Lost & Found on Cockup: Going the Extra Mile to Take our Litter Home after Walking up Bakestall

We continue to find hats, scarves, single gloves, walking poles and reusable water bottles on our walks in the Lake District and beyond. Stuff that people have dropped or put down and forgotten to pick up, or kit that has fallen out of their rucksack. On a recent trip up Bakestall behind Skiddaw we found out ourselves how easy it is to leave gear behind on the fells.

We took the long way up Bakestall, not just because we enjoy walking all day [we do] but because parking the Blue Bus isn’t always easy. It is only 5.4m long and 2.2m wide so can fit in a normal parking space and along a narrow lane but that isn’t the only consideration. Sometimes we decide to choose easier to reach but less popular parking and have a longer walk rather than negotiate a narrow lane only to find all the parking spots are taken [in the Lake District this can happen by 09.00]!

Bakestall isn’t often walked on its own, unless you are bagging your Wainwrights and didn’t go up it while you were walking up one of the nearby fells. This is why we were heading up this little hill at just 673m high and tucked away behind Skiddaw. If you are walking up it, own a car and are prepared to get up early you would park in the small parking area on the narrow lane that runs underneath the fell. On a fine August day we rightly guessed that this would be busy and so parked our campervan in a large lay-by just south of the Ravenstone Hotel on the A591, not a parking area for any obvious hill and so much quieter.

From here we walked steeply up the wooded hillside and out onto the open fell, descending down to the bridge over Chapel Beck and the minor road from the A591, picking up the track up Dash Beck a short distance along this road. From
Whitewater Dash falls we climbed up Bakestall and stopped to chat to a friendly walking group who were continuing onto Skiddaw. We took a good grassy route downhill, onto the steep slopes of Cockup and followed a path that skirted above the intake wall to rejoin our outgoing route by the ridge from Ullock Pike.

This was mostly a good path with stretches through bracken and short tricky sections in and out of gullies. It was going smoothly until we had a small cock up on Cockup. On one section of footpath through bracken, I was in front and just avoided tripping up on a stone hidden by undergrowth. Before I could warn my walking partner he tripped up and flew headlong into the grass and bracken. Ready to grab the first aid kit, I was relieved to find that nothing was broken or even cut. Neither of us could believe we had got away without damaging anything after such a dramatic fall.

Back at the ‘van we realised we hadn’t quite got away with it. Our favourite and most-used water bottle must have flown out of the outside rucksack pocket as my partner lost his footing on the fellside. We were gutted and it seemed ironic that two people who are always picking up lost items should themselves mislay something that will become litter on the hills. It seemed too far to go back so we tried to accept the loss but all evening it kept niggling!

The next day we had a fairly easy hike up Mungrisdale Common. It was mid-afternoon when we returned to the ‘van and we both knew what we were going to do. We drove the Blue Bus along the narrow lane to the bottom of Bakestall, thinking there was more likelihood of a parking space at that time of day. We were lucky, there was one space free that was Blue Bus size. Walking back along the road, we picked up the exceptionally steep path to the intake wall and followed our route through the bracken and gullies, all the time scouring the ground for the offending stone. Luck continued to be on our side and even in thick bracken, we spotted the trip hazard / stone and lying among the undergrowth was our precious water bottle. It only took us about an hour and 500m of climbing to find it! Never say we don’t take our litter home with us!