Froswick Wearing it’s Winter Coat

2020 Feb Snowy day up Froswick (8)
Looking across The Tongue to Windermere

It was so quiet I could hear the snow making that spooky creaking noise as I placed each foot carefully.  The snow was so deep it came above my knees in places and melted into my walking boots and  I had no idea why I hadn’t put my gaiters on.  The wind was whipped through my layers of clothing and the hail was hitting my face so hard it hurt.  I simultaneously felt totally alive and sure I was about to die of hypothermia!

Only one fine day was forecast for the week between storms Ciara and Dennis.  ‘Let’s go to the Lake District for the day,’ I suggested, thinking it would be good to make the most of the fine weather after two weeks of being trapped by DIY.  The weather was still expected to be cold and breezy so I pictured us wrapping up for a brisk walk through some attractive sheltered woodland, but I left the planning to my partner.  As I have mentioned before, he is trying to walk up all the Wainwright Fells and so after consulting his lists and our maps, parked the Blue Bus near the church at Troutbeck.  We weren’t early birds and our favoured car park by Trout Beck was busy even on a week day in February and we had to resort to the lay-by up the road.

He pointed up the valley to a snowy ridge and told me we were here to climb Froswick; it was clearly a hill!  There also was not even a hint of sheltered woodland, this was a completely exposed route.  Only 720 m high, Froswick is on the ridge between Thornthwaite Crag and Ill Bell, both of which we have climbed.  Any sensible person would have included Froswick on a walk up one of these bigger neighbours and hardly even noticed the extra exertion.  For some reason Froswick had been missed on all of our trips to the surrounding hills and remained without a tick on the list.

In the valley it was a pleasant enough February day but we set off well wrapped up against the cold we expected as we climbed higher.  The ground was sodden after the heavy rain during the first storm and we jumped over becks and sloshed across bogs on the path from Limefitt Park, following Hagg Gill.

The hardy Herdwick sheep were sheltering where they could and the other walkers we met were all climbing The Tongue, the distinctive hill that sticks out into the valley.  As we climbed higher the landscape became white and the gusts got stronger, the clouds chasing across the horizon and blue sky just occasionally peeping through.  Walking in deep snow is hard work and I was plodding on with my head down, using my walk leader’s footprints to show the way.  I was wearing five layers of clothing and yet could still feel the chill of the wind on my skin!

Looking up from the plodding, I could see the clouds were still high and the top of Froswick was in sight.  I was beginning to think we would get to the top, although I was tired and cold but common sense kicked in and after a brief huddle over the map we jointly decided it would be most sensible to abandon the hill that day.

Descending in deep snow is lots of fun, and much quicker than going up, but it was still almost four in the afternoon by the time we were back at the ‘van.  Although we did have our head torches, walking on wet ground is easier in daylight and it is doubtful whether we would have got to the top and back down before dark.  Knowing when to turn back is an important skill for hill walkers.

I have no doubt we will be back to attempt to walk up Froswick on another day, I just hope it is a bit warmer.

 

 

2017 Campsites through France, Italy to Greece

Greece (98)

We spent a month driving through France and then touring Greece.  Here are the campsites we stayed at until our dream trip was cut tragically short.

 

Campsite name Comments
Pont a Mousson Aire, France Busy aire by river Moselle and pleasant town, full even in April, shops nearby, toilets and shower until 20.00
Les Cent Vignes Municipal Site, Beaune, France Tidy site with hard-standing near the town centre, facilities clean, showers warm, hot water for wash-up, water on pitch and 6 amps.
Le Bourget du Lac aire near Chambery, France Marked pitches, next to campsite, no EHU, can use campsite facilities, open views
Camping Du Bourg, Digne les Bains, France Good views, chalets, friendly welcome, showers have very hot water but shower head hopeless!  Facilities clean but basic, 10 mins walk to town
Camping Val Fleuri, Cagnes sur Mer, France Marked good-sized pitches, pool, 4 km from sea, facilities clean & modern & showers hot, although push button.  Bread brought to pitch in the morning.
Campeggio dei Fiori, Pietra Ligure, Italy 800 m from the sea but peaceful.  Marked pitches, hot water, showers small, 15 mins walk to shops
Le Fonti, Cervarezza Terme, Italy Large site with lots of bungalows, pitch had spectacular views over the valley, sanitary blocks modern with doors, friendly welcome, roomy hot showers & hot water in sinks
Camper Club Mutina, Modena, Italy Well laid out sosta with some grass & trees, clean facilities & good hot showers, 30 mins cycle ride to centre & given a map at reception
Camping Village Mar Y Sierra, Stacciola near Mondolfo, Italy Terraced site & shaded pitches, lovely views across a valley to a pretty Italian town, peaceful.  Facilities clean & modern, showers cramped but hot, adjustable & continuous
Camping Acrogiai, Riza, Greece Had a pitch facing the sea, lots of statics, right on beach, pitch sloped, facilities clean & spacious, water lukewarm, 2 small yapping dogs run around freely!
Camping Apollon, Delphi, Greece Terraced site with stunning views across the bay.  English spoken at reception, bread, marked pitches with some trees, hot water for wash-up & showers, clean facilities, good
Afrodites Waters, Ancient Corinth Very friendly welcome and given fruit & honey.  Small gravel site with marked pitches but little space, 2 toilets & shower & wash-up, water lukewarm, 10 mins walk to Ancient Corinth
Nicholas II, Epidavros On the seafront and under trees, facilities shabby but clean, water only lukewarm for wash up but very hot for showers
Camping Apollon, Delphi As good as the first time!
Camping Sikia, Kato Gatzea, Pelion Peninsular Simply the best campsite.  Friendly owners, beautiful facilities, peaceful coastal location with lovely views from pitches, great walking from the site, lovely bistro.

Meet a Frustrated Travel Agent!

Weer
If I was a travel agent I might send everyone to Austria!

As Thomas Cook disappeared from our high streets I thought about the travel agent’s role and wondered if it will exist for much longer.  This got me thinking … is this a job I should have taken up as a teenager?  I could see myself sitting behind a desk with a PC and a stack of brochures, getting paid to inspire customers with ideas for their dream holiday.  I would explore with each person what makes them tick, what type of holiday they want, what their interests are and try to fit the people to their ideal destination.  Instead travel advice has become something I do freely and perhaps too enthusiastically.  I am always chipping in to help [or overwhelm] friends, colleagues and strangers in the planning of their trips.

A typical example is a friend who was taking her first trip to the West Coast of Scotland and asked if I had any places I would recommend.  Quite sometime later she left with a long list of what I considered were just a start on my top tips of places to visit in this beautiful part of the world, from the grandeur of Glencoe to the stunning Torridon.  When it comes to travel I can never be accused of being unenthusiastic!

Another friend was beginning to plan a trip to Slovenia and asked if I had any recommendations.  Never short of ideas, I emailed her a list from my own experience in that gorgeous country and last year I was able to help a fellow travel writer with suggestions for places to camp on a a trip across Germany from the Czech Republic.

In this last month I was asked for ideas for campsites in the Lake District.  I had to make myself stop after I had listed ten recommendations, each with a link to the website, a review of each site including its pros and cons and what they can do from the site.  At our tai chi class recently I was recommending at length some nearby gardens for snowdrops to a fellow class mate.  My enthusiasm knows few bounds and I don’t always spot the signs that I am overwhelming people!

I can’t help putting my two penn’orth in on social media too and this is a fantastic place for the frustrated travel agent.  I spot a question about somewhere I have visited and I pile in with ideas and tips for campsites and special places to visit.  People ask so many questions about places that are new to them on the various motorhome and campervan groups and lots of fellow travellers will willingly and enthusiastically pipe up with their own recommendations.  I don’t need to yearn to be employed as a travel agent these days, I can just spend my days [when I am not travelling] cruising social media looking for people that are longing for my input!

It isn’t all one-way traffic, I am a taker as well as a giver and I am inspired by other people’s trips.  I note down new places to visit, ideas for walks and campsites and countries to explore that I find on social media.  I also avidly read other travel writers who generously share their favourite places and secret corners to visit via blogs, MMM and Campervan magazines and books.

It is too late for me to be a real travel agent but I can keep sharing my love for travelling with others so that they can also enjoy amazing trips and on the high street Hays Travel seem to be making a success of taking over Thomas Cook, so the travel agent certainly isn’t gone yet!