordan, Armenia and Georgia.

Music is Lemon Jelly's 'Ramblin Man', Enjoy...

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Travel: 5 Day Wild Camping Loop In The Lake District

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The roasting sun had been shining in London for months, our flat was dry, creaky and sun bleached.  Parks were bursting at the seams and my tan was reaching it’s Mediterranean limit.

So, we jested, why not ditch the the hottest heatwave since the 70s for some of England’s tallest mountains, largest lakes and most glorious countryside during its wettest month of the year! Welcome to the Lake District, a place whose precipitous weather predictions were correct. Despite the wet weather we had a fantastic time exploring lakes by foot, which was made all the more adventurous by wild camping.

 

Derwent Water

Derwent Water

We were drawn to the lakes after a short trip in May offered by Ali’s family. The Lake District provides many activities and it does so across a relatively small area of land. We saw potential for a walking adventure, so we arranged a trip back a few months later, oblivious to how wet it might be. Our plan was to take our camping equipment and wild camp our way between as many of the northern lakes (the quieter ones) as possible. We didn’t plan the route and did most of our mapping via Maps.me, deciding as we went where we’d go next. We also opted to keep this trip budget, aiming to spend £25 a day, we’ll let you know how we got on.

 

Travel

We travelled to Penrith from London via National Express on a night bus, acquiring £10 tickets pp per way.  We slept on the bus and set alarms for 5am when we arrived at Penrith. Luckily there’s a 24hr McDonald’s next to the bus stop were we could wait until 7am when the first bus (X5) to Keswick arrives. The bus takes about 45 minutes and costs £7.40 pp. For the rest of our visit we would be walking, so pack your boots!

Lake Buttermere

Lake Buttermere

Planning

There aren’t many places to restock your food provisions once you leave Keswick. So if you’re planning on walking the route, make sure you’ve thought about your supplies for the amount of days you'll be camping for. The following supplies lasted us for 4 days. We carried cheese, which could pose a few health risks if it gets hot, luckily for us the environment was cool and the cheese lasted well in the depths of our bags. Our food cost £22 for 4 days.

 

Breakfast

  • Instant Coffee

  • Milk powder

  • Porridge

  • Cinnamon

Snacks

  • Biscuits

  • Nuts

  • Bananas

  • Apples

Lunch

Sandwich made from:

  • Cheese

  • Bread

  • Spicy Chipotle Paste

  • Tomato

Or

  • Noodles

  • Spicy paste

Dinner

  • Salt & Pepper (brought from home)

  • Olive oil (brought from home)

  • Garlic

  • Pasta

  • Courgette

  • Tomato purée and water

  • Cheese

Those homemade sandwiches....

Those homemade sandwiches....

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Water

This was the trickiest part because people we chatted too were iffy on if we chould drink from the streams as there’s so much livestock. We didn't take any risks and filled up at pubs, cafes, campsites and even knocked on someone’s door. Everyone was happy to help us. We left London with 2 x 1 litre bottles and scavenged 2 x 500ml plastic water bottles, which we cleaned and reused. This was enough for half a day, with water for drinking and water for cooking with. We brought water purification tabs with us too but didn’t use them.

 

Equipment

We didn’t buy anything new for this trip, opting to use our beaten old equipment that wasn’t very expensive in the first place. Point being, you don’t need fancy equipment to get your camp on...you will find a link to our living in a tent post at the bottom of this article.

 

  • 2 person lightweight Berghaus tent - 2kg

  • sleeping bag (1 per person)

  • hob

  • gas

  • pots, pans and lids

  • small wooden spoon

  • 1 litre water bottle (1 per person)

  • penknife

  • cup (1 per person)

  • spork (1 per person)

  • waterproof jacket

  • decent hiking boots

  • gaffa tape

  • first aid kit

  • quick dry towel

  • torch

  • waterproof trousers

  • warm clothes, hat, gloves

  • phone charger / battery charger for emergencies

  • entertainment - ebook, cards, music etc

  • suncream and hat

Optional luxuries

  • roll mat

  • blow up pillow

  • dry bag

 

Map

Here is the route we took on our wild camp adventure...

Here is the route we took on our wild camp adventure...

 

Walking Route

The walk up to Castle Crag

The walk up to Castle Crag

Day 1 /  10 hours walking 

This was longest walk of the loop as we wanted to wake up somewhere new for day 2. Arriving in Keswick at 8am we started by stocking up on food at the Co-op and set off clockwise around lake Derwent aiming for the Chinese bridge. You’ll pass the Lodore Falls Hotel where you can restock your water. From the Chinese bridge we skirted south around the fell towards Manesty and then Castle Crag, these are clearly signposted. If you’re feeling tired you could camp at Rosthwaite or Borrowdale, which lie at the bottom of the Honister pass. If you’ve still got the beans head up to the Honister pass along the roadside path where you’ll soon see a YHA hostel and slate mine with cafe. We were tired so it would have been rude not enjoy a cake, or two (£4.50) and a free hot water!

With our sugars replenished we set off down the western side of the pass towards Gatesgarth aiming for Buttermere lake. Unfortunately, the only route available, short of tackling the Great Gable, is along the road or an easily missed mountain pass (which we did miss). The surroundings are stunning and this particular road is often cited as one of the most beautiful in the country, so walking it ain’t so bad. After 2 hours the lake becomes visible and we trace around the right of lake to find a secluded spot under large trees just below the huge rough ramblers house. Camp setup, we continue along Buttermere for another 30 mins into the village to restock our water and enjoy a swift half at the The Fish Inn. The sun shines at 5pm and we smile contently in the beer garden before heading back to the tent for supper with aching legs.

 

Sunset at Lake Derwent

Sunset at Lake Derwent

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Day 2 / 7 hours walking

It’s very wet the next morning so rather than tackle the Hay Stacks, a high fell overlooking Buttermere, we decide to walk the opposite way around the lake into Buttermere villlage. A whole circuit of Buttermere will take 2hrs. We arrive completely soaked and hit up the Skye Farm Tea Room for cream tea, which costs £4.50 per person and fills us up like Popeye and spinach. A rest bite from the elements is welcomed as we plan the remainder of the day. Rather ignorantly, we failed to notice the huge lake nestled above Buttermere! So spend the rest of the day enjoying a circuit around lake Crummock, which is a far quieter and larger excursion than Buttermere. The walk is lovely and changes across the circuit, and the sun even comes out towards the end.  Ali returns to camp to find she has a burnt nose, that sneaky afternoon sun can catch you off guard so pack your suncream!

On the way to a rosey nose!

On the way to a rosey nose!

A circuit around Crummock takes 4 hours at a leisurely pace. Wild camping makes washing difficult so we decide to dunk ourselves in the ice cold lake in our underwear.  The French tourists laughed furiously as we flapped about in the water, it was worth it to hit the sleeping bag so fresh and so clean (yeah, think Outkast!).

Alternatively, if the weather is dry and mountains clear you could enjoy a day walk up Hay Stacks /Scarth Gap/ High Crag peaks.

 

On the way up Hay Stacks

On the way up Hay Stacks

Day 3 / 10 hours walking

The day started sunny with clear mountain peaks so we set off early and restocked our water with some kind rough ramblers staying in the house above our camp spot. Destination.... Hay Stacks. On a sunny day this is a relatively accessible climb to 600 meters. But on our trek the rain clouds returned, the wind picks up and we get drenched. The peak includes a scramble and the high winds put us off, so we found another route to the top around the back of the peak. This secondary route gave us a pretty sweet view of lake Ennerdale further east. The rain clouds were so misty that we couldn’t see any of the lakes to the north, so we go for a quick dash down. From the top of Hay Stacks it’s a clearly routed, if rather slippery, path that returns you to the farmhouse near Buttermere. We heard this walk should take 3 hours but it took us nearer 4.

 

Praying for some sun, we packed down camp and trekked to Buttermere village again and enjoyed another round of cream tea, at £4.50 each.  We just can't get enough of those warm scones!  Plus we need the calories with this much walking.  We had heard there was a shop at Lorton so we set off north along the road running parallel to lake Crummock. What Google suggested was a two hour walk was, in reality, a 4 hour one. Especially as we took a scenic path on a national cycle route via Thackthwaite. Although preferable to the road, it took far longer. If you’re tired then just stay on the main road. We checked out a few of the campsites nearby but they were pretty grotty and overpriced. So we headed to the hills behind the Wheatsheaf Inn for a wild camp spot, finding a secluded pitch about 10-15 mins from the pub. We enjoyed a rather lavish supper at the Wheatsheaf and slept like stones (or maybe scones) after the 10 hours of walking!

 

Walking to Lorton

Walking to Lorton

Day 4 / 5 hours walking 

We awoke early to a spritely farmer rounding his sheep in the next field, so we decided to do a runner before he told us off for camping there! At 8am we stomped into High Lorton and onto a country lane that would later join onto the B5292 via Whinlatter forest, heading east to Keswick. Finally the sun that the rest of country and had been enjoying all week hit the Lake District and we wonder through pine forests for 3 hours in beautiful sunshine. Although a lightly busy road, the fine views more than make up for the cars. We stop for some more cream scones (£5 for 2) in Braithwaite and arrive back in Keswick for lunch, cheap homemade Mali sandwiches of course! 

 

We doze in the Lower Fitz park all afternoon and set off around the Derwent for our final camping spot in the sun overlooking the lake. We find an absolute beauty about 40 mins in and watch an incredible sundown in surely the most stunning camping spot we’ve ever christened! A weather app makes us very aware that the forecast is awful for the whole next day. Enjoy it while it lasts, as they say.

 

Day 5

For our final day we had planned a hike up Skiddaw, north east of Keswick, but the weather was awful again. Think torrential rain until 12pm. Plans dashed, we moved to Weatherspoons to enjoy unlimited refills on hot drinks that fuelled the writing of this post. Later we jump on a bus (£7.40pp) back to Penrith before our night bus back to London (£10pp), with a few pints to inebriate the evening, ready for solid if awkward sleep on the bus. Last stop, the big smoke.

 

£4.50 Cream tea, get in!

£4.50 Cream tea, get in!

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Cost

Well our target for this trip was £25 a day, borrowed from the type of spending normally associated with Asia! We just about did it, averaging £22 (for two people) including travel and food. By wild camping we saved £75 and also gained the satisfaction of sleeping in some really interesting places, away from the often noisy hubbub of a campsite. We have omitted some of the luxuries like pints and cream teas because they’re not essential for the trip. If you were to add them in it will take our total up to £38 a day (for two people) which still ain’t bad for a trip in pricey old Blighty.

If you get a chance to trek up Cat Bells by Derwent Water on a clear day then you won't be disappointed by the views!

If you get a chance to trek up Cat Bells by Derwent Water on a clear day then you won't be disappointed by the views!

Video

 

With a bit of planning, the right equipment and the will to go against the grain a little, you can have a wild low cost adventure in one of the most beautiful spots in the country. We hope you feel Inspired to get out there and start your own exploration! It’s so much easier than you think...

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Video: Ali Walking The World

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Here is 10 months of travel condensed into just a few minutes. We recorded little moments of walking, trekking or hiking (they're all the same thing right?) from across the globe that took us to the following countries: Slovenia, Slovakia, Russia, Mongolia, China, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Jordan, Armenia and Georgia.

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Lifestyle: I Left My Boots In Georgia

A piece about walking, lifestyle changes and life at home.

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Those Boots Are Made For Walking 

When we started a travel blog in 2017, never did I think I’d write a piece about my 7 year old walking boots! Arriving back home in London I started thinking about what I missed most about our ten months of travel and my conclusion was my walking boots. It’s not that I miss the actual specifics of the so-old-they’re-flapping-open North Face’s, but the therapeutic qualities of strapping them on and embarking on a days excursion with Ali. The boots seem to symbolise freedom, change and health, with every day of travel building on the last. Walking, standing and sometimes running was the action that embodied our daily transitions, so when we decided to walk as often as we could, our journeys became and felt more physical.  I miss the simplicity of being on my feet all day.

 

Flow

There’s a lot to be said for the process of preparing for a long walk; slipping on some thick socks, lacing up, preparing for changing weather, packing food and water and setting off into the unknown. The act of walking is a therapeutic one and I always feel better after a walk than before. It’s most special when you find that perfect balance, your flow. There’s always a point in a walk where it becomes sub-conscious. Your mind is clear of the day-to-day humdrum, conversation gushes and your appreciation for what's around you becomes heightened. After a year of hiking around the globe, walking is truly the best therapy I’ve felt, a perfect combination of fitness and mindfulness, all for free. For the folks that enjoy a long hike, you’ll know the sweet-spot where you find the ‘flow’. The perfect state where the mind is freed of stresses and it’s just your company, nature and the rhythm of each step forward that matters.

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Opening Eyes

Developing a passion for walking has also helped foster a fascination with nature. I used to just see trees, fields and lakes, and now I spot the details and get excited about the little features of the walk. Once I saw a bird fishing, now I notice a heron skilfully preying. Perhaps it’s age, but spending time in nature deals me healing properties and the older I get the more time I need to spend outdoors, this very article has been put together in Hackney Downs park.  It’s as if we spend our formative years experimenting with the world to see what we love about it. Reflecting back, I can see I was far more interested in vaguely hollow pleasures like technology, clubbing and cinema; all great things but also indoor pursuits. Finding a passion for the great outdoors grew from experiencing incredible landscapes in places like Norway, Mongolia and China, as well as spotting the unearthly fauna like vultures, elephants and camouflaging lizards in the wild. The world is much more exciting when you’re eyes are open to it.

A camoflaged rare lizard in Sri Lanka

A camoflaged rare lizard in Sri Lanka

 

Green Grass

Walking in other countries has definitely made me appreciate the UK’s natural wonders. We were invited up to the Lake District by Ali’s family a few weeks after we got home and were totally blown away by the Lakes and mountains around Keswick. It taught me it’s far too easy to under-appreciate our own countries natural wonders, naively, assuming that the grass is always greener. The UK’s open fields are some of the greenest I’ve ever seen and it’s mountains are decent too. We loved it so much we booked our summer holiday back to the very same place, lucky Keswick! 

UK 9 lake district.jpg

 

Back In London

Having just mentioned how green everything is, the U.K. is actually enjoying and sweltering in the longest and strongest heatwave since the 1970s and grass isn’t so green right now. It’s been the perfect time to get outside in the evenings when it’s cooler, so we’ve been enjoying strolls on the Hackney Marshes in East London and pondering what we could do next now that we are home. We’ve clearly been missing the simpler travel life so are having little adventures like cycling instead of bussing, even when the cycle is a two hour off-road route from Salisbury to a wedding we went to! We’ve been busy making Studio Mali into a business and using Airbnb help with bills whilst Ali gets her products into the world. But from time to time I can’t help my mind wondering back to those long walks in nature.

Ali has been busy developing her new Ebony Necklace inspired by our travels!

Ali has been busy developing her new Ebony Necklace inspired by our travels!

 

22 Days Straight

The pinnacle of our walking lives was the epic 22 day trek around the Annapurna mountains in Nepal. High altitude, snow, rain, flu and food poisoning all had be to contended with but through the challenges came satisfaction and fulfilment, and ultimately, walking in Nepal was my biggest highlight of the trip. There was something very primeval about filling up on porridge, packing up and setting off along the apple pie route, named after the apple orchards that grow so plentifully around the ring of the mountains. Even when we hit the high altitudes of the Thorong-La Pass at 5,400km I enjoyed looking down to spot my wooly socks peeping out the side of my walking boots. It was careless to attempt such a challenging trek with substandard kit but I wanted to finish the trip with the same boots, I was compelled too. The boots survived, and so did I, and in a moment of ceremony on our last day I left the 7 year old boots on a bridge in Tbilisi, Georgia. Hopefully they might bring somebody some pleasure, they certainly did for me.

Goodbye old friends 

Goodbye old friends 

 

What did I learn from this close relationship to my walking boots? (I never thought i’d say those words together) ….Appreciate what you have and really consider when you need something and when you want something. Distinguishing between those two points has been very important since roaming the streets of the oh-so-commerical London again where everyone is grappling for your earnings. If you can teach yourself to be happy with what you have then living a simpler, lower cost, life is entirely possible even in an expensive place like the U.K. Be happy with what you have and, like walking is for me, find that thing gives you pleasure and do it everyday. 

 

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Video: Armenia

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Flying in to Armenia was the perfect chilled-out antidote to three hectic weeks in the Middle East. The capital Yerevan was a calming experience with the first European vibe we'd felt in 7 months. We loved it so much that we forgot to record any footage, yes it was that relaxing! Although a little challenging to get around, Armenia offers stunning natural beauty with very few tourists, incredibly friendly people who are really interested in new guests and for the architecture lovers, churches and monasteries galore.

Our travel video will take you through out jaunts in Yerevan, Lake Sevan, Dilijan with a final stop in Ijevan before moving onto Georgia. 

If serenity is your thing, Armenia's your place.

 

Friends...

All of the articles on our website are free but if you can support us by viewing, sharing or even purchasing from our travel-inspired shop, you'd make our day! Every share, like or sale gets us closer to our dream.....you guys rock.

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