Monday, 31 March 2014

Kinder Scout Wild Camp 29/3/14

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder and despite a lovely break abroad, I was eager to get out camping again.
After crawling through Ashbourne at a snails pace, the rest of the journey was traffic free and I arrived at Edale at about half past 12.
I struggled on up Golden Clough and felt every extra gram in my pack (new tripod and some water).
I made a quick stop beside Ringing Roger to collect some water, as the incline and warm early afternoon sun warranted frequent intakes.

Reaching the top of Ringing Roger I headed North East towards the trig point near Blackden Edge, but due to some dodgy navigating I travelled too far East and by chance came across an old aircraft crash site, I paid some quick respects and continued through the tricky bogs to the trig point.

I had a fair distance to cover so I decided to stick to the edge path as it was far more welcoming than the bogs, as well as offering some amazing views over Blackden Moor.

I was pleasantly surprised at how quiet this side of Kinder was (especially with such nice weather) I only encountered a couple of people, despite walking for a good few hours.

As usual, Kinder was dotted by some weird and wonderful weather carved rocks, not to mention some amazing vivid green moss.

As I was very close to my destination I spent a bit of time at the waterfalls near Fairbrook Naze, trying out various camera/tripod settings.

After a quick scramble out of the steep banks of the waterfalls I managed to find a pleasant little area in the peat groughs that was sheltered from the potent Easterly gusts.

After a coffee and some food I had a peek outside, disappointed to find mist had crept in, I decided to listen to a bit of music and hope the mist would clear for when it got dark, I was hoping I hadn't lugged my tripod up those inclines for nothing!  

An hour or so later I popped my head out to find the mist had cleared! I grabbed my gear and off out I went.
It was a slow process, waiting 30 or so seconds while constantly re-adjusting settings and framing between shots, it was bloody cold out there too and after about 45 minutes I headed back to the tent to change the camera battery.
I ventured out again soon after but cloud had put a stop to any further opportunities, I was more than happy with the shots I'd already taken so I decided to call it a night.

After a really peaceful nights sleep, I had coffee and breakfast and broke camp, the sun was pleasantly warm and I was in my element!

Just after Blackden Brook I headed South, directly over the top of Kinder, the peat groughs made for an  interesting little diversion and thankfully my navigating was spot on, I appeared at Nether Tor in good time.

Once nearing Ringing Roger once again, the crowds had started to appear, huffing and puffing their way up the steep paths!

I was almost skipping on the descent back down towards Edale, partly due to the success of my trip and also because I'd done all my struggling yesterday, once back at the car I had hot chocolate and a piece of cake at Coopers cafe :)

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Kinder Scout Wild Camp 8/3/14

I poled up at my usual parking place in Hayfield at around 2pm and noticed it was lots busier than usual, inevitable I suppose seeing now summer is almost upon us.
I set off on a steady plod towards Kinder Reservoir, it was warm and calm but a little hazy.
Today's plan was to tackle the Grade 1 scramble up Red Brook, pass Downfall, head towards Fairbrook Naze and set up camp for the night, hopefully taking in some good shots of the clear night sky.
I skirted around the familiar perimeter path of the reservoir, crossed the small bridge and turned right following the ground steadily rising up above the reservoir, pretty soon it was pastures new as the rest of the route was new to me.

I followed the River Kinder upstream, stopping every so often to take in the numerous picturesque waterfalls along its route, I soon passed Peter Nook wood, keeping an eye peeled for the little stream that would see me leave the River Kinder behind and head East.

It was boggy in places so I alternated between the River bed and the banks, often having to cross over to avoid near vertical banks, eventually I veered off up the Red Brook. I hadn't encountered a single sole yet (despite Hayfield being littered with parked cars) this was my kind of trail!

The Red Brook was quite easy-going at first but soon became steeper with massive, slippy, moss covered boulders blocking the way which required a fair bit of thought before tackling, my large pack was a big hindrance, often getting wedged on rocks above, a slip didn't bear thinking about.

The climb took me longer than expected but I finally popped out onto the ridge path, looking back down it you'd never guess it was a route up!

I headed in the direction of Kinder Downfall, it was still warm but pretty damn windy in places.
As I neared Downfall I reached for the camera, I'd seen the water being blown back but never from close up. I was so engrossed with taking photo's I also got a minor drenching from the spray!

The Sun was now starting to get low so I followed the River Kinder upstream looking for a sheltered place to pitch.
It was bogs in every direction so I picked a random route looking for a dip in the ground that would offer me some respite from the wind, It didn't take me long to find a half decent spot only to realise I'd forgotten to collect some water!

After righting my small mistake I pitched the tent, opting to use two pegs in places (due to the forecast of 50mph gusts).
I grabbed a few shots of the impressive sunset and fired up the Jetboil for some food and a coffee, shortly after I decided to hit the sack.
I had planned to wake up at around midnight to grab some shots of the stars, but it was just too windy.

I woke up a bit later than I should have and set about a quick breakfast and de camp, I strolled back the way I'd came with the sunshine making a guest appearance!!

I passed Downfall and joined the Pennine Way, making a quick detour to find the discreet trig point near Sandy Heys and with my mission complete I descended back down to the reservoir passing a number of groups on their way up, the sun was beginning to beat down and for the first time this year I could have done with some shorts.

As I rounded the reservoir and made my way down the steep cobbled path back to the car I was a little disappointed to have not bagged any star pictures, but with the weather improving vastly I will crack them next time :) 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Kinder Scout Wild Camp 1/3/14

I'd been watching the forecast for a week or so, it had changed from sub-zero temperatures with light snow to a couple of degrees plus with cloud, I was looking forward to the snow but the slight change wasn't a complete let down.
Fast forward a few days and the call came.. “you're in on Saturday” bugger, this meant I'd still be at work till lunchtime, usually I'm parked up and ready to start walking by then.
Saturday came and I was home by 1pm, after eating and preparing for my short trip I set off, I arrived in Hayfield just after 4pm.
It was a glorious summer's evening and I set off at a decent pace, wanting to shoot a few pictures and find a suitable spot to pitch before it got too dark.
As I rounded Kinder Reservoir it was very calm and I was greeted by the familiar and rather odd cackles of the local grouse.
I noticed the sunlight was getting higher up the surrounding hills and I was on a mission to catch up with it!

I crossed a small bridge and filled up my Travel Tap, I had a fairly steep climb ahead of me and didn't know when I'd get the chance to fill up again, the climb was tough work but it was paying off, I was starting to reach the sun drenched places!

I started to pass small groups of people on their way back down from a day's stroll, I was slowly getting the place to myself and I made a few brief stops to drink and take a few photographs of the scenery.

As I reached the top of Sandy Hays I turned left heading towards Black Ashop Moor, it was starting to get cold as the sun had disappeared behind clouds which had also ruined my chance of taking any sunset pictures.

After a short while I took a right, which led me towards the edge, after crossing a stile it began to get boggy. I broke out the head-torch and flashlight as it was getting difficult to see what lay ahead, I came across a tiny stream and decided to fill up my reservoir, it took me a good few minutes and the water didn't look pleasant at all but it was the only source I'd found since reaching the plateau.
As the darkness rolled in I left the path looking for a place to pitch, it didn't take long to find a level spot and I noted the wind direction (as the forecast showed the wind increasing during the night) a few minutes later and my tent was up, I fired up the stove and treated myself to meatballs and a coffee, with some berries in custard for dessert.

I checked the map and figured I was somewhere near the two red brooks on the Northern edge of Kinder, getting the map opened and closed in such a confined space is definitely an experience!!

I took a look outside and was pleasantly surprised to see the stars, I located my mini tripod, grabbed my camera and scampered outside, the wind was starting to pick up so it was difficult getting the tripod to stay put, when I was satisfied with what I'd taken I was grateful to get back inside the tent, my hands were numb with the cold brisk breeze now blowing across the hillside.

I had a brief look through the pictures I'd taken and got into my sleeping bag, a short while later and the wind increased to tent distorting force and brought with it a lot of rain and sleet, I slept in 2-3 hour periods due to being woken up by the weather.
The morning was no different, I packed all my stuff away while leaving the outer tent in place till I had a break in the rain, I hastily took the tent down and marched back the way I'd came, it was misty and made following the path hard (as it often splits into many other paths) I can see why so many people come to grief up here.

Fighting the wind was a constant battle and (not surprisingly!) I only passed two hardy Northerners heading for Kinder Downfall, after a pleasant greeting they stopped briefly to double check they were heading the correct way and I assured them they were, It was a fast but tiring descent back down, my thighs aching from constantly having to keep my legs from running away beneath me, thankfully the wind was confined to the higher areas and the mist cleared upon nearing Kinder Reservoir.

After the brief stroll around the reservoir perimeter I followed the River Kinder back to my car, grateful for avoiding a drenching and getting some decent night shots In the process! :)