Well, I’m back from camp and now feeling slightly more with-it than I was before. All that fresh air had obviously had an effect (not to mention the wine and lack of sleep) so last night wasn’t a night for coherent writing.
Friday started out reasonably bright, and the van was packed up and pointed north. Unfortunately as I got further north the weather get a lot wetter and darker. I arrived ok, having found some rather narrow lanes courtesy of the scrap-nav. Having slithered through a rather muddy entrance I found a place to park, stuck the kettle on and caught up with the others who were already there. As the afternoon wore on the field filled up with campers, and thankfully there was only one who needed towing out of the mud, but I won’t mention any names. The rest of the day and night was spent in the usual manner of putting up tents, making brews and catching up with gossip.
Saturday dawned grey and damp with plenty of low cloud, and wasn’t looking good for the handfasting. During the morning people wandered off to do their own thing; sightseeing, shopping, walking and so on. I spent it relaxing and recovering from the night before. Never underestimate the curative powers of Gingerbread! As the day wore on preparations were made for the handfasting; a willow arch made, cords decorated, and much more. At 5 we all dug out our finery and headed off to the designated spot to watch the happy couple get wed. Although the weather wasn’t perfect, at least the wind died down and the rain held off. After that it was back to the campsite for more socialising in the mod-pod, sampling various wines and watching the skies clear.
Sunday was a complete contrast to what had gone before. Clear skies, lots of sunshine and warm temperatures. 4 of us decided to get out and make the most of the day, so we piled into the car and headed out to explore the local area. First up was a wander around Keswick where we stoked up with a hot pie and a drink before going in search of Castlerigg stone circle. We arrived at the circle to find an ice-cream van, cars parked all along the road and lots of Japanese tourists. The circle itself is interesting, and the views all around are spectacular, looking out to Helvellyn, Skiddaw, Blencathra and Lonscale Fell. We spent a bit of time trying to figure out where the sunrise/set points would be, but decided that Google would be easier when we had more time. Unfortunately the visit was marred by the idiots who seemed to think there was nothing wrong with climbing up the stones, even if it was liable to damage the lichens which take forever to grow on them.
After leaving Castlerigg we headed
off in search of the Ospreys of Bassenthwaite (via the ‘scenic’ route). Eventually we spotted a sign for Ospreys – 1 mile. It would seem that a Cumbrian mile isn’t the same as anywhere else, but we got there eventually. We hiked up to the lower viewing point to be greeted by spectacular views, and the news that we’d have to go up to the upper viewing point, which is only ½ mile further on. Yes, one of those miles again. When we got there we were fortunate enough to see both birds on the nest, flying, and one of them being mobbed by a Buzzard. It was even possible to get
a photo through one of the scopes. The views were every bit as spectacular as from the lower site. Once we’d had our fill of Osprey spotting we headed back down for a well deserved cup of tea and slice of cake, before heading back to camp, stopping off to pick up some wine for the quiz.
Arriving back at camp there was just time to have dinner and take down the mod-pod before donning the waistcoat-of-many-colours to host the UKP May camp quiz, complete with music round. Top prize went to Gawain, and AMF got the booby prize box of chocs. The rest of the evening was passed around the camp fire debating the merits of hot potatoes.
Monday morning was another beautifully sunny one. The sun on my back was wonderful as I stood and cooked breakfast. Once that was done it was time to stow the van, say my farewells and head home with store of memories and a few photos.