One Last Camp… Dudden/Eskdale Valley

One Last Camp sounds a bit dramatic, and shock horror, it’s not really going to be the last but it is the last of 2017 and as a family of 3.   At 7 months pregnant we headed off into the Lake District for a quick weekend break.  Yes I am fully aware that I was stupidly pregnant and agreed to camping (we don’t do luxury camping) but this weekend were kinda forced into moving out of our house for 2 nights.

Road closures on the M6 were planned for 2 nights, this meant a stream of arctic lorries rolling and breaking outside our windows all night, with no driveway, it’s literally a pavement away and never fun to try to sleep through.

On route to our destination of the Duddon Valley we stopped by a river for a picnic and a pootle round.   Pootling is all I can really manage at the moment.   The Robot had fun collecting sticks to float in the water.  Where we were sat was a particular good eddy of water that meant any sticks that went in kept getting caught in the up-stream of water so they kept going round in circles.  Very amusing for a toddler and extra confusing when they reached the main current and we couldn’t get them back!!

As you can see a very tiring time was had and thankfully a beautiful afternoon.

dave and robot chilling on the picnic blanket by the river

Yes, camping, I only agreed because we couldn’t find a cheap enough room for us to stay in on the Saturday, it was the last peak price night of the summer holidays so we were up against it.  We camped at one of our favourites over in the Duddon Valley – Turner Hall Farm, if you remember we stayed here at the start of the year.  It’s very basic but is often quiet enough to make it bearable.

I say often, and it’s sods law, the campsites owners daughter was getting married when we arrived.  They had a giant marquee in their field and subsequently played music throughout the valley till 2am…  Our escaping the noise of the traffic at our house well and truly back fired when you had the delights of Captain Eye Joe playing full blast at 1am.

The Robot slept though and the sky was clear so Dave and I stayed up late under blankets watching the moon and stars.  If only we could have shared a bottle of wine together it would have made the night!!  Downsides of pregnancy I guess!

camp for the night tent looking over the duddon valley

We woke up to a cold and grey sky in the morning which soon turned to rain during the day.   We had a leisurely pack up though and one perk of a probably hung over camp warden meant that they didn’t come round collecting fees.  We discussed refusing to pay anyway because of the noise but didn’t have too!

Sausage and bean sandwiches later we headed off in the car to the Eskdale valley over Wrynose Pass.  It got wetter on route, so what was going to be a day of wandering around and play turned into a day spent on the La’al Ratty, aka the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, a narrow gauge railway.

We caught the railway to Ravenglass and spent a couple of hours pottering about in the rain.  They’ve re-done their museum since I was last there, it’s definitely more kid friendly and the Robot had fun playing with the mini trains.  “Driving” them!

robot sat playing at a miniature steam engine

We somehow made it through to 5pm where being a Sunday we got a cheap room at the Eskadale YHA hostel.  I’ve been to a lot of YHA’s in the Lakes before but never this one so it was fun for me to explore.  One of Dave’s friends just happened to be working there so it was nice for him to catch up with them while I put the Robot to bed.

On the Monday morning we explored the hostel grounds.  They’ve put a lot of effort in to building a nature trail and it was interesting find a chess set over looking the valley.

Robot and Dave stood on a giant chess set overlooking the eskdale valley

The grass was soaking and Robots trousers were soaked by the time we got back to the hostel.  Little wellies didn’t help…  He didn’t seem to mind though and as ever he really impressed me with his walking prowess!

robot and dave heading up the hill

Once we finished up on the hostel grounds we headed along the valley to explore the old railway path.  No longer there it’s just a foot path now but it takes you along to Girder bridge passing over the river esk..  It’s a beautiful valley with plenty of picnic spots and in nice weather it needs some toddler exploring.

As ever with our mini trips away we always discuss what we’ll do next.   We’re planning a trip back to Eskdale next year as a family of 4 to retrace our steps and explore the area a bit more…

Let’s hope for good weather!!

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