Sat 18th May - Sun 19th May, 2002
Kielder Wild Camp & Cycle
Members Present: Virginia Castick, John Castick
John and I arrived at the Forest Enterprise site at Kielder at teatime on Friday and spent some of the evening in the less than exciting Anglers Arms. At least the food was good and we didn't have to join in the local bingo session in the lounge.
Saturday was not a good outdoors day so we drove some miles across Northumberland to Cragside which is the former home of Lord Armstrong, the great Victorian innovator. This was the first house to have electric lighting powered by hydro-electricity and had other illuminating and novel features.
Arriving back at the campsite around 3pm we made a long and scientific study of the drizzle. By 7pm the drizzle had lessened to level one (no need for a coat when dashing to the bogs). We hastily packed our rucksacks with minimum camping gear and set off for our wild camp on the shores of the lake. The forest management have a wonderful system of designated sites within the forest where they guarantee a level site and adjacent water supply. All you have to do is book a few days before and there is no charge. We arrived at about 9pm and quickly put up our borrowed lightweight tent. After a tasty cup of boiled lake (I forgot the T bags) we settled down to a peaceful night in the most beautiful setting surrounded on three sides by water with a backdrop of forest and flowering gorse nearby.
It was fine when we got up and remained fine - just, until we got back to the main campsite. On the way back we passed the start of a big orienteering event. I have never seen so many pairs of Ron Hills in action in one place before. We had a welcome cup of proper tea then the threatening clouds had us setting off for home after lunch.
For those five of you who said you would come and didn't, you missed a wonderful overnight camp and for the rest of you who didn't think it was worth it, I can heartily recommend the area and its facilities should you be looking for somewhere a bit different to go for the weekend.
The plan is to camp at the Forest Enterprise site on Friday night, G.R.627939 (Landranger 80). The driving time is about 3 hours and about 150 miles. On Saterday afternoon, after a walk, sail or bike ride (lots of stuff for hire), I intend to walk or cycle in to one of the Forest's designated wild campsites - details later. After an exciting night amongst the bogs and midges, walk out for a further day of Keilder's attractions or climb at Crag Lough which you can drive past on the way home.