View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Camping in Keld with Knackered Knee Knipe….

….and Dawn. And LTD too. Just to add some sobriety and sensibility to the trip.

That Dawn had organised a static camping visit to Keld, famous for not having a Youth Hostel anymore so that Pennine Way and Coast to Coast walkers would have to struggle to find budget accommodation in the area. Clever or what?



The last time I was in Keld was when No2 son and I did the Coast-to-Coast. He was 8 and I was just a bit older than him. We stayed at the Youth Hostel and very pleasant it was too. The loss of yet another hostel in a remote-ish area is grievous to say the least.

Anyroadup, Mike & Dawn had arrived at Rukin’s Campsite before me and had gone for a wander and a swim. This left me to set about fighting (single-handed) Keld’s famous ferocious midges whilst putting up my tent. My chosen tent for this little adventure was my Sil Hex Peak V4 – a nice and spacious shelter.


What the well-equipped Ultra-Light Backpacker carries this season

By the time KKK and Dawn had returned, the midge attack had subsided. But this wasn’t a retreat, the cunning buggers had merely regrouped and called in reinforcements to launch an even more determined attack.. Little sods. Anyway, all was not lost: they hadn’t reckoned with Dawn’s very effective joss-sticks, a good dollop of Deet, and a very smoky fire. And then we had a beer to calm our nerves.


Our Midge Repellent Machine (Pat Pending) & the KKK shelter


A dog and his dad

Mike had arranged a slightly huge stew-type thing for tea, it was a bit good but there was rather a lot of it. This was where Lucky stepped in to help out, there was no way that we 3 mere mortals could eat all that lovely grub.

Then it started to rain.

So me and KKK had another beer, a good chat to put the world to rights and a not particularly early night. During the night it rained noisily and heavily.

The following morning, and after all that energetic nocturnal snoring, we surfaced with an enormous appetite for bacon butties – fortunately I’d packed the necessary.

The rain had stopped, the sun was sort of shining and most of the midges seemed to have vanished – drowned probably.

A great packing up of the tents followed which in turn was followed by a wander Swaledale to a rather pretty waterfall where neither KKK, LTD or Dawn would swim.


River Swale waterfall: Wain Wath Force….probably.

Two children were having a ball in the water, the young lad was having a great time leaping into the water:




I’m still learning how to use my Lumix TZ70 and hadn’t got to grips with the ‘Burst Mode’ setting – hence I only managed to take these 3 sequential shots. A shame, the camera is capable of taking more….I now know for next time.


Free Range Egg’s

A couple for Alan R:



A decision was taken by someone to go and annoy the delightful Amanda Owen, famous for being a shepherdess and having lots of children. Her family live just 3-4 miles from the Tan Hill Inn – where we didn’t go.



A sometimes quite muddy path led us to Ravenseat, the Owen family’s farm.


Amanda & family live what appears to be an idillic life, miles away from anywhere (if you exclude the Tan Hill Inn) and a wonderful playground for the children. In reality I suspect

that life in that remote spot must be quite hard at times. For all that, they make excellent scones (with cream and raspberry jam they’re REALLY yummy) and brew a fine pot of tea.



Swaledale Field Barn




River Swale (Currack Force?)

The return route to Keld avoided the muddy horribleness of the outward leg and we were soon back in Keld and back at the car park….and then it was time to go home. I couldn’t be mithered cooking so a visit to the Timperley Fish Bar, my favourite fish & chip shop, was called for. I ate too much. Again.

Thanks to Lucky, KKK and Dawn for inviting me along – it was good, in spite of the midges…..and my own knackered knees.



  1. It was a pleasure to have your company John. Many thanks for the humungous butty, it went down well after my wee dip.

    1. Just a shame there wasn't enough room in the frying pan for the mushrooms!

  2. A bit thin on equipment in that photo. Where's the 7lb. felling axe and cast iron casserole pot that Ray Mears usually carries?

    1. I have to confess that I forgot the axe so we had to make-do with my UL junior hacksaw to cut the wood.....and it was damned hard work!
      Mike brought the cooking wasn't cast iron.

  3. Was I there too? {says LTD who was mostly asleep)

    1. If you were you the bloke drinking all the beer, then yes, you were there.

  4. Thanks JJ. The blue Fordson is a common sight in our countryside but the Steyr is quite a rare sight in the UK. They were made in Austria and had 3 cylinders producing 70hp. Steyr are well known for producing the first tractor with an exhaust fed turbo in about 1950 I think. Steyr are unfortunately now owned by Case.
    Oh yes, nice tent too.

    1. It was the 'Steyr' that caught my eye, as one time part of Steyr-Daimler-Puch. My Dad used to have a Puch Alpine 150 scooter - a very well engineered (probably over-engineered!) bit of kit.

  5. We must have been some of the last people to stay in Keld Hostel before it was "transformed". I believe its a restaurant now - tragic. Keld is wonderful area of waterfalls I need to pay a visit to - with some midge repellent it seems!

    1. It was a lovely hostel, ideally situated at the crossroads of the Coast to Coast and tge Pennine Way. It appears to be a hotel now, no doubt capitalising on the passing walkers. I really don't see how the YHA couldn't similarly capitalise.
      Ho hum.
      And yes, it's a lovely area!

  6. Nice tent John. Looks a nice little trip too, its a lovely part of the world. Hope you're well.

    1. The HexPeak isn't a bad tent but it's on the large size for stealth camping. It's wonderful in bad weather - you can actually move around in it :-)

  7. Sorry John, just realised I didn't put my name to the comment I just sent :(

    1. :-)
      Ah, I just KNEW it was you!
      We must go for a backpack when you're relieved of your feline guests - there's lots of catching up to do!

    2. Yes most definitely 👍🏻


SatMap problems…again

You may recall my experiences with SatMap: Poor RF performance (poor sensitivity and very slow in recognising satellites), very slow in comp...