Wild Camps 2017

Bring it On!

River Ure, Wensleydale, Yorkshire

Ravens Tor, Peak District

Birchen Edge, Peak District

Wolfscote Hill, Peak District

3 nights in Glen Ey, Cairngorms

Winter Camp on Longstone Moor, Peak District

River Ure, Wensleydale, Yorkshire

I make no apology for my openness in being in love with the Yorkshire Dales.  Its one of my favourite National Parks in the UK.

I had noticed a spot I would like to wild camp at whilst out walking with my wife many years ago, promising myself many times I was going to have a walk there with my tent one day.

As always, when I mentioned my intention to go out for a night my Grandsons ears pricked up and his eyes told me straight away I was going to be accompanied on my trip.  I mentioned to my daughter that he wanted to come and as normal SOP she too, invited herself along, which is fine by me,  I planted the outdoors bug in her when she was a small child and now she passes that same bug on to her children.

I always, always feel obliged to go high when I wild camp, seemingly out of the way, bothering no one.  However, just recently I have been thinking that high up is not always best.  I forget how many times I climb high only to be disappointed when the mist rolls in and I get to see nothing.  Unlike many hardened Wild Campers I don’t do it for the climb, I do it for the views.  As my 7 year old grandson was joining me I thought it would be a great opportunity to camp at that spot I found many years ago.

So off we headed on a sunny afternoon in the car to the Yorkshire Dales.  In 90 mins we were parking up in the village of Wensley and heading out with our rucksacks on into the countryside.

_MAR9103Crossing the bridge over the River Ure

My plan was to hike about three miles, anymore than that and I think it would be too much for a 7 year old carrying a heavy rucksack.  My aim is to encourage him to get into the outdoors, not put him off so three miles is about right.  As always, we start off excited as to where we will end up (I secretly always know the answer to that one).

The going was pretty easy and we cracked on at a good pace, obviously stopping en-route for any photo opportunities

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The weather was really kind to us, the bright sunshine lit up the lush green fields as we wandered through.  Here I am pointing out to Leon our final destination.

We finally arrived after an moderate walk at the spot I remembered from all those years ago, the landscape had changed a little, the River Ewe had carved its way a bit wider and taken out some of the bank but even so, the beauty of the place still remained.  We quickly set up the tents, Lesley and Leon in the Vango Tempest 200 and me in my Force 10 Helium 100.  I haven’t reviewed either of these tents yet, and I really should, particularly the Tempest as it was he first tent I purchased for Wild Camping and its been out many times.  The Force 10 I have been a little concerned about after the drenching I got in it on my last trip out.  Keep an eye on my Equipment Review page, I will be reviewing both very soon.

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If I have space I normally set up a lean-to using my Snugpack Basher and a couple of walking poles, its simple to do and gives you a place to keep your kit.  You can also sleep under one in a bivvie bag if the mood takes you.  You can actually use it as an emergency bivvie bag too if you get stuck.

Once set up we put the dinner on, I am really into these “Look What We Found” meals now and I wont use anything else.  We bulked them out with some Instant Cheesy Mash!

Whilst it was cooking Lesley found my stash of homemade Beef Jerky which we soon polished it all off.  If anyone wants to know how I make my Beef Jerky, get in touch!

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Whenever I can I always like to pitch up near to some running water, it saves having to carry loads for cooking and drinking.  Leon was let loose with my Sawyer Mini Water filter and he did a fine job filtering all the water for us.  Another reason for pitching up near rivers is the views you get.  This spot excelled.

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After dinner we washed up and then sat down to a nip out of the hip flask whilst Leon slurped on his hot chocolate.  The small sachets are great to take away on a wild camp, they are small and you can always find a space to stash a couple.  Whilst on the subject of beverages, I have started to take coffee bags with me, these are a belting idea if you like a nice coffee as opposed to instant, I also carry a tube of condensed milk with me as a quick squeeze acts as milk (obviously) and also a sweetener.

We chatted for a while, told ghost stories (kids are fascinated by ghost stories) and watched the hundreds of bats flying over the surface of the water catching the flies.  As it started to get dark the stars came out in all there glory.  Being in a valley we weren’t troubled too  much by light pollution and we were given a fantastic view of the stars.  I was able to show Leon the trail of the Milky Way as we could just about see it with the naked eye, it blew him away, he loved it.

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So after a bit of star gazing we hit the sack.  I managed a really good nights sleep which is unusual for me. (Must have been the single malt!)

The next morning we were up bright and early, Leon got the water and we had a dish of porridge for breakfast and a coffee.  I always use the Morrisons or Tesco porridge pots.  They cost around 45p each and are quick and easy to make.  Before I set off, though, I always empty the contents into a ziplock bag as it saves space and it saves the pots getting crushed whilst carrying your rucksack.

We broke camp around 08:30 and made our way back to the car, not before a thorough sweep of the pitch to make sure nothing was left and we had all our litter packed away in our rucksacks.

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Apart from a bit of flat grass, there was not a single sign we had been there.

We made good time back to the car, Leon was absolutely brilliant, he had been struggling with a blister on his heel but he never whinged or moaned about it, he just got on with the job.

As always, a walk through the Yorkshire Dales especially this one was a treat in such glorious weather.

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As always, if you would like any information on this or any other wild camp I’ve done, please feel free to contact me for specific details.

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Ravens Tor, Peak District

Ravens Tor has become very popular with Wild Campers over recent years after its location was highlighted on a blog/video by Dean Read.  Whilst I was parking my car over in Milldale I got talking to a chap who had planned on spending the night there too but the foul weather put him off so I was hoping I had the spot to myself.  You can park in public car park in Milldale but beware, the National Trust car park opposite doesn’t allow overnight parking.

The weather was quite foul, raining and grey with no signs of letting up.  There are various ways to get to Ravens Tor so I suggest you get a grid reference and choose a route that suits you best.  If by any miracle you don’t know where Ravens Tor is and you fancy a trip up there, just drop me a line and I will let you have a grid reference.

The walk up to Ravens Tor was pretty uneventful, apart from me slipping quite a few times on the slimy rocks, I was really pleased I took walking poles with me this time.

When I arrived at the spot where I had planned to spend the night I was very disheartened at the state of the place, beer bottles, empty cans and the signs of quite a large camp fire.  As it was pelting it down with rain I wasn’t best happy with having to clean the place up before I pitched but I couldn’t just leave it.  I filled up a carrier bag and took it home with me.

Anyway, back to business…

Ravens Tor doesn’t have a lot of flat space to pitch, Ideally it’s a Bivvie spot with plenty of space for a basher or a tarp, a tent brings its footprint and requires space to peg out the guy lines.  I pretty much managed to pitch on a flat spot only to discover a rock in the middle so I had to move it slightly, nevertheless I got there in the end.  A bit to close to the edge of a drop for my comfort but I had no choice.  I was worried about getting up in the middle of the night to pee and falling off!

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The view was amazing and with the mist rolling in below made it quite dramatic on the eye, it reminded me of a trip we did to Malaysia and we standing above the rain forest.  Although it was raining quite heavily the view more than made up for it.

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I had hoped to get out and about with my camera to get some shots but the rain was so heavy I decided to cut my losses and leave the camera in my rucksack for the time being.  One thing I did want to check out was a nearby cave.  The guy I was talking to in the car park told me of a cave just below Ravens Tor which was about 5m wide and about 3m deep so I set off to try and find it.  He did say it was well hidden by over grown trees and bramble bushes.  As I started to climb down the steep bank I slipped a little and it brought home to me how much of a mess I would be in if I slipped on the wet rocks and went over the edge.  That didn’t sit comfortably with me so I decided to leave it and explore it on another day when its dry.

I made my way back up to my tent and made myself a brew.  I didn’t take an evening meal with me as I had eaten a main meal during the day so I just snacked on some homemade Beef Jerky (you really have to try making it!).  The night was drawing in, the rain was relentless so I got out of my wet clothes and settled down for the night.

I managed a really good night’s sleep in spite of the rain coming down, I woke around 4am to find it had stopped so I went outside to have a look (and a pee of course).  The sun was just starting to come up so I grabbed the camera and took a quick shot before scurrying back inside.

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When I got back in my tent I noticed how wet my gear was, I’m not convinced it was purely down to condensation as my sleeping mat and bag were very wet.  However the sleeping bag is top notch (Snugpak Elite 3) and the inside was as dry as a bone.

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I must have dozed off for an hour or so and woke up feeling a bit peckish, for breakfast I had my porridge pot (I normally remove the contents and put it in a zip bag but I had plenty of room in my rucksack) and left over Beef Jerky… mmmm nice!

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Sitting having breakfast I could already hear voices below on the footpath along the river, and the echoes from people chatting away in Thors cave on the main footpath through Dovedale.  Within a couple of hours it would teeming with people as its such a popular walk and why not, its beautiful down there.

After kicking over my coffee (Grrrr) I decided to take a few more photos then pack up and get home, I had a lot of kit drying to do when I got back!

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I really enjoyed this wild camp; the view from the top is really worth the trip but as its so popular now don’t be surprised if you get up there to find it already occupied, if it is there are some nice spots further down towards Milldale so all will not be lost.

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Please, please take rubbish away with you and don’t leave it for other folk to tidy up after you.  It’s really bad for the environment and it makes it a bit awkward for the person who comes in afterwards.  I do wish Dean Read would emphasise this a bit more in his videos when he advertises locations.

My Force10 Helium UL tent is a worry and I will be keeping a very close eye on it for leaks in the future, I will review it after the next time I use it.

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Birchen Edge, Peak District

This really wasn’t a planned Wild Camp up on Birchen Edge, I had thought about it as a location but never applied any plans to go.  My son Daniel recently bought a new mountain bike and fancied putting it through its paces so at the last minute we decided to go up Birchen Edge, he set off from Chesterfield on his bike, me in my car.  As its not very far I gave him 30 mins start.

I parked by the Robin Hood in Pub in the Baslow Rd in the Eastmoor Estate car park, you’re not allowed to park in the pub car park or the field opposite overnight, so be warned.

The walk from the car park is pretty uneventful, I’ve done it a few times and after about 30 mins I was dropping off my rucksack at Nelsons Monument.  The monument is a dedication to Admiral Nelson on his victory at Trafalgar.

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Its normally a very busy spot with many people coming here to climb the edge however this time I was completely alone.  I had a wander around to look for a good place to pitch, to be honest its an excellent place to wild camp as there is plenty of flat ground.  I pitched just in front of the three rocks that represent the three ship in Nelsons fleet, I decided to bring my Force10 Helium UL1 as it weighs in at under 1kg and very easy on the shoulders,  I am really warming to this tent, its a fantastic bit of kit, I will review it later in the year when I have used it a few more times:

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HMS Royal Soverign

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This monument was created approx two years before the one in Trafalgar Square.

However, my reason for choosing this spot were the views, really nice they were but true to form, it wasn’t long before the wind and rain came.  Daniel arrived shortly after on his new bike and quickly set up his bivvie bag.

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Hard core! (I’d rather have my tent)

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We arrived quite late so by the time we had set up and had a brew it was approaching 10pm although it was still light enough to see everything around us.  We settled down after our brew up and had a couple of swigs from the hip flask.

We had a relatively peaceful night but the moon was very bright and the light shining through my tent was really bright and it did keep me awake for a while.  We had visitors around 11:30pm in the form of a couple out for an evening stroll, they just stood for a while whispering trying not to disturb us then went on their way.

I was woken by the call of a cuckoo around 4:30am, he was pretty close by as it was really loud and he cuckoo’d his lungs out bless him for a good half hour so I decided to get up and go for a walk along the Edge.  The sun was shining and it was a fantastic morning.

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After my walk I came back and sorted out my breakfast, a small pot of porridge and a coffee, nothing fancy, no pots and pans to clean afterwards just boiling water and pouring it in the porridge pot.  For 49p each, they are an absolute bargain.

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This really is a great spot for breakfast on a sunny day, I sat here for ages just taking in the peace and quite, well apart from the cuckoo!!

Not long after breakfast Dan dragged himself out of his bivvie bag and started to sort himself out ready for his ride home.  I couldn’t hang around either as I had lots of jobs to do at home so we packed up and went our separate ways.  Dan had decided on a different route back home and I just had a bimble all the way along Birchen Edge and back to the car, not bumping into anyone until reaching the car park where I had a chat with a nice lady who was about to undertake a marathon hike through too and along the Longshaw Estate.

This really is a great spot to go for a quick night under the stars.  We did see signs of other wild camps though which is a shame as it spoils it for the rest of us, quite a large area of scorched earth where a large firepit had been made.  I understand that people prefer this kind of thing but causing damage doesn’t bode well on us all.  If you are going to light a fire, be discreet and do it out of the way.  Better still, just take a small stove, its still just as good.

As always, any questions please feel free to ask.

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Wolfscote Hill, Peak District

I have had my eye on this location for a good few months; little is documented about it, probably because far as hills in the Peak District go this one at 388m is pretty insignificant.  But there is more to Wolfscote Hill than you’d imagine.  The views across the Dales below follow the craggy route of the River Dove through Wolfscote Date, somewhere I have walked many times but from above, there’s a whole different perspective.  The views over the White Peaks are spectacular and I most definitely wasn’t disappointed.  It’s not a difficult climb to the top if you walk around to the eastern side of the hill, the trig point comes quickly into view.  There are quite a few decent pitching spots but you will be sharing with the local sheep, don’t worry though, they are friendly.

Once up top I had a little scout around to find a sheltered pitch as the forecast wasn’t great over night and the wind was starting to pick up, after a quick wander I found my spot and quickly set up.

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This was my first outing with my Force10 Helium 100 tent (I will write a review once I have used it a couple of times).  It’s very similar to my Vango Zenith 100 but very much lighter.

The aim of this wild camp was to take some shots from the top of the hill, preferably some sunset shots with some sunrise shots the next morning and try out my new tent.   When I arrived there were clear blue skies but the odd cloud began rolling in which makes sunset shots more interesting so I was happy.

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After taking a few shots it was time to eat some supper, on my trip to the Cairngorms last month I took some packed meals with me called “Look What We Found” and I was pleasantly surprised just how good these were.  I had no hesitation in packing one of these for Wolfscote Hill.  I have been asked to write a review on these meals by one of my blog readers so keep an eye out and I will tell you what I really think of these compared to other ready meals.

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After supper I made a brew and sat on the top of the hill taking it all in. until the sun started to sink towards the horizon.  What I didn’t know until I descended the hill next morning was the mound on top where the Trig Point is was a prehistoric burial ground.  I would have had a nervy night had I known that beforehand!

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After taking a load of sunset shots I finally went to my bed around 10 pm and immediately fell asleep only to be woken around 2:45am by a horrendous rainstorm that went on for about two hours.  This meant I was not going to get any sunrise photos!

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Nevertheless this was a great location for a wild camp and I am sure I will return again probably in the autumn where I may have a chance catching a cloud inversion, I image it would look amazing from the top of Wolfscote Hill.

As soon as the rain stopped around 6am I had a quick brew and made my way back to the car.

I’m glad I finally found time to do this wild camp, it was well worth the wait.  As always, feel free to ask me any questions regarding the location, I am more than happy to pass on any information to you.

Thanks for reading.

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Glen Ey, Cairngorms

The time arrived and off we went to spend the Easter weekend hiking through Glen Ey with a planned wild camp at Altanour Lodge.  The plan was for me, my son, my daughter and her husband to go on the trip but sadly, Simon, my Son in Law damaged his back a couple of days before we were due to go so they had to drop out.  So my son (Daniel) and me set off on our own, plus of course Milo, his dog.

Day 1 – Thursday 13 Apr 2017

The drive up from Chesterfield was pretty uneventful, 7.5 hour trip and we pulled into the car park in Inverey at around 5pm.

D4S_9949Near the car park at Inverey

D4S_0201Entrance to Glen Ey

The plan was to hike into the Glen for an hour or so then camp up as it was a 9.5 km hike to Altanour Lodge, our planned destination.  The walk along the Glen was absolutely beautiful, the scenery was to die for.  I will let a few photos do the talking….

D4S_9950Daniel with his Alpkit gear

D4S_9952  Yours truly

D4S_0200View from the Track

D4S_9957Rainbow over the Glen

D4S_9961Glen Ey Starting to Open up

D4S_9962Weather coming in!!

It was at this point we realised that we were belting along at a fair old pace so we decided to hike into the Glen, all the way to Altanour Lodge, it took us just over 1.5 hours.

D4S_9969Altanour Lodge in the distance

D4S_9970Approaching Altanour Lodge, Dan leading the way.

D4S_0096The Ruins of Altanour Lodge

Altanour Lodge is an old hunting lodge, last used I believe in the 1950’s as a Bothy but fell into disrepair and was left to the elements and I suspect some of its stone used for other structures.  We saw people cycle down here, leave their bikes then go hiking in the hills, the track through the Glen makes it easy to access on bikes.  I think at one point we saw 6 bikes chained up.  The ruins themselves and the small copse opposite were fenced off with what seems like anti-deer fencing with a stile for Wild campers to get over.  Not sure why this was, maybe to protect people during the Rutting Season.  Not sure really, answers on a post card!

We climbed the stile and chose a spot to set up our wild camp.  We were now going to be here for two nights so I set up a little “Admin Area” using my Snugpak Stasha and my walking poles.

I am no Bear Grills type so I was happy to carry my Vango tent in, my son Dan wanted to rough it and chose to bring his Alpkit Hunka Bivvi bag, which served him very well.

D4S_0054My little set up

D4S_9978Daniel’s set up

We were pretty much set up by 7:15 and the temperature started to drop pretty sharply, so we cooked up some food and moved to the admin area for a hot drink where we saw a few of the local deer eying us up:

D4S_0062A few Deer checking us out

D4S_0061Time for a dram!

Sunset was around 8:30 and was really spectacular, shining across Beinn lutharn Bheag. I managed to get this:

D4S_0081Beinn lutharn Bheag

We were both knackered so decided to get some shut eye.  Were both snug but the night brought with it sleet, snow, hailstone followed by some rain.  Never mind eh 🙂

Day 2

I was up early around 6:30 so I went down to Ey Burn to fill the water bottles have a quick wash and I took Milo for a little walk around which turned into a longer walk than planned.

D4S_0056Meet Milo!

As I was walking I saw a white hare, my very first sighting of an Arctic Hare, I was well chuffed.  You can just see it if you look closely enough.

D4S_0010I know it just looks like a white blob, but honestly, it is a hare!

Milo and me made our way back to give Daniel a nudge.  We had planned to hike deeper in the Glen and upwards just for a look around so after lunch we headed off up the track.

D4S_0009Heading up out of camp

Looking back……..

D4S_0008Towards Alantour Lodge

We went off hiking for a good couple of hours, just taking it all in, such a beautiful place.  However the clouds started rolling in so we decided to play it safe and make our way back down into the Glen and cook some supper, I will just post a couple of photos from our hike to give you a feel for our afternoon.

D4S_0047Nosey Ram!

D4S_0068Ey Burn

D4S_0071Another one of the Burn where we washed and got our water

D4S_0035Waiting for Daniel who had just taken a naked selfie?? (no I’m not posting it!)

D4S_0038Just having time out on some Grouse Butts

D4S_9997Heading back down

Day 3

We had a bit of a sleep in this morning.  Again the weather throughout the night had been a bit grim, all our kit performed exceptionally well, I was particularly impressed with Daniels Alpkit bivvibag.  It kept him 100% dry and combined with his Snugpak Basecamp sleeping bag  he was as warm as toast.  I’m not a bivvi bag person myself, it would do my back in were I to try it.  I’ll stick to my tent and exped airbed thanks very much!

We had some breakfast, took Milo for a long walk along the Burn then came back to start planning the return trip to the car over lunch.  We decided that we wanted to start our drive back to Chesterfield early Sunday to enable us to get back late afternoon.  That would give us time to get our kit cleaned and packed away leaving us Monday free.

On our way to Altanour Lodge we noticed another ruin by the track and decided that is where we would spend our final night.  So after lunch we cleaned up and packed our kit and set off back down the Glen heading for the ruin of Auchelie.  I don’t know anything about the ruin as I haven’t yet Googled it so feel free and let me know if you find anything out.

D4S_0107Me heading out of Glen Ey

D4S_0112Dan checking out his photography skills

The walk out of Alantour Lodge was done in what seemed like gale force winds at times but nevertheless the scenery made up for it and of course the odd shower.

D4S_0114Looking back…..

We hiked for a little over an hour and the ruins of Auchelie came in to view.

D4S_0195Auchelie Ruins

We quickly set up camp in the gale force winds, Daniel found a spot in the ruins themselves but there wasn’t enough room for us both so I was just behind.  No complaints from me though, the views were worth it.

D4S_0182Daniel testing out his bed!

My set up without an admin area this time.  As we were only here for the night I decided to do all my cooking in the tent porch, out of the chilling wind.

D4S_0173Bit of Black and white going on.. The view though!

D4S_0172My view in t’other direction

All set up we decided to go get some water so we could start cooking dinner.  We walked the few metres to the Burn and we came across a gorgeous spot, well you just have to don’t you?

D4S_0126Time for a dip in the Burn

D4S_0129As you can see from Dan’s face it was very chilly!!

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I can vouch for him, it really was! I think the water may be a tad too clear on this photo but it was so cold, it doesn’t really matter.

So, after a very quick soak in the river we dried off and made our way up to the ruin and had some food.  After a bite to eat I went out for another walk and bumped into a couple who were themselves heading to the ruin to wild camp.  They were there to film the courtship dance of a Black Grouse Cock which happens there every year at this time for a few days only.  They had all the filming gear and looked very professional.  They walked around the hill and camped there.  I got up early in the morning to witness the sight of these Black Grouse strutting there stuff and I wasn’t disappointed.

Early next morning we packed our gear and headed back to the car park at Inverey.  The walk took us around 40mins.  It was extremely cold and windy but thankfully we had managed a good nights sleep in spite of the sleet, rain and wind.

All in all it was an absolutely brilliant weekend.  I would so recommend it to anyone who fancies a bit of wild camping but remember, you are are miles away from civilisation so you have to be totally self sufficient.  That means a heavy pack and being prepared for all weathers.

We walked a total of around 50kms over the weekend, the going wasn’t difficult though.

If you want to see all the photos I took take a look at my My Flickr Account

Thanks for reading, I hope it inspires you to spend a few quid and get out into the outdoors for a couple of nights.  Please feel free to leave comments, ask questions if you like and I will try to get back to you as soon as I can.

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 Longstone Moor – Peak District

Its January and the weather is dreadful.  As the weather was so bad I decided to keep it local and a short 30 min walk away from the car just in case it turned a bit nasty.  The forecast was a drop in temperature down to -5.

This gave me the opportunity to give my new  Snugpack Softie Elite 3 sleeping bag a run out.  Its graded as being comfortable down to -5 and extreme down to -10 so it was going to be pretty borderline stuff.

I parked the car up on Longstone Edge and began to make my way to a spot I used last summer.  It wasn’t very sheltered and the wind was starting to pick up.  As I left the house the weather forecast took a turn for the worse but so far so good.

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Walking along the top of the Moor the snow was quite deep in places but the sky remained clear for the time being and it made the short walk really pleasant with some lovely views over to Monsal Dale and down into the village of Great Longstone.

I finally made it to my spot after stopping to take lots of photos and pitched up the tent.

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Thankfully my pitch was relatively free of snow but it was quite waterlogged, any freezing overnight would mean I would be getting cold.  After pitching the tent (My Vango Zenith 100) I decided to go out for a walk up to the top of the moor, just to be nosey and see whats going on.  No one was around, probably due to the freezing weather, who in their right mind would be up on Longstone Moor on a freezing Saturday evening when they could be sat at home all warm and snuggly watching X-Factor onTV (no thanks!!) and having a beer.  As I walked up to the top, only about half a kilometre away, I decided to take a few photos whilst the light was still good.  I took a quick detour to say hello to my neighbours for the night:

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These are such amazingly gorgeous beasts and although they were close to where I was pitched, they were enclosed in a wood by a drystone wall so there was no chance of them accidentally trampling on me during the night.

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This is the view down towards Great Longstone, a really nice Peak District village with a couple of nice pubs serving good scran.  There is also a campsite down at the bottom just out of view so if you don’t fancy wild camping, you could aways stay there.  It looks like they are really going to town on the camping field, laying new turf and levelling off the ground.  They have a cracking, authentic farm shop selling their own produce and it looks like they have introduced a few “Glamping Bell Tents” with wood burners.  The place is called Dale Farm so if you fancy some not-so-wild-camping but still want to explore the gorgeous Peak District, I would highly recommend this place.

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This was taken on my way up top, you can see the stormy clouds coming towards me on top of the hills in the distance, better get a crack on!

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After a short walk I made it to the top where there is a small Cairn, I placed the obligatory rock on top then spent a few minutes taking in the view.  I have been up here in all weathers and no matter how many times I come up here, I’m always in awe of the surrounding landscape.  The weather very quickly turned windy and the temperature plummeted so I decided to make my way back to the tent.

When I arrived back at the tent the wind had really begun to whip up so I decided to erect a Kitchen/diner out of my old Army Poncho.  This poncho has served me well over decades and I have used in all sorts of situations, such a good bit of kit to have although it does add weight to the rucksack.  I don’t take it with me every time but I just had a feeling it would come in handy for this trip, so armed with a couple of bungees I decided to erect some kind of windbreak.  Ta daaaa………

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The cloud formation and colours were amazing so I took one quick photo before dinner..

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I always keep my wild camping food simple, I’m not one for taking lots of pans to cook steaks or posh curries.  A bag of 2 min microwave rice type stuff sitting in boiling water for 5 mins and I chop in half a Mattersons smoked sausage and the jobs a good ‘un.  Sometimes if I’m feeling a bit flush I will buy a Wayfarer packed meal but at a fiver a pop, I think they are expensive.  Good, but expensive.

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This was just the job followed by a coffee with a miniature bottle of single malt to warm up the bones.

Just as I finished dinner the snow started to come down in bucket loads, the wind was howling and I was starting to feel a chill.  My boots had let in water and my feet were wet so I needed to get them dry asap so I decided to jump in the tent, get into my maggot (sleeping bag) and get warm.  My boots have served me well, I have had them years but no matter how hard I tried, I just could not get them to repel water so unfortunately they have had to be replaced by a brand new pair of Scarpa boots.

I never sleep much anyway so going to bed around 7pm was never going to be a good idea, I suspected I would be wide awake by 3am.  I read a book, listened to some music, posted a couple of photos on Instagram then what must have been around 9:30pm I drifted off.

I was woken about 5am by the sound of sleet and snow hitting the tent, I went outside for the obligatory pee and got soaked but hey, I had a warm sleeping bag waiting for me so I didn’t care too much.  I noticed that my kitchen/diner had survived the lashings from the bad weather so at least I would have somewhere dry to make a brew later.

I must have gone back to sleep straight away as I didn’t wake up again until about 8am which really surprised me… Time for a brew..

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The sleet and rain had melted much of the snow leaving the ground really boggy but everything in the tent was dry, even my socks so all was good.  After the brew I packed everything away, did a sweep of the area to make sure I was leaving nothing behind then took a hike up to the top of the Moor then headed out towards Longstone edge where my trusted Landrover was waiting for me. A quick phone call to my wife to let her know I was fine and on my way back.

I was very pleased with my new sleeping bag.  The temperature was very low and I suspect a lot lower then -5.  I was very warm at all times whilst snuggled up inside it so really pleased about that.  I doubt I will ever need anything more than this bag.  I never intend going out in -50 and its very rare that I will go out in temperatures that I experienced on this trip.  Spending hundreds of pounds on a sleeping bag that will keep me warm in extreme cold akin to Antarctica is not really necessary if you are just going out for a quick one nighter in the UK.  I suppose winter in the Carngorms would require a sleeping bag of substance but I will never wild camp in winter up there anyway.  or will I???

Anyway, a great first trip out in 2017, thoroughly enjoyed myself, recharged the mental batteries and now looking forward to my next trip.  It will be in the Peak District but it won’t be anywhere that I have been before so looking forward to that one.