Sunday, 14 December 2014

North York Moors 'Mini' Wild Camp 12/12/14

I decided not to blog about this trip as it was just a case of trekking out into the middle of nowhere and taking a few night sky shots, had I covered more distance or been out there for a couple of nights I definitely would have added more.
Enjoy the shots :)

Tripsdale Beck.

Looking down over Kay Nest.

Wild Country Sololite under the stars.

The morning after a bitterly cold night.

All packed up and ready to depart.

One of the cabins overlooking the moor.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Kinder Scout Wild Camp 7/12/14

On the drive there I was wondering how much snow there would be and how good Kinder Reservoir would look with a snowy backdrop, I was like a child on Christmas morning looking forward to my first snowy Wildcamp!

I arrived at 12 o' clock to absolutely no snow at all, I was gutted and cursed myself for taking the forecast as gospel, nevertheless I set off up Kinder Road towards the reservoir.

Just before I crossed over the River Kinder it started to rain, I quickly packed my camera and lenses into dry bags and donned my waterproof overtrousers.
The rain quickly turned into hail and I plodded up the cobbled path beside the reservoir.

A storm crossing behind Kinder Reservoir.
The downpour quickly subsided but I could see another storm hitting Kinder in the distance as I skirted the familiar path overlooking the reservoir.

The lack of snow showed some fantastic pastel shades of the surrounding vegetation, every cloud and all that..!

Looking up to Sandy Heys.
After rounding the reservoir I crossed over the footbridge and meandered towards Blackshaws, the sun was now out and bathed the surrounding areas in a warming light.

Looking over to Leygatehead Moor.
I struggled on up Broad Clough while a fell runner cheerily passed me and disappeared into the distance.
My energy levels were dropping so I munched on a couple of fig bars without any pause of my slow progress.
As I rejoined the main path heading South the gradient relaxed and I could see storms battering hills over to the West.

My easy walking was short lived as I approached Kinderlow End and I passed a few cheery folk on my way up.

The path up Kinderlow End.
As I turned around to check back I got a shock, I could see an icy storm heading straight for me, I kept snapping away as long as I dare and quickly dry bagged the camera once again.

An icy storm heading straight towards me!
The storm didn't last long but it was a promising sign that I may get some snow after all.
As I neared the top of Kinderlow End the sun broke through the clouds creating some fantastic effects.

As I neared Edale Rocks I began looking for a potential pitching spot and I couldn't help but notice Swines Back looked a better prospect, as I looked over I saw a tripod set up on the summit and hoped I hadn't been beaten to it.
I took a slow walk over and noticed someone leaving the summit, as our paths crossed he introduced himself as Harsharn from Peak-Exposure and after a brief chat about photography, weather, camping and suchlike, he headed for Noe Stool.
Despite the tiny elevation increase from the Pennine Way path, the winds up on Swines Back were borderline ridiculous, I sought shelter behind some rocks and made myself a nice warming brew.
After a passing storm I checked out the area and although the tent would have endured such winds, there's no way I'd be able to sleep.

A quick brew out of the chilling wind.
I quickly descended and found a place to pitch that would hopefully provide decent sunrise views in the morning.
After two evening meals and faffing about checking social media I peered out to a surprisingly clear sky, I switched the lens to my night time fave (22mm prime) and headed out.

Force 10 Ion 2 pitched just below Swines Back.

After 10-15 minutes I headed back indoors to thaw out, soon after it was lights out and as I lay awake, couldn't help but notice the frequency of the sleet was starting to increase.
I woke up a couple of times to heavy snowfall and gave the tent a gentle shake to disperse any that had built up on the roof.
I peered out when my alarm had gone off, unfortunately the sunrise wasn't visible but a heavy dumping of snow had fallen so I hastily had breakfast and then darted outside in the snow taking some shots while the weather still allowed it.

Just as forecast!
Looking Northeast to Noe Stool.
Time was getting on so I packed my sodden tent away and headed West at the Jacob's Ladder crossroads.

The views of surrounding peaks were fantastic and as I made my descent skirting around Kinderlow End the sleet began to fall again.

As I was crossing one of the many stiles on my route back down my lead leg slipped and I fell onto the top plank, I felt lucky that I got away with a nasty graze at the top of my inner thigh as it could have been much worse!
The sleet began to increase and the waterproof overtrousers went on again as I feared it would soon start to fall as rain.

Kinderlow End from the South.
At around 300m the greens had returned and as I strolled the last kilometer back to the car the heavens well and truly opened!

The Path down to Tunstead Clough Farm.

As I neared the car (almost exactly 24 hours later) I'd seen far more than just snow and it had been a great trip to end my two month drought of no camping, I look forward to many more over the winter months :)

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Lake District Wild Camp 30-31/8/14

Route: Wasdale-Haycock-Scoat Fell-Pillar-Haystacks-Wasdale.
Map of route:

After a later than planned wake up and the torturous drive to Wasdale, I eventually parked up around 3pm.
I packed away a couple of treats bought on route, saddled up and set off towards Wastwater.

The first stretch of the route took me back up the road I'd driven down, not my ideal way to start an adventure but there was no other way round it as no overnight parking is allowed.
The surrounding peaks looked very impressive, especially the Great Gable which looked quite menacing!

A few kilometres later and I veered off right picking up a path that would take me beside Nether Beck.

It was one of the gentlest ascents I'd tackled and made for very pleasant walking, I passed just one person (who I managed to startle with my afternoon greeting as he was so engrossed in his map!)

Osprey Aether 70 by Nether Beck.

As I got within 1.5 kilometres of Haycock, the gradient increased and the ground became awfully boggy, I did my best to avoid the worst of it.

That made two of us taking in the scenery!
As I made my push towards the summit, visibility was down to nothing and I plodded on into the abyss!

The summit view was (disappointingly) much the same and I began searching for water and a place to pitch.
I quickly realised I'd find neither, so descended back down the way I'd came, this time crossing over the wall towards Ennerdale Water.
I was greeted with a magnificent view and I set about collecting water and finding a decent spot, it was easier than it looked as the few flat areas were waterlogged and the rest were too steep for a decent camping spot.
Eventually I put up with a slight gradient and had the Ion 2 pitched in no time.

Fantastic camp overlooking Ennerdale Water.

As the sun set I grabbed a few photo's of my spectacular surroundings and retired indoors for hot chocolate and snacks while I checked tomorrows route.

I woke up to broken cloud and the sun trying its best to break through, after a quick breakfast I packed away and set off back towards the dip between Haycock and Scoat Fell.
As I turned Northeast and started my ascent of Scoat Fell, the cloud started to thicken again.

As I left the summit heading towards Pillar the views opened up again offering breathtaking views of the many impressive crags.

Steeple as I headed to Pillar.
Looking down towards Wasdale.
The closer I got to Pillar the more exposed it began to look, luckily a 'hands on' scramble made me concentrate on the task ahead instead of looking at the drops around me.

As I summited my third Wainwright of the trip, cloud had yet again ruined any decent views from the top!
after a quick slurp of water I set off Southeast in the direction of Kirk Fell.

Cloudy summit of Pillar.

I had a nice steady amble as I made my way towards the Black Sail Pass, being very cautious near the edges!

As I passed the first person I'd seen all morning I decided some food was needed.
I sat down moments before lunchtime and fired up the trusty Jetboil for a meal of BBQ pork with rice.

Lunch break with fine views of Yewbarrow.

I made a couple of photographic stops along the way as the still tarns were just too tempting to pass up.

Pillar and its reflection in a nameless tarn.
As I came to the crossroads at Kirk Fell I followed the Black Sail Pass heading in the direction of the YHA hostel at the bottom, mid way down I stopped for photographs and my map tumbled into Sail Beck (luckily It's an 'active map' so It's waterproof!).

Kirk Fell Crags

I treated myself to a little rest near the bottom of the pass, only to have a red ant crawl up my arm and prompt a hasty exit! As I moved from my spot I noticed a tiny caterpillar in the heather (how I didn't crush it I'll never know!)

Pug Ling Moth Caterpillar.
I passed by the newly renovated Black Sail Hut and headed up the steps for Scarth Gap.

As I hit yet more crossroads I headed Northeast for the summit of Hay Stacks, I was surprised at the amount of effort needed for such a small fell, the rocky scramble seemed endless and I must have counted thirty people all with the same idea.

High Crag from Hay stacks.
Soon after reaching the summit I began looking for a suitable spot, it was only 3pm but I fancied a rest and some lunch long before I thought about pitching the tent.
I found a cracking little pitch beside Innominate Tarn and sat back in the sun for a few hours watching the world go by, noting a lot of Australian and American accents as they made there way along the path.

Innominate Tarn with Pillar in the background.
All of the tourists were long gone by 6pm and I started pitching the tent when the sun disappeared, needing some pegs in place before I tensioned the flysheet as the wind had started to get up.

Force 10 Ion 2 blends in quite well.
Despite a dreamy evening on Hay Stacks, as night begin to fall the wind was ever increasing and I turned in about 9pm and snuggled down in my sleeping bag, there's no way I was getting any sleep though as the wind started to batter the tent, shortly after a deluge of rain began to hit the tent and worst case scenario's were flying around in my head, sometime after 1am I finally got to sleep.
The following morning was a complete contrast, everywhere was unbelievably still and blanketed in murk.

The morning after a nasty storm on Hay Stacks.

I wandered about grabbing a few shots before it started to rain again, once inside the tent I began to pack up leaving the flysheet on till last, donned my waterproofs and took the path to Blackbeck Tarn.

Blackbeck towards Buttermere and Crummock Water.
As I reached Blackbeck Tarn I got rid of the waterproofs as the rain had subsided, I skirted around the Tarn and headed Southeast as I planned to pick up the path beside Loft beck.

Blackbeck Tarn.
After some top quality navigation the stile appeared out of the mist and I began the slippery stepped descent beside Loft Beck while Kirk Fell was trying to fend off low cloud opposite.

Within no time at all I was back on the valley floor and ready to start my ascent of Black Sail Pass.

As with most of my ascents on this trip I struggled to get going, making time for a quick 'selfie' with Hay Stacks in the background.

Despite a few boggy encounters I eventually reached the top, safe in the knowledge I only had a relaxing downhill stroll to go.

Yewbarrow and Red Pike.
Dor beetle on the Black Sail Pass.
I took time out by a stream for a spot of lunch as a couple of walkers strolled on by, there was no rush to get back to the car.

Yewbarrow from the Black Sail Pass.
As I got moving again I heard the distant sound of a jet, I quickly zoomed my camera and waited before it thundered overhead, banked right over Pillar and came round again while performing a barrel roll, a nice end to a couple of action packed days of adventure!

BAe Hawk enjoying the Fells.
Unfortunately this might be my last Lakes trip for a couple of months, but when I venture back it will be well into the Winter season :)