This is Cadet Ajvir Sandhu’s interesting account of our wild camp expedition weekend in the Lakes 29 July – 31 Aug.
The expedition started on Friday at around 4pm and the two groups: one of them consisted of experienced cadets and member of the mountaineering team and the other consisted of less experienced cadets set off on different routes. My group had a long hard slog on this day, we gained around 500 metres in height, had to cross some very steep rocky crags. The weather was also quite poor; although there was no rain our visibility was restricted. We arrived at our campsite at around 1930hrs and set up our tents. For many of us it would be our first experience in a high altitude camp. That evening when we were cooking, occasionally the cloud would sometimes give way to some absolutely phenomenal views of a valley and three famous peaks, Bow Fell, Sca Fell and Sca Fell Pike, the biggest mountain in England. We were all tired so we got to bed promptly and survived the night despite our tents being battered by strong winds.
Unfortunately when we woke up on Saturday we still had poor visibility but that didn’t knock our spirits down. We went straight into it and within an hour of us leaving the campsite we had already sumitted Bow Fell and climbed some rather steep and rocky slopes. This time however, we weren’t below the cloud, we were above it. Many of us were amazed by the views because all we could see was a sea of clouds and the odd peak poking through, it was incredibly surreal. We then pressed on to Sca Fell Pike. The final climb to the summit was incredibly difficult and once or twice some members of the team slipped on loose rocks. When we reached the summit, we were all out of breath and very pleased with the fact that we were currently standing on the highest point in England. We stopped for lunch and then carried on.
The descent, like the ascent was extremely rocky and the navigator at the time had a challenge finding the safest route. We had lost a lot of height and many of us were a bit shocked to find we had to gain it all again in order to get to the top of Sca Fell!! Next scrambled up a waterfall, two very steep slopes and then hiked to the top of Sca Fell. Many of us were shattered by the time we had got there but we had all had great fun in doing so and many were amused by CWO Reuben’s antics when trying to get his sweet wrapper out of a Fox’s Tarn. From then on it was all downhill and fairly simple until we encountered a huge, steep scree slope. It was very nerve racking getting down but by the end of it we were all having fun. Our final campsite was near the River Esk.
The last day was simply an hour and a half downhill walk back to the minibus. When we got there we congratulated each other and socialised until the other group, who had done the same route as us but the other way round returned.
Overall it was a very fun experience. Although at times it was tough we still had a great time. I would recommend this trip to anyone who has an interest in the mountains and is up for a challenge.