Solo wild camping trip

With the Easter holidays coming up i decided to go backpacking & wildcamping in the Peak District, i had arranged to leave my car at the campsite & it also gave me opportunity to try everything out to make sure i hadn’t forgotten anything (which was highly likely).

My Gorilla all packed including 3 bottles of whisky (miniatures)

So of i set up out of the campsite towards Stanage edge, the pack weight felt pretty good (considering I’d not scrimped on weight saving) and with the aid of trekking poles i felt pretty comfortable.

I made my way towards Fairholmes visitor center to have some lunch (they have huge cakes πŸ˜€) and from there i made my way towards a secret camp spot told to me by some good Twitter friends πŸ‘.

Floating trig point

After dodging a few bogs i got to the top of the last hill where i knew i had to head west, so i looked at my compass, west is that way, really that doesn’t look right i thought so i headed in what i thought was the right direction, it wasn’t so i had to do some course correction but after a while i found the place i had been looking for, it was still early when I arrived (about 4pm) so i set about filtering water then just chilling for a couple of hours before pitching the tent & getting my tea on.

Tea was a blaband Indian chicken stew meal & i have to agree with social media reports they are pretty good.

After tea i explored the area for a short time before retiring to my tent to read for a short while all the time forgetting i had a load of videos on a flash drive in my wallet (d’oh)

After a pretty good night’s sleep (only disturbed by the rain ​just after midnight) i awoke about 6 & wondered why it was still dark, so i looked outside & i was encompassed in mist.

A severe lack of view to wake up to

  So after my navigational discretion the day before i decided to try a different route out by following a path that followed the river, the path does have quite a steep drop at one side & would look pretty good in clear weather, however in this weather it was hard to make out the river below.

On the plus side this path did avoid the bogs i encountered on the previous day, (the only thing I’ve got to do in the future is find a better way to rejoin the main path) so after plenty of walking i made it back to the campsite around 2ish set up the tent to dry before nodding off in the van for a short while 😴

Conclusion

What went well

  • Evernew spirit burner in a custom cone windshield boiled water in no time at all in my alpkit pot
  • Gordon the Gorilla Rucksack fitted all my stuff in and carried really well
  • Tent Hilleberg enan is easy & quick to pitch & has a large porch for my gear

What didn’t go so well

  • Me believing i knew better than my compass
  • Me moving too much during the night & getting tangled in the sleeping bag & my mat moving about
  • Trying to dry socks on top of my pot resulting in melted socks

All in all it was a excellent trip & i look forward to more in the future.

My Highlights of 2016

In March I decided a trip to the lakes would be in order, mainly to hopefully catch the last of winter, but also to show support to the lakes following on from the horrendous flooding of the winter. 

During this trip I experienced a white out up Blencathra,which on it’s own wasn’t too bad however I did managed to unknowingly drop a trekking pole and subsequently took the wrong path when I went looking for it,however I did correct myself and found the pole(hurrah).

Whilst frequenting the pubs of Keswick (or as I like to call it supporting the local economy) I bumped into Terry Abraham & his mate Dan Richards & they joined me in supporting the local economy πŸ˜‰

During the month of April I purchased a new car/van & had a camper conversion made for it, thanks to James Boulter for the inspiration πŸ‘

So towards the end of April & the beginning of May i took the camper on its maiden voyage to the Crowden c&c site & was immedietly hooked to this type of accommodation.

On May the 14th I once again made my way back to the lakes for the premiere of Life of a Mountain Blencathra,after a brief chat with Terry Abraham outside I went in and “accidentally” got a free drink of the specially brewed ale for the occasion, but don’t tell anyone. The film was brilliant and I highly recommend it. Afterwards I met up with Cath Wells (@wellycath) & Matthew King (@hillplodder) for a few drinks & a chat.

At the end of May me & my camper went to the Knight Stainforth campsite just outside Settle,crikey it was busy,it was a bank holiday so was to be expected but once you escaped the campsite the crowds soon disappeared.

The beginning of June saw me once again heading back to the lakes,this time it was for my fortnight holiday & to get some hill fitness for the upcoming 10 in 10 challenge, it was a cracking 2 weeks with plenty of ale & hill walking .

The 24th of June saw me heading back up to the lakes to meet up with team social hiking for the annual 10 peaks in 10 hours challenge in aid of MS, doing the 10 this year were Jilly Sherlock, Tim Cooper ,Richard Flint & myself. As always it was a cracking event & get together πŸ‘


The beginning of July saw me head to the lakes again, this time however I was going to explore the langdale area of the lakes & sample several beers in the old dungeon ghyll, once again the weather played ball (apart from the wind which snapped an awning pole) and I managed several walks around the area, on the way back home I stopped off to walk to high cup Nick as I was told it was a stunning sight & you know what they were correct. 

Yes i did fit through πŸ˜‰

September saw me with a week off so I decided to head to south Wales to do the four falls walk,this was only to be a brief visit so I wild vanned overnight did the walk & returned home.

The reason for such a short trip to Wales was that I wanted to have a crack at bikepacking, so after getting the gear together I set of from home & headed into the peaks following ex-railway tracks,have to say I am hooked & can’t wait to do more.

October saw me heading south for a change,this was for the social hiking weekend in Dartmoor,I don’t normally do group things however this was a cracking weekend exploring a different area of BritainπŸ‘

So far I’ve not talked about days in the peaks, however I will make an exception for one of the best days in the peaks I’ve had,on the 26th of November it was a total inversion fest.

On the same weekend as the inversion fest I also managed to get my first ever hole in one at golf on the Sunday 


So 2016 is nearly over, I’ve had a cracking year & met some cracking people, some I’ve met before & some for the first time (mainly through social hiking & twitter) bring on 2017 let’s see if I can improve on this years highlights, if my plans come to fruition then it should be a cracker. 

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to all the people who’ve been involved in making 2016 a good year πŸ‘

Stanage edge inversion

After working three Saturdays on the trot I finally had a Saturday off to head to the peaks (hurrah) and as luck would have it there was a good chance of an inversion (double hurrah)

So despite getting up at 4:30am all week for work I was determined for an early start and set off to the peaks at about 5:30am with the initial plan of heading up kinder scout, however after passing through the fog near surprise view car park and heading into Hope the fog was all behind me, so after discussing with myself for a few minutes (arguing) I decided to turnaround and head to Stanage edge car park. After creeping through thick fog I eventually popped out into clear skies.

I pulled over for a quick pic

After parking up in an unusually busy car park for that time off morning I set off up towards High Neb. 

View from High Neb

View from High Neb

View from High Neb

View from High Neb

I could not believe my luck as I was completely surrounded by inversions ((triple hurrah) I’ll stop that now) After taking several photos I could see that the wind was blowing higher mist/fog in and it wasn’t long until I was enveloped in mist (boooo!) Oh well I thought it was fun while it lasted. 

So I decided to head of the see the new stanage pole, on my way it dropped a little chilly so I wrapped up pretty well. (The following photo may scare small children) 

Stand & deliver your money or your wife

New stanage pole

New stanage pole

After visiting the new pole I headed back to the edge and low and behold the skies had cleared once again and I was greeted with the best inversion I have ever seen, to say I was happy would be an understatement. 

Woohoo

With the sun behind me I knew there was a chance of a brocken spectre so I headed to an outcrop and there below me was the brocken spectre I had been looking for.

Brocken spectre

After taking several photos on different settings a group off lads approached and said “crikey you’re brave going out there” I looked down and the wind had blown the mist onto the rock and it had frozen (d’oh) oh well I said looks like I’ll have to wait till spring. After carefully making my way off the outcrop I wandered along the edge some more taking lots of photos (76+) and eventually made my way below the edge and yet more photos. 

Notoriously difficult to photo fog bow

Its that famous grouse again

Whilst I was busy snapping away I received an invite for coffee at the Crowthers, which is always welcome a cracking couple, so I headed back along the bottom of the edge still snapping away. 

Mountain bikers on the edge

Once back at the car I drove up winnats pass in fog but once at the top it was clear and it was clear on the western side of the peaks. Once at the Crowthers coffee and a good chat was had to finish of a unbelievably good day in the peak district. 

My first brocken spectre.

During September and October I decided to concentrate on some photo walks, this saw me up on Bamford edge on a Friday evening capturing the sunset. As the evening was drawing in I noticed telltale signs that there was a good chance of an inversion in the morning (I had read a blog by Terry Abraham @terrybnd on the signs of a potential inversion)

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So after the sun had set I headed home and set my alarm for what I thought was an early start.

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I arrived at the bottom of Mam tor at 7 am in thick fog, after parking in the spaces on the roadside I quickly made my way up towards the summit.

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On the way up towards the summit I looked to my left and low and behold my first brocken spectre: -) after taking several pics and waving my arms about I proceeded on to the summit.

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Upon reaching the summit I came across a lot of photographers all taking photos of various directions.

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After speaking to a few photographers (well the friendly ones) I realised that my early and their early are different by about 2 hours.

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After several more pics and chats I made my way along the great ridge to Lose hill and there I was greeted with a fogbow.

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After a while admiring the conditions I eventually made my way down and proceeded to walk above winnats pass and Cave DaleΒ  then back to the car. All in all it was a cracking day.

Wainwright memorial lecture

I was lucky enough to win a ticket from Terry Abraham (@terrybnd) for the Wainwright memorial lecture at the rheged centre on the 17th October.

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So after work on Friday I headed straight up to the lake district (can’t go to lakes and not go for a walk) the traffic was horrendous on the A66 so I was quite late when I arrived at Burns farm, after pitching my tent I headed of in search of food, this took me to the horse and farrier where I had a romantic meal for one. (They insisted on the candle honest).

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The following morning after jump starting someone’s car I packed away and drove the short distance to a lay by to start a walk up Blencathra.

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It was quite a windy day and the clouds kept clearing to reveal some cracking views.

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After finishing my walk I headed up to the travelodge near the Rheged centre and got cleaned up for the event. Prior to the lecture starting I had a beer or two in the bar and bumped into the owners of The Wainwright pub (@Wainwright_Pub) who I have got to know on twitter and by frequenting their pub regularly: -) On the way into the lecture I met Mark Richards (@fellranger1) who was very friendly and informative. The lecture itself was very good and Terry came across very well with clips of his new film (life of a mountain Blencathra) going down very well. I’m going to the premiere in May so this was a bit of a dry run.

Camera pentapod

Yet another of my bird brained ideas,this one was for an ultra lightweight camera tripod.

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I purchased a camera mount for my leki poles and started to Muse as to how I could make it stable enough to act like a tripod,after much deliberation I came up with the idea of using guy lines to hold the pole steady. As you can see in the above photo it holds my bridge camera with no problems.

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Once finished the guy lines simply wrap around the handle and the tent pegs (titanium of course) can be fastened to the pole, I have some linelocs to add to the guy lines which should make adjustments easier.

Sawyer filter bag modification

Way back in August 2014 I decided to modify my Sawyer filter bag to make it easier to fill because I found it a bit of a struggle to fill.

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So I ordered a couple of 2 litre bags and proceeded to cut the top off.

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Then I cut a length of plastic plumber’s pipe just wider than the bag and split this down one side,I also cut a piece of old hydration tube a bit longer than the plastic tube.

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I filled the bag with water and then folded the end of the bag over the hydration tube,then slid the plastic pipe over the bag and tube.
As you can see in the above photo it is a really strong seal.

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Field testing the bag it was easy to fill the bag one handed.

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I have also added some string initially to hang the bag from to enable gravity to filter my water (lazy) but in the field I found it very useful for carrying the water to a suitable place for brekkie.(about a mile with no slippage or spillage).
In conclusion one of my bird brained ideas actually worked: -)