Wild Camps 2018

High Cup Nick, Cumbria

Bamford Edge, Peak District

Wolfscote / Beresford Dale, Peak District

Jaggers Clough, Peak District

Eyam Moor, Peak District

High Cup Nick, Cumbria

High Cup Nick has been on my mind for quite some time, a couple of years in fact; then Julia Bradbury featured it on her TV program which meant its popularity was going to shoot through the roof so I held back for a while waiting for things to calm down a bit.

I decided to go on the Bank Holiday weekend; the forecast was OK a clear, dry Saturday sandwiched between two horrible days. I was going to be accompanied by Monty, my daughter’s dog (one of Milly’s Puppies).  He is a grand lad and I love him dearly, the feeling is mutual, whenever he is in my company, he never leaves my side.

I admit, it is a bit of a drive up to Cumbria but I’ve had my heart set on this place so the distance didn’t come into the equation.  It took around 2 hours 30 mins to get to the small village of Dufton.  I decided to park my car in the village car park next to the caravan site as opposed to driving up the Pennine Way road and parking overnight on the track.  It added another mile onto my hike but I was fine with that.

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The walk was nice, a gradual climb up through some lovely countryside and as it was a clear day there were some fantastic views back towards the Pennines.

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Just before I reached the dirt track I walked past a farm that had cool boxes and drinks available with an honesty box for those trekking up (and down) which I thought was a nice touch until I came across all the litter!  The farmer goes out of his/her way to help people out and they repay him in that way.  Not nice.  Anyway, I picked it all up and took it with me.

As I reached the dirt track the walk became a bit steeper but not that much that it became a struggle but the breathing got a tad heavier.   I met a lot of people on their way back down who were all telling me that I am in for a treat.  One kind couple offered to take the rubbish I collected back into the village for me so I was grateful for that.

I continued to climb steadily, making sure I stopped once in a while to take in the views.  My dear, late friend Larry always used to say “Don’t forget to look behind you, most of the time that’s where the best views are”.  Of course he was right.

After about 1.5 hours the east rim of High Cup Nick came into view, it was far more impressive than I imagined.  It’s all well and good looking at photos but you really have to see it for real to appreciate how impressive this place is.

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As I reached the top of the hill I had a good view down to the head of the valley, it was still a good mile away but at least I could see where it was.  The next priority was finding water and I didn’t have to wait too long before we reached Hannah’s Well and Strands Beck which was quite impressive considering the dry spell we have had. Here we had a pit stop.  Monty had been refusing to drink out of puddles so I thought he would be ready for a drink.  However, I literally had to unpack my rucksack to find his bowl and fill it with water from the Beck so he would have a drink!!

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It was at this point I could just make out something that looked like a tent already pitched at the head of the valley.  I wasn’t too put off by this though, it would be a bit hypocritical of me to moan about someone else being there.

We eventually made it and what I thought was a tent was indeed a young lad relaxing on a massive inflatable bed, the size of a sofa!  It was like a giant drysack.  I asked him if he was staying there overnight to which he reluctantly admitted he was “No worries” I said, “Me too” which immediately put him at ease.  He had never wild camped before, this was his first time which I thought was pretty cool.  Funnily enough he said he had read my blog.

I chose my spot pitched up then went for a little walk and put the drone up to get a view of the valley.  The drone footage is a bit ropey so apologies for that but it was a bit windy and the signal was a bit weak.

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I finally settled down and made some dinner.  Dehydrated homemade chilli with some instant mash and it was top drawer, really enjoyed it.

Just sitting there taking in the view was all that I needed, the dash of Single Malt soothed my limbs before climbing into my sleeping bag.  I ended up having one of the best nights sleeping out that I have had in a long time.

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I woke up just after 6am and the plan was to have a bit of breakfast and a coffee and make my way down into the valley and walk back to the car.  The weather forecast was pretty grim and the skies were really black so I decided to strip down the tent whilst it was still dry and head off back.

The route down into the valley was over a lot of boulders and scree and I wasn’t convinced it would be in Monty’s best interests to return by that route.  The poor lad shattered both his back legs when he was a youngster but the vet managed to put him back together (just).  It wasn’t terrain he would be comfortable with so I decided to return the same route.

It took us just over an hour and forty mins to get back to the car after stopping to take photos on the way down.  Just as we sat in the car the heavens opened. Torrential rain bounced off the roof of the car and I could hardly hear my wife speak through the speaker in the car.

Talk about timing!

This was a cracking microadventure, I would wholeheartedly recommend this place but please, if you do go there don’t leave any sign at all that you have been. Take your rubbish out with you and if you can, take the rubbish left by those less caring about our environment.

Here is a short video of our trip.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Bamford Edge, Peak District

This has been on my radar for a long time and recently my son mentioned that its somewhere he has always wanted to go to spend a night under the stars.  This particular weekend we were both free so we packed our bivvi bags and set off.  The weather wasn’t great, it had been raining quite heavily all day but by late afternoon the clouds had cleared and the sun came out.  I decided again on a bivvi bag due to the success of my last trip out with one.  I really do think the bivvi bag is the way forward for me in the summer months.

As we had set off quite late we decided not to park the car in Bamford but to drive up New Road and park the car in the lay-by next to the footpath. This meant a relatively short hike to our selected spot on Bamford Edge.  The walk up may have been pretty uneventful but the views certainly are not.  There are some amazing views over towards the Hope and Derwent Valley’s.

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We had decided that we wanted to camp at the rock that juts out over the edge, I’m sure it has its own name but I don’t know what it is.  When we got there all was very quiet so we made a brew and I chucked my drone up for a few mins.

As time was pressing on we prepared and had some dinner.  I stuck with my own homemade dehydrated food, chilli again.  I made a large batch of it to keep me going and I think I have one meal left.  Price wise its worked out to about £0.50p meal plus maybe another 50p in gas to cook so overall I’m pretty chuffed with it.  My son, Daniel opted for a high calorie pack of dehydrated chicken curry he purchased from GO Outdoors.  They are expensive and he wasn’t very keen on it.  I had a taste and thought it was OK but the preservatives and added flavourings put me off.  It tasted a bit like a Pot Noodle, not really up my strasse.

After dinner we set up, as it was only bivvi bags it took just a couple of minutes, I never trust the weather in the Peak District so when bivvying I will always use my Snugpack Stasha for cover just in case.  I prop it up with a couple of poles and its good to go.  It only cost me £30 and I would happily say I have already had my monies worth out of it.  Fits in the pocket, weighs next to nothing so its a no brainer.

Daniel never uses a basher, just his Alpkit Hunka bag, he’s happy with that set up so its a case of whatever suits.

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After dinner we had a wander, I had another play with the drone as we sat and talked for a while and just soaked up the views.

We obviously found time to snap some photos stood on the famous ledge.  Not quite Norway but it made me very nervous I don’t mind admitting.

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A short time after we were joined by another wild camper who came past, said hello then went further along the edge and set up his tent.  We did see a few hikers but everyone was friendly and struck up conversations, mostly it went like “I’ve always wanted to sleep outdoors like that, I’m jealous, I want to do it”

This whole blog is dedicated to encouraging people to give it a go, so if you are thinking of doing it, read the blog and take the plunge!

We made another brew and settled down for the night, this was the view from my sleeping bag:

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Not too shabby eh?

We both had an amazing sleep, probably the best wild camping sleep I have had, it was peaceful, warm and just a relaxing place to be.  It is a popular spot with walkers but not that it would stop me from going, we saw two couples and a friendly group of four youngsters who came up for a photo on the ledge, that was it.

I woke around 5:30 as the sunrise lit up the whole valley.  Just to sit on the edge with a coffee was enough for me.

I walked down the edge to fly my drone again but away from Daniel and the other wild camper who were still asleep and I took some really nice footage.

I have embedded a 5 min video if your interested in seeing a video\photographic summary of our trip, feel free to like it (or dislike it, whatever takes your fancy)

As always if you have any questions about kit, advice or locations etc, please feel free to contact me and I will help in anyway I can.

Wolfscote / Beresford Dale, Peak District

My wife and I were walking in this area a couple of weeks ago and I came across a location I thought would be ideal for a wild camp so I locked it in to save for a camp this year.  Then a couple of weeks later I had the opportunity to get out for a night and I decided this would be the perfect spot.  The weather had given a pleasant, warm weekend with little or no chance of rain, which was just what I needed as this location required a bivvy bag, not a tent. 

The area is on top of a rock pinnacle which just has enough flat space for a bivvi bag, the footprint of a tent just wasn’t practical.  It had been a while since I last used a bivvi bag so I was quietly looking forward to it.

I parked the car over in Hartington in the Peak District, they charge £1 for overnight parking which is OK I think.  I set off late in the afternoon expecting the walk to take me about an hour but me being me it took a little longer as I explored nooks, crannies and caves around Beresford Dale and Wolfscote Dale.  When I finally reached my pitch there were still a few people around, mostly dog walkers so I just sat my down and made a coffee.

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It wasn’t long before the Dale turned silent so I climbed up to the top of the rock and started to sort myself out.  I was using my Snugpak Special Forces Bivvy Bag for the first time, I binned my old Army Gortex bivvy bag years ago so I purchased the Snugpak one (review coming soon).

Above where I was sleeping seemed to be a roosting place for birds so I threw up my basher to protect my head from anything the birds may want to deposit during the night!  Luckily  they were kind to me.

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The views were outstanding particularly when the sun was setting, as it was quiet and no one was around I put my drone up to get better views. I try to be very discreet with my drone and am reluctant to use it if anyone is around, I really don’t think it’s fair to have a drone flying over your head when you are out trying to enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside. 

As the light was fading, it was time to get some supper on, this time it was homemade, dehydrated chilli.  It doesn’t look great when it comes out of the bag but once it starts to hydrate, the smell was amazing.  This is certainly the way forward for me, I know it’s a lot of faffing around with a dehydrator but the results are worth it.  Lightweight food to carry and made to just how I like it, just add filtered river water.

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After supper I took a few photos, I didn’t take my big D4s camera with me so I was restricted to using my phone so excuse the poor quality.  If I take my drone, I usually leave the camera at home, taking both takes up too much space and my camera is quite heavy.

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The night was pretty uneventful, I managed to get a few hours kip despite the owls in the vicinity trying to keep me awake. 

At my tender age I need to get up a couple of times a night to pee, I was a bit concerned about this before I set off due to sleeping in a bivvy bag as they can be a pain to get in and out of,  however having the zip on mine was a godsend, making exit and entry really easy.  Snugpak think of everything, even my night time peeing habits.  (It’s really more to do with getting out of it quickly if you have to bug out).

I woke up around 5 am as the dawn chorus was really loud, plus it was getting light already so I made a quick coffee, had breakfast which consisted of a hard boiled egg laid the previous day by our chickens and a couple of homemade sausages which I had cooked the day before and ate cold, just the way I like them.  The view from my pitch was a bit special, the mist was rolling in and the sky had an orange tint to it as the sun began to rise over the hills.

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I decided to pack up and hike up to the top of Wolfscote Hill to see if I could catch a cloud inversion and maybe put the drone up in the air.  It was an incredibly still morning and already I could feel the warmth of the sun coming up.  As I got to the top a guy came up and started to erect a radio relay mast onto the Trig Point, apparently there was a bike race starting that morning from Buxton and he was just sorting out the comms for the Marshalling network.  We had a quick chat about where we had both spent the night, I came out on top as he had spent an uncomfortable night in a Youth Hostel and now wishes he had wild camped on top of the hill.

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I left him to his work and decided to make my way back to the car, which was about 4 miles away.  I chucked the drone up one last time to catch the sunshine bouncing around the surrounding hills and dales, catching view of a couple of hot air balloons in the process.  The views from them must have been quite spectacular.

This was a good wild camp, a very special place where not many people know about so I am going to keep it that way.  Unfortunately, this will be my secret location, which I don’t want to share as it will end up being over used.

Selfish I know but there are many other stunning places out there for you to find.

Hope you enjoyed the read and the photos, as always, any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

I managed to get some half decent video footage with the drone.  You can see a snapshot of the video here:

Jaggers Clough, Peak District

Never wild camped up on Kinder Scout because it always seems busy with wild campers and although its remote, many people have the same idea.  However, the forecast was pretty grim so my son and I decided to go up to Crookstone Knoll and see how it goes.

The plan didn’t start very well due to really bad traffic and we were both delayed setting off, we arrived at Edale and parked up in the main carpark, looking at the time we had our work cut out getting up there before dark, anyway we set off through Edale heading towards Grindsbrook obviously stopping for the obligatory Pennine Way Starting point photo:

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We walked past the pub and picked up the path heading up Grindsbrook, after crossing the wooden bridge we walked up the steps then took a right from the main path and headed up the steep climb towards Ringing Roger. The mist was rolling in and the weather, although dry, was ever threatening to open up on us and give us a soaking.

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The picture above shows Dan trying to get a shot of Grindsbrook in the distance, stealing an opportunity as the mist cleared for a short while. We marched on until we reached the small Cairn  we took the path to the right heading in the direction of Crookstone Knoll.  The path was incredibly boggy and this slowed us down a bit but as we began to climb up towards the top of Kinder, the path became more walkable.  It was at this point I realised I had left my fresh water in the car so I needed to find a water source.  Our hike was going to take us over Jaggers Clough so my fingers were well and truly crossed hoping that water was flowing down the Clough.  I could hear the giggles coming from Dan as he was telling me how crap my personal admin was.  He had a point.

We made it to Jaggers Clough which was running with plenty of water so I filed up my Sawyer water bags and we carried on along the top to Crookstone Knoll.  The weather conditions had taken a turn for the worse and the wind was howling.  Crookstone Knoll is very exposed and we decided against pitching up there so we headed down to a spot we had seen by Jaggers Clough which was not only sheltered from the wind but was flat and solid underfoot as opposed to the bog up on the moor.

We managed to pitch up, get some scran on and settle down just before the snow came.

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I was actually panicking about my choice of food for this trip.  I decided I would go for the dehydrated option this time as it saves weight in your rucksack however, I decided to make my own.  So a couple of days before the trip I got out my dehydrator and set to it.  I wasn’t 100% sure that it would work so it was a risk but it was a risk that paid off.  This is definitely the way forward from now on, my dinner was amazing, obviously the peat water I took from Jaggers Clough was the secret ingredient.  (I did filter it by the way).

Just as we had finished eating the heavens opened and the snow came so we zipped ourselves in and settled down for the night.  I decided to listen to some music but within minutes I was fast asleep.  It was one of the best nights sleep I have had in a long time whilst wild camping despite the wind and snow, followed by torrential rain.  Oddly enough I didn’t get up until gone 7am, the mist was really low and there were no views whatsoever, I was glad I hadn’t lugged my heavy camera up this time, that would have been a complete waste of time.

Dan spent the night in his new Snugpak Journey Solo, its like a bivvie but its a tent, I was very impressed with it and so is he.  I will ask him to do guest review when he has time.

We didn’t have breakfast, just a coffee and then we packed up and decided to head off into the mist and hike back into Edale.  The rain and snow had made the ground even more boggy but Kinder Scout is Kinder Scout and it is what it is.  It can be a very inhospitable place but if you have decent kit, some common sense and you can read a map then its well worth a visit.

We did get lucky on the way down and we managed to take in a bit of the stunning scenery when there was a break in the mist. It never fails to impress me, its a beautiful part of the country.

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We made it back down to Edale in reasonable time and decided to call in Coopers Cafe for a bacon cob and a brew before we headed home.  Glad we did.

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Despite the foul weather I’m really glad we did this, it was our final cold wild camp before the good weather arrives, its always nice to get out there and push yourself in bad conditions, to test your kit and your personal skills.  I’m not getting any younger but I was quite pleased with my personal levels of fitness, I managed it without slowing Dan down who is a very fit lad.

Not sure where I’m off next but Dan and I have a two nighter planned for May so I’m really looking forward to that.  I will definitely be taking my camera for that one as we have chosen an amazing location!

As always, any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

Eyam Moor, Peak District

It seems like an age since I was last out on a Wild Camp.  A bad back problem has unfortunately stopped me from carrying anything heavier than a tea bag but thankfully, I now feel as if I am fit enough to start wild camping again.

For this wild camp I had planned on going into the hills above Castleton but its such a popular haunt and I have been up there many times, I just fancied something different.

I dug out a map and started to scour the local countryside, jumping out of the map at me was Eyam Moor.  I thought about it and realised I had never been there, so I decided to google and see if anyone else had reported wild camping there, I found nothing.  Now, it was either a really bad place or just no one goes there. Anyway, I thought I would give it a go.

I parked in the pay and display in Eyam opposite the Museum, there is a free car park next door but they lock the gates at 8pm and don’t open them until 8am so I paid the fee for overnight parking.

My first target was the trig point on Sir William Hill, I had it in my head there would be some fine views from there but as I started to climb it became obvious I wasn’t going to see anything.  The walk up was fine, still lots of deep snow drifts running up the drystone walls which made the walk a bit tiring but fun nonetheless.

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I bumped into two ladies who were coming down the hill and we swapped pleasantries.  They were absolutely shocked that someone would choose to sleep up there but after a few minutes became very inquisitive about this wild camping lark.  As they walked away I could hear them talking enthusiastically about it which made me smile.

Once at the top of Sir William Hill my assumption was correct, nothing to see but mist!

As it was starting to get dark finding a suitable pitch was a priority, there were, to be honest, plenty of suitable areas but as it was windy I wanted to find a bit of shelter.  I finally found the perfect spot by the Rock Basin at the far end of the Moor, just a few metres from the path.

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There was still a bit of snow around and the ground was pretty waterlogged but the spot I had chosen remained firm underfoot.  There were plenty of pools to use for my water (purified with my Sawyer Filter) so all was good.

This time I took out my Force Ten Helium 1 tent.  I have used it a few times now and I will be writing a review on it in the next few days.  I would normally use my Vango Zenith 100 in winter but I thought I would try the F10.

After pitching, I took out my stovetop coffee percolator and got a brew on.  I have tried all different sorts of instant coffees but none of them really hit the spot; my stovetop is small and light and makes a great cup of coffee.  It does take up a bit of space in my bag but this is my luxury item.

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After a coffee I donned my head torch and went for a little wander, as expected there wasn’t a soul in sight, the whole moor fell silent which is just as I like it.  I had some great views of Hathersage down in the valley bottom, the wind had dropped significantly and the cloud cover was clearing revealing some nice spells of clear skies and plenty of stars.  At this point I wish I had pitched up in more open ground but I took the best decision at the time.

With my belly rumbling, I made my way back to the tent and got dinner on.  I had a “Look What We Found” Chicken casserole and I thought I would add some quinoa to fill it out a bit.  Big mistake, the quinoa was rank but it’s all I had so I had to eat it.

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I’m still a massive fan of the “Look What We Found” range of bagged food, I am yet to find anything better for the price.

After dinner I began to feel a bit tired so I tried to walk it off with a stroll down the hill I decided to return after about 30 min and lay in my bed and read a bit, catch up on footy results etc.  After what must have been a short time I must have nodded off as the next I remember is waking up around 1am, I zipped up my bag and went to sleep again, waking up around 05:30.  It was still dark so I got my camera out and took a few shots of the cloud inversions surrounding me as daylight began to break though.  I got a bit carried away and was taking photos until around 06:45 then returned to the tent for breakfast.

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I’ve recently got into making my own Scotch Eggs, my wife likes them and they are much more healthy than shop bought ones.  I thought I would take a couple along with me so I could convince myself I had sausage and egg for breakfast.  It worked, they were really good I also took along a fresh tomato to garnish!

After breakfast I decided to pack up and move on, the plan was to head straight back to the car along the path but as it was a nice morning I decided to hike across the moor and check out the trig point again hoping for better views than the previous night.  I wasn’t disappointed.

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A steady walk back via Mompessions Well  really interesting place and some good stories come from that place.  I won’t give anything away but its worth stopping and reading about its history.

I finally made it back to the car around 09:30, the Village had started to wake up and people milling around.

I really enjoyed it, I do plan to go there again, in the summer it will look amazing when the heather is out but that may bring out more people and make wild camping up there unsuitable but I’m prepared to give it the benefit.

Highly recommended location.  As always if you want a grid ref just drop me a line.