Walking at night in the Lake District
Now that all the fuss of Christmas and New Year is over we can get back to the proper business of being on the fells!
Why not try something different this year and head out after dark. January and February offer some of the best opportunities for a moonlit walk with this time of year having the highest luminosity. The Lakeland fells take on a whole different character once the sun has set and look utterly spellbinding in moonlight.
Choose a fell you are familiar with and one that does not have sheer edges you can walk off! Latrigg, Barrow, Binsey and Dodd are excellent starter hills and easily accessible from our Bassenthwaite and Keswick Cottages. With the right conditions you could even attempt Skiddaw or the smooth western flanks of Helvellyn, both of which have summit shelters to enjoy a hot drink in!
For a moonlit walk you will need your usual hill walking kit plus extra warm layers, a hot flask and some yummy chocolate. A map, compass and first aid kit are essential as is your head torch and spare batteries. On a clear night you should be able to walk with the light of the moon - however it is imperative to still take a head torch for emergencies or if the weather changes. Use the red light function for map reading or anything else that requires extra light. This will not affect your night vision when you start walking again.
Familiarise yourself with the route in daylight and make a note of any key features to be aware of. Leave a route plan with someone responsible and, where possible, notify the local mountain rescue team of your plans. It is not uncommon for well meaning folk to report lights on the fells leading to the rescue teams being scrambled, only to find the lights belong to people who don’t need rescuing!
Once you are finished and back off the fell you can kick back and relax in the warmth of one of our Lake District cottages.