3 Day Solo in the Peak District: Part 1

18TH DECEMBER 2015

Thought I would at least try to catch up with my Blog as I’ve been out several times this year and I haven’t written a thing since my January trip report. Funnily enough it seems that last blog entry was also the first occasion I made a video diary of a trip – which I have since done for every trip, and these video logs can be found on my YouTube channel if you are interested. I will post a link to the video log for this particular trip at the end of this blog entry.

Excuses? Yeah I always have excuses, just ask the wife… As another blogger said to me today you have to be in the mood for writing and making a video diary of each trip has been fun, somewhat easier and less time consuming than writing an account of each one. In recent months I’ve also been working a lot. Even so I’ve managed several trips, two of which were 2 nighters – one solo and one with Marcus in tow. This account will be of the former trip. Some of the recollections are hazy but luckily I have the VLog to help flesh it out somewhat and jog the old brain.

DAY ONE – WEDNESDAY MAY 27TH 2015

Peak District bound once again, on the train direct to Bamford this time. The day was a fine one for walking. A bit breezy but there was plenty of blue sky and fluffy white clouds with little sign of the rain/sleet that was forecast later in the day. It felt wonderful to be out again with a sack on my back and 2 nights of sleeping in the hills to look forward to.

As soon as I left the main road halfway between the train station and the village of Bamford itself the mild tension of travelling and anticipation drained from me at first sight of the countryside ahead of me.

I was here. At last. Deep breath. Big smile.

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I got the camera out and attached it to the pole, feeling a mite self-conscious as I walked along filming myself. For this trip I had borrowed a friends super little camera which I used almost exclusively for videoing. The majority of the photos shown here were taken with my new phone the Sony Xperia Z3. I will one day have a camera worthy of the name rather than one merely equal to my meager photographic skills.

I was feeling good. The path leading along to Yorkshire Bridge was wide and well signposted, its part of the hitherto unknown (to me that is) Derwent Valley Heritage Way. Surprisingly there were few people about considering it was half-term. I saw one family in casual gear and a pair of older couples with the look of veteran Ramblers sat having packed lunch in the sun on the footpath up to Win Hill. I exchanged brief words of greeting with the latter group before moving along. The former group gave me odd looks if they acknowledged me at all.

There were a good few miles to cover yet if I was to reach my goal on the Kinder Plateau which would then put me on course for my planned route along the northern edge of the plateau and across to Bleaklow the following morning.  I like to have a plan but it pays to be flexible and have a backup. More and more of late I have found that the most satisfying trips are those where I follow my whims guided by conditions underfoot or by how I am feeling.

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The views of the Derwent valley opened up as I gained height. So too did the wind slowly strengthen. The air was fresh and there was a hint of summer in the sunny spells. On the steady pull up to the summit of Win Hill I saw only 3 or 4 more people. The wind was fairly strong on top and I was blowing ever so slightly with exertion – I just don’t get out enough.

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From the rocky summit I headed west toward Hope Brink where I wanted a path down to Edale End. The path either didn’t exist on the ground or it was so faint I missed it. Either way I ended up taking a rough descent on steep tussocky ground to the path along the valley toward Jaggers Clough. Down here the wind was lessened and it felt truly summery. Apart from the occasional birdcall and baa-ing sheep the peace was complete. I didn’t see another soul until just above the ford at the base of Jaggers Clough when a lone runner scared the living crap out of me. I was so absorbed in my peaceful aloneness that when he ran up from behind and passed me by I was too startled to respond to his ‘Hi!’ He wouldn’t have heard me anyway – he didn’t hear my startled expletive – as he had earphones in.

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Jaggers Clough held a bubbling stream that soon became a gushing brook the further up the rapidly narrowing defile I walked. I do love a good ascent by clough to a hill top. It makes for a more interesting walk – skipping from bank to bank following the path that appear to carry you more smoothly. Sometimes the path is well-defined for stretches and faint and broken for further stretches, especially the higher you proceed, until more often than not you are over the watercourse rather than beside it.

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It was a lot cooler in there too and the clouds above me were growing thicker and the wind had picked up. The forecast was pretty much spot on with timing. About 60m below the plateau I pulled off my pack, donned my waterproof shell top and bottom and filled my water bottles from a fast flowing flow. No sooner had I secured the 3kgs of peaty brown water to my pack than the sleet began to fall. Steadily at first but soon it was chucking down. Thankfully the wet spell lasted only long enough to welcome me to the top of the clough before a break in the clouds brought a brief spell of sunshine and a rainbow away in the valley to the south. Several more short bursts of rain and sleet passed over as I walked along the path toward Crookstone Knoll. It had turned decidedly chilly and that combined with the driven sleet made me glad of my shell.

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The sky had brightened as I reached Crookstone knoll but remained threatening away to the west from whence the wind was blowing. It was late in the day by now and I had a couple of hours daylight at best.

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I wanted to be setup somewhere with a bit of light left so I could enjoy a view. Unfortunately the ground was fairly sodden from all the recent rain – as it invariably is at the best of times so I fannied about for a good 45 mins near Madwoman’s Stones before settling for the better of several poor options. By the time I had pitched it was nearing dusk and my energy levels were low.  Within no time the cloud had descended, filling the air with a damp chill. My desire for a view disappeared as quickly as the view itself as hunger and the drop in temp made up my mind.

Time to dive in the Stratospire and get warm, fed and watered.

To be continued…

 

Here is a link to the Video Log of this trip: https://youtu.be/eEzGJ4_1gSU

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “3 Day Solo in the Peak District: Part 1

  1. Pingback: The Great Outdoors Challenge and other things. | A Rucksack with Legs

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