A Walk in the Peak District Millstone edge – Burbage rocks

We all love a mid week walk in the beautiful countryside, i’m sure you’ll all agree with me. Its always a lot easier to park and you are much more likely to have the hills to yourself…… selfish i know ūüėČ

So this is exactly what i did mid June, with a rough route planned the night before, i made my way to the Peak District the next morning. My walk would start from the National trust car park next to Millstone edge. True to form, the car park was all but empty, i picked a space and made my way to the pay and display machine. It was upon reaching the machine, i realised the mistake i had made. The pay machine way a card only, and i had left mine at home…..Doh! ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† I decided to head for one of the lay-bys around the corner instead, so i got back in my car and started to make my way out. As i got to the entrance, there was a woman returning to her car, i decided on the off chance, to ask her if she would get me a ticket if i gave her the change……. she agreed, so i made my way back into a space. I met the woman at the machine, who very kindly got me a all day parking ticket, and i handed over the ¬£4.50 in change. It turned out, she had come back to the car park, as she was unsure where the gap in fence was to get to the rocks at Owler Tor. I happily led the way to show her where the footpath entered into that area. At the gate i decided to visit the rocks at Owler Tor myself, taking care not to get in her way as she was taking Photographs using the rocks as the foreground. IMG_7636[1]¬† After a quick wander around the rocks, i made my way to where i was going to start my walk. Cutting back through the car park on my way, i entered the moor land via the gate nearest the road. From there it was only a short way to “Surprise view” at the end of Millstone edge, this was the beginning of my walk. The view was not as good as it could have been, as the weather was particularly hazy, but it was still great, and i was able to pick out a few places i knew on the horizon. Some of the places visible from here were, Win hill and the great ridge and the outline of Kinder just barely visible on the horizon.IMG_7640[1]¬†IMG_7641[1]¬†After a good few minutes soaking up the view, i decided to carry on with my walk. My route would know take me along the length of Millstone edge and then following the boundary line all the way to the back of Over Owler Tor. I decided not to go up the Tor just yet though, as i wanted to come back this way later. Looking to my left here, or North if you prefer, i could see Stanage edge jutting out from the landscape. A far cry from the last time i was here in February, when i had brought my partner and kids to see the snow fall. Back then, not only was the place covered in snow (obviously) it was also extremely misty, so the views were limited to a mere 100 meters or so. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Anyway, back to this walk, I was now heading pretty much straight towards Higger Tor, but i didn’t want to head up there first. I was actually looking for a place marked on the map as Sheepfold. I soon found it, it was a large drystone walled area, and it reminded me of a sheep dog trial arena. Upon reaching this point, my next destination was revealed, Carl wark fort.IMG_7647[1] It is widely believed to have been the location of a Iron age hill fort, and also possibly to have been re used as a defensive position during the Roman period. On the approach you can see why they would have chosen it, and i’m glad i was just visiting and not an attacker. I made my way up via the western slope and not by the marked path, this meant i passed through what was like a gritsone gateway, which was pretty cool. I was soon on top having a good explore of all the rocky outcrops, trying to imagine what it may have looked like thousands of years ago.¬†IMG_7648[1]¬†IMG_7649[1]¬†IMG_7650[1]¬†After a good explore, i was starting to get hungry, and so my attentions turned towards Higger Tor, i had ear marked this location earlier as my lunch stop. It was not very far from Carl Wark to Higger Tor, and i was soon at the top, sat out of the wind, in the shelter of one of the largest rocky outcrops on the Tor. As usual, i had wraps for lunch, though this time they were un prepared, as i had only brought them on the way. So making them up one at a time, with the cheese and salami slices, i ate my way through three wraps, before sitting back to let them digest while i enjoyed the view. IMG_7653[1]¬†Once i thought my food had sufficiently settled, i decided to have a go at climbing the big gritstone outcrop i had been sheltering behind. Now i’m no big climber, and i will always shy away from anything too technical, but I’ve always loved a good scramble up rocks since i was a small boy. So having a good look at the rock in question, i decided it was definitely on my level of ability, so up i went. Around half way up there was a little bit of a precarious section, but i managed to get past it, and before long i was on top, and surveying the land before me.¬†IMG_7654[1]¬†After climbing down, it was time to plan some more of my route. I hadn’t really got an exact plan from here, and with the weather being a lot cooler than i had expected, the possibility of extending my walk further had arisen. Out came the map, i decided that i would make my way to Upper Burbage bridge, that would then open up my walk to return via Burbage rock. So that settled it, and off i went. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†There was only really one obvious path to Upper Burbage bridge, and that was via Fiddlers elbow, i did however chose the higher of these paths. It was only roughly 1km to the bridge, and with most of it being a gradual down hill i thought it probably wouldn’t take me very long. On route i passed two groups of kids, all with climbing helmets and with a guide. Im not sure if they were young scouts or out with school, but they were definitely being educated in the surrounding geology by their teacher/leader. From this moment on, i would occasionally hear their shrill cries blowing on the wind, as they excitedly went about their activities. Sure enough i soon arrived at the Bridge, where i stopped for a little while to record an update for my video before carrying on.¬†IMG_7656[1]¬†IMG_7658[1]¬†Crossing the brook, i was greeted with Burbage rocks, and a choice between the high path along the edge or the low path along the base. I opted for the former and took the high route along the edge. I was glad i did join the high path, as despite the haze, the views were excellent. I had decided though, i wasn’t going to walk the entire length of the edge, i was going to walk as far as the end of the woods and drop back down and recross the brook then make my way back up to the gap between Carl Wark and Higger Tor.¬†IMG_7660[1]¬†My junction was soon upon me, and i made my way down to the brook. The woods in this area had recently been cut down, well nearly all, just a few small sections remain. I believe the notice board said it was 2014 when they had been cut down, making way for other species of plant, but to me it still looked quite an obvious scar on the landscape, and personally i think the woodland would have been more pleasing to the eye. But give it time, and i’m sure nature will have its way and it will all be looking beautiful again. Well i was soon crossing the brook, and before long i was stood next to Carl Wark once again. IMG_7662[1]¬†Back next to Carl Wark, i had decided from here i would retrace my steps back to Over Owler Tor, as i wanted to look for a spot i had my picture taken in the snow earlier in the year. It took me around twenty minutes to reach the Tor, and despite a good look around, i was never totally sure i found the exact spot, as it all looked very different without the snow. The next spot i wanted to see was mother cap, this was only two hundred or so meters down from the Tor. It wasn’t quite what i was expecting, but there was a great view and a rather large gritstone outcrop standing proudly on its own. IMG_7664[1]¬†From here it was a short journey back to the car, but not before passing what looked like a new species for the Peak District, a gritstone turtle. It looked very similar to one i’d seen on kinder scouts southern edge, (more on that in a future blog). Also in this area were a few discarded millstones, apparently abandoned after people started buying cheaper imports. After recording a bit of video footage, and having my picture taken with the turtle, i carried on my way. IMG_7667[1]IMG_7668[1]¬†Well after my turtle discovery, i was back at the car after roughly 9 miles of enjoyment. It had been a really great day, and it was now time to rejoin reality and drive back home.

So here ends another blog, i really hope you have enjoyed reading it. For those that have read this far, a very big thank you to all of you. As always this blog is available in video form, link at the bottom of this page.

So until next time goodbye ūüôā

Regards Mark

Millstone edge – Burbage rocks 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 ūüôā 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 ūüėČ ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 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



Peak District – Derwent Edge – Lost Lad

On the 21st of may 2017, i had planned with my supervisor from work and two other work mates to go on a map reading trip in the Peak District. My supervisor also has another job with the TA, and he teaches outdoor skills to solider’s in the British Army. So he seemed like the perfect person to help me and my work mates, learn a bit more about map reading. Well, at least this was the plan, as only two days before our planned trip he informed me that he would be unable to make it, and that we would have to re arrange. This was due to the other training man at the barracks who trains in the same field of expertise had finished, and in doing so had passed the baton on to my supervisor. Not to worry i thought, and i planned my own trip. So the next day I looked over my map of the dark peak area in the Peak District, and decided i’d drive to the lay-by near Cutthroat bridge, and head ¬†towards Derwent edge. With a rough route planned out, and all my gear packed, i decided to ask my cousin Dan if he fancied a walk, and if so, he could stay at mine so we’d be ready to go in the morning. Dan agreed and came round in the evening, and we were all set and ready for the morning.

The next morning Dan offered to drive, which worked out great for me, as that meant i could get some good footage out the window for the intro of my video. The journey took slightly longer than normal, this was due to a diversion in Hathersage village which had backed the traffic up quite bad. Once we arrived at the lay-by it was very busy, and we were quite lucky to get a space. Well, with a space acquired, boots and packs on, we set off down the road back towards cutthroat bridge. It was only a few hundred meters to the bridge, and we were soon on the trail. The first part of the path was uphill, and with the sun beaming down, we soon had a sweat on. Whilst planning the route i had decided to take a slightly more direct route to Derwent edge, because if we followed the footpaths the whole way we would have to back track at some point. As our walk would be long enough anyway, i had decided we should follow the stream up Highshaw clough, and join the next path that followed a series of grouse butts. Well it seemed that i wasn’t the only person to have had this idea before, as there was already an established path leading ¬†the way. ¬†IMG_6982[1]¬†Whilst walking this short section, the heat got the better of me and i was forced to take off my thin showerproof jacket. With my jacket safely stowed in my bag, we carried on, and we were soon on to the official path we had been heading for. Following this path roughly westwards, we headed uphill towards the beginning of the path that would take us up to Derwent edge. As we carried on up hill, i had noticed that the clouds seemed to be moving in a lot quicker, and were getting darker. This was slightly worrying, and i mentioned to Dan that i was glad i had my waterproofs with me. It was then that the dreaded realisation kicked it…. whilst i did have my waterproof trousers, i had left my coat at home. Why oh why do i keep forgetting things i thought. Almost immediately after this realisation, it started to spot with rain. Deciding i didn’t want to risk waiting, i thought it best to stop and put my thin jacket back on, and my waterproof trousers. It was a good job i did, as the spots turned into a full on shower. With the weather coming in like this, and only being just less than two miles from the car, i asked Dan if he was happy to carry on. I also pointed out that the direction we were going still had blue sky, he replied he was happy to if i was, so on we went. It seemed fate was on our side, as we were soon out of the rain shower and back into the sun. I must admit i felt quite lucky at this point, as my thin jacket had kept me dry. ¬†Looking around the sky, it seemed that our direction of travel was all into blue sky territory, whilst most other areas still looked very grey. So when we arrived at the junction where we would head for Derwent edge, i decided to take my waterproofs back off. As we continued up the new path, i saw the wheel stones come into view, as it was approaching mid day i said to Dan we should stop here for lunch, to which he agreed. IMG_6984[1]¬†The wind was quite high in this exposed area, so we found a sheltered spot among the Wheel stones to eat our food. The spot i chose gave me a really amazing view. From my vantage point among the stones, i could see down upon the Lady bower reservoir, whilst also being able to see all the way down the vale of Edale, which is flanked on both sides, with Kinder scout to the north and the great ridge to the south. Whilst eating my lunch, i took a few time lapses of the incredible views for my YouTube video. After eating we had a good explore of the area, and then decided to carry on with our journey. It is around one mile from the wheel stones to Derwent edge, and on our way we passed many other interesting rock formations which we checked out on route, including ¬†white tor and the Salt cellar boulder.¬†IMG_6986[1]¬†It wasn’t long though before we reached Derwent Edge, and with the sun still on our side, we had a good explore around its many crags before we reached Dove stone boulder, where we stopped for a break. Whilst taking a break, i was called upon by a group of Chinese tourists to take a group photo for them, which i did, and they seemed quite happy with the result. I then decided i should probably have a look at my map, to see where we should head to next. Whilst i had planned a rough route, i hadn’t really planed much past Derwent edge. So looking at the map i thought it would be nice to head towards Lost lad cairn, then make our down towards the Derwent reservoir. We would then follow that to Lady Bower, before cutting back up the hillside again and back to the lay-by.¬†IMG_6990[1]IMG_6989[1]¬†So with our rest over, it was time to carry on, first passing the cakes of bread, which do stand out quite a lot on the relatively flat terrain, before eventually reaching Back Tor. At the top of Back Tor is a trig point, so for me, like many others (i hope) it was time for a trig point photograph. It was extremely windy at the top, and whilst taking the photo, i also decided to record some video footage. For this i had to try and hide in the shelter of the trig pillar, as otherwise all that would have been heard was the wind noise. The views however were pretty amazing, as the top of Back Tor was the highest we had been on the journey so far. Looking around i could see most of the walk we had already done, and also the Lost Lad cairn was now in view. Before setting off for the cairn, we had a good look around the rock formations of Back Tor, with both of us agreeing it would have been a cool place to bivvy up for the night, though perhaps not in this wind. It was only a short trip from Back Tor to the Lost Lad cairn, and we made short work of the mainly down hill walk. Next to the cairn is also a viewing point, with the usual platform and metal disc, designating various landmarks and their distance from our location.¬†Lost lad also has a bit of history to it, not that i know the exact full story, so for a better account see links in my YouTube video to Dean Reads or Andrew Beavers videos, who tell a ¬†far better account than i can. For what i do know though, is that a long time ago, a young shepherd boy got lost on the hills in very bad weather, and subsequently died. His body was then found in the following spring, with the words “Lost Lad”written on a near-by rock.¬†IMG_6993[1]IMG_6994[1]¬†So after telling Dan the story of Lost Lad, it was time to head back down in to the valley towards the reservoir as i had planned earlier. We had nearly two miles of open moorland to cross. This bit of the journey was pretty featureless, with my eyes mainly fixed on the distant landmarks visible on the horizon. We slogged this section out, and we were soon at the top of Walkers clough, with amazing views of Derwent reservoir. It was then i realised how low it seemed, now i’m no expert on how high the level should be for this time of year, but it didn’t seem that long ago it was high enough to be flowing over the Derwent Dam wall. With as much of the view soaked in as my eyes could take, we made our way down the clough to the reservoir.¬†IMG_6998[1]¬†IMG_6997[1]¬†Once at bottom of the clough, it became more apparent how low the level was. We followed the path towards the dam wall, and after around fifteen minutes, we arrived at the bridge at the base of Hollin clough. The stream that would normally flow under the bridge was all but dry, so we decided to head down the side of it, and into the reservoir. We made our way to the new waters edge and found a small ruin of an old building. I have no idea what it would have been, but where we were stood would have been at least fifteen foot deep under water if the reservoir was full. We made our way back out of the reservoir, and carried on to the dam wall. On reaching it we made our way down the steps at the side to get a better view. It was a really impressive sight, and anyone who finds themselves in the area should definitely check the reservoirs out. As a small side note, Derwent reservoir was used by pilots in 617 squadron during the second world war to practise the low level flights needed for the “Dam Buster” raids on the German Dams. ¬†IMG_7008[1]¬†IMG_7010[1]¬†Leaving Derwent reservoir behind, we then came upon Lady Bower reservoir. This we would follow as far as Grindle clough, which was the point we would head back up the hillside, and back towards the lay-by. At roughly just over half way to the clough, we came across a sign that told us about the old Derwent village. This village had been abandoned and was demolished to make way for the creation of the reservoir in 1943 . Originally they had left the church tower standing, and at low levels you could see it sticking out of the water. Though it was then demolished long before i was born in 1947, no doubt due to health and safety concerns. IMG_7014[1]¬†IMG_7013[1]¬†Leaving the site of the old village, it wasn’t long before we reached the base of Grindle clough. After spending the last four or so miles walking downhill or on level ground, it was a bit of a shock to the legs to be going back steeply uphill again. Whilst time was getting on now, it was still quite warm in the sun. That was not to say the sky was completely clear though, in fact there was quite a lot of clouds. We had made it up the clough as far as the shelter, and then those clouds decided to start raining. Not really heavy, but enough for me to decided to put my waterproofs back on. This was all we needed, just when i thought we had been lucky enough to avoid all the rain. We carried on up the path, waiting for it to get heavier, but it never happened. In fact, it stopped completely, and walking uphill in waterproofs meant that i rapidly started to over heat. So as quick as my waterproofs had been put on, they were soon back off again, ah well, its better to be safe than sorry. We were soon back on our way again, and taking a look behind us, we admired the view of the valley below, where we had been only moments before.¬†IMG_7016[1]¬† As we followed the path higher, we soon reached the top. This was a familiar spot, it was the path junction where we had turned for Derwent edge earlier in the day. This meant we was almost back at the car after a great day out. The walk had been a lot longer than i had originally planned for, not that this was a problem, but our legs were certainly feeling it. We followed the same route back as we had come up at the beginning, ¬†passing the long line of grouse butts, and we were soon walking back down Highshaw clough towards Cutthroat bridge. From here it was only a few hundred meters to the lay-by.¬†IMG_7018[1]¬†Well back in the lay-by, i checked my tracker, and we’d covered just over eleven miles, quite a few more than the six or so i told Dan we’d be doing……sorry Dan ūüėČ ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† All in all it was a awesome walk, and my first time at Derwent edge, and i will no doubt be going back again in the future. We were really lucky with the weather, and who knows, maybe one day i’ll do a trip without forgetting something.

So here ends another blog, i really hope you enjoyed it.  A massive thank you if you made it this far through, and as always this blog is available as a video on my YouTube account, follow the link on the side menu under social. So thanks again for reading, and until next time, goodbye.

Regards Mark

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


High Cup Nick – Abandoned Wild Camp

I have always enjoyed being out in the great outdoors walking and camping, but last year after i was starting to recover from my anxiety and depression, i realised i wasn’t doing enough of it. You should read my first blog “the beginning” for the slightly more filled out story, but lets just say i started to consume as much outdoor related media as possible. This included YouTube videos, various blogs and outdoor magazines. One of these magazines had a article about must camp places on the Pennine way, and the one that stood out for me the most was High cup gill. I remember thinking when i first saw the impressive glaciated U shaped valley in the magazine that i wanted to camp there, and awake to that glorious view.

So it was back in early April this year that the time had come for me to get that chance. (yes a whole month ago, i’m very lazy at my blog writing) So with my route planed i set off to the small village of Murton, which was nestled right up to the edge of the north pennines, but technically still in Cumbria. As luck would have it the village had a small car park which was also right next to the path i would be following. This meant i wouldn’t have to leave the car in the village streets, or so i thought….. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Upon arriving at the car park i noticed a sign, this sign read, “no overnight parking or camping”, great!! i thought. I really didn’t want to have to leave it in the middle of the village, as its not great for me and certainly not good for the residents, who certainly don’t need my car blocking up their already narrow country village street. Thankfully i saw a man walking up with a dog, and i decided to asked him if he lived in the village, to which he replied yes. I explained to him my plight, and he said i should be fine to leave it overnight, and that really the sign is just to discourage people from camping there. These words were exactly what i¬†wanted to hear, so i made my way into the empty car park and got my gear together. The route i planned was supposed to take me through the “Danger area”, the danger area being the military WARCOP training zone, used by the British army for live firing exercises. Unfortunately for me the red flag was flying, which, for those of you that don’t know, means you can’t enter as training is in operation. As i didn’t fancy being cannon fodder, i decided that i would just have to walk the route i was going to take back, instead of my original more circular route. So after recording a some footage for my video introduction, i finally set off ¬†at around 07:45, the path snaking upwards and around Murton pike. It was a beautiful morning, a virtually clear blue sky, dotted with the odd wispy cloud. After a few hundred meters or so of ¬†walking i turned around to admire the view of the village and to the sun rising out from behind the hills. IMG_6083[1]¬†IMG_6082[1]

As i have mentioned in a previous blog, i have the ability to sweat in a freezer whilst walking, so the fact that¬†i was wearing my coat whilst the sun was beaming down on me, meant my perspiration levels were going through the roof. There was only one thing for it, i had to stop. I swung my bag off my back, quickly took off my coat and fastened it securely under the lid of my rucksack. Feeling a lot cooler, i set back off. It was then i heard the first of the live firing exercises, the distant sound of gun fire echoing off the nearby hills. This sound was to punctuate much of my journey throughout the day. It wasn’t far to High cup gill from the village of Murton, around three and a half miles i clocked it at. So it wasn’t long before i had my first view of it, and a pretty spectacular sight it was, every bit and more as good as i had expected. IMG_6085[1]¬†Now as this had originally been my intended finish point, i didn’t want to head right up to it and spoil the evenings viewing. So instead, i joined the Pennine way path, and headed to what was originally my half way point and place of interest, the Cauldron snout waterfall. This part of the path was very easy going, level and well trodden, leaving the grass very flat, yet not muddy. At this point the sun was still shining brightly, but the wind had started to pick up now i was at a higher elevation. After about half a mile, i was walking with Maize beck around 100 yards to my left, and checking the map i saw that id have to be on the other side of it if i wanted to visit the Cauldron snout. I then looked for a crossing point, which i found on the map and promptly made my way towards it. Arriving at the side of the beck, i saw no evidence of a bridge or any stepping stones, but luckily it wasn’t very high so i decided to make a jump for it. I always find it a bit of a worry when crossing this way, just in case my foot slips on the jump and i end up in the water. Not this time though, as i made the jump and carried on my way.¬†IMG_6087[1]¬†Once across i soon noticed that the going was no where near as good on this side. The path was a lot more over grown, with long grass and heather, and lots of really boggy sections, causing various detours to find slightly firmer areas. After around twenty minutes, i started to really hate the bogs, it made progress so much slower, and then from nowhere i was passed by two trail runners, carrying nothing but small bum bags. I immediately felt a bit jealous as i was carrying around 12kg. This soon passed though when i remembered that i cant run, and then normal service resumed. Well shortly after this, what should come into view but a bridge. It seemed that when i had checked the map earlier, i had missed a crossing point, and the last mile and a half of bog dodging could have been avoided….. Doh! Ah well, lesson learned, and on i went. From here the path got a lot better again, and without the bog dodging i could start to enjoy the views of the now widening Maize beck.¬†IMG_6089[1]¬†After just over half a mile, the path started to peel away from the beck and started to go up the hillside. As the path started leveling out, it joined a wide gravel pathway, this was no doubt made to make life easier for the Grouse shooters and not walkers like myself. It was at this point i was caught up by a local family, who i had passed earlier going in the other direction. They were from a nearby village, of which i forget the name, and had been out to see High cup gill. The couple were out with one of their fathers, (i’m not sure whose) and their three dogs. We spent the next three to four miles chatting together as we followed the Pennine way, as they were heading back to Cow green reservoir, which is where the water comes from to feed the Cauldron snout waterfall. It was actually very nice to spend this section of the walk with company, and they were very friendly as we shared stories together on the trail. Well it wasn’t long before the dam wall of Cow green reservoir came into view, and as we crossed over bridge in front of it, i thanked them for putting up with me and bidded them farewell. IMG_6091[1]¬†I was really excited to get over the bridge and see the Cauldron snout waterfall, for a couple of reasons really, one being that it looked amazing on photographs whilst i researched the walk, hence why i came via it. Reason two was that it was roughly the half way point and i had designated it my lunch break and i was starving. I have since found out, that the Cauldron snout waterfall is reckoned to be the longest waterfall in the country at 180m. So with the awesome view that was Cauldron snout, i sat down in the great sunshine to eat, though it was still very windy, it was nice to finally sit down and relax after around 10 miles of walking.¬†IMG_6094[1]¬†IMG_6095[1]¬†Whilst eating my lunch, i had made sure i was sat far enough back from the Cauldron snout, to avoid the fine mist of water that the high wind was blowing up from the cascading waterfall. Well lunch eaten, i took a few more pictures and decided to head back to High cup gill. My route back was the same as i had taken to the snout, the main differences being that i now had to do the big gravel path up hill, and worst of all, into the wind. Its amazing how much longer the path seems when walking into the wind, but it had to be done, so i got my head down and pressed out the next three miles or so. It was a welcome sight when i finally reached the point where i was back on the grass, as the path sloped back down towards the beck. Once along side Maize beck, i knew i only had perhaps another hour or so of walking, and it wasn’t long before the bridge i had missed on the way down came into view. I crossed over the bridge, happy in the knowledge that i wouldn’t have to avoid all the boggy ground like earlier in the day. The path on this side took a short and steady upwards climb, before leveling out. Soon high cup gill came into view, but before heading straight for it, i decided to detour back to the beck to fill up my water bladder. Using my sawyer water filter, this was easier said than done, as the water level was quite low. The low level meant i was unable to use the big bag to collect water, instead i had to use the smaller one that comes with the sawyer as standard, and fill it more times. Still it was a minor issue as i had made it back to High cup gill with plenty of time. Well with my water all filled up, i finished the final few hundred meters to an area that looked straight down High cup. It was a absolutely incredible view, every bit and more as grand as i had hoped. I placed my gear down onto the ground, and stood gazing in awe at the immense chasm in front of me, trying to imagine the vast amount of time it took, and how big the glacier must have been to create something of this size and scale. With the sky now cloudy, and a haze moving in, i did wish that i had come this close earlier to get some pictures when the sun was shining, but it was still amazing, even with the lower visibility. ¬†After a good long viewing and a quick snack bar, the time was around 16:30, i didn’t expect any more walkers passing through, as i’d hardly seen any all day anyway, so i decided to set up my tent. IMG_6132[1]¬†IMG_6131[1]¬†It didn’t take me much time to set up my tent, inflate my airbed and get my sleeping bag out, having used the gear for a while, i now have a good routine. My tent had only been up for mere minutes, when the already high but bearable wind, decided to increase massively. It was like the weather somehow knew i’d set my tent up, and was trying to remove any evidence of it being there. Every large gust of wind was bending the single tent pole in to a very unnatural positions, and all but flattening the side. I tried my best to do a bit of filming, but the wind was making it extremely hard to do any panning shots, and trying to talk to camera was just a pointless exercise, leaving only wind noise to be heard. I decided to sit in the tent for a while hoping that the wind would die down. The longer it went on, the less likely it seemed the wind would go. I remember checking the met office weather forecast before leaving home, and it certainly didn’t mention any gales like this. Phone signal in the area was all but non existent, but when i did briefly get it, i checked the weather app on my phone and it had the gale symbol until 12 the next day. That’s great i thought. Well after around an two hours of listening to my tent whipping and cracking, and seeing the tent nearly bending itself in half, i had pretty much decided to pack up and leave. I did think about relocating, and i had a little wander around looking for somewhere more sheltered, but it wasn’t to be. The area was very exposed, and everywhere i went, the wind was just as bad. So that settled it, i went into the tent and packed everything back into my bag, just leaving the tent on its own. Now this was the fun part, anyone whose ever tried to pack a tent away in the wind will know exactly what i’m talking about. Needless to say it took me quite a while to pack it away, and if you would have seen me, you would most likely of had a good laugh at my expense. Finally i was ready to head back to my car, i was quite sad to leave, this place was somewhere i had been wanting to camp for a long time, and i’d really wanted to wake up to the glorious view that was High cup gill. It wasn’t to be this time, and at around 19:00, i set off on the final three and a half miles to the car. The wind was so strong on the way back, that when it was hitting my legs i was almost tripping myself up. As i followed the length of High cup, i took one last look at it, before the path turned away, taking me back to the village of Murton. IMG_6134[1]¬†The light was starting to fade now, so i did my best to get back to the car as quick as possible. On the way back i took a disappointed look at Murton pike, i did have plans to get to the top of it the next morning, but i wasn’t about to tackle it now, so it would have to wait for another time. Well soon enough, the village came into sight, and i made may way down to the car park. I packed my gear in the boot and got in the car, and now with signal, made a phone call to my partner to inform her that id be home tonight. I felt i’d made the right decision to leave, but i still felt really rubbish about it, i just wish the conditions could have been different, or if i had a more stable tent, perhaps i could have stayed. Well there will always be a next time, and i will definitely be returning in the future, and to be honest , i cant wait.

So here ends another blog, i hope you enjoyed reading about my oh so nearly camp. I still had a truly awesome time, and i was very happy to see Cauldron snout waterfall, and the super impressive High cup gill. If you have read this far, thank you very much, and also a massive thanks to all who follow this blog, it really means a lot that you are entertained by my ramblings. As always a video of this story is on my YouTube channel (link on side menu under social)                                                                                                                            So until next time goodbye.

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]

White Peak – Middleton top to Harboro rocks


This journey in the great outdoors starts at Middleton top car park in Derbyshire. Middleton top is situated on the High peak trail, and is the location of a steam powered winding station on the High peak route. This would have been one of many in the 1800’s. ¬†These winding stations used to haul trains up the steep inclines in their heyday, this one being for the Middleton incline. The railway line is now disused and the High peak trail is now a popular walking and cycling route. As i approached the pay and display machine in the car park, cash in hand, readying to lighten my load, i notice on its display the words “not in use”. Now this would normally please me greatly, ¬†but when i know i’m going to be away from my car for a extended period of time, i can’t help but think, what happens if the machine magically repairs itself and i find myself with a ticket when i get back. So i decided to whip out my phone and quickly take a picture to prove that the machine wasn’t ¬†working when I arrived. I then hurried back to the car to change into my walking boots, and gave my cousin Dan the good news about the parking fee. ¬†So with boots on feet, and rucksacks on backs we set off, on what was to be around a 7 mile circular walk. The route we were going to walk was one i had done previously with my parents when i was a lot younger and smaller, and i can still remember how my legs were aching on the way back. So i was quite excited to do the walk now, happy that my legs were now more than up to the challenge of the day ahead. As we made our way past the old quarry and up through the first field, it soon became apparent that we may not have the weather on our side. As nice as it looked, with the sun shining beautifully in the sky, there was a fierce wind to go with it, and a alarming amount of black clouds on most horizons, threatening in the distance.¬†IMG_5567[1]

Well it wasn’t long before we met with some of the clouds and their contents. We were around a mile or so into the journey, passing the top of the now disused intake quarry. I had stopped to record some footage for my YouTube video, when it started to snow, typical i thought, but luckily for us, we were right on the edge of it and missed the worst of the inclement weather. As quick as it came, it soon passed, i suppose that is one benefits of having high winds, it blows the bad weather away quicker. As we continued on, the land and trees provided a small respite from the incoming wind. When out of the wind, you could really feel the heat from the sun, and it was very welcome feeling indeed. We soon passed the first farm, and being careful not to get in his way whilst the farmer was using his big yellow tractor, i placed my camera down on my tripod to shoot a walk by for my video. As i went to retrieve it, he started talking to me, ¬†at first he thought i was filming for A university, then i told him about my YouTube channel, we had a great conversation together, then we said our goodbyes and we left him to finish his work. Shortly after leaving him i realised id taken us on a a wrong turn,¬†when the road appeared in front of us. There were no roads on the route i had planned, I quickly checked the map, found where we were and corrected accordingly. After a quick detour past a industrial processing area, we were soon back on the right path. This next part of the path saw us go back up hill again, through a sheep filled field, which was very steep, but thankfully quite short. As the path leveled out, a good number of wind turbines came in to view, and as we drew closer, it became clear that our path was going to take us right next to them. I have seen a lot of these wind turbines over the years, but i have never been as close to them before, and¬†we were about to be literally right next to them very soon . As i mentioned before it was a very windy day, so i imagine that the turbines were in full flow, and the whooshing noises they made as the immense blades sliced through the air was very impressive indeed. We stood and watched them in awe for some time, taking photos and video footage, whilst soaking up the sun that was still shining brilliantly in the sky.¬†IMG_5570[1]IMG_5571[1]

After leaving the wind turbines behind, the path took a steady decent, and took us out ¬†the worst of the wind. It wasn’t long before Harboro rocks came into view on the horizon to our left, this was roughly the half way point on the walk, and our chosen location for our lunch. We carefully chose the correct path up to Harboro rocks to the trig point, which you could just see from where we were. Between us and the top was another farm building, and from the map, it wasn’t 100% clear which side we should pass it on to stay on the path. As we got closer i saw the way marker and a gate, puzzle solved. The farmer then came out with his dog, a small coffee coloured pug, who ran up to greet us, as the farmer jokingly shouted “he’s not been fed for a week”. I laughed, and told him my partners brother has a dog exactly the same. After a little chat, we said goodbye to the farmer, and proceeded through the gate and started the climb up to the top of Harboro rocks. It was only a short walk to the top, passing over two stiles and puffing and panting our way up the steep final 100 meters or so. Standing at the trig point, which is 379 meters above sea level, the view of the surrounding area was very good in the clear conditions. However, what wasn’t as good, was the immense wind that kept threatening to blow us off our feet if we weren’t careful. Yes it really was that bad, you could almost lean into it and not fall over. We both took a few photos, and i got a bit of video footage done, which was extremely hard in the wind. Then we both decided to retire to the westerly side of the hill out of the wind to eat our lunch.¬†IMG_5573[1]¬†After lunch we passed back over the top of Harboro rocks, down the other side towards the High peak trail. Before reaching the trail we investigated some old ruins part way down the hillside, which i now believe to be old mining ruins, though very little is actually known about them, the area is known to have been mined for lead over the years. After the little investigation, we headed onto the High peak trail and back towards Middleton top, which according to the nearby sign post, was only 2 miles away, which seemed really close, but then¬†the trail is more of a direct route back, so off we went. On the way back we passed a rusty old cylinder lodged in the bank side. It looked like the body of a steam engine, and in fact it turned out to be an old boiler from a wooden winding house for the Hopton incline. Nothing is left of the old building anymore, just the boiler, as the winding house was demolished in favour of lessening the incline. This was to enable the trains to tackle the incline under their own steam in the late 1800′ s. ¬†IMG_5575[1]¬†Shortly after reaching the bottom of Hopton incline, we passed through a tunnel and came up to the base of intake quarry, the top of which we had been at earlier in the day, when we’d had the brief snow shower. A nearby information board informed us that the police sometimes used the quarry for live ammunition training, so probably best not to wander in there anytime, just in case. ¬†This now left less than a mile, which we soon¬†covered, and before we knew it, the familiar sight of Middleton top visitor center ¬†was in full view, with the winding house’s distinct chimney looming behind it.¬†IMG_5577[1]¬†We both had a really great day out on a thoroughly enjoyable walk, in what was, apart from the wind, very good weather. So here ends the latest blog, which I hope you have enjoyed reading, i would certainly recommend doing this walk to anyone finding themselves local to the Matlock area. Also a big thank you to all my followers on here, it really means a lot to me, and to anyone interested you can also watch the video to this walk on my YouTube channel, link to my channel on the home page under social. Please feel free to comment, and thanks again for enjoying my content,

Regards           Mark IMG_5579[1]

Rat Pack at Camp Stupid

Camp Stupid gets its name from its creator Steve “Frogmoon wildcamps and wanders”. He is one of the outdoor YouTube channels i have been watching the longest. Now the name stupid, is due to the camps location, its in a small wood in close proximity to two A roads. “That’s stupid” i hear you cry, but first, let me explain….. The camp was set in this location on purpose, in response to some people who had commented on his videos, claiming that they lived in such built up areas, that they had no way of getting on a wild camp anywhere. So camp stupid was born, to prove that if you really want to get out, you can, and it is still going strong today. Now late last year i was really excited to get a chance to visit, and stay at Camp Stupid, so when that chance came up again, it didn’t take much thinking about, and the date was soon penciled in to my diary. Well, as you can imagine the time soon arrived, my bag had been packed the night before, and on the Friday after work i made my way to the meeting point. It was pure coincidence that the meeting location was a pub car park, honestly. The pub is in reasonable walking distance to the camp, and it was a place where Steve knew the owners. So after giving the landlady the agreed box of chocolates, for allowing the group to use the car park ¬†overnight, i had a quick pint or two, with Steve, Paul and Craig, who had come down to meet me. They had already been at camp most of the day, and had set up there shelters and had left another lad, Michael, to watch their gear. After the drinks, we all headed to Camp Stupid together. On arrival it was clear the guys had been busy whilst down there. Their hammocks had been put up, and a communal tarp had been set up in case of rain. Also the bushcraft benches had also been set up to provide a seating area for everybody. A small fire had also been prepped and was ready to be lit to keep us warm, which Paul promptly started, using a steel striker, flint stone and char cloth.¬†IMG_5129[1]

So with the fire lit, i decided to sort out my accommodation for the night. I had packed my tarp and bivvy bag, but Camp Stupid also has two builds on site, one is a rectangular shelter with a folding side for a door, that was where Steve was going to spend the first night. The other was a awesome teepee he had built, so to save me time, Steve said it was ok for me to stay in there for the first night. I quickly unpacked my sleeping bag and air bed, and placed them inside my bivvy bag ready for night time . With the fire burning nicely and my sleeping arrangements made, this left one other important matter, food. Now on these meets, its very rare that we only have simple camp food, and this meet was to be no exception. The oven method made another appearance, this time the chicken was replaced with a lamb joint, and Steve had also brought wraps and mint sauce. Whilst it was cooking we drank a beer and talked in the fire light. Before long it was ready, we sliced our own meat off the joint and put it into the wrap and added the mint sauce. Now to say it was nice would be a massive understatement, it was incredible, and definitely ranks up there with my all time favourite camp fire food ever. IMG_5131[1] After a few more drinks it was soon time for bed. As everyone made there way back to their shelters, i made my way into the teepee. This shelter is incredibly well made, using wood from the forest, it was wrapped in black sheeting for waterproofing, and coated with layers of Laylandii branches to blend into the surrounding environment. Once i had made my way into my sleeping bag, made more awkward, due to the fact i was also using my bivvy bag, I was soon fast asleep, in the very cosy teepee.

It was soon morning, and i awoke to the sound of pans rattling outside, as the fire had already been lit, and the first of the morning brews were being made. I was far to comfy in the teepee , all snuggly wrapped up in my bag, and to be honest, i could of stayed in there much longer. So i decided to force myself up, hunted around my back pack for my cup, grabbed a coffee sachet and crawled out the teepee to make a brew of my own. You cant beat a nice cup of coffee in the morning, it certainly makes me feel better, as i’m definitely not a morning person. Shortly after breakfast, we were joined by Steve’s wife and granddaughter. Steve had made some bannock bread that morning and offered it around to everyone, it was actually very nice indeed. His granddaughter Faith practiced some fire lighting skills with fatwood, using a ferro rod and striker to ignite it. I was very impressed with her skills, and she had no problems getting the fatwood shavings up in flames. A couple of hours passed as we talked and practiced various skills, and Steve’s wife and granddaughter made there way back home. These would not be the only the only visitors of the day, we were also expecting a few more of the “rat pack” to turn up. These included Jay, Tiny, Mike and Andy with his son Tom. They would be staying the night at Camp Stupid, whilst we were also expecting visits from Mark and Lee, who would not be staying due to other commitments. Well it wasn’t long before the first of these new arrivals made it down, and that was Andy with his son Tom. Now in the run up to the meet Andy had expressed his wishes to stay in the teepee. As most of the group, myself included, had already spent at least one night in the teepee on previous meets, we were all happy to let Andy stay in there with his son. This did mean however that i would have to move out and set up my tarp. Luckily for me, Steve’s granddaughter Faith had so much fun earlier, she had decided she wanted to come back down. This meant that Steve decided to set up a hammock for her, and also setting himself up next to her, to be sure she would be ok through the night. This left the main Camp Stupid build empty, so i happily moved in. A very simple move it was too, i just picked my bivvy bag up, complete with my sleeping bag and air bed inside, and carried it over, returned for my bag and that was it, job done.IMG_5134[1]¬†Around dinner time one of Steve’s friends Stewart arrived, he brought with him some beer and some homemade bread his partner had made. The bread was really very nice and had been made with fosters beer. It went very well with my army ration pack i was eating, broken up in to small pieces and dropped into the packet, yum yum. After dinner, Craig and Paul went down to meet Jay and Tiny who were nearly at the pub meeting place, whilst there, they would also be collecting Faith from Steve’s wife, so it was a double pick up. It wasn’t long before they all made it safely back to the woods and Jay and Tiny promptly set up there hammocks. After a bit of catching up , i got word that Mike was nearly here, so i decided to go and meet him at the car park with Jay. Now this meeting was originally touted as a birthday meet for Jay and Mike, as the date of the meet was very close to both there birthdays. So as id got them both a present but left them in the car, this was a perfect opportunity to retrieve the presents and hand them out. So that’s exactly what i did, first i gave Jay his present, a Go outdoors voucher, which he was very happy with, and then gave Mike his voucher when he arrived, who was also happy with his gift. ¬†We then set off back ¬†to Camp Stupid, as we arrived at the wood, we saw Stewart leaving, so we said our goodbyes and headed into the camp. After Mike had set up, Mark and Lee arrived, though they weren’t staying it was great to see them and catch up and discuss future meets over a can of beer. It was then someone had the idea to take a group photo, i forget who, and around three people got there group shots. To save everyone having to stand around any loner than they had to, i asked Jay if it was ok to pinch a copy of his, to which he obliged. ¬†¬†IMG_5136[1]¬†Well as always when having fun, time was going fast, and it wasn’t long before Mark and Lee had to leave. Now by this time, we had already had a few beers each and it was soon time for the now traditional rat pack punch, which was quickly put together and placed on the fire to warm up. This was to be closely followed by Andy’s famous Nando’s style chicken. Now with all of us being “YouTubers” Andy was under a fair bit of pressure making the chicken, as he had cameras on him from all angles, recording for their soon to be videos. He was though, more than up to the task, as the chicken came out absolutely delicious.IMG_5139[1]¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† IMG_5141[1]¬†Well as always it was a really great night, a lot of laughs and great food with awesome company, i’d sure take a night out in the woods with the lads than in a pub any day. There is just something so special about being sat around a camp fire with good friends, it makes it very hard to drag yourself away and go to bed, or hammock in the lads case, or bivvy bag in mine. But sure enough, we all went back to our shelters, and to a great nights sleep.

I awoke the next morning to see Jay and Tiny already packed up, they had to make a early exit, so i said my goodbyes to them and got my morning brew on. The fire that morning had been started by Faith, using fatwood and birch bark, lit with a ferro rod and striker. I feel at even eleven years old, she is probably better than a lot of adults¬†already at traditional fire lighting. Then as if that wasn’t enough, Faith and Andy’s lad Tom, made everybody bacon cobs, or rolls or butties, depending where you are from in the country. So after breakfast it was time to pack up, as we had to be off the car park by 2 o’clock, this was of course no problem at all, and we were soon all packed up and ready to head out. We were soon back in the car park saying our goodbyes and discussing future meets. This was as always another thoroughly enjoyable meet, I am really happy to be a part of this new community we have made, and i’m very proud to call myself a member of the “rat pack” and long may it continue.

Well so ends another installment of my Blog, i hope you enjoyed it. Thank you for reading, and thank you to all who have either subscribed on here, or signed up to email notifications, i really appreciate all the support, it really does mean a lot.                                    Regards       Mark   IMG_5143[1]


Peak District – Win hill – Crook hill

I have visited the Lady bower reservoir many times over the years, as a child with my parents, and now later as an adult. In all these visits, i have never seen the water flowing down the bellmouth overflows (known locally as the “plug holes”). So whilst browsing social media, a couple of short videos stuck in my mind. One of these was of the water flowing over the top of ¬†Derwent dam, and the other was a short clip by my friend Dean Read. The Clip Dean had uploaded, was a aerial shot of one of the Lady Bower “plugholes”, with water rushing down into its dark, seemingly bottomless depths. Upon seeing this, i decided that i had to plan a walk there, and sharpish, before the water levels dropped too low, and this amazing sight stopped. With a quick flick through my Peak District walks book, and a good scan of my OS map, i formulated a route, and packed my day pack. That night i went to bed, eager for the¬†trip ahead.¬†IMG_4806[1]

I awoke early the next morning, and shovelled my breakfast down as fast as i could. Now anyone that knows me, knows that i’d forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on, so to make sure i hadn’t forgot anything, i had to talk myself through all the gear i’d need and mentally check it off my list. So, breakfast eaten and list checked, i set off to the Peak District, my destination, Lady Bower reservoir, and a great day of walking. Arriving at Lady Bower around 10:30am, i Parked up in a lay-by near the dam itself. Opening the car boot, i excitedly laced my walking boots, put on my day pack and headed to the dam. As i got closer, i could hear the water crashing down the plughole, i quickened my pace. It was an amazing sight to behold, what are normally dormant, quiet plugholes, were now a crescendo of noise, with water flowing down at a blistering pace. After a few moments watching the water in awe, i set off on my walk, the first part of which would be taking me to the top of Win hill.

IMG_4808[1]¬†With the weather being warmer than i had expected, and my tendency to be able to sweat in a freezer, i thought it best to take the less direct route to the top of Win hill. A easier route it may have been, but i still managed to become a sweaty mess, i can only imagine how bad i would have been had i taken the direct route. No doubt the water level in Lady Bower would have risen some what. Around half way up the route, a few trees had fell onto the path, covering it for a stretch of about a hundred meters or so. My guess was that they had fell in the tail end of the recent storm. Some of them had sections¬†sawn out of them, so they were no longer blocking the path, but a good few of them were still there, completely blocking the trail, so i was forced to take a detour around them. After rejoining the path, i was soon taking a more direct route up, and upon leaving the tree line, the last slog to the top of Win hill began. Now out in the open, the views from the hillside were amazing, i was stopping periodically to catch my breath, and also to soak up¬†the beautiful views around me. When i reached the top, a huge smile crossed my face, as i strolled across to the trig point to take in the amazing vistas on all sides. In fact, from this great vantage point, i could pretty much see all the remainder of my journey laid out before me.¬†IMG_4811[1]¬†Once i had soaked up all the views possible, and taken the walkers obligatory trig point photo, i carried on with my journey. My next port of call on the route was Hope cross, i had decided this would be an excellent place to stop for the food i had packed. Whilst following the ridge line of Hope brink, i couldn’t help but keep looking at the impressive formation of the Great ridge, Lose hill to Mam tor, standing proudly between the Hope valley and the Vale of Edale. This got me thinking, and wishing i was walking the great ridge, but that would add on another seven miles to what would already be a ten mile round trip. My legs just aren’t ready for that yet.¬†IMG_4813[1]¬†So i decided to just admire the view, and save the great ridge for another day, and i carried on with my journey. Now this section i was on, was a very gradual downwards slope, so it wasn’t hard on my knees and i was making excellent time. I thought to myself i’d soon be eating the lunch i had packed, and i couldn’t wait, because i was starving. It was then that it came into sight, and it seemed another large group of walkers had had the same idea. They would soon have another visitor. As i arrived at Hope cross, we exchanged a few courteous hellos, “a beautiful day for it” i said, and it was. I then took out my food, removed any breakables from my bag and then used it for a seat, and promptly ate my food. It was a beautiful location to eat, as i watched the clouds rolling over the vale of Edale towards the great ridge. This really is the life i thought as i relaxed admiring the view. IMG_4815[1]¬†After around twenty minutes, it was time to move on, still steadily going down hill i soon reached the river that fed one part of the reservoir. Shortly after crossing the river, the easy downhill section was over and the first steep climb since ascending Win hill began. This ascent up to Hagg side, was a steep and winding rocky path. It wasn’t long before i was puffing and panting and the dreaded sweat glands were working over time again. Luckily it was only around five to six hundred meters, although i’ll admit it felt a lot longer. But i’d made it, and the path was now pretty level, with a very gentle upwards gradient. Next stop Crook hill. It was around one and a half miles to Crook hill, and i did my best to get my head down and cover this section pretty quickly. The reason being, was that all the Photos and video footage i had been shooting for my YouTube video, had taken up a fair bit of time, and i didn’t want to be home too late, and i still had a one hour fifteen minute drive ahead of me, traffic dependent. So as you can imagine, it wasn’t long before the distinct shape of Crook hill came in to view.¬†IMG_4818[1]¬†Now from my direction of travel, the path actually skirts around the left side of the hill, but i had an urge to actually walk to the top of both points of the hill. At first i was unsure whether to do it or not. Crook hill may not be really high, but from where i was stood, it looked very steep sided, so i left my decision till i was a bit nearer. Well who was i kidding, i couldn’t resist and up i went, and i was really glad i did as i got some spectacular views, from what was the last high point before heading back down towards the reservoir, and ultimately, my car.IMG_4820[1]¬†As i headed back down Crook hill towards Lady bower reservoir, and the Ashopton viaduct, i was filled with mixed emotions. I was really happy that i’d had such an amazing walk in such a beautiful location with great weather, yet sad it had come to an end. Yet i was also excited to go home and tell my family all about my journey and all the things i’d seen along the way. Well it wasn’t long before i had reached my car, changed back into my trainers, and slumped in the drivers seat ready to head home. This had been another extremely enjoyable visit to the Peak District as always, and as ever, i cant wait to get back out again soon. I hope you enjoy this latest installment of my Blog, and i look forward to any comments you may have. Thank you very much for reading.

Regards      Mark IMG_4822[1]

The Bushcraft Forest

Friday the 24th of February started like most other friday’s for me. Up in the morning for the school run, home for coffee, and then the dreaded drive to work. Except this friday was a little different, as the night before i’d packed my bag ready to go to the Bushcraft forest. However this was no normal wild camp, where id be on my own with nature, this was a meet up of like minded individuals from quite a wide area. From the midlands, up to York. We all converged in some woodland just outside the official Peak District boundary.This woodland has been used for a while by some of my favourite YouTubers , Dean Read and Jay GoonieBushcraft, who were also at the meet. After a few camps together, our like minded group of friends, had decided to call ourselves the “Rat pack” after a drink we concoct out of various drinks with added military ration pack beverage powder. So after finishing work at 2 o’clock, i hurry home, at the speed limit obviously, and get changed into my outdoor gear. Setting back out around 15:30, i drive to the Bushcraft forest, excited about the weekends fun, as this was also set to be a two nighter. After an hour and a half i had arrived, some of the guys were already there, so i found a space to park, got my rucksack out the boot and proceeded to make my way to the camping spot as hurriedly as my legs would carry me.


Luckily its only a short walk in from the place i’d parked, and i was soon in the chosen camp location. I greeted the the lads already there with a big smile on my face, i was very happy to be there. Steve, Mike, Jay and Tiny were already there when i arrived, with another lad who watches our videos and was hoping to meet up. After a the hand shake and the usual banter between friends it was time to set up my shelter before it got dark. My chosen set up for this weekend was a Terra nova adventure 2 tarp, supported by my walking poles and a couple of guy lines to the trees. Under that i would sleep with my sleeping bag inside my recently purchased Alp kit Hunka XL bivvy bag, which i had been meaning to use for some time.¬†img_42161

Once everyone had set up, and all had arrived who were invited we set about collecting dead fall for the nights fire and to cook on. This would also keep up warm, in what was to be a cold and very windy evening with a few rain showers for good measure. ¬† ¬† img_42181Some great food was cooked over the fire across the two nights, with bacon and belly pork being some of it. All washed down with a few choice beers and the now obligatory¬†“rat pack punch”. ¬†But as nice as these things were, my personal favourite has to be the improvised oven that Mark brought with him. This oven was none other than a simple ice bucket with a small grill tray inserted and the opening covered with a section of tin foil. Part of the fire had been sectioned off, and the bucket oven was placed over hot embers. Inside the oven was placed a whole chicken, and it was left for around two hours, though honestly i’m unsure of the exact length of time. Now to say this worked would be an understatement, the chicken came out perfect, pure white all the way through, still juicy and even the skin was browned off. simply delicious. .img_42201¬†Now the more we have camped together the better friends we have become, and as friends do, we sometimes gift items to each other. Now on this trip i was lucky enough to be gifted a few items. These items were, a modified shot gun cartridge (used) , containing matches and a striker, this was from Craig “Hull Bushcrafter”. An American ration pack called a MRE (meal ready to eat), this was from Jay “GoonieBushcraft”. I also got a long dessert spoon, like a ice cream sundae style from Mark “Derbyshire Bushcraft”, these are ideal for eating food direct from a ration pack. To top it all off, we had decided as a group to have our own “rat pack” clothing. So Mike “GINGERBUSHCRAFT” had drawn up a design, we paid him the money for the items we wanted, and he had it all made by the company that makes his work wear. I was really happy to receive all the items and will be regularly wearing the “rat pack” gear with pride.

img_42221¬†This meet, as always with these lads, was a truly awesome time. I feel privilaged to be part of it, and i always look forward to future meets. But before i sign off on this Blog, no trip to the Bushcraft forest is complete without a trip to the cliff edge to see the “famous view” or famous at least, to those familiar with Dean Reads Blogs/ Youtube Videos. The view is certainly one of the draws of the place and is not to be missed. So i hope you have enjoyed what is only my second Blog, and if you made it this far down the page, thank you very much, as i leave you with a picture of the famous view. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Regards Mark¬†img_42261