The exploits of a group of individuals who enjoy adventures in the Lake District at night is chronicled in a new book.
Full Moon Lunar Antics – Dark Exploits in the Lake District follows a group of outdoor enthusiasts over their last eight years of monthly nocturnal meanderings which they call Howling.
It has been written by ‘Howler in Chief’ John McCarthy, 54, of Bothel, who initially started the group in 2012 with three like-minded outdoor enthusiast friends and this has evolved into a larger Howling community exploring the national park by moonlight.
Over the years their exploits have included canoeing and kayaking on lakes, rivers and the sea.
They have walked, scrambled and climbed in summer and winter, swum and cycled, explored caves and mines and they have also discovered remote huts and bothies, camped and bivouacked in the wild. They have also danced on paddle boards and flown kites on fell tops.
The group have also gorged themselves at eight memorable outdoor Christmas meals and because of the clear links between the moon and cheese, have enjoyed many a cheeseboard together in some stunning locations, all in the spirit of Howling.
The biggest Howl was a mass canoe journey on Coniston with more than 43 Howlers, spanning three generations, taking part in May 2019.
In the first lockdown, the group Howled over Zoom and they currently head out in pairs.
During the last full moon, on Saturday, 27th February, Mr McCarthy and another regular Howler visited Great Dodd for a stunning sunset.
It was his 90th full moon outing.
“Our outdoor Christmas meals have become things of legend and get high attendance as we cook a full 10-course evening meal over fire pits in stunning locations such as Rydal Cave, Eden Lacy Caves, Millican Dalton’s Cave and Red Tarn,” he said.
The book contains 85 entertaining stories and the author says the aim is to encourage people to gather their own clan and get out Howling — setting out after work to seek magical moonlit moments.
Mr McCarthy, who has retired following a 25-year career with the Outward Bound Trust, says the full moon provides everybody with a great opportunity to explore and engage with the dark side of life.
“I have got an absolute library of books about the Lake District at home but there is not one outdoor book that I have come across about the Lake District at night,’’ said Mr McCarthy.
“That is the real appeal of this book. The aim is to get people to go out and explore their environment at night. Living and working in the Lake District I have found that in the summer months the Lakes becomes really busy and it’s not as pleasant as it used to be.
“But if you go out at night, you have the whole place to yourself. It’s a phenomenal solitude that you get.
“Occasionally you might see the distant lights of some passing mountain bikers or the head torches of fell runners doing the Bob Graham Round. But if you really want the Lakes to yourself, then the night time is the right time.”
The book can be purchased for £12.99 with free delivery in Cumbria by emailing [email protected]
It is published by JJMoffs Ltd, which is dealing with online sales and delivery at jjmoffs.co.uk/product/full-moon-lunarantics-john-mccarthy/
It will also be stocked at Bookends in Keswick.