Yorkshire 3 Peaks A not so wild camp

The Yorkshire 3 peaks is a walk that has been on my radar for a while, and not only mine, but also Mikes (GINGERBUSHCRAFT). Originally, the plan was for most of our Rat Pack group to make the trip to the Yorkshire Dales, and complete the 3 peaks over two days with a wild camp in the middle. Sadly it wasn’t to be, this was mainly down to other commitments. Also some lads did not want to risk it being a red hot day in the hills, as the days leading up to the weekend had been super hot, and not ideal for a 12 mile plus day. In the end the group was whittled down to just me and Mike, and after a quick chat, we decided to meet at 08:30 on the Saturday morning, in the village of Horton in Ribblesdale. Now being from Nottingham, the Yorkshire Dales are around three and a half hours away, so i decided to head up on the Friday after work.

Friday soon came around, and once i was home from work i started to pack the car. I loaded two sets of gear, one lot for the campsite, and another for the wild camp. I made a quick call to Holme Farm campsite to check availability, and to see if they’d still have the gates open at about 7pm. The news was good, they had space and they would also be open 🙂 IMG_8159[1]

As i got closer to Horton, it started to rain, and it was still raining when i arrived on the campsite at 18:50, thankfully it was only light rain. I quickly got my tent set up, and put everything in i’d need for the night,  before then heading off to the reception to pay for my stay. After i’d paid, i made a quick call to my partner to let her know id arrived safely, and then decided to head to the pub for some food. The pub in question is the “Golden Lion Hotel”, and inside it was extremely busy. When i asked for food at the bar, i was informed they’d sold out…..gutted i thought 😦   Ah well, so i asked for a pint and found myself a place to sit. Now whilst i had phone signal, i didn’t have any internet, luckily the pub had free WiFi, so i put in the code and spent the next hour or so in the pub. After a couple of pints i made my way back to the campsite, i had quick bottle of beer id brought with me and a couple of sausage rolls before laying down on my bed to sleep ready for the next days walk.

The next morning, i awoke to the baaing of all the sheep in the neighboring field, it sounded like they were having quite the conversation. The good news though, was that it had stopped raining, i only hoped it would stay dry for the rest of the day. I made myself a coffee and some breakfast, before then packing all my gear away, and driving to the car park of the Golden Lion. It was a good job i was only next door, as the car park was already nearly full, and i was worried Mike may not get a space too. Whilst waiting for him to arrive, i shot a bit of footage around the village, and as i looked at the time, Mike came driving around the corner, perfectly on time. I pointed to where the car park was and quickly followed on to greet him. Thankfully he managed to squeeze in, and after a quick chat, we had our packs on and we were ready to hit the trail. It was only a short walk through the village to the beginning of the path. IMG_8161[1] Pen-y-ghent was the first peak we would have to tackle, and it wasn’t far down the path before we saw the famous sign, designating the route we should approach from. IMG_8163[1] With the red route selected, we made our way up towards the Pen-y-ghent, which was shrouded in low cloud. It looked as though we wouldn’t be getting any views from the top. IMG_8170[1] IMG_8171[1] Taking it nice and steady, we soon reached the base of the path up to the summit. I suggested to Mike that we stop for a quick rest before tackling the steep route, to which he agreed. After about five minutes, and letting a group of faster walkers in front, we decided to carry on up to the top. The southern end of Pen-y-ghent is shaped almost like two big steps, and this first part, whilst steep, isn’t quite so bad as the second half. After a steady plod up to the half way point, we decided to have another short break. We were soon back on the move again, and the higher we got, the worse the wind got, and as we entered the cloud, you could really see it moving past us at great speed, some of it forming droplets in my beard. The second half of the path is much steeper, and as we neared the top, we were forced to do a little scrambling. There was no major technical parts, but with a big pack on, it was still a little tricky in places. Thankfully we made the top in one piece, but we weren’t quite at the summit just yet. The summit was another few hundred meters or so away, but with the low cloud getting us quite damp, and with the wind howling through, we decided to put our coats on, and also our back pack covers. The way to the summit was a gradual incline, and seemed very easy compared to short sharp ascent we had just done. Sure enough we soon made the trig point, which we obviously had to have our photo taken with 🙂 IMG_8173[1] The last time i came up, i stopped for lunch, this time however, we would be heading pretty much straight off. We did manage to stop just long enough for the low cloud to blow through though, and i quickly managed to shoot a bit of footage before more low cloud came back in. We made our way back down, and with one peak in the bag, it was time to make our way to Whernside. Not far from Pen-y-ghent is Hull pot, which was my destination last time i was in the area, so i asked Mike if he fancied a short detour to check it out, i was hoping that Hull pot beck would be flowing in to it this time. Mike agreed, so upon reaching the path, we made our way towards it. It was just my luck that it was dry again……..I couldn’t believe it!!!  Though personally i think it was still worth the detour, it is after all a very impressive piece of the landscape. IMG_8175[1] After a quick look around we made our way back to the 3 peaks route. We got around a mile further down the trail before we decided to stop for dinner. We found a really sheltered dip just off the path, that was almost totally out of the wind. I had my usual wraps, whilst Mike heated up a ration pack meal, and made both of us a cup of coffee out of the water he’d used. The weather did threaten to rain on us at this point, with a few spits in the air, but thankfully it held off. I had checked the forecast before coming out, and there was at least a 50% chance of rain all day, with a spike of 90% at a time i had completely forgotten 😉  With food eaten and coffee drank, it was time to carry on, and whilst the sky was very cloudy, the views were really good, when not on top of a peak. As we weren’t doing the 12 hour challenge, i didn’t have a route guide, but i did have my OS map and it was pretty well signposted. Not that it stopped me having a few map checks, hoping we were on the correct path, it wasn’t that i didn’t know where we were, i just wanted to follow the correct 3 peaks route. IMG_8179[1] For a while the weather did start to brighten up, with even a few patches of blue sky daring to show their face, as we made our way through the beautiful rolling fields and across babbling streams as they snaked their way through the landscape. IMG_8180[1] IMG_8181[1] IMG_8183[1]After some beautiful path miles, we joined the road for a short section, whilst the views were still great, i don’t really enjoy walking along roads.  IMG_8185[1] Thankfully it was only a short section, of roughly just over a mile, which took us to the Ribblehead viaduct. We stopped here for a coffee and a slice of carrot cake which Mike very kindly brought from the little mobile cafe ……. thanks Mike 🙂                                           We sat next to the stream enjoying the break, with a great view of the viaduct, just a short distance away. IMG_8187[1]  IMG_8189[1] Feeling more refreshed it was time to carry on, we made our way towards the viaduct, and i remember saying to Mike, it would be great bit of video footage if a train went over. Well it seemed someone must have heard me, as about 5 minutes later a train came rolling down the lines. IMG_8191[1] Grateful for the chance to film a train crossing the viaduct, we carried on. This next section followed the train lines for about a mile and a half, up to the Victorian aqueduct, where the stream crosses the train lines. IMG_8195[1] IMG_8196[1] As the crossing is so wide, with half for the stream and the other wide enough for farm vehicles, i didn’t immediately notice we were crossing the train lines. Perhaps if it wasn’t for Mike pointing it out, i may not have noticed at all! I was however in complete awe of the ingenuity of the Victorian engineering, it was very impressive. Shortly after crossing the viaduct, the route took a upward  gradient. It was from here the route started to get harder, as we started the climb up Whernside, with the steepness of the path gradually increasing as we went on. Needless to say we had quite a few quick stops on this section, and we hadn’t even reached the really steep part yet.  IMG_8202[1] IMG_8201[1] Yet again we were walking up to a cloud covered summit, but with the wind still quite bad, there was always a chance it could all change. As we made our way up the steep section to the ridge line, we entered the cloud, and at first visibility was very poor. However as we carried on, the cloud did clear for a short window, long enough to get a few pictures and some video footage. IMG_8205[1] IMG_8206[1] This short window soon disappeared, and by the time we reached the trig point at the summit of Whernside, visibility was back to nothing again. It felt great to finally reach the top, but we were also both very tired, this was Mikes longest walk by quite a long way, and one of my longest with a full pack. This was as far as we had planned to come on the first day, the plan now was to make our way down and look for a nice place to stop for a wild camp. IMG_8210[1] IMG_8211[1] This was easier said than done, as the route down from Whernside was extremely steep. The path, whilst having steps, (if you can call them that) were very uneven and stuck out all over the place, and it felt like one wrong foot placement and you’d be rolling down. This seemed a very real possibility for me, as my knees were really starting to hurt from the steep decent. After what felt like a very long time, we were nearly at the bottom, and for the last bit i thought i’d try the grass. I hoped it would be easier, but it wasn’t, as my foot slipped and i fell backwards, my hand stopping me from getting a muddy bum. Eventually though we were back on level ground, and the search for a wild camping spot began. As we were looking, we saw a nice big woodland, and thought it would be good to get that between us and the wind. As we approached via the road, we happened to see a field with tents in, we both looked at each other, perhaps not wanting to suggest it, but in the end we both decided to check out the campsite. The campsite was called Philpin farm, and it was only £6 per night.  So we decided to set up on the lower side at first, that was until the midges started to eat us alive, so we decided to head for the higher and sightly winder end. This worked and we were soon tucking into our food. We didn’t stay up for long though, and after a couple of beers we had an early night, ready for the next days walk, and last peak, before returning to Horton-in -ribblesdale.IMG_8215[1]IMG_8213[1]

The next morning i was up early, we’d had a little light rain through the night, but it had stopped by the morning. I’d had my breakfast and my morning coffee, then packed most of my gear away before Mike got up at about 09:00. One of the campsite owners came through as Mike was preparing his breakfast, and as we hadn’t paid the night before, due to not being able to find anyone, we gave her the money now. We’d had a nice leisurely start to the day, and it was nice not to have to rush around, as we’d done most of the mileage the day before. We packed all our gear away, and got ready to set off to Ingleborough, the last of the 3 peaks, and just after 10am and we were back on the trail. Looking back at Whernside where we had been the day before, it was now clear of cloud, and it seemed it had moved to the top of Ingleborough………. typical! we thought. Undeterred we carried on, the first part being on the road, which led us to the path, where we saw a rather unnerving sign on entry to the field……. BULLS!!! IMG_8217[1] Thankfully we didn’t see any, and on we went towards Ingleborough, passing through the nature reserve and the impressive rock formations of Southerscales scars. IMG_8222[1] IMG_8223[1] IMG_8224[1] We soon reached the base of the climb up to Ingleborough, and if the route up had been a little steep so far to get here, then what we were about to climb was looking near on vertical. We decided to have a short break first, and also ate a snack bar for some quick energy. Normally i carry my camera on its tripod in my hands everywhere, but as this part was looking so steep, i thought it best to stow it in my bag, and get out my walking poles for this section.IMG_8226[1] I was really glad i did, as the poles made it a lot easier, and after only a couple of short breather stops, we had done it. We then only had one more slightly less steep but a lot shorter section, before then crossing a few hundred meters of gradual incline, and then we’d made it. At last we were on the final peak, and it felt great to be on the summit of Ingleborough, and even better, the clouds had cleared!. We got the usual trig point shot, and then had a good wander around, taking in all the views, as the sky had cleared a lot and we could see the other 2 peaks from our vantage point. IMG_8230[1]IMG_8231[1] Out of all the peaks we spent the longest on Ingleborough, mainly due to the clearer weather and amazing views, but it was still really windy up high, so we decided it was time to head back to Horton. It was downhill all the way now, but not so steep as to be painful to the knees. We had one last look at Ingleborough, before it disappeared behind the rolling ground behind us as we got lower an lower. IMG_8236[1] IMG_8237[1] By the time we were into the last 3 miles the weather was the best it had been all weekend, we were out of the wind, and the sun was out making the last stretch quite hot work. IMG_8239[1] After so many miles the day before, my feet were quite sore across the balls of my toes, and i was forced to stop a few times on this last section, not that it was a massive problem with the nice weather. Even with the stops we were soon back in Horton, as we first passed through the train station, before then getting onto the main road and back to the Golden Lion Hotel car park.IMG_8244[1] I must admit it felt great to take our bags and big walking boots off. Before leaving we had a quick drink in the pub, but only a coke as we both had long journeys ahead of us. We then said our goodbyes and set off on our journeys home.

So that is the end of this Blog, me and Mike had a really amazing time, and despite the low clouds on the summits, we were very lucky with the weather. I hope you have enjoyed reading this story of our journey, and if you made it this far down the page, thank you very much. As always i shall leave a link to the video of this trip at the bottom of the page . So thanks again for reading and until next time goodbye 🙂

Regards Mark

Link below to my 3 peaks video

3 peaks wild camp video

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The Great Northern Bushcraft Conference – Part 3

GNBC – Edale – May 2017 – Sunday – Monday

Sunday

Waking up Sunday morning, i had a good look around with my blurry eyes, to make sure my tent was still standing, and that it wasn’t just a giant bivvy bag. Surprisingly all seemed ok. Upon exiting my tent i noticed that Colin’s tent had gone already, Colin had set up in the space vacated by Jay and his family whilst i was out walking. Id had a great chat with him in the evening, before he went to bed early, as he’d brought his young son with him. Asking the lads about Colin, they informed me that he’d been forced to pack away due to his tent pole snapping in the night, which had scared his lad, as the tent was half collapsed. Well thankfully the wind had died down quite a bit now, but the visibility was very poor. The cloud was very low, and was hiding the mass of Kinder, and covering the top half of the great ridge, it wasn’t looking good for another days walking………well if i wanted to see anything that is 😉  IMG_8066[1]  You may notice in the photograph above, the mess that was once Paul’s gazebo. His gazebo though wasn’t the only thing on site to get battered by the wind. As mentioned earlier, Colin’s tent got broke, a few other peoples tents also damaged, also i think a good few tarps on site had ripped, some people were using them as makeshift awning. Quite an expensive night. As the morning went on, the cloud did start to lift, but the sky stayed very grey. Most of our group was leaving today, many of them before dinner time, Mike and his dad, Craig, Andy and his lad Tom, Dave and his dog were all gone before 1 o’clock. This just left Steve and his wife, (who were also leaving but not till the evening) and me and Paul of our group. As well as most of our group leaving, quite a few others from the site were packing up or had already left. There was still a good amount of people left though who were staying for the last night, and i was sure we’d still have a great last evening.

So the time was around 12:30, and as the weather had continued to improve all morning, i decided i would do one last walk. I prepared myself some food and set off towards Edale. I had no idea where i was going to go, but i did have a rough plan, and that involved checking the train times. My plan was slowly formulating, and if the wait for the train was not too long, i  had decided i wanted to catch the train to Hope and walk back via the great ridge. Arriving outside the train station, i checked the timetable to see how long id have to wait. After a quick scan, i saw i only had about 25 minutes to wait so i decided to head on up to the platform. IMG_8068[1] Once on the platform i saw a familiar face, it was Shaine, who had left the campsite nearly an hour before me. He told me he’d missed his train by about five minutes and was forced to wait for the next one, the one i’d be getting. Though i was only going one stop down, and he was going all the way to Sheffield. With his company, the 25 minutes flew by and our train soon arrived at the platform. IMG_8070[1]  It didn’t take long to get to Hope, after all it was only one stop down, so after saying goodbye to Shaine, i got up and waited by the door to exit the train. The first part of the walk is just about getting out the station and off the road, which is done at the bridge over the river Noe. The Path follows the river for about half a mile before cutting west through the fields towards Lose hill. IMG_8072[1] The weather had been steadily improving while i’d been out, with the clouds going from dark grey to almost white and fluffy, and with patches of blue sky appearing, the temperature had also risen. The path was starting to steepen now as the great ridge drew nearer, and before long i was at the base of Lose hill, and ready to make my way up. IMG_8074[1] It was quite a slog up to the top for me, as the section leading up to it had been all uphill as well, so i had a couple of stops to catch my breath on the way. Once at the top though, all the effort is worth it, with great views all around, over the vale of Edale and the Hope valley. IMG_8078[1] IMG_8077[1] As you will notice from the photographs, it was very busy on the top, in fact, looking down the ridge towards Mam Tor, it looked like the entire ridge was busy. Such are the perils of walking such a beautiful and popular route on a bank holiday weekend. I waited on Lose hill long enough for most of the crowd to leave, so i could then record an update for my video, once done i carried on along the ridge. Having set off so late, it was well past dinner time, and i was starting to get really hungry. So my plan was to get to Back Tor, and hope that the large table sized rock was available, where on a previous trip i had seen a couple eating their lunch. I moved swiftly along the path, but being careful to keep a distance between the people in front and behind, to kind of give myself the illusion i was walking on my own 🙂 Arriving at Back Tor it was very busy, but there was no one at my chosen lunch spot, so i quickly shot some video footage and took some photographs before grabbing myself a place at the table like stone. IMG_8082[1] The views from here were pretty epic, i had a very commanding view of the rest of the great ridge to Mam Tor, and also amazing views over the Vale of Edale towards Kinder Scout. IMG_8083[1] IMG_8084[1] I was really glad i chose this spot for food, as the views were so good, i almost didn’t want to leave. But leave i did, once my food was finished, and i started to make my way down Back Tor towards Hollins cross. After the downhill from the Tor, i made my way up the next rise, before then descending down again to Hollins cross. It was very busy here too, with at least two groups of D of E passing through in the short time i was there. I didn’t stop there long though, as i’d only been there the day before, so i quickly carried on up towards Mam Tor. I could already see that it was going to be very busy on top, as various dots on the horizon milled about. I didn’t get many pictures on my way up this time, as i  had already done this section, but just before the summit i couldn’t resist turning around for just one picture of the extremely photogenic ridge. IMG_8086[1] The summit, as expected, was very busy, but this time the wind was no where near as bad, and i didn’t feel the need to get off as quickly as the day before, when we were all but blown off. This time i got to soak up more of the views from the highest point on the ridge, whilst waiting patiently to get an obligatory Trig point selfie 🙂    IMG_8088[1] I left the summit via the steps on the western side, and from there made my way to the path down harden Clough again. Its a pretty steady decent all the way down into Edale with nothing too steep or painful on the knees. Again, as i’d done the route the day before, i didn’t get many pictures, except for one looking down onto Edale with Grindslow Knoll in the background.  IMG_8091[1].JPG I arrived back on the campsite at about 17:30, after roughly a 9 mile walk. I’d had a really great time, and it had been the first time since October 2016 that id done the full ridge. I was however completely shattered, as 3 days of walking and late nights had caught up on me, and for the next half hour or so i sat outside my tent relaxing. After a good rest, i grabbed a few snacks and a beer then had a scan of the site looking for Paul. i found him sat with all the lads from camp Bazza, so i picked up my chair and went over to sit with them for the rest of the evening. We had a really nice chilled evening and a great chat, and i also brought an “Edale 2017” ferro rod off Scott as a memento of the weekend. It was really nice to sit with a great bunch of lads id watched on YouTube, but never met before in person, and they were all really friendly and welcoming. Well we sat and talked till around 10:30, when it decided to start raining, and that seemed to be everyone’s cue to go to bed, after a great evening, myself included.

Monday

I woke up Monday morning at about 07:30 to an almost complete white out, visibility was even less than Sunday morning, and all you could really see was our immediate field. I decided to put the kettle on for a much needed coffee, and i started packing all my gear away. As it was slightly spitting with rain, i got all my gear away first and left my tent till last. IMG_8092[1] It was at this point Paul got up, and after he had properly woken up, he helped me pack up my tent, and that was all my gear done. Between us we had a good litter pick of our area, and i took the rubbish over to where it was all being collected from. On my way back i had a great chat with Drew, one of the organisers, and we talked over various things and i also told him what a great time i’d had and that I’ll definitely be back in the future if the event is on again. Upon getting back to Paul, he’d got all his gear away, so i repaid the favour and helped him take his tent down too. With that, it was time for me to leave, after eagerly waiting for what felt like ages to get to this event, it was now over so quickly. Id had a truly amazing time, and id like to thank everybody who made it happen, from all the people who turned up, and to Drew and Lenny for organising with the farmer to use his land and making sure everything ran smoothly……..Thank you!!! 🙂

So that’s the end of this blog and the GNBC series, i hope you have enjoyed reading this, and if you made it this far then thank you very much. I will once again leave the links to the videos of this event below in case you have missed them befor . So thank you again for reading and until next time, goodbye 🙂

Regards Mark.

Links below to my videos from the weekend.

Gnbc Weekend video

Gnbc The walks

The Great Northern Bushcraft Conference – Part 2

GNBC – Edale – May 2017 -Saturday

I woke up Saturday morning to grey skies, it looked as though the amazing weather we’d had for the first two days was over. A few of the lads from our group were already up, and after saying good morning blurry eyed, i got my kettle on for a much needed morning coffee. With my coffee made, it was time for breakfast, this time we had bacon cobs, (or bread cakes to some 😉 ) with the bacon being supplied by Paul, and cooked by Mike and Craig…… Thanks lads 🙂 Jay and his daughter, Mark, Jan and Lee were packing their gear away, as they were heading off on holiday to Cornwall. Once they were finished, we said our goodbyes, and waved them off.  Whilst eating breakfast we discussed the plans for the day. Saturday was the main selling day, with all the knife makers and leather workers having their products on display, there would also be lots of people selling second hand gear. So it seemed the plan was to check out all the stalls and chill out and relax for the rest of the day. As we were getting ready to have a look around, Lenny came to give us an announcement, Lenny being one of the main guys behind organising the event.  He came to tell us that at around four o’clock there would be a group photo of everyone who had attended, and also that there would be a raffle. The raffle was all items donated by the craftsmen on site, with lots of great things on offer. So with this news we all headed off around the site, to check out what people had for sale. The sun had decided to come back out now, and the sky was starting to clear, though not quite as cloud free as the past two days.  IMG_8034[1] The nearest and first stall we arrived at was Scott’s, who also runs a great YouTube channel “MrSkooty1968”. He does a lot of great wood work, which you can see above. These include ferro rods, hobo fishing reels and even wooden razor handles, only you have to supply the blades yourself. IMG_8035[1]IMG_8036[1] There were lots of great stalls, woodwork, leather work and home made knives. All with  very nicely made by some great craftsmen. I take my hat off to them all, and i really appreciate the hard work they all must have put in to create such quality goods.IMG_8037[1] As well as new hand crafted gear, there was also plenty of good quality second hand gear, all eagerly hoping for a new home. Unfortunately i didn’t really see anything i wanted, as mush as i loved the beautiful knifes and leather work, there not something i really use, being more of a walker and wild camper and not a bushcrafter. After having a good look around and chatting to quite a few familiar faces, the time was fast approaching mid day.  A few of us had made our way back to the area we had set up in, and were enjoying a sit down it the shade of Paul’s gazebo. Whilst sat there admiring the surroundings, i decided that i wanted to get out there for a nice walk. I also however wanted to be in the group photograph, so it would have to be a short one. My plan was to walk up to Hollins cross on the great ridge, then up to Mam Tor, and back to Edale via Harden Clough , this was roughly a six mile trip and should easily see me back in time for the group photo. So i quickly made myself some food for the walk, and i set off for the great ridge at about 11:45. The weather was still beautifully sunny, and with very little wind, i knew it wouldn’t be long before i’d be a sweaty mess. As i made it to the road, i turned back to look at the campsite, that had filled up even more since Friday night, before carrying onto the footpath on the other side. IMG_8040[1] IMG_8041[1] Following the footpath, i crossed the bridge across the river Noe. Its at this point the path starts to steepen, and looking ahead towards Peters barn, were two Cows laying in the path, a bit worrying i thought. As i got nearer, i saw a man stood in the path, he wasn’t walking, and he seemed be watching the cows. Once a bit nearer to him, i said hello, and he then asked what i was going to do about the cows. In fact, as one of them had big horns, he thought they were bulls. I told him i was just going to walk past them, and if i had to, walk around them a good distance so as not to startle them. He walked with me as we approached them carefully. One of them got up and walked away, whilst the other stayed put. We decided to chance it, and carried on by, the cow just watched us go, phew! we thought. Its always a bit of a worry when big cows block your way, as they can be a bit unpredictable. IMG_8043[1] With the cows successfully navigated, we introduced ourselves, i told him my name, and he said his name was Jeff. When i told him i had come from the GNBC campsite, he said he had too, and it turned out he was actually related to Lenny the organiser. So off we went up to Hollins cross in the blazing heat, and with no wind it was super hot. We had to stop quite a few times, and i have to admit in the heat i was really struggling. Luckily its not a massive climb, and we eventually made it to Hollins cross, by which time i was a very sweaty mess and ready for a sit down. IMG_8045[1] At Hollins cross the weather was a lot more bearable due to a good breeze blowing across, this certainly helped combat the heat from the sun, and kept me much cooler. After a quick sit down and chat, Jeff decided to tag along with me, which was great, as i now had a walking partner. We set off up to Mam Tor, and as the path got higher, so did the wind. The wind got so powerful, i was forced to take my hat off and clip it to my belt for fear i might lose it to the hills. Its not very far to the summit of Mam Tor from Hollins cross, and we were soon on top. It was quite busy at the summit, as is normally the case on a weekend. We didn’t stay long, as the wind was really bad, and after a quick photo at the trig point we decided to head down to the broken road to eat our lunch.  IMG_8049[1] IMG_8050[1] We walked off Mam Tor via a path on the south face, which follows the edge of the land slip, and makes its way to the end of the broken road. Its quite a steep path down, and no fun on the knees, but sure enough we made the bottom, and sat on a section of the broken road to eat our lunch.  IMG_8053[1] IMG_8054[1] After lunch we paid a quick visit to the Blue John cavern cafe. and Jeff very kindly brought me a coffee. IMG_8057[1] We had the coffees on the go and slowly drank them as we walked. We made our way towards the road in the gap between Mam Tor and Lords seat. From the gap, we soon joined the path to Harden Clough. We were making good time, and we’d easily make it back to the campsite in time for the Group photo and raffle. Near the end of the path, we came across a section that was really muddy the last time i went that way, and i was very happy to find it bone dry. Leaving the once muddy section behind, we were soon back in Edale village, and after passing the train station we took the footpath immediately after Fieldhead campsite, back to Ollerbrook farm.

We made it back to site with around twenty minutes to spare. Just enough time to empty my bag, change my boots and open a nice bottle of ale. Back at my tent, i noticed one of my poles had split in the wind, so i quickly got some duct tape from Paul, wrapped it up and hoped that would be enough to stop it breaking completely. At 16:00 everybody started to make there way down to the bottom of the field where the photograph was taking place. IMG_8059[1] After the group shot, Drew and Lenny gave out one raffle ticket to everybody there, and said the draw would be done at about half past. Unfortunately i didn’t win a prize, but it was really great of them to do this for free and massive thanks for the lads who donated the prizes free of charge. IMG_8061[1] After the raffle it was time to get the fire going and get some food on. More meat on the menu as we tried our best to eat our way through all the meat Mike had got from the butchers. After food it was time to have a few more ales around the fire, and even more meat, as Andy started to make some of his famous nandos chicken….yum yum. As the evening went on, the wind started to pick up more and more, and it also started raining. It didn’t stop us having a great night though as we chatted and drank into the night. The wind was quite worrying for me though, as i’d already had to patch up one pole already. But as it happened, after a good few hours and plenty of ales inside us, it was Paul’s gazebo that got absolutely ruined in the wind. We tried to pack it up as best as we could, but it wasn’t happening, and it looked a right state. We were far to merry to do anything about it know though, we’d have to deal with it in the morning. This was to be our latest night up of the weekend, but all good things must come to an end, and while we were down to the last three or four of us, we decided to call it a night and made our way back to our tents. It had been a great time.

So that’s the end of this blog, i hope you have enjoyed it, there will be one more part out of this story soon. So if you read this far, thank you very much, i’ll put the links to my videos on this trip at the bottom of the page again incase you missed them before.

Thanks again, and until next time, goodbye 🙂

Regards Mark

Links to Edale GNBC videos

The great northern bushcraft conference

Great northern bushcraft conference The Walks

The Great Northern Bushcraft Conference

GNBC – Edale –  May 2017 – Thursday – Friday 

At the beginning of last year, whilst i was still suffering with my depression and anxiety, i stumbled across quite a few YouTube videos of a really great looking meet up of like minded individuals. This meet was called “The great northern bushcraft conference”. The first videos i found were Jay (GoonieBushcraft) and Dean (Dean Read). As you will know if you have been following my blog, they were the first two outdoors Vloggers that had really caught my attention, and i had been watching a lot of their videos. Well they were not the only guys to put out video content from this event, far from it, in fact there were loads, and all with their own perspective on the event. I watched my way through more than my fair share of them, and i remember thinking at the time, i must get myself there next year if they have another meet like this. To be honest, at the time, i didn’t expect to be going. But fast forwarding around eight or so months into early March 2017, when the dates were announced, and i’m part of the “rat pack”, and eagerly awaiting the end of May for the “The great northern bushcraft conference” to start.

So as you can imagine, lots of camps came and went, and it was soon time to pack for the end of Mays GNBC. The event was running for four days, from Thursday the 25th till Monday 29th, and i would be there for all of them. I couldn’t wait, this would be my first bit of glamping id be doing in a long time. It was going to be nice to be completely comfortable for a change, complete with fishing bed, big chairs and more ale than you could shake a stick at. I did all the packing i could the night before on Wednesday, and left what i could in the car ready. Unfortunately, i had decided in my infinite wisdom, not to book the Thursday off work…. massive face palm moment for me there. Ah well, next time i won’t be so tight with my holidays, this just meant i wouldn’t be arriving at the site in Edale until late afternoon.

The site the event is held on is not an official campsite, it is in fact, for most of the year a sheep grazing field. The field was acquired for our use,  by two great men, whose names are Drew and Lenny. They also organise the whole event, and originally started it as a cheaper alternative to the “Bushcraft show”, which has seen big increases to the ticket prices over the years. So the two of them took it upon themselves to organise a new event, and negotiated with a farmer for use of his field. The rest as they say is history. They also have their own YouTube channels,  Drew’s being “Northwest Bushcrafter” and Lenny’s is  “Lenny6ft5”, i’m sure they’d appreciate you checking them out.

Thursday

Ok, so back to Thursday…… with most of my things already packed, all i had to load in the car upon returning from work was my food and drink. With all this sorted it was time to go. I left my house around half three in the afternoon, not the best time to be going anywhere, as it took me half an hour just to get out of Nottingham due to the school traffic. When i did finally escape Nottingham, i arrived in Edale just after 5 o’clock, and after messing around trying to find the campsite ( i mistakenly thought you could access it via the village road with the pubs on it), i was soon making my way up into the field. The weather was absolutely beautiful, with the sun beating down, and not a cloud in the sky. The top of the field was already surprisingly full of tents, so i slowly made my way up the field to where i thought my friends were camping. Luckily Mike saw me, and waved me up to where i could set up. My set up for this long weekend would be a little different to normal, instead of a tarp and bivvy, or my Zephyros 2, i had a 5 man Aldi tent all to myself. Having only used it once before, and not being one hundred percent on how to set it up, i got a bit of ribbing from the lads, but together we soon had it set up. Once the tent was up i got all my gear in that id need, this included my fishing bed, chair and a few other bits and bobs. I really was living the luxury camping life for this weekend. Due to the heat i decided it would be best to leave all my food and drink in the boot of my car, as this was the only shady place i had. Once i was all set up, it was time to soak up the atmosphere on site and enjoy the beautiful views. We had the great ridge to one side and the great mass of kinder to the other. IMG_7326[1] IMG_7327[1] After a bit of a chat with the lads, it was time for a drink and some food. Earlier in the week Mike had said he was going to his local butchers to get some meat, and if we wanted some, could we please chip in, to which we all agreed. “Some meat” was a bit of an understatement, i think we had nearly a whole cow and a pig, with a flock of chickens thrown in for good measure. With the weather being so warm, we decided to cook the chicken first, well Mike cooked it while we stood and watched, thanks Mike 😉    The rest of the evening was spent chilling out with a few beers and a good chat around the fire with friends, whilst also making a few new ones who popped by our fire that evening.  After a great chilled evening, it was time for bed.  IMG_7330[1]IMG_7331[1]

Friday

The next morning i was up at around 07:30, everywhere was very damp from the overnight dew, but the sky was completely clear, it looked like we were on for another very hot day. Quite a few people were already up, including some of our group, but there were also a lot still happily in the land of nod. By 08:00 most people were up, including all of our group, with the exception of Paul, who was having a nice lay in. With Mark already having the fire pit going, it was time for breakfast. This meant digging in to the large supply of meat from Mike’s butchers, and we soon had an impressive looking hotplate full with bacon and sausage. IMG_7338[1] With breakfast eaten by all our group, i must admit to getting slightly worried by the absense of Paul, who still hadn’t surfaced out of his tent all morning. So sometime just after 09:00, me and one of the other lads decided to check if he was ok. We gave him a shout from just outside his tent, and thankfully he responded, panic over. Luckily for Paul there was still some bacon left over, and once he had eaten it was time to finalise the plans for the day. The night before, we had decided to do a walk, but we hadn’t decided on exactly where to go. The options were, if it was to be a little cooler, then we would do Mam Tor, but if it was another hot day then a paddle in the Grindsbrook stream was in order. Well the weather was already red hot, and it was only 09:30, so the later was chosen. Paul decided he would stay on the campsite and socialise with some of the other groups he was friends with. At around 10:30, myself and the rest of our group were ready to set out for Grindsbrook Clough, all necessary gear loaded into our packs, in particular, plenty of water. It wasn’t very far to the base of Grindsbrook Clough from our campsite, roughly around a mile and a half. With the varying degrees of fitness, the group was pretty stretched out, but we were soon all together again next to the stream. I said my farewells to the rest of the group as they headed down from the path to the stream. This was as far as everyone else was going, i on the other hand, was going a lot further, i had decided to go all the way to the top of Grindsbrook, then take it from there. IMG_7342[1] IMG_7344[1] IMG_7345[1] Walking up Grindsbrook Clough was a real struggle, the sun was very intense and there was little to no wind in the sheltered Clough, i found myself a shady spot to apply some sun cream before carrying on. I was soon at the base of the scramble, and after a short break, i set off up the rocks to the top. IMG_7348[1] IMG_7349[1] I made pretty good time up the scramble despite the heat, and i was soon at the top. I had another short break, as i enjoyed the views back down the Clough and out over the Vale of Edale, flanked on one side by the mass of Kinder scout. Whilst enjoying the view, i decided on the next part of my route. My plan was to walk to the top of Grindslow Knoll, then to double back on myself and follow the southern edge of Kinder scout to Ollerbrook clough, this would lead me back to the GNBC campsite.  IMG_7351[1] I quickly made my way to the top of Grindslow Knoll, the views from here were simply spectacular, and from this vantage point i could see lots of my previous walking routes. These included, the great ridge, Win hill, Hope cross, and i could even just make out the wheel stones near Derwent edge, where i had eaten my lunch only two weeks before. IMG_7354[1] IMG_7355[1] After enjoying the view and having a good chat with a man named Andrew, it was time to head back the way i had came. I was starting to get hungry though, so i didn’t go far before stopping part way down from Grindslow Knoll, to eat my lunch. After my food i carried on my journey back to the campsite. I was soon back past the top of Grindsbrook Clough, and following the edge of Kinder scout. I got as far as Upper Tor when i turned back to look at the spot i had stopped for lunch. It looked every bit as good from this angle too. IMG_7357[1] The next place on my route i was looking forward to reaching was Ringing Rodger, but before reaching it, i decided to stop quickly and apply some more sun cream. I was quite aware that despite the cooling wind, i would most likely start burning soon if i didn’t put some more cream on. I ended up putting a bit too much on, and thankfully there weren’t a lot of people on the trail to see my now overly white face. Ah well, better to be safe than sorry. With cream applied, all be it excessively, i carried on, and before long i was at the rocks around Ringing Rodger. IMG_7359[1] From Ringing Rodger it was only a short walk to Ollerbrook Clough, but as i approached it i thought it might not be the best idea to just walk straight down it. After a quick check of the map, i decided to follow the path to the side of it, down to the nab, then follow that down to Ollerbrook farm, the home of the GNBC campsite.

Back at the campsite i greeted the lads who were already back from Grindsbrook Clough, and i then went for a walk around the site, which had filled up quite a bit since i had left in the morning. I met quite a few people whose videos i watch on YouTube which was great, and even the odd one or two who watch mine. After the wander it was time to relax again with food and a beer. This time we cooked Steaks, well Mike cooked again, with some help from Mark. IMG_7361[1]

We drank ales and chatted around the fire, and even had our first Rat pack punch of the weekend. We had a really good evening and most of us stayed up till gone midnight before retiring to our tents, (or vans for those vanping) to get sleep ready for the next days activities.

So that’s the end of part one, with part two and three to follow soon. I hope you have enjoyed reading this, i will leave a link to my videos for this trip at the bottom of the page. Thank you for reading, i look forward to any comments, until next time, goodbye.

Regards Mark

links below to my videos of the great weekend.

Gnbc weekend video

Gnbc The walks

Wet and Windy Wild Camp – The Bushcraft Forest

Back in early June, …….yes i know my blogs are getting later,and a bit out of sink 😉  Paul, Jay and myself decided very last minute, to go for a wild camp in the Bushcraft forest.  It was a midweek meet, so there was only going to be three of us from the rat pack, but we were also to be joined by a fellow YouTuber Paul Messner. The night before the camp, me and Paul decided that we’d meet at the forest for between 11:30 – 12:00.

I awoke the next morning to the sound of rain hitting my bedroom window, it was too late to cancel now, and anyway i don’t let a bit of rain stop me getting outdoors. So with all my gear packed, i left my house at roughly 10:30, hoping to get there for the earlier meeting time of 11:30. Unfortunately traffic was against me, and it was nearer to 12:00 by the time i pulled up at the lay-by near the woods. No bother i thought, and i put my bergan on and made my way to the camping spot. The rain was still coming down, and the wind was blowing quite hard, fortunately it wasn’t a cold wind.  As i arrived at the familiar spot, i noticed that Paul wasn’t around, so i checked my phone to see if he had messaged me of any delays. It turned out he had, and that he wouldn’t be arriving until just after 13:00. Having roughly one hour to myself, and with the rain still coming down, i decided to set my shelter up straight away before my pack got completely soaked.  Being the only one there, i had the pick of the place to set my tarp, i decided to chose a secluded spot which was very sheltered from the weather. I opted to set up a simple A-frame, using the trees to support, only this time i had one corner folded out just to make it easier to get in and out. IMG_7671[1] Once set up, i thought id record myself some intro footage for my video, and then go check out, what we call the famous view. Whilst technically not really famous, the view from the cliff edge does appear in just about every single video from the Bushcraft forest. The view looks particularly nice at this time of year, with everywhere in full colour and all shades of green on show. After a good long look, i made my way back into the woods to where i was set up. Whilst i was waiting for Paul, i decided to collect the rubbish which a group of campers had left the night before. I know the rubbish was very recent as the alternative fire pit still had warm ashes in it. Ironically, there was an empty carrier bag, so i proceeded to fill it, until there was no rubbish in our area.  I had only finished litter picking a few moments when i saw Paul walking down the footpath to where i was waiting. We greeted each other and had a quick chat before Paul picked where he was going to set up. As normal for a woodland camp Paul had brought his hammock and tarp. Whilst setting up he informed me Jay would also be arriving soon and that another Paul (Paul Messner) would be coming for his first visit to this woodland. IMG_7676[1] Times are a little hazy in my head, but im pretty sure that Jay arrived not long after Paul. Before setting up his Hammock, he informed us that we would also be getting two extra visitors sometime in the afternoon. These visitors would be Mark Cook and Andy Sparks, although they were not going to be stopping the night, just popping in for a brew and a chat. IMG_7678[1]  It didn’t take Jay long to put up his hammock, and once finished, me and Paul took him to a pine tree that had been damaged quite recently. It looked as though some one had took an Axe, and gone around the whole tree and removed all the bark in a foot deep ring. We all had a good complain about why anyone would feel the need to do such a thing, and why they had also chopped live trees for fire wood, when there is plenty of deadfall about, which also would burn better!!  So rant over  🙂                                                  It was about this time that Paul got a text to say that the other Paul had arrived ( i can see this getting complicated). So from here on in, they shall be Paul (who arrived first) and Paul M who Jay and Paul went to collect from the lay-by:-)                                              So while Paul and Jay went to meet Paul M, i stayed behind to look after the equipment. Its only a short distance from the woods to the lay-by, and all three lads were soon back. I went up to Paul M to say hello, i had met him for the first time at the GNBC in Edale (that blog is in the pipeline) and this was our first meet since then. Paul M also had a hammock to set up, though unlike the rest of our group, his wasn’t from the DD brand. Paul M’s hammock was a Hennessy explorer deluxe, it was very smart looking, and i was quite impressed by it. IMG_7680[1] Now that everybody had their shelters up, we all decided it was time to search for some firewood. I borrowed Paul’s folding saw for this task, as he was going to set up the group shelter while the rest of us went wood collecting. This period of wood collecting was about the only time that it wasn’t raining, so for roughly an hour i actually managed to take off my waterproofs. Collecting wood and sawing into usable chunks was very hungry work, so i decided to get myself some food on as soon as we had finished. Food for this meal was a boil in the bag army ration pack, sausage casserole if i remember  correctly 🙂   It was somewhere around this time that Mark cook and Andy Sparks arrived. I don’t remember who turned up first, but i’m pretty sure that they were both in time for the lighting of the fire. Now we don’t always go for the natural style, but on this occasion Paul decided on this wet and windy afternoon to use some fatwood, lit by flint and steel. The first try failed, we put this down to it not being the best fatwood, so out came the birch bark. This also took a couple of goes, but on the second attempt it worked and we had fire, a massive congratulations to Paul for persevering with it  🙂 IMG_7682[1]   With the fire burning nicely, or the camping TV as we sometimes call it, it was time to relax under the shelter with a beer. Unfortunately for Mark and Andy, they were stuck on coffee. After a drink or two, and a good hour or more of chatting, it was time for Mark and Andy to leave, and we bid them farewell. In the time we had been chatting, we had built up enough embers on the fire to cook some proper food. Paul M had brought with him enough pork steaks for all of us, so on the grill they went. IMG_7684[1] The pork was very nice, and the four of us sat under the group shelter out of the rain enjoying each others company whilst setting the world to rights. Despite the weather, it was still a really awesome evening. I’m sure most of you reading this will understand, that there aren’t many better ways of spending an evening than sat around a fire with friends, whilst enjoying a beer or three 🙂 It soon came around to midnight, and we decided to call time on the night and we all headed to our shelters for sleep.

The next morning i was up early, and the weather was still miserable, i think it had carried on raining all night. I decided to pack most of my gear away except for my tarp before leaving the enclosed area i was set up in. When i came out i was greeted by Paul, who had also got up early. Paul M and Jay were still in their hammocks, so i got myself a brew on and took it to the cliff edge to take in the morning view. There was a lot of mist rising from the trees below, and it looked very mystical. IMG_7687[1] Upon returning to the camp, Jay and Paul M were both up. This meant it was time for breakfast, Paul M had some sausages and Jay had bacon, you cant beat sausage and bacon cobs in the morning, Yum Yum 🙂  After breakfast it was time to finish packing and make our way back to our cars. The weather was still awful, and outside of the trees the wind was really bad. Once back at the cars we said our goodbyes and we all headed off our separate ways back to the real world. It had been a really great camp as always, despite the weather, you cant let it put you off in this country as its always raining when you decide on outdoor activities.

So here ends another blog, if you read this far i hope you enjoyed it. If you did manage it this far down the page, thank you very much, as always i will drop a link to the video version at the bottom of this blog. Thanks again, and until next time goodbye 🙂

Regards Mark

Wet and Windy WildCamp Video