This time last year i was very active in the Great Outdoors, but for a number of reasons i have really struggled to do as much walking and camping as i’d like to. Unfortunately, this has led to a big drop in my fitness level, especially when carrying overnight gear on a wild camp. So this blog is about my first Wild camping adventure since September of 2017, and as you can imagine from the title, i did suffer with a fair bit of aches and pains in my legs and shoulders.
This trip was organised by my good friend Colin, and the route he had planned was to start from the village of Eyam, famous for exiling itself during the Plague in 1665. I arrived early to our meeting spot, so i did a little exploring before our walk began. I didn’t have to wait long before Colin arrived, and when he did, my short exploration of the village ended. I returned to my car and got my backpack out and we set off on our way…… though our first port of call was the old village stocks for a funny photo opportunity. With the photo taken, we headed out the village following Hollow brook towards Mompessons well. This first section was wooded and quite steep, and already i could feel that this walk was going to be quite difficult for me, having had so much time away from proper walking. Soon enough though we made it to the well, a place where supplies were dropped off for the village of Eyam during the self imposed quarantine of the Plague. The weather in the weeks before this trip had been pretty awful, there had been lots of cold snowy weather, mixed with plenty of cold and rainy. However we had somehow managed to pick a glorious day for our walk, which definitely makes it more enjoyable to be out, despite the aches that were slowly now starting to creep in. The time was now around 9 o’clock and the views were beautiful as we walked a short road section towards Bretton Clough where we would be back on proper footpaths again. It wasn’t long before we reached the footpath, and it felt good to be off the tarmac again. Making our way down into Bretton Clough, Colin’s original route was to take us right down to Bretton brook. This however had to be altered slightly in reality as we were unable to find the path which would take us down to it, so instead followed it on a higher path. It was around this point that we found out the effect that so much recently melted snow and rain had had on the countryside paths. The paths were extremely difficult to walk on and very slippy indeed. So slippy in fact that we both ended up on the floor once on this section of the route. This also meant i didn’t get a great deal of photographs taken either, as all my concentration was taken by trying to stay on my feet 🙂 After around forty minutes of slow and steady progress through the mud we reached the end of Bretton brook, and joined the junction of Abney and Highlow brook. From here we headed west, following Highlow brook. This section was slightly better underfoot, but there were still some very muddy areas, and one in particular approaching brook wood where Colin slipped so far backwards i was certain he was going to land pack first in the mud. Luckily he managed to grab hold of a tree branch and save himself from a muddy demise. Upon reaching Highlow wood, our route than took us north towards Highlow hall and Dunge wood. The climb up towards Highlow hall was again another section i struggled on, with the incline giving me some leg burn, they felt almost like jelly. There was however one highlight on this part, with a very low flying RAF jet blasting over head, so low we could actually see the pilot. Once at the hall we crossed the the road and made our way through Dunge wood, and from our vantage point we could see our next big destination, the village of Hathersage. Following the edge of the wood and the course of Dunge brook we made our way to the river Derwent, and eventually the road which led us to the village of Hatersage. After reaching the road and stomping the pavements for a while, we reached Hathersage, and it was then time for refreshments. This of course means the pub, a place i’m sure many Hikers enjoy on such a beautiful sunny day, so we decided to sit out in the beer garden of the Scotsman pack. I also decided to cheekily eat my own lunch in the beer garden which i had packed, it was only a few wraps, but much needed energy, washed down nicely by the ale 🙂 Once rested we then set off on our way to our final destination for the day via the road. The destination was Millstone edge. However, we had done the route a lot faster than we initially expected, so we also stopped again at the Millstone inn for a couple more drinks. Eventually we deemed enough time had passed, and we dragged ourselves away from the pub, and carried on our way to Millstone edge. We joined the edge at surprise view, before then continuing along to the other end near Over Owler Tor. With it now getting late, the temperature was starting to drop so we decided it was time for a nice hot brew. This was also the perfect time to try out the mug that was gifted to me by Mike Bright of the “Cornish Knives and camping” YouTube channel…. Thanks Mike 🙂 After coffee, we went in search of a nice spot to camp along the edge, and then waited around the area until just before dark when all the day walkers had gone. For this trip i had decided to use my Wild country Zephyros 2, and this was its first outing in around one year, whilst Colin was in his micro coshee, also by wild country. We cooked our food, then watched the sun go down, and had a good chat into the evening before deciding to go sleep.
The next morning i was woke up by Colin just in time to catch a beautiful sunrise, with perhaps a bit more cloud than i would of liked, but it was still great. After eating breakfast we packed up and set off back towards Eyam. Our route took us past Bolehill quarry and the large collection of old millstones towards Padley gorge and Grindleford station. Passing around Nether Padley, we made out way through Horse Hay Coppice and Froggatt wood, towards Froggatt bridge. Once over the bridge, there was only two more fields to cross and then a short section of road to walk and we’d be back into the village Eyam. This last field was quite steep, and by this stage of the walk my legs were almost feeling like jelly, and i wasn’t particularly looking forward to walking up it. It was quite obvious i was no longer hill fit, and that i definitely needed to start making more effort to get out more again. Half way through the final field we could just make out the area we had camped on Milstone edge, though its a lot harder to tell in the photograph 🙂 . Once across the the field we hit the final short section of road that took us into the village. This road had been closed due to a land slip, and seems to have been closed for some time, but was still passable on foot or cycle. Well soon enough we made it back to Eyam, after what had been a really enjoyable time, despite the aches in my legs and shoulders. It had been a long time since i’d carried any weight or done hill walking, and my body was definitely feeling it.
So here ends another blog, this had been a great walk and route planned by my friend Colin, so big thanks to him for that 🙂 Also i shall definitely be trying my best to get out more and recover slowly the fitness i have lost. As always if you read this far, thank you very much, all your support means a lot, and i’ll leave a link to the video of this trip below to any who are interested. Thanks again for reading, and until next time, goodbye.