The Great LangFail

Writing this brought back some memories, both funny and annoying. Looking back on what can only be described as the unluckiest collection of events to be cobbled together into a holiday.

For a couple of years or so I had spent a fair bit of time exploring in the Peaks, so last year I decided that a change of scenery was needed. The Lake District had always been an area that I wanted to visit, but never really got round to it. But with our week booked off, Lilli and I decided that Ambleside and the Great Langdale National Trust site would be home for a few days.

Anyone that books a hard earned week off in the summer months kind of expects the gift of blistering sunshine, but the reality of it is, we live in the UK. I love the weather the UK offers but even I would like the chance to top up my T-shirt tan once in a while… But when camping you have to take what you’re given, and this week, rain, and a lot of it.

We started the week Prepared for the weather, but not so prepared for when I tweaked my back packing the car. Maybe it’s the added weight of the waterproofs that did it 😉 But who knows, I’ll tell you now, It’s a well known fact that I’m made from glass and will shatter with the lightest of contact; if there’s a injury to be had, I generally will pick it up. Dosed up on Ibuprofen we arrive, and well what can I say, the setting was pretty much everything that we’d hoped for, with 360-degree views and a tree sheltered pitch.

Within a few minutes the Vango Airbeam was up and all the home comforts shipped in from the car. Bad back you say? Nah, there’s no aches and pains when the views are this good. My back survived the night and seemed to have eased up somewhat, so the low-level valley walk we have planned around Elterwater went ahead without any hiccups, apart from the rain.


What a day, and what a hike, but with liquid pain relief desperately needed, not one but two pubs on the home stretch was a welcome site. Minor pub-crawl complete, we settled down in The Stickle Barn Tavern, yet even with the persistent rain the beer garden was the place to be, marquees, fire pits and live music to boot. I couldn’t really ask for much more until the plate of chips was placed in front of me. Heaven.

Not wanting to over do it, we decided to call it a night. Back at the tent I planned the next days hike on the map, Destination Langdale Pikes. A more adventurous 8 miler taking in the views of Lake Windermere, but with the walk planned and my eyes napping it was time for lights out.

What happens next I really couldn’t make up; the Vango Airbeam was handling the wind and rain like a walk in the park, keeping us warm and dry, and then Bam, the dreaded bog break for shandy pants. After a couple of beers I’d rather take a puppy with a water infection than Lilli camping. Don’t worry, usually I wouldn’t take the time to go into so much detail on this topic, but the following really does turn the whole week on its head.

If I said to you, its pitch black, raining and a pretty uneven walk over to the toilet block; at any point would throwing a pair of shoes no less than 5 sizes too big for you be a good idea? Haha. Yeah me neither! But in her loveable wisdom off she went. Had I have known previously to her leaving I might have foreseen the inevitable that was to happen. Laid none the wiser to her falling and twisting her ankle on the way, I woke to the noise of; “ouch, ahhhh, oooh, Bugger that hurts”. And there we had it, an instantly swollen ankle that hurt when I poked it…

An uncomfortable night followed and when morning arrived and a patient check was made, we soon came to the agreement that on only the second full day of the Lakes adventure we would be packing up and heading home. Game Over, No lives remain.

So team pack up camp assembled… Oh yeah that was just me, while the injured party sheltered in the car. And did I mention, its STILL bloody raining! With camp packed up and an early check out we was off. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure no one reading this has ever enjoyed leaving early from a holiday so yeah neither of us were best pleased with the situation, but hey, you take the rough with the smooth.

Yeah the drive back, I’ve got to be honest trying to crack the funny of “maybe we could have just done the Langdale pikes as planned, but with you hopping” was a little soon and close to the nail, because the aim of lightening the mood slightly backfired, But they do say God loves a Trier. After a pretty hefty stay In the local hospital waiting room, getting the all clear for broken bones we arrived home. Battered, bruised, wiser but with a full car to unload. This seemed to fall on my shoulders, there’s a pattern forming here, can you tell? 🙂

Looking back at this holiday, I realised we spent more time in the car and hospital waiting room than the Great outdoors; I should probably just write it off, but I’ve taken a few valuable pointers from it. The main ones being, when in pain Lilli’s sense of humor isn’t quite what it usually is ;), the lakes really are beautiful and Lilli won’t be wearing my shoes any time soon.

You wont beat us Ambleside; we’ll be back!






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