The Road To Nether Wasdale | Day 2


Sometimes you’ve got to be tough on yourself! That’s life and well, it ain’t always gonna be easy so you’ve got to roll with the punches and make sure you hit back twice as hard!

“Wow Tom! With an opening statement like that you must have done something really challenging, will you be my hero?”

Yes, I’ll be your hero… But not today.

And I don’t care what anyone says, waking up at 6am is bloody hard ok?!

But I do it because I’m supposed to be blogging so I need to wake up at 6 to catch the sunrise and get some beautiful shots and, to be honest, I actually quite like being an early riser so I’m only joking about it being difficult.

Red Kite Drones on the other hand…. I think he hated me for waking him up before the dawn.

“Tom, I hate you, it’s 6am” Red Kite said

“Shh, it’s ok,” I purred in the moon lit van, hoping to act like one of those sunrise light alarm clocks and slowly draw him from his slumber.

It didn’t work, he was pissed.

Plan B!

Red Kite Drones loves a cup of tea (no sugar, non dairy milk) so I got busy with the kettle. We were already behaving like a married couple of 20 years…. This is life on the road people, warts n all.

We get ready with very little talking. You know how it is, everyone is pissed off at the world, each other and most of all themselves for being this grumpy over such a petty thing as waking up early. It’s not even that early either, God knows how a baker must feel!

I’m no Baker, a baker will look right through you, bakers have seen everything and they can tell the measure of a person instantly.

Anyway, back to travel blogging.

We get ready, and walk outside only to find that the sky is completely clouded over, rendering our reasons for waking up so early redundant, or, as the Italians say… ridondante.

We don’t let this stop us, oh no! We make a video to show people the van then get on the road to our first official destination in the van.

Nether Wasdale

We have to get there first, so we begin the drive. And realise we’ve made a big mistake with our plan.

“What was the mistake Tom?”

I’ll tell you…

We didn’t bring walkie talkies! Now I know this doesn’t sound like much, we even joked about buying walkie talkies on the drive up.

“Haha, we should buy Walkie Talkies!”

“Haha, yea that’s really funny! Great joke”

“Haha, haha haha”

“Haha Haha”

“Haha ha ha ha haha”

Turns out, it wasn’t a laughing matter at all.

With Red Kite and I in separate vehicles, he in his Citroen Picasso (2007 edition) and I in the Talbot Compass Drifter, it quickly becomes apparent that communication (or lack of) is a major issue.

Driving alone is fine, it’s just you, the open road and your thoughts. But when You’re supposed to be on a road trip with a buddy, watching them drive 10 meters ahead of you and not be able to joke around isn’t any fun at all 🙁

We’d had a load of fun on the drive up to get the van, and now, deprived of the company I felt all alone.

Not being able to communicate became a logistical nightmare when planning shots and filming locations. There were plenty of occasions where we would drive past a stunning location to shoot the van in, but with no way of communicating we would quite often just drive right on past them.

I ended up stopping the van, getting out and waving frantically in the hopes Red Kite Drones would see me and stop.

Next was the actual filming of the drone shots, there was pretty much zero phone signal in the Lakes so without any effective means of communication, filming became neigh on impossible.

As a director, it’s drastically important that you have some channel of communication open with the driver.

What happens if you don’t get the shot the first time round?

Or the van was driving too fast?

With walkie talkies, this wouldn’t have been an issue at all. The way it was, the shots that should have taken no more than 5 minutes became hour long slogs of waiting and shouting back and forth.

Hey ho! Lesson learned I guess.

Our gig that night was at The Strands Inn, located in the tiny village of Nether Wasdale. To get there, you venture into the heart of the Lake District. There are no major roads here, just single lane country roads that meander through the ever changing scenery.

At one point I clearly remember hammering the Drifter up a steep woodland hill in first gear, she was popping, jerking, spluttering up in first gear and I was almost sure we weren’t going to make it.

Somehow she reached the top, and upon cresting the hill I was astonished to see that, unbeknownst to me, we had passed out of the woodland and were now perched atop a moorland ridge, with spectacular views for miles around.

You really feel like you’re on top of the world when you’re up here.

At one point we had to turn back and find another route, as we had stumbled upon the legendary Hardknott Pass, an old roman road that is known as one of the most challenging roads in Britain, with a 1200 ft climb, hair pin bends and gradients of over 30% in places.

This road is closed most of the winter due to the fact that it’s dangerous as hell, and there was no way the Talbot Compass Drifter was going to drift her way up on even the clearest of days.

After half a days driving (drive times expand massively in the Talbot… It’s like that huge planet in ‘Interstellar’ where time slows down relative to the outside world, and while it feel like only minutes have passed, it takes a lot of concentration to drive this van, the reality is that hours have flown by) we made it to the village of Nether Wasdale and The Strands Inn.

I don’t know if you can legitimately call Nether Wasdale a village, I’d probably call it two pubs, since that’s essentially what it is.

Nether Wasdale is two pubs that stand directly opposite one another, The Strands Inn and The Screes Inn. They are both beautiful old buildings that look like old farm houses.

I noticed a poster outside the Strands inn with my face on it and felt a trickle of excitement.

Red Kite and I had organised through the landlord Mark a tour of the pubs micro brewery. I won’t say much about it here as there is an entire youtube video dedicated to it, I suggest you check it out.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting anyone at all to be there for this gig, the pub is in the middle of nowhere and again, no one knows who the heck I am.

To my amazement, the place was full! Where did they come from? Why were they here? I began to investigate….

Turns out there are a number of campsites around the area and people often come for dinner here (bad news), but a lot of people were sticking around because they were curious to see who I was (great news!).

The gig itself was wonderful, it was a mixed crowd of locals, walkers, young and old alike, but they all sat in perfect silence while I played my original music, singing along when it was time to give them a few covers to chew on 🙂