Enjoying Wasdale


Preparing for some multi day trips later in the summer Mist and I took off for a 2 day visit to Wasdale. Wastwater is always an adventure to me but an overnight stop in a tent with an untried 1 year old border collie promised to be less so. My experience of sharing a tent with my, now, 15 year old collie Bracken had always been a bit of a nightmare – she never settled and became highly distrcted by any flapping of tent material in the wind. This culminated in her constantly making ‘a bid for freedom’ if I offered her half a chance. If anyone has ever tried to entice a dog into their tent at 3 in the morning, 3,000 foot up on the Fannich Ridge in a gale, they may sympathise. Anyway Mist was superb – she settled down (possibly through tiredness) and never stirred; one plus over Bracken (and there aren’t many!)

When I arrived we headed off for Pillar and a splendid circuit of Mosedale finishing on the up turned boat of Yewbarrow (one of the finest fells in the Lake District). Full of energy to the finish I honestly think Mist covered a minimum of 10 times my mileage (so nigh on 80 miles?!) – at one stage disappearing off in to Ennerdale from the summit of Steeple. However it was on Yewbarrow that she was forced in to some real scrambling for the first time. I wish I had a picture of her hauling herself up by her front paws, back legs scrabbling for any type of purchase. After a while I left her to it – if she was going to fall, there was little I could do about it, certainly scrambling downhill she left me for dead, turning often to glance back with a look of total disdain at my own ditherings.

After good weather on the Pillar round the cloud had closed in somewhat on Friday morning as we headed off for an exploration of the Wastwater Screes. Heading up the steep slopes of Whin Rigg sheltered us from the tearing wind that greeted us on the ridge. Mist loved it, racing round in large arcs biting at the wind as if she could catch it somehow. Returning from the far end of the screes I bravely took the shoreline path. As we turned in to the westerly wind a curtain of rain simply appeared from nowhere and for 10 minutes tore into us. Mist, slightly perturbed, soon got the hang of it and spent the following 10 minutes shaking her drenched body. Neglecting to bring adequate rain proof  gear myself  (well it was sunny when we started, a fleece will be fine!!!) shaking proved to be of little use as we tramped towards the most hideous path in Lakeland. The boulders (this is not scree) to the western end of Wastwater are lethal, particularly in the wet. Mist slipped and slid along them looking particularly aggrieved – looking back at me as if to say ‘Why would you possibly want to walk along here?’ Bracken was the same, she hated steep scree and it is true, dogs can give you filthy looks.

A final report on Mist in Wasdale; scrambling tick, camping tick, bad weather performance tick, boulder field borderline tick, obedience when cat at the farm resounding fail.

Previous stories of Mist the Border Collie:

Mist & the outdoors in Spring. Apr 2011

Training Mist. Mar 2011

Pleasures & Problems. Jan 2011

Early Days of Mist, October 2010