Go for a hike with Ben and Skye Posted by Matt in Out in Nature on 3rd May 2017

Even though it was early March, the weather was surprisingly nice for the time of year; a relatively warm 15 degrees centigrade in the morning and not a cloud in the sky. Still, one thing I have learnt over the years is you can never trust the weather – even less in the North of England and certainly less when hiking in the mountains. With this in mind I was sure to pack the essentials for our hike in the Patterdale Valley area of the Lake District. The walk we had planned was a relatively low level ten mile hike following a stream up to a small body of water in an area I was familiar with; only the week before a few of us were driven off the surrounding mountains by sideways sleet at over 2,500ft, forced into the shelter of the valley.



This walk was fairly straight forward with the occasional scramble in places – somewhere that I could take the girlfriend without worrying that I would get us lost. It was essentially a reverse of our defeat the week prior, but this time a leisurely picnic at the tarn and a few photo opportunities (and no mountains unfortunately). I am quite the mountain goat, as is Skye, my miniature labradoodle. Emma on the other hand, doesn’t trust me not to haul her up the biggest mountain I can find, after previous “It’s not THAT far… It’s not THAT steep” incidents.



After agreeing that Grisedale Tarn will be a manageable gradient (still… 1700ft isn’t to be sniffed at), we set off on the familiar drive up to the Lake District. Arriving at around dinnertime, we unloaded the car. Skye was harnessed, provisions were checked and double checked, and packed layers were confirmed. For me, it’s all about the layers, especially in unpredictable weather. A nice thick coat is great for a short walk with the dogs, which is mainly what I use my Skogstad Vikavatnet technical jacket for.

On this occasion I had my Falk baselayer on, Hesthoi microfleece jacket for the beginning of the walk at least, utility pants and a good sturdy pair of walking boots. In the easy-to-reach rucksack pocket I had my Husnuten hat for when the wind picked up and the Storhornet shell jacket tucked away in the main compartment for if the weather took a turn for the worst like it did the week prior (did I mention that there was a blizzard a few days earlier?… Yes we were expecting snow at the top!). There was a chance I wouldn’t need most of my gear, but then I would rather be safe than sorry – for weeks there has been increased reports in the Lake District of people setting off on hikes without the correct equipment and having to be rescued… I don’t fancy adding to that statistic!



Setting off on the walk, the warmth was realised quite quickly and the fleece was removed just as promptly. At this temperature and my walking pace, the baselayer was brilliant at keeping me at the right temperature with even the occasional breeze being welcomed. After an initial steep lane sheltered by tree canopy, the road levelled out into a path hugging a babbling shallow beck on our right. We stop to have a little mess around and cool down in the water and I take a picture of the snow-capped fells in the distance.







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