Apparently this May has been the hottest on record. Even in the north we’ve had some awesome weather which has meant a couple of trips away in the bus and some fairly serious rambling. Not only that but there has been a new addition to the group, albeit of the slightly more modern variety.

The middle of the month saw us head back to Cooper’s campsite in Edale to meet up with Darryl and Jo and the Pageant 7. Now I haven’t actually seen the place in decent weather, so was thoroughly looking forward to it. Clarence had even had a decent clean and wax the weekend before in anticipation of some sunshine. Mr Cooper was actually in pretty chatty form when I arrived, although I’m really not that interested in the price of red diesel or the availability of whatever gas he keeps on site.

Darryl and Jo weren’t scheduled to arrive until later that evening and so I had planned to try to get to the top of Mam Tor and back before they landed. It is so much easier getting up there in the dry and as such I was back at the site with plenty of time, having done a solid 5 miles and had a quick Farmer’s Blonde.

The following day was an absolute scorcher and we had a thoroughly lovely time getting to the top of Kinder Scout, even if it was hot work scrambling in the mid day sun. Still, I’d rather have the heat – I bet it’s pretty bleak up there when the weather’s bad.

Another bus joins the family

Fast forward a week and my plans for a nice quiet bank holiday weekend were thrown into pleasant disarray when my old buddy Oli announced that after some to-ing and fro-ing he was back in the market for a T4. I spotted one in Kendal on eBay which looked a decent buy and within the space of a couple of days the decision was made that we would go and take a look at it. Even if he didn’t buy it, we would have a good day out, having not seen each other since last September. As it turned out, the van turned out to be pretty much spot on so a deal was struck and we agreed to pick it up later that day as the seller had to go out for the afternoon.

The Lakes didn’t seem as busy as you would expect for a bank holiday in May, although all the places we fancied staying at were full. So, as we had some time to kill (and following a very agreeable luncheon and sticker purchase at the Hawkshead brewery), we decided to have a run over to Langdale and see whether we could find anywhere to pitch up for the night. Most conveniently the National Trust had a car park just by the Old Dungeon Ghyll hotel so we decided that we’d head back there once we’d picked the van up.

Obviously we had to stop and take some snaps of both vans at the lay by that has views down the valley on our way back and after having been driving for most of the day I was more than ready for a pint of OP or six at the ODG walker’s bar that evening. There was also tequila involved later in the evening thanks to the guys who were sitting on the same table as us (a couple of bikers who worked in the oil industry and a girl called Clare who worked for the National Trust and who had spent the last 26 days riding around the Lakes with just her horse and dog for company), and I have very vague recollections of us being in a scouse couple’s motorhome and that’s about it!

I must admit that my head was a touch sore the next morning, which was another beautiful day. A roast beef dinner over at the Black Bull may have helped on that front and having loaded up with oatmeal stout we had a quick wander down to the water’s edge before heading home. I think that’s where my legs got bitten to buggery because up to that point I’d been fine. They really went to town on me and Sunday night was agony. Oli made it back the almost 300 miles just fine and I don’t think he was actually in too much trouble when he revealed his purchase to Zinnia!

In a weird (and fairly tenuous) coincidence Facebook reminded me, just yesterday I think it was, that it was 6 years ago to the day that I’d first camped in Clarence down in Salisbury.  Fortunately that was also the last time we came home on the back of a recovery truck! I think the photos are over on the Autumnal Update post. I’ve certainly refined the whole camping experience in that time – I’m not sure I was quite as well prepared as I thought on that occasion!

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