October in The Lake District


07 October 2014

I love The Lake District all year round, but I think October is one of my favourite months. This is not going to be me poo pooing the tourists because I like the tourists. They’re mostly friendly and they keep everything profitable during the summer which allows shops and cafes to keep trading during the quieter months, then I can visit them and eat scones in peace and quiet.

But scones in the peace and quiet are not the reason I love The Lake District in October.

The Trees


You know how the American’s go on about New England in The Fall and how the colours change and how freakin’ awesome it all is. Well, it’s not as good as The Lake District. Period.

Look at this for goodness sake:
image
In the US there is a whole tourist industry built around leaves changing colour in Maine, Vermont, Conneticut, all those states with trees, up in the top right. We don’t have that over here, but we should. If you've climbed up Walla Crag in October and looked out across The Great Wood and down Borrowdale you'll know what I mean? The red trees reflect on Grasmere, the autumn light on the fern covered crags of Langdale - these are all sights to be seen.

Jump in your car now, drive into one of the October empty car parks, walk a couple of miles up a gentle slope and enjoy.

Remoteness


We all know there’s less people cluttering up your leafy photos in October. Because of this it's the perfect time to get up early and go out on The Fells in search of that tingle of remoteness, the feeling you get when you think you’re the only person on the whole mountain. This feeling is amplified in the rain, which is lucky because October is the fourth wettest month. I hate wind, but a steady rainfall on the hood of your jacket as you trek up a remote gorge is a cosy feeling. Isn’t it?

From May to September I never get the remoteness tingle, this starts in October and carries on until it gets too cold for tingling. Strangely, I do tend to walk on my own a bit more in the winter. I thought it was because my friends, wife and kids were wimps, now I'm thinking all this talk of remote tingliness is putting people off...

Mars Bars


While I remember, cold Mars Bars are better than sticky, melted Mars Bars. October is chilly enough to keep your Mars Bar cold, and there’s nothing better than the brittle crunch of a Mars Bar when you get to the top. That's not weird is it? I'm getting paranoid now.

Wild Camping


October is the last time in the year I will attempt to wild camp in The Lake District (or anywhere) and it’s a great month for doing it for the reasons above. I don’t particularly like spending a lot of time in a tent in the dark. Not because I’m a scaredy cat (although I am), more because of the boredom. 10 hours in my Laser Photon, even with my Kindle and PSP, is pretty dull. You need to get your last Wild Camp of the season in before it starts getting dark at four, or alternatively camp within walking distance of a pub.

Pub Fires


This is the month where the hiking pubs start stoking up their fires. In the summer, I admit, a cool beer with your hiking buddies in the pub garden is a wondrous thing, but is it better than coming in from the cold and the damp to a crackling fire? It’s a close call, but I don’t think so.

From October onwards, I subconsciously plan my walks to accidently end at one of my favourite pubs, clever eh? My wife ususally skips the walk and meets me there. Even cleverer eh?

Crispy Leaves


My dog loves crispy leaves that blow around in the wind. A forest full of autumnal, crispy leaves blowing around is Doggy Disney to my dog. Every leaf that whizzes past her nostrils or scutters up the path in front of her is like the first leaf she’s ever seen do that. She looks at me as if to say ‘Did you actually see that, did you? Barking Wooftastic.’ and off she goes after it - for the three hundredth time.

So that’s what I love about The Lake District in October.

Admittedly Mars Bars and the crispy leaves you can get anywhere, but I’m biased so I think the leaves are crispier up here and the Mars Bars more crunchy.

I'll leave you with this.

'How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.' John Burroughs

Thanks for reading.

Ian Young

Image: MIke Holden

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