Wild Camps 2020

Bolehill Quarry, Peak District

Crookstone Knoll, Kinder Scout

Crookstone Knoll, Kinder Scout.

Its taken a while to catch up with this wild camp.  We went out just a week before the country was placed in lock down due to the Coronavirus, I then contracted Covid-19 and became very ill, as did my wife.  We were both very close to being admitted to hospital on a couple of occasions.   However, after a couple of weeks we are no longer bed bound and gaining strength everyday.  I don’t mind admitting to being very frightened by it all.  I was probably more afraid of this than I was of a cancer scare last year.  Anyway, lets talk about Crookstone Knoll….

I have been up to Crookstone Knoll more times than I can shake a stick at but I always approach it from the Edale side by hiking up Ringing Roger,   This time I wanted to try the more popular route from Hope and walk up the Old Roman Road.  Once again my daughter Lesley decided to come with me, she has taken a couple of years away from wild camping being a mum to our new grandson but he is old enough and settled enough now for her to get back in the outdoors for the odd night away leaving his dad to deal with the nappies!

With Lesley on board it wasn’t long before Daniel decided he would come along as well.

We parked up outside the School in Hope and made our way along the road to join the old Roman Road just after the bridge.  The weather was quite neutral not cold, grey and cloudy with a bit of wind.

The walk up was really nice, quite a few mountain bikers around which is fine by me, each to their own and the views across Hope Valley were spectacular.  The wide expanse of the Kinder plateau soon came in to view and we could pinpoint our pitch before we reached the track heading up to Hope Cross.  Although the spot we chose was visible we still had to hike there, stopping and starting to shoot video and take photos it took us a good hour and 40 mins to get to the top of Crookstone Knoll.  The thing is, well with me anyway,  I never consider it a race when I go out unless I am running out of daylight, if that happens, that’s just down to bad admin on my part.  I do like to take my time, I do like to stop and take in the views, its why I go out.

We arrived at the crags, just below Crookstone Knoll, just as it stated to rain so as I have a tent that pitches inner first, I didn’t hang about getting it up.  I must just say, though having a tent that pitches inner first always worried me but my Snugpak Journey Duo tent is so quick to put up, its not such a big deal, once it was up and I was inside, the inner was as dry as you like.  The tent is so well ventilated, it must dry out instantly.  It doesn’t suffer from condensation either.  I had planned on doing a video review of the tent but lock down came so its on the back burner for now.

We sat in the tent a while until the rain stopped then went to find the freshwater Well Andy Beavers told me about.  I had seen it on a map and Andy confirmed there was one there.  I collected a couple of Sawyer filter bags and set off in search.  I didn’t have to look too far as it was just a few metres down the hill.  A man made structure the Well was actually overflowing with fresh water.  Thanks for the tip, Andy!

Once water was collected we went for a hike up on top of Crookstone Knoll.  Despite the rain there was still a quite a bit of snow around up top.  As the wind picked up, the temperatures began to drop so we made our way back to the tent for a brew and to make a start on some dinner.

As we arrived back at the tents we were joined by another wild camper at our location.  Dave had been hiking for around 15 miles and this location was his planned overnight stop.  He was happy to join us and we were happy to welcome him. He was a nice chap,  very friendly and very generous with his wine!  We stayed up and chatted for a while before the rain and wind came back with a vengeance and then we retired to our respective tents.

We endured a very windy night, (I have now placed ear plugs inside my tent so I don’t forget them in the future!)  The noise from the wind kept me awake most of the night so lesson learned there.  After a leisurely morning coffee we packed up and made our way back down to Hope making sure we left absolutely no trace.

Although the weather was pretty grim, it was still worth going, the view from up top was amazing, well worth the effort.

I am not sure when the next wild camp will take place.  Today is the 23rd April 2020 and we are locked down for the foreseeable future.  I imagine when lock down is lifted the hills will be full of frustrated wild campers.

Here is my video account of the wild camp on Crookstone Knoll:

Bolehill Quarry, Peak District.

My daughter Lesley joined me on this trip, it had been well over a year since she had been out for a wild camp.  Having a baby and being a busy home educator mum has kept her well and truly occupied!  My son-in-law took on the household duties for a night to give her the opportunity to get out and spend some time with her dad.

The weather forecast was grim, we had the remnants of Storm Dennis hanging on so we decided to play it safe for this one and go local.

I’ve walked around the area of Bolehill Quarry a few times, I’ve also camped over in nearby Lawrencefield to so I know the area pretty darn well.

We parked down at Grindleford station and took a steady walk up.  With no actual spot in mind we were going to have a wander until we found somewhere suitable.  Much of the ground up on top was pretty boggy and wet, not surprising as we had endured days and days of rain.  We finally found a nice pitch overlooking the Derwent Valley towards Hathersage.  I cracked on with putting up the tents whilst Lesley went to find some water.

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Once again I opted to go with my Snugpag Journey Duo.  It served me so well on the last trip out on top of a very windy High Cup Nick and as the conditions at Bolehill were wet and windy I decided to go with it.  I do believe this will be my go to tent now, particularly when the weather isn’t playing ball.

Lesley made use of my Vango Banshee 200 Pro which to be fair, handled the windy conditions really well.

We quickly got set up just before a weather front came in which pretty much confined us to our tents, so after a couple of hours chatting and a couple of shots of single malt it was time to put some dinner on.

I was trying out the Trangia 27 cookset for the first time.  Recently I have got a bit fed up of the food I take out when I am wild camping. I thought I would move to cooking properly as opposed to boiling up some water and pouring it in a bag of dehydrated food.  I do enjoy cooking at home so whats stopping me doing it when wild camping?  for this trip I cooked up some currywurst sausage with onions and potatoes and it was absolutely gorgeous.  It took time to prepare and cook but I really enjoyed doing it. It kept me occupied as the rain pounded my tent, it tasted great and was easy to do.  The Trangia 27 cost me £39 for the whole cookset (less kettle which was £13) after I did a price match in Go Outdoors.  I will be doing a review of it soon so keep an eye out for that but after first use I do believe I am a convert.  I love it.  Here I am making a quick brew!

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After dinner we talked more and drank a bit more single malt, I did a bit of Vlogging for my YouTube channel, I have never Vlogged before so was a bit uneasy doing it but my video seems pretty popular so I think I will do it next time I go out.

I had a reasonable nights sleep but I did get pain in my hips which has never happened before I put it down to my old bones and the damp conditions.

The next morning we made a quick brew, packed everything away and made our way over to Padley Gorge and  wandered back to the car, it would have been nice to spend a bit more time up there but Lesley had to get back, she’s a busy mum with a young family and had stuff to do.

I did manage to take a few photos on the way back to the car, here’s a couple:

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Couldn’t resist a waterfall shot:

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As always if you want to know more about the location or anything else, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Here is a link to my first Vlog!!