VW campervans and mountains – a great combination for a perfect weekend.
I killed two birds with one stone last weekend by attending a VW camper meet at the Eskdale Campsite and combined this with a couple of days out on the Lake District fells. A group from the VW California Club organised a meet to coincide with Eskdale Dubfest 2016, a small, friendly gathering of VW enthusiasts. In all, about 15-20 Calis turned up in addition to perhaps another 40-50 campers of all ages and types. It was a great chance to put some faces to names (from the California Club Forum) and to swap stories and experiences over a drink and meal in the Boot Inn.
The organisers even booked fantastic weather – chilly but very sunny !
I thought it was a very relaxed affair. No loud entertainment, tacky commercial stalls or beer tents (the usual offerings at bigger VW shows), just laid-back conversation and mutual admiration for everyone’s vans. Oh, and lots of (well behaved) dogs.
Here’s a flavour of the event:
Eskdale Campsite is well worth visiting. It’s nestled in the valley surrounded by Lakeland fells and has no less than three pubs within walking distance. While it’s a Camping and Caravan Club site, there’s none of the stuffiness you normally find at C&CC sites. They were really friendly and made a huge effort to make everyone feel welcome.
Just down the lane is the terminus for the Ravenglass to Eskdale railway. It’s one of the oldest narrow-gauge railways in the country (15″), operating since 1915, and takes 40 minutes to trundle the seven miles from Ravenglass on the coast to Boot Station in Eskdale. Here’s the train just coming into Boot Station.
I’m booked to do my Mountain Leader assessment in Eskdale in September so wanted to use the weekend to get the lie of the land so to speak. The topography is quite complex with numerous valleys, fells and mountains and so I appreciated the chance to get out walking for five hours or so on the Saturday.
I walked past Blea Tarn (above), glittering in the bright sunshine, then headed down to Miterdale before climbing Whin Rigg. From here there was a great view out to the Isle of Man, with the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site just about visible on the photo below towards the coast.
Eskdale Fell is pock-marked with stone circles, grouse butts and various other landscape features which are perfect for practicing micro-navigation ! Here’s a shot showing one of the stone circles with Illgill Head (which I climbed) in the background.
Being April, this is the height of lambing season in the Lakes. I thought this image below just sums up the upland fells for me: well-tended farms, sheep and hills.
The next day I took a quite scoot up Skiddaw, using the Longside and Barkbethdale paths, before heading home.
I’m organising our next VW California meet in Glen Nevis on May bank holiday weekend, so if you’d like to come along just let me know.