Oak Cottage - Loweswater

Retreat to the quiet of the Western Lakes

The Cottage, and  the view up the Buttermere Valley
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Occasion : A two day outdoor training course with Ken Ledward, and five other members of George Fishers staff.

Time and place : 4 / 08 / 03. 9 am start, Braithwaite near Keswick, Cumbria, Uk.

Walk details : Day one - Barrow and Outerside Navigation, chat and a project or two.

Weather :Extremely sunny and hot.



Arrival the evening before meant chance to erect tents and un-roll sleeping mats to ensure a good nights rest.



An early start, VERY EARLY for someone who forgot their watch, meant that we could prepare for breakfast in good time. This involved some complex dealings, but initiative shone through . . . pass the coffee.

Will it all be as easy as this we ask ??

Ken met us at 9 am, and we loaded the van and were away.

Our first exercise was in navigation. We had to estimate distances, calculate the length of walking paces, and compare pace length up and down a slope. All those things you knew about but never actually practiced for real !!

This was followed by a discussion on trekking poles, their construction and use, and a practical exercise pacing again, this time using the poles as walking aids, and noting the difference they made.

. .

One of the projects was a combination of team-building and communication. Easy - climb the rock, then walk backwards down the 10 mtrs with your mate belaying and guiding you - no problems. But no one mentioned the blindfolds !!

Dave & Mark, Ken and Andy, and finally Dean with Ken, who was not allowed to miss out on the experience either.



Boys Toys ??? No . . . Technical Stuff.

Following a break during which we discussed "layering". Ken produced his laptop, fired up a few humidity sensors, which were duly strapped to various people. In the hot sun of the afternoon those lucky few had to put on Gortex jackets and go for a brisk walk to put the theory into practice, and feel the humidity rise. Thanks Ken - we did believe you first time.

Map and Compass work . . . Here's the route lads . . . go find the markers.

A navigation exercise up Coledale Valley. The prominent track in the background leads to the Force Crag Mines.

Low Moss on Outerside. To get there, a straight climb of over 300 feet in the heat of the day.

The marker, straight down the other side !!

The residue of the scrub fire back in the spring.

Here the blackened earth of Barrow and parts of Outerside were only softened by the new growth of bracken.

The heather seems slow in recovering but the bilberry shoots are showing through, having successfully survived the intense heat of the blaze.


A panorama from the summit of Barrow, looking down on Derwent Water.

North this time to Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw

Enough of enjoying the view, it's back to work with discussions on Bivvy bags and shelters.

Pay attention, this is what you will all be sleeping in tonight.


After a civilized evening meal it was back to the fells above Honister and and overnight "wild camp".

Chance to use and compare head torches. Nice reflective boots John !

An evening brew before turning in. Dave and Mark with stove, and the blue equipment shelter.

Time to put the bivvy together and find some flat ground.

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