Back in March we drove up to one of my favourite places, the Lake District, more specifically Wasdale. We left Warwickshire on the Thursday night, and we did notice the winds were starting to get up. As any t25 owner will know, they aren’t the most aerodynamic vehicles in the world. I always liken it to driving a brick wall at 60mph, with a sail on top and a parachute dragging behind. The last hour or so started to get a little hairy with 60mph side winds hitting us on high up winding roads. Fortunately it was too dark to see how high we were and we soldiered on. We received a few texts as well (which my passenger read to me) warning us about blizzards. To quote Homer Simpson, Doh!
Arriving in the dark about 9pm at the National Trust campsite, the reception was abandoned. Thankfully a little envelope was left in a box with keycard to get on site. For those who haven’t been. the views there are absolutely stunning but arriving in the dark we couldnt see a thing. We talked over a cup of tea and dinner as the little oil filled radiator worked hard about how excited we were to wake up the next day and appreciate our surroundings. The wind wasn’t so bad here so we put the poptop up and turned in.
When we awoke however, we weren’t met with a stunning vista, view of the lake and Scafel but with a complete white out and snow everywhere. The wind was quite high and the snow was going sideways.
It was at this point I wandered off for a scout around and came back to a sheepish looking Vanessa, who explained she had plugged her dodgy hair dryer in and the van electrics weren’t working. As an oil filled radiator was our only heating, we hoped it was just a fuse. After investigation I couldn’t find anything wrong with the van so feared the worst. The panic did settle in a little at first but running off to the reception of the site, I asked the staff, who proclaimed it was the whole valley that was out.
I couldn’t help myself, I returned to the bus to explain to Vanessa the situation.
“Don’t worry hon, you didn’t break the van with your hair dryer, you broke the whole valley.”
Fortunately she saw the funny side. Once I explained it was lines down we relaxed and resigned ourselves to wearing several sets of clothes at once. In fact I ended up in 1 tshirt, 2 jumpers and two coats. I was quite toasty really.
The power went out a few times during the day, and after dropping out again 5pm, it was set to not come on again until 1pm the following day. Several attempts to venture out, saw us driven back by gale force winds that made progress difficult and visibllty zero. We were it seems no more aerodynamic than a Wedge either.
I wished I had taken my gopro out during these short walks to really show how impressive (and maybe a little scary) it was. So later that day the snow still coming down but the wind a little lower, we made the decision to walk to the Wasdale Inn. We were expecting the power to come back on around 8.30 according to the nice people at the power company. We hoped once at the pub we could have some nice dinner, warm up and relax. We hiked through the snow and snowdrifts, to find a beautiful candlelit pub, with no power. We had a great cooked meal (glad they had gas) and talked to strangers by open fires, in a way that only unusual circumstances can lead to.
The walk back was eeriely quiet and beautiful and for some reason we started to chat about werewolves and a certain film… Our pace quickened but we didn’t get eaten so it was a good result. The power never did come back on though and we learned later than many farmers had lost around half their live stock. Very sad.
Saturday morning the road out still wasn’t passable for my humble 2wd VW but we waited until the afternoon and made a break for it. Thankfully the temp had risen and many of the roads cleared. We had to drive North towards Carlisle and the m6 as strangely the southern roads were still closed
Took about 6 hours to get home including a few brief stops, the wind was terrifying at times, and I was fighting to keep the van straight on the M6, even when only going 55. I wondered for a moment if I had an extra sail or parachute attached.
Wonderfully memorable trip of amazing moments dotted between hours of boredom but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Oh and this goat we saw as we drove near Gosforth, it seem to have had better accommodation than us, how does that work?
Little video of a few moments (mostly us leaving on saturday), which shows a hint of the weather, sadly during the worst I didnt have the enthusiasm to get the camera out. Short trailer version Long slightly duller version.