Aches, Pains, and the beautiful Peak District

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. IMG_1647[1] IMG_1649[1] IMG_1654[1] IMG_1655[1] IMG_1656[1] IMG_1657[1] IMG_1659[1] 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. IMG_1661[1] 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. IMG_1665[1] IMG_1666[1] IMG_1667[1] 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. IMG_1668[1] IMG_1669[1] 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 🙂 IMG_1672[1] IMG_1673[1] 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. IMG_1677[1] IMG_1678[1] IMG_1682[1] IMG_1683[1] IMG_1684[1] 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.IMG_1687[1] 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. IMG_1690[1] IMG_1692[1] 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.IMG_1694[1] IMG_1695[1]  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 🙂 IMG_1700[1] IMG_1702[1] IMG_1703[1] IMG_1704[1] 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. IMG_1708[1] IMG_1709[1] IMG_1710[1] 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. IMG_1713[1] 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.   IMG_1720[1] IMG_1721[1] IMG_1722[1] IMG_1723[1] IMG_1724[1]  Passing around Nether Padley, we made out way through Horse Hay Coppice and Froggatt wood, towards Froggatt bridge. IMG_1728[1] IMG_1730[1] 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 🙂 . IMG_1732[1] 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. IMG_1734[1]

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.


Millstone Edge walk and camp video


Kinder Scout Edge Walk

Hello all, this blog is beyond fashionably late, its so late in fact there are no words to describe it 🙂 yes believe it or not, this blog should have directly followed the one previous, what! i hear you cry, i know terrible right, i can only appologise 🙂

So without further ado i shall get on with it….

This journey begins where the last one finished, and that was at the base of the Grindsbrook clough in the beautiful Peak District. The weather was pretty clear with a dampness in the air, but higher up on the Kinder plateau was the usual dense cloud looming rather ominously. That was however to be my destination for the day, but first i had to wait for my friend Colin to arrive. IMG_0920[1] Once breakfast had been eaten, i packed my gear away and went to the meeting place. Soon Colin arrived and we began to make our way up the Grindsbrook clough scramble and up on to Kinder. IMG_0926[1] IMG_0924[1] IMG_0923[1] Once at the top of the scramble we had a short breather before making our way into the cloud.IMG_0929[1]IMG_0930[1] Our route took us first along the southern edge of the Kinder plateau, as we made our way toward Ringing Rodger. With the clouds so low the views were not great, but the wind did occasionally give us a short break, and let us take a glimpse of the great scenery, albeit briefly. IMG_0935[1] IMG_0936[1] IMG_0937[1] IMG_0938[1] The weather continued to clear and close in again as we passed Ringing Rodger, and upon reaching the top of Jaggers clough we decided to refill our water supplies from the stream before deciding we’d head to Crookstone Knoll for lunch. For this trip i’d only brought dehydrated meals and snack bars. This had proved troublesome on the Limestone way due to lack of water, but there was no such problem on Kinder, and i was excited to try my first Adventure food packet. IMG_0943[1] IMG_0944[1] IMG_0945[1] IMG_0946[1] Whilst the meal was very tasty, it wasn’t particularly spicy for a curry, but id definitely buy it again. We were lucky enough to spend our entire lunch break pretty much free from cloud, but this was where our luck ended, the rest of the day would be spent with very short visibility. Those familiar with Kinder scout will know our next part of the journey was the northern edge, but unfortunately i didn’t get a lot of photographs due to the weather conditions, as to add to the cloud we also had intermittent rain showers. IMG_0948[1] IMG_0951[1] IMG_0972[1]IMG_0952[1] The northern edge went by pretty uneventful, except for the odd slip on the rocks due to the rain, and with no real views to see we marched the whole length in almost one go, with just a couple of stops for a rest. I had been looking forward to showing Colin the views from the western edge once we reached it, but the clouds were strong and they were not going to give up the views lightly. So on we went towards the Kinder Downfall. It was at this point the weather went back to being clear then cloudy, all within about 5 minutes. So when it did clear, i made sure i got some photos and footage for my video and blog. IMG_0955[1] At around the Sandy Hays area, i developed a painful twinge in my right knee, and i was forced to take a break for a few minutes. The last day and a half of difficult walking with a full pack had taken its toll and this is the reason why my absence from walking began, though other reasons also exist… (which i wont get into here). Anyway after a short rest we carried on, and before long we made it to Kinder Downfall, where we decided that we would go as far as Kinder low before setting up for the night.IMG_0958[1] IMG_0959[1] The day that had seemed never ending (in a good way might i add 🙂 ) was suddenly close to getting dark, so we quickly made our way to Kinder low and set up our Tarps near to the trig point. The weather was now really closed in and it was extremely damp in the air. We both eagerly got food on the go and relaxed for a while, safe and dry under our shelters. After an hour or two i noticed the air seemed to have cleared, and as i got out you could actually see the distant lights of the nearby cities. Sadly my phone isn’t up to taking photos at night, but we did manage a eerie photo of the kinder man later on as the clouds moved back in. VXNP9485[1] The next morning we were up at around 05:15, and the views were amazing. We had only been saying the day before we would love to see a cloud inversion, and as luck would have it, that’s exactly what we got. Immediately the cameras came out and it was photos and time lapses galore, and if you don’t normally watch the accompanying video, id definitely recommend you watch this one, as the morning views were spectacular (link at the bottom of this blog). IMG_0965[1] IMG_0970[1] Unfortunately this scene only lasted around one hour before the clouds once again started to close back in on us, so before we were completely engulfed we decided to begin packing away. IMG_0967[1] IMG_0968[1] Once packed we headed off on our way, but as the clouds were still so low and thick, we decided instead of following the whole edge back to Grindslow, we thought it best to follow the Pennine way back to the village Edale. This was a shame as we had both wanted to see the Woolpacks, but with such low visibility decided it would be better to see them another day. IMG_0975[1] IMG_0976[1] The route was mainly down hill now and as we came out from the clouds we were soon at the top of Jacobs ladder, which is quite a knee busting steep rocky stairway. IMG_0979[1] IMG_0980[1] With Jacobs ladder done it wasn’t long before the village of Edale came into view, this was now the final leg of the journey as our plan was to get the train home from the village station. IMG_0982[1] The village was a very welcome sight, as for me this was the end of a hard going three days of walking with full overnight gear. Arriving at the station we checked the times and saw we had some time to kill, so we had breakfast at the Penny pot cafe, which was very nice indeed. IMG_0985[1] IMG_0986[1] so with food eaten and the train boarded, i shall end this blog here, we both had a really great time, and i hope to be making a return to the Peak District very soon, so watch this space, and i’ll do my best to get future work out on time 🙂

If you made it this far, thank you very much, a BIG thank you to everyone who has stayed with me in this quiet period, and also to the new ones who have joined me on the blog journey. Feel free to leave a comment, and i shall leave a link to the video that shows this journey below for anyone interested. Thanks again, and until next time goodbye 🙂

Here is the link to the video:

Kinder Scout Edge Walk

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

The Great Northern Bushcraft Conference – Part 3

GNBC – Edale – May 2017 – Sunday – Monday


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.


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.


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]


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

Wet Woodland Wild Camp – The Rat Pack

It had been around six weeks since i had been on Rat pack camp, this wasn’t because there hadn’t been any, it was due to me having other commitments. Unfortunately for me i had been unable to make the last big camp, which had been at Kev’s permission woodland. Kev is “woodland camp and craft” on YouTube if anyone is interested in checking him out, and id recommend that you do. With the holiday book being full at work,  i was stuck in a dusty warehouse, while everyone else was on there way to the camp. I did however manage to get other trips in the meantime. So when the chance came again for a Rat pack meet, i jumped at the chance. This meet was to be a mid week camp, which meant only three of us would be attending, as our shifts fell right for the dates set. So with Just me, Jay (GoonieBushcraft) and Paul (Prepped Nomad), we set our location for the camp, a woodland in Yorkshire.

The morning of the camp was a wet one, and it was still raining when i arrived in the lay-by near the spot we would be camping at. I was the first to arrive, and i decided to wait in the car for Paul to turn up, to save me getting completely soaked before we started. After ten or so minutes, i saw him pull up in his van, i got my gear together and  made my way over to him. We already knew that Jay would be arriving a bit later in the afternoon, so it was up to us to find a suitable location, and set up camp and wait for his arrival. IMG_7023[1] A week or so prior, Paul had been on a camp in these woods, and we thought it would be a good idea to find that location. Well this proved to be a lot more difficult than expected, as the woods are constantly changing at this time of year (this camp was early may). Try as we may, we just couldn’t find the place at all, so we decided to head to another spot that we had all used previously very early this year. This was also by no means easy, as the last time we were there, the woods were still dormant from winter, and they were now in the full growth of spring. Well eventually we found our chosen spot, and after an hour or so of walking around the woodland we were quite wet, fortunately it was just our waterproofs. It was amazing how different the place looked, i’d only ever seen it in the winter, and now being here in the spring, i barely recognised it. We both admired the beauty of the woodland in springtime for a moment, with all the different shades of green, interspersed with the violet colours of the bluebells. After a good look around the area, we decided it was time to set up our shelters. As usual i was on the ground, using my Terra nova adventure 2 tarp, while Paul was in his hammock with a DD tarp to cover him. IMG_7026[1] IMG_7027[1] With set ups made, it was time to go meet Jay. Paul decided he would go, and that i would stay and look after all the gear. Whilst Paul was gone, I decided to sort the rest of my things out. So i inflated my sleep mat, then put my sleeping bag into the bivvy bag so i was ready for the night. Soon Paul was back with Jay, we greeted each other and had a quick chat as it had been quite a while since we had seen each other. Jay also handed me a new torch, we he had ordered for me back in February, and i was really happy to receive it, as it was the same as his and was very impressive for the money. With pleasantries exchanged, Jay went to find himself somewhere to set up his hammock. IMG_7029[1] Once set up, we all then helped Paul put up the big group shelter. Well by helped, i mean, me and Jay held bits while Paul ran Guy lines off to near-by trees and tied them off. Paul after all is the Knot man of the group. A group shelter is invaluable in wet weather, as it gives us somewhere to socialise, instead of being stuck in our own shelters or out in the rain. IMG_7031[1] With the shelter built, it was time to search for firewood. We had no problem at all in finding plenty of dead fall, which we brought back to camp and processed into small enough sections for the fire. We decided to waste no time in getting the fire started, as with the wood being so damp, there were plenty of flies around and we needed the smoke to disperse them……. our plan worked a treat 🙂 IMG_7033[1] With the fire going it was time for food, whilst Paul and Jay used the fire to cook their food, i always bring my gas stove, as the pans i have are not really suitable for placing in the fire. As always on these woodland camps, i had army ration pack boil in the bag meals. They are very easy to cook, and clean to make, and i also find them quite tasty for what they are.  IMG_7039[1] After food, we stoked the fire up more as it started to get darker. It was still raining, but we were all nice and dry under the group shelter, and it was also acting as a heat reflector keeping us all lovely and warm. It was about this time that we also decided it was beer o’clock, and we spent the rest of the evening chilling next to the fire, chatting about various subjects and supping on our ales. That evening we more than set the world to rights, and after some great discussions, we retired to our shelters at about midnight. It was an extremely warm night, and i didn’t even need to zip my sleeping bag all the way, and i slept right through till the morning.

The next morning i was up early, it was still raining, and i doubt that it had stopped all night. The first job for me as always, was straight on with the stove to make make a morning brew. After that i almost feel alive, and ready to tackle everybody’s favourite job……packing away wet gear,……. yes, im being sarcastic 😉                                                       Once we were all packed away, we doused the ashes with any remaining water we had left, and covered it with mud to conceal where it had been. With the area tidy, and returned to how we found it, it was time to go. IMG_7041[1] Its not a very far walk from the woods to the lay-by where we left our vehicles, and we were soon back at the cars. This as always had been a great camp despite the near constant rain, and made even more comfortable due to Paul’s group shelter. The group shelter had allowed us to sit outside and cook and chat together, without being stuck in our own shelters. So with out kit stowed in our respective cars it was time to say our goodbyes, and make our way home.

So on that note, its also time for me to say goodbye, I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog of our trip out into the wet woodland. If you have read this far, thank you very much, as always this blog is aviliable in video form, see link below. Thanks again for reading, and until next time, goodbye

Regards Mark

Wet woodland wildcamp video



Pen-y-ghent to Hull Pot Wild Camping

Earlier this year there had been a great series on TV called “Britain’s best walks”, presented by Julia Bradbury. I’ll be honest to say that I wasn’t watching episode two, but my partners brother was, and it was around 10 minutes in that he text me asking if i had heard of a place called Hull Pot. I replied “no, why?”, he then told me it was on TV now on “Britain’s best walks”. I immediately turned over to see, and also did a quick google search to find out where it was. To my surprise it was extremely close to Pen-y-ghent, which i had heard of before, and it was also close to  the village of Horton in ribblesdale which i had been through many years ago with my parents. So a few text messages later, we had decided to make a trip there ourselves to see the great Hull Pot with our own eyes. I was of course more than happy to make this trip, it was a great chance to see somewhere new and it also meant i could make a new video for my YouTube channel. First though, my partners brother Pete, had to get some outdoor gear together, which he brought over the next few weeks, whilst also borrowing some from me. All we then had to do was set a date to go. Well several dates passed, and were canceled for various reasons, the weather being one (i wanted his first trip to be enjoyable so i cancelled the wet days). Also work commitments had been an issue, as we both worked different days in our different jobs, and trying to align them for our trip was proving to be quite hard. It was around three months later we finally got a date that we didn’t cancel, and by this time we also had two more joining us. These were my cousin Dan and his younger brother Darren. In fact it wasn’t just two more people, Pete had also decided he wanted to bring his dog along as well, which was a 6 year old pug called Coffee.

As the Yorkshire Dales are roughly a three-hour journey from Nottinghamshire, i made my way to pick Pete and Darren up at 06:30, with Dan already in the car as he had stayed at mine the night previous. After quick coffee at Pete’s and all the bags in the boot, we finally set off, with much excitement of the day ahead. I won’t go into detail about the car journey, as that’s not why you’re here, needless to say it was very uneventful and we arrived in Horton in ribblesdale at around 09:30, and parked in the car park of the Golden Lion Hotel. The car park did say a 12 hour stay only, for a two pound charge in the honesty box. I went into the pub to enquire about a 24 hour stay, as we would be wild camping in the area and definitely wouldn’t be back in 12 hours. I quickly found someone and told them i would be happy to pay extra, to which they said its fine and not to worry about being over 12 hours. I decided as we were staying for 24 hours that i would pay double, and i put £4 into the honesty box. So at around 09:50 we were finally ready to do the walk, and with our packs on our back we set off. IMG_6473[1] IMG_6474[1]

The skies were pretty cloudy, but no rain had been forecast, the biggest issue we had was the wind, which was quite high but visibility wasn’t that bad, as it was only a little hazy, so most of the views would be visible on the walk. The route i had planned was roughly around 7.5 miles, and was to take in the steep ascent of Pen-y-ghent, and then to follow that along to Plover Hill before then heading back down to the  “A Pennine journey” path and following that back to Hull Pot. Instead of heading straight for Pen-y-ghent, i thought we should take a slightly longer route to it, via a farmers track towards Dub Cote and then onto another section of ” A pennine journey” path. It was part way on this path we took our first break, only around slightly less than 2 miles in, we took shelter behind a dry stone wall to get out of the high winds. Luckily for us the wind wasn’t in our face, but it was still nice to have a quick rest out of the gales. After about 10 minutes we carried on our journey and before long we were on the the next part of the route where the Pennine journey joined a path marked on the OS map as the “long lane (track)”. This path is quite wide and is definitely used for vehicles, most likely a route for farmers and also for access for the grouse butts in the shooting season. Trying to shoot footage for my video on this section proved to be quite tricky, and it required a few big rocks to be placed against the legs of my tripod to prevent it from falling over in the wind. As i was checking my map i informed the group that we would be coming up on some shake holes soon, and it wasn’t long before a decent size one came into view. We all decided to check it out as it was really quite deep and Darren joked it would be a great spot to camp. It was around this time we got our first good look at Pen-y-ghent as it loomed in the distance. Up to now it had been obscured by the smaller rolling hills we had been walking up, and upon seeing it we couldn’t wait to get to the top.IMG_6476[1] IMG_6478[1]

After a good look around the shake hole we carried on, and we soon joined the official Pennine way path, which would lead us to, and up the Pen-y-ghent. On route we went slightly off piste to find a grouse butt, which if it hadn’t of been for Darren, i don’t think we would have found them. They were actually a lot more camouflaged than i was expecting, and after a quick look we were soon back on our journey. We had been going for around 3-4 miles by this point, and Pete’s poor pug was starting to flag from the steady uphill walk. So only being a small dog, Pete decided to pick her up for a bit and carry her. It was near to the base of Pen-y-ghent that we decided to have our second quick break. At this point the wind was still really high, and was hitting us to our right, so we decided again to take advantage of the dry stone walls, and sheltered out the wind behind the wall directly to our left. It was amazing the difference the wall made, you could hear the wind whistling though the wire fence that was above the wall, yet sat where we were you couldn’t feel it at all, until you stood up. We waited here for around ten minutes whilst quickly eating a snack bar and taking on some water. It was getting on for nearly 12, and i had thought that the top of Pen-y-ghent would be an ideal spot for lunch, so we decided to go for it and make our way up the red route. This was not quite as hard as i had imagined, but needless to say it wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. Pete had to carry Coffee all the way up, as it was far to steep for her little legs. When we got to the first ledge we did have a small break, before tackling the second part. Even half way up the views were getting pretty awesome. IMG_6482[1]

On our way up the second part i remember thinking how hard it must have been to build the dry stone wall that snakes its way up to the top, quite a impressive feat indeed. As we neared the top, the steep path got a lot more challenging, as it became more of a scramble. I was very impressed with Pete who managed to do it all without using his hands, as he was carrying his dog. Dan on the other hand was struggling quite a bit, i had been doing my best to wait with him when he was stopping, and also not to hold up everybody else up on the path as it was quite busy. I knew how he was feeling, as my thighs were starting to burn, as this path would have been hard with no pack on our backs, and we were all carrying in the region of 12kg. Well sure enough we all made the top of the hard part, and we then only had a few hundred meters more to go to reach the trig point and the summit. IMG_6484[1]

The wind at the top was pretty extreme, but it still felt good to reach the top. Luckily the wall across the top had a seating area on both sides, so we managed to get a seat out of the wind to eat our lunch. Whilst eating our food a lot of people were amazed to see a pug had made it all the way to the top, to which we informed them that she was carried quite a bit of the way. One woman from America even wanted a picture of Coffee to send to her children back home, as she also had a pug just the same, and was very surprised to see one on the Pen-y-ghent summit. After spending around half an hour at the trig point area, it was time to carry on. Our next port of call was Plover Hill, and luckily for us the path followed the stonewall which kept us sheltered from the wind. This made the next part of the walk a lot more comfortable, as all the previous miles we had been blasted by the wind. Whilst we were out of the wind, the next obstacle was boggy ground. This as always, meant taking various detours to find the more solid areas. This wasn’t as bad as you might imagine, as several parts already had big rocks or planks of wood in the worst areas, to help negotiate the boggy ground. With some skillful bog dodging, or some might say lucky steps, we were soon at the top of Plover Hill, and the descent back down onto the Pennine journey was before us. This section was really steep, and before making it all the way down, we stopped part way for what would be our last stop before reaching Hull Pot. IMG_6486[1] Now the first part of the descent was really steep, but it was also stepped, so that made the going a little easier. Once we passed the dry stone wall though and into the fields, the path was slightly less steep, but bad enough that i found it really painful on my knees. I actually think i prefer going uphill, and i remember thinking that this bit of path can’t end soon enough. Well end it did, eventually, and we finally found ourselves back on the Pennine journey path. At last thought my knees, they were certainly happy to be back on level ground. This part of the path follows the base of Plover Hill and Pen-y-ghent, and eventually to Horton in ribblesdale and beyond. We however, would only be going as far as Hull Pot, which by my reckoning was just less than three miles away. The wind on this side of the hills was not quite so bad, but still enough to be slightly worried, as i hoped to myself that we’d find a sheltered enough spot to pitch our tents later on, and not have to abandon like i did at High Cup Gill. Soon a new angle on Pen-y-ghent appeared, and i knew that we must be close to Hull Pot. It now only seemed like minutes ago that we had actually been up there, and from this angle you could just about make out part of the route we had taken down from the top.IMG_6488[1] It was around this point that we crested a slight rise in the path, and from the top we could just make out the shape of Hull Pot sinking into the ground. Excitement rose in the group, as the destination came into view, this was after all our main reason for being in this location. Our pace quickened, and as we passed a small stream i made a mental note that this could be a possible camp spot. We soon came to a gate, which we passed through, and then there it was, Hull Pot in all its glory. An amazing sight to behold, very impressive indeed, we all stood there for a moment in awe of its magnificence. When i watched this place on “Britain’s best walks” Hull pot beck was flowing into the chasm in spectacular fashion. Unfortunately for us the beck was dry, which meant no waterfall. I was actually quite surprised by this, i hadn’t realised the area had been so dry for so long for it to be all dried up like that. IMG_6490[1] IMG_6491[1]We had a good look and explore around the area, with Pete even managing to actually make his way into Hull Pot itself. The rest of us didn’t quite have the bottle to take the route in like Pete did, so we just admired the place from above. After a good look around we had to decide on a place to camp. I originally wanted to camp next to the beck, and use that as our water source, but with Hull Pot beck being completely dry, i decided we should head back to the stream we had passed earlier. The spot i chose for us to stop was less than five minutes walk away, and was in a slight hollow. Before i leave for any trips like this, i always like to check the weather on the Met office site. This trip was no different, and the wind that i had been worrying about earlier, and that was still blowing through now, was due to die down later in the evening. I only hoped that this was to be the case. It was around 6pm when we finally started to actually set up the tents. Pete and Dan both had new tents, so we didn’t want to wait to late as they had never set them up before. I was in my usual wild country Zephyros 2, which i am now able to get a really tight pitch, having plenty of experience with it. The tents were soon pitched, and Pete and Dan had no problem setting up their new tents. Darren would be sharing with Dan as his only tent was far too heavy to bring walking. My thoughts then turned to food, for this trip i had brought a couple of ration pack boil in the bag meals. It was at this point i realised something…… i had, as always its seems, forgotten something. This time it was my water filter, i couldn’t believe it. I really need to organise my gear at home better, or at the very least, make a check list. Forgetting the filter in itself was not a massive problem, as i could use the stream water as it was for my boil in the bag foods, it was just the issue of re filling my source water bladder for the walk back to the car. I decided to just boil it up, and wait for it to cool slightly before pouring it in the bladder. It took 3 boils of my small pan, which filled my bladder up, and i was then ready to start my food. By this time i was starving, and i ate both boil in the bag meals as quick as i could heat them up.IMG_6493[1] After food it was time to relax, we had a good chat over a beer, and though we only had two each, it would have been rude not to have brought none at all. Whilst enjoying our evening, the wind, as promised, did die down, which made for a much more pleasant time.  As the light started to fade, i left Pete, Dan and Darren with the tents and i went for a short wander to see Hull Pot before it was completely dark. I spent around 15 minutes admiring its beauty, and wondering what lay beneath. Hull Pot was originally a cave thousands of years ago till it’s roof collapsed in, but there is still an elaborate cave system below, some of which the stream will follow when the water flows down there. I will definitely be returning in the future to see the water flowing into Hull Pot like it was on the TV. With it almost dark i headed back to the tent for my last beer with the lads before we had a early night. I wanted to be up early the next morning to hopefully catch a nice sun rise. IMG_6494[1] The next morning i awoke to a flat air bed, luckily the ground was soft and it hadn’t affected my sleep. I crawled out my tent with my camera and tripod hoping to capture a nice sun rise time lapse. Unfortunately though the sun rise wasn’t playing ball, well technically it was the clouds, the sun was doing its job just perfect, i just couldn’t see it. I set my camera up anyway and started to pack my gear away. By 08:00 we were all packed away and ready to walk the 3 miles back into Horton in ribblesdale. IMG_6497[1] IMG_6498[1] Our route took us back past Hull Pot, and it was while having one last look at the amazing place that Darren noticed that the water was actually flowing up stream. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t flowing the day before, so we headed up stream to check it out. Well there its was, flowing water, and it did look like it was slowly creeping closer to Hull Pot, very slowly. I just wish we’d had the time to wait for it to get there. Unfortunately we didn’t, as we still had a long journey to go, back to Nottinghamshire IMG_6500[1] With one last goodbye to the area, we set back off to the village. It was only a short walk back, and before we knew it we were in sight of the village. We then passed the sign for the Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge, which then started the conversation of us returning sometime in the future to complete the challenge, in hopefully less than 12 hours. IMG_6502[1]

Back in the village, our original plan was to have a big breakfast in the pub, but unfortunately they didn’t start serving until 11:00. As the time was only 09:30, we didn’t really fancy waiting around, not when there was still a 3 hour drive to do. So we decided we’d look for somewhere on the way home instead.

So here ends another blog, i really hope you enjoyed it. I as always had a really awesome time in the great outdoors, and it was amazing to see Hull Pot in person. A massive thank you if you made it this far through. As always this blog is available as a video on my YouTube channel, follow the link on the side menu under social. Thanks again for reading, Until next time, goodbye.

Regards Mark


Gunnerside Gill – A Rat pack Wild camp

This journey begins with a great idea from my good friend Mike, who mentioned quite early in the year (2017) to our group the “Rat pack”, that he would love to do a walk and camp in the beautiful location of Gunnerside gill in the Yorkshire Dales. Well, as it happened, Gunnerside was already on my radar, having seen it on one of Gareth and Zoe’s video’s on YouTube. I had already pictured myself walking in the extremely picturesque, middle earth looking location, steeped in lead mining history. So, it was without question that i agreed to Mikes suggestion to go, and so it was the case with the rest of the group, with the exception of  Thomas “TinyBushcraft94”, who was unable to attend due to other engagements.

So as time rolled on, other trips and camps were had, and before we knew it, the time had arrived, it was time for the Rat pack to hit the road and travel to Gunnerside. Now as Gunnerside is a small village, we had decided it would be best to car share, to save flooding the village with cars, and also to give ourselves the best chance of parking. So the plan was as follows, i went to Steve’s house where we would wait for Mark, who also brought Jay. Andy and his lad Tom would be going in their car, and Mike would be taking Craig and Paul. This just left Dave and his dog, who had gone up the night before, and stayed in a travel lodge at scotch corner. Well it was a very long road trip for us in Marks car, as we had the furthest to travel, and as we had set off so early, we had decided that the group would all meet up together on route at the McDonalds at Lemming bar. It was a beautiful morning, the sun shining brilliantly in the sky, and as we sat eating our breakfast, it was like spring had finally arrived. When we had all finished stuffing our faces, it was time to finish the journey, and carry on to Gunnerside. We arrived in the beautiful Yorkshire village at around 10am, and we were lucky enough to find parking spaces for all four of our cars, bonus. We all excitedly got out of our cars, retrieved our backpacks and put on our boots. Out of curiosity Mike had brought his fishing scales so we could all weigh our packs, most of the lads backpacks were weighing between 18-20kg, mine however, was a mere 13kg. This was because i had recently brought a new smaller osprey pack, with the intention of using it for this trip, to try going as lightweight as possible.

Once we were all set, we headed off on the path to Gunnerside gill. The footpath runs alongside the stream which snakes its way down the valley, and i must admit, it felt great to be finally hitting the trail after months in the planning. IMG_5753[1] With the sun still shining, and nearly clear blue skies, we all felt very lucky, as only seven days previous it had been snowing in the area. As we carried on along the path, climbing steadily up the bankside, admiring the beauty of our surroundings, it wasn’t long before our group was split, as some people walked on ahead while others were filming footage for what would be their next YouTube video. I for one find it hard to make progress in such beautiful places, i find myself constantly stopping to take photographs or record yet more video footage. After about a mile on the trail, we were finally all back together again, as the lads in front had decided to take a short break on a tree lined section of the path. It was certainly much needed for most, and myself included, as although we hadn’t done massive distance, it had been mostly up hill and the sun was putting out some real heat, making it a bit of a sweaty walk. After around ten minutes, we were back on our way. The next part was relatively flat, and after crossing a small brook, we found ourselves leaving the cover of the trees and entering a more open section, with big dry stone wall lined fields to our right, rolling up the hillside. It was in this area that we saw our first mining ruins, a long sectioned wall, which had been used to sort out the lead ore before the smelting process. As quick as the flat section came, it soon went, as the valley narrowed, the path once again began to ascend up the hillside. It was then we found a second ruined building, i’m unsure if it was mining related or just a ruined farm building, but we had decided to have another break here anyway. A few of us, myself included, had decided to explore the small ruin, comprising of two rooms, whilst others had a brew and something to eat. After the second short break we carried on up the path, the sides of the valley were now very steep on both sides, with the stream still snaking its way at the bottom, being topped up at regular intervals with small brooks that were crashing down the hillside as they crossed the path. IMG_5757[1] The further along the path we went, the more ruins we saw, and soon more came into view. This next set of ruins was Buntings mine and dressing floor, there was another long sectioned area like we had seen earlier, and a bigger building, which i recognised from Gareth and Zoe’s video, this was the spot they had wild camped in. Also coming out of a doorway on the hillside, was a stream. This doorway was most likely the entrance to a mine, though i can not say this with 100% certainty. I tried my best to shine my head torch down there, but i couldn’t really see anything, and i didn’t fancy going to far in and getting wet feet so i left the place to my imagination. We decided to make this spot our last stop, before carrying on to the area we wished to wild camp in, and what a beautiful spot it was. IMG_5761[1] IMG_5762[1] IMG_5763[1] After soaking up all the views possible, we decided to finish the walk to our chosen camping spot, it wasn’t far, in fact you could just about make it out in the distance from where we were at the Bunting mine ruins. We had decided to take the lower path to our chosen spot, so we headed back down towards the stream, it was a little steep, but before we knew it we was at the bottom and were in sight of the ruins we’d be staying around. To say the location was beautiful would be a understatement, and despite how good they are, all the videos and photographs just don’t do it justice. The ruins looked like they had been taken straight out of Tolkien’s Lord of the rings, i was half expecting a few Goblins to come running down the hillside towards us at any moment.  It was around 2’o clock when we had arrived, a little early to set up camp, so we all staked a claim to a patch of grass with our bags and proceeded to make lunch. For me, that was three wraps, that i had already prepared at home the day before. It was at this moment, that i realised that i perhaps should of packed my sun cream, i hadn’t been expecting such great sunny weather, and i could start to feel myself burning. I decided to retire to the shade for a moment, to finish my food, and avoid getting anymore burnt. After food, a few of us went our different ways to explore the nearby area, whilst others relaxed in the ruins and watched all the gear.  The first spot i checked was on the hillside above our camping spot, a small stone structure, unsure at first what it was, i later read it was the remains of a demolished chimney.  Further up the path from the chimney was the remains of another building, this building had a large enclosure next to it, with a hole leading to the stream. My guess was that it was perhaps a mill pond, or some way of providing power for the mines. Next to this was an awesome waterfall, unnamed on the map, it was still beautiful none the less. I took a few photographs, a bit of video footage, and made my way back to the ruins we were staying at. IMG_5767[1]IMG_5768[1]IMG_5769[1] Shortly after getting back to the camp, i decided to set up my shelter, for this trip i had brought my Terra nova tarp and Alp kit bivvy bag. This was due to me wanting to go as light as possible, and these two items together come in at under 1kg. Now i’m not the most experienced person with a tarp, and most of my tarp set ups have included trees. Well there were no trees, so i had to use my walking poles as the only means of support. This made things very interesting for me, as i messed around trying to figure out the best way to go about the task. I decided to enlist the help of my friend Paul, who was happy to help, and between us, we managed to create something resembling a shelter.  This just left me the task of inflating my airbed, and putting it in my bivvy bag, along with my sleeping bag. This i quickly did, and i was now set for the rest of the evening. It was then that Mike, Craig and Dave decided to go check the waterfall that i had been to earlier. They asked me if i wanted to go with them, so i decided to tag along. It was only a short walk to the waterfall, and we were soon there. We all admired its beauty, as the water crashed over the rocks, descending down over the edge,  and splashing into its pool below. As i turned around to look at the route we had come from, i noticed that Andy was on his way up with his son Tom. Once they were with us, we all started to walk further up stream, as we had decided to try and find somewhere to cross, so we could check out the ruins on the other side. Mike was the first to get over the stream, making it look easy, the rest of us had decided to find somewhere even easier to cross. After a few hundred meters or so we eventually found somewhere to risk crossing. Dave went first with his dog, followed quickly by Craig, both making short work of the crossing. Next up was Andy followed by his son Tom, who both made it without getting wet. That left just me to go, i carefully made my way across the first couple of stones to the jumping point, this was the part i hated, not the actual jump, as it was easily doable. No the worst part was the initial part of the jump, and worrying about my foot slipping on the rock and not getting the desired momentum to get over the gap. As it happened, all the worry was for nothing and i made the jump with no problems at all. We all made our way back up stream and to the old ruins. We had a good look round, and we were still none the wiser to exactly what their purpose was. With so many ruins in the area, i would love to have seen what they all looked like in their hay day. Time was now getting on so we all made our way back to camp, though we took an alternative and slightly longer route to avoid jumping over the stream again. Once back at camp, it was time for food, so i made my way back to my tarp and set my stove up. On the menu tonight was Tesco’s finest dehydrated food, which i had already transferred at home into a freezer bags, and was now ready for the boiling water my stove was quickly making. These foods may not be the best tasting, but they are certainly edible, and are very light, and i like light. After food, it was time for a bit of a social with everybody, now although we hadn’t brought a lot to drink, we had enough to enjoy the evening, and enjoy it we did. It was a really great night, with plenty of laughter, and even though as a group we haven’t known each other for a massive amount of time, we all get on like we have known each other forever, and i’m really happy to be part of this great group. About 11pm, the last of us still up and about decided to call it a night, we said our good nights and headed to bed.IMG_5808[1] I awoke early the next morning, and whilst i wasn’t cold at night, i was certainly on the edge of my comfort zone. For a change i was the second one up, Steve having got up before me. Being up so early meant i had most of my gear put away before i saw anyone else crawl out their tents that morning. However it was when it came to making my breakfast that i realised i’d forgotten something, and that was my bowl i needed for the porridge i was going to make myself that morning. If i’m honest i don’t think I’ve had a camp in a long time where i haven’t forgotten something. Oh well not to worry i thought, as always, i had over packed on cereal bars, so i promptly ate two of them instead. To wash them down i needed a drink, and just as i was about to collect some water from the stream for my much needed morning coffee, Craig gave me some boiling water he had left over from his morning brew, bonus. As i drank my coffee, you could tell it was set to be another beautiful day, as the sun slowly rose over the top of the hill, gradually filling the area with a golden glow and much needed warmth. Well with my coffee drank and all my gear packed, it was time to wait for everyone else to finish and hit the trail back to Gunnerside village. As they say, all good things must come to an end, and so it was with this wild camp, everybody was soon ready and it was time to go, and with one last look back at the beautiful site we had camped, we set off back to Gunnerside.   IMG_5810[1] We had decided to take a different route back, and opted for the path on the opposite side of the Gill to the way we came in. This route was a lot flatter than the day before’s, with the exception of the initial accent out, which, once over, left a very level trail to follow. For the most part, the journey back was quite uneventful, the group was well spread out along the trail as we all went at our own pace, each of us soaking up the beautiful views in the morning sunshine. It wasn’t until near the end of the path that something went wrong, it had seemed that some of the lads had taken a slightly off course route. As me and Paul caught up with Jay, he told us what had happened, and after checking the OS app on my phone we decided to head straight down the bank to the narrow road below. As we had been so spaced out as a group, the lads who had taken the long route were waiting at the bottom when we got there, so all was well, and on we went with the last part of the journey. It wasn’t long before we were back in the village and saying our goodbyes before we headed home, this was a relatively quick affair as we had planned this trip to finish on mothers day, perhaps with hindsight, not such a good idea, with a few of the lads most likely to be in the dog house when they got home. This had been a really amazing trip out with the Rat pack, a truly stunning location, steeped in history, and all in glorious weather. We couldn’t have asked for more, and i would highly recommend the place to anybody who hasn’t been before.

So here ends another blog, i hope you have enjoyed reading it, a massive thank you if you have, this story as always, is also on my YouTube channel if you are interested (link on side menu under social). Please feel free to comment, i appreciate all the support, and  i am truly grateful for it all,

Regards                              Mark IMG_5812[1]