Wednesday, 21 August 2019
Thursday, 21 February 2019
I packed my rucksack and travelled by train to Edale, alighting in the late afternoon. I scuttled up Grindsbrook Clough in the failing light and once at the top, headed east (East is good) along the edges to a nice little spot by Madwoman's Stones.
It was dark by the time I was putting the tent up, but the sky was clear and the moon was shining brightly - and it was damned cold. I grabbed a couple of litres of water from the trickling stream at Jaggers Clough and got my tea on the go
My Plan, given the lovely clear skies, was to spend a bit of time taking photographs by moonlight. The Plan, like so many plans, failed. By the time I'd eaten and sorted my kit out it had clouded over. And then it started to rain. And then it got very windy. VERY windy.
I was checking some new kit out: a NeoAir X-Therm, a down-filled balaclave (for sleeping in) and down-filled socks.
The socks and balaclava all came from AliExpress for around £15 each.
All this kit worked superbly well, I spent a very warm and cosy night in spite of the horribly cold conditions. I was so warm that I had to unzip my sleeping bag and remove the balaclava during the night.
a) All the kit I took out for testing worked well
b) I had a nice overnighter.
a) I forgot to take a compass (tsk).
b) I've decided that my Caldera Cone meths stove really isn't up to winter camping trips.
c) I missed my intended train home 'cos of phone call...so I had to drink filter coffee in the cafe by the station....so it wasn't ALL bad!
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
Messrs Rye & Walker had planned this little jaunt and foolishly invited me along….probably knowing I’d bring them beer. Which I did. Obv.
The Plan was to meet up at Hebden near Grassington on Sunday around 2pm. I’d had a particularly tough week and so decided to make my own way to the first camp spot of the trip on Conistone Moor, meeting up with Martin and Andrew at 10pm. My alternative plan was a good ‘un, it meant that my walk avoided the silly high temperatures of the day.
The Planned Route
A few shots from my evening walk from Hebden to Conistone Moor, Sunday’s overnight pitch :
I eventually found Alan and Martin just after 10pm. I wasted no time in getting my tent up (I used my TN LaserComp….just to remind it that I still loved it) and distributing the cans of beer I’d lugged up.
Monday morning dawned very brightly and rather warmly. After a quick breakfast and a few mugs of reviving caffeine we were off, via Great Whernside, to Kettlewell for tea, coffee, bacon butties etc.
It was now getting very hot. I don’t know how Martin & Andy coped with long trousers, I was cookingly hot in my lightweight kilt and T shirt.
Looking back to Kettlewell
After our refreshment stop we headed out, climbing out of the valley. This was tough going in the very strong sun.
We’d had a good day of walking, but the high temperature and very strong sun slowed us down. Water was very scarce. We eventually found an almost dried-out tarn. My Sawyer filter clogged in seconds. Andy’s MSR Guardian filter was a life saver, it filtered what was virtually mud, converting it to clear and potable water.
We needed to find a suitable pitch for the night, ideally with a water source – not easy. Eventually we pitched up at Horse Head Gate, actually on the wide path. There was a trickle of a stream nearby so we were sorted for the night.
The Plan for the next day was to head over to Pen-y-ghent, this was clearly going to be a problem. Limestone country isn’t known for a surplus of surface water – and water was going to be a vital requirement if we were to continue with our route.
Home for the night on Monday:
We chose to re-route and cut our trip short by a day. We’d camped on the Pennine Journey LDP, this offered us an easy way off the top and down to the River Wharfe at Yockenthwaite and then to pick up the Dales Way – much easier walking, plus far more chance of picking up water.
An ex-mole on the Pennine Journey LDP
Descending to Yockenthwaite
The dried-up River Wharfe at Yockenthwaite
At 7.45am it was so hot that we were actively searching out shade. Bits of woodland provided some relief from the blazing sun – but the flying insects were a damned nuisance. Smidge helped.
St Michael and All Angels Church at Hubberholme
At Buckden we sat outside the village shop, ate ice creams and glugged cold drinks.
The Dales Way follows the course of the River Wharfe so it was fairly flat (apart from some hilly bits) and easy walking.
At last, water in the River Wharfe
En-route to Kettlewell and more ice cream
Posing outside Kettlewell’s village shop: purveyors of el-cheapo electrolyte drink. And ice cream. (Poor quality pic due to a mucky lens on my phone)
Next stop: Grassington…and a pub. No beer though, we drank copious amounts of coke, water, shandy – anything that was refreshing, cooling and rehydrating.
Hebden, so near….
We arrived back at Hebden around 4.45pm, we needed more ice cream and cold drinks – the tea room was still open it was doing good business. We made full use of it’s facilities…all of them!
We parted company around 6pm, Andy and Martin headed off darn sarf whilst I enjoyed a very pleasant drive through the Dales and eventually back home to Manchester.
First job when I arrived home was to run a much needed cool bath and have a good long soak, that cooled me down nicely.
I’d considered going to the monthly music session at the Lord Eldon in Knutsford….but I was too knackered! A cold beer at home suffficed.
Thanks to andy & Martin for planning the trip, for cutting it sort and for inviting me along. It was good.
Saturday, 2 June 2018
In which we frighten the ladies
I slept badly. This wasn’t down to grunting, farting or snoring (well there wasn’t THAT much snoring), it was just another of those nights that my brain had engaged hyper-drive.
I made a cuppa around 4am and stuck my head out of the tent to see what was going on.
Nothing. Nowt. Nada.
It hadn’t got fully dark all night and now, approaching dawn (hello Dawn!), the snowy peaks SW of us were standing out quite dramatically. I photographed the scene but I’m no expert – see yesterday’s post for the photo. I was using my Lumix TZ70 Compact (a fine little camera, but at the end of the day it’s just a compact), plus the camera on my Samsung S5. In spite of these limitations I was quite pleased with the results.
Up and about fairly late, around 7.30am. Mike had reported that our tents were icy earlier – he’d been forced to leave the warmth of his pit for a …..well, you know.
View from my tent at 7.45am
Fab views all around this morning: bright sunshine illuminated the hills all around.
T’other JJ spotted a big bird, he reckoned it might have been an eagle.
Whatever it was, it whizzed over far too quickly for me to even grab my camera, let alone photograph it.
Much poorly–ness in camp this morning. Mike was slightly under the weather and t’other JJ wasn’t feeling too good either.
Up and away around 9.30am, it was cool and fresh but rapidly warming up.
This wasn’t the most exciting day, most of it was mainly either on LRT or very minor road with just a titchy bit of forestry track where we didn’t get very lost at all. It was all easy going though.
The major stop of the day was the very excellent Rannoch Station Tea Room, situated rather conveniently at, er, Rannoch Station.
Approaching Rannoch Station
Much tea was supped, toasties guzzled, and wonderful soup slurped. This worked wonders – it gave us all a damned good kick in the pants. Or kilts.
The sun was shining very hotly. Ladies on the adjacent table, possibly quite frightened by the appearance of naked knees (the ladies were frightened, not the table), were struggling to concentrate on their lunches…nowt to do with me, I was well dressed under my kilt. I couldn’t possibly comment on the state of Mike’s
undress, you’ll need to ask him.
It must have been the heat.
It was 3pm by the time we left the tea-rooms, we thought we’d best move on before we got moved on. You can only ask for a finite number of tea-pot top-ups with hot water before suspicion is aroused.
We were now on a wiggly tarmac minor road. the B846. The planned destination for the day was the Forestry Commision Campsite at Carie on the south shore of Loch Rannoch.
Unidentified wildlife (Fossilised Giant Haggis?)
In search of a suitable pitch
The campsite was shut* although as it happened it didn’t matter. We didn’t get there that evening, we were just too knackered to walk the last 5km of road. Instead we found a slightly lumpy patch of ground on the loch shore at NN569566 and we pitched there.
* Although the site at Carie was shut (closed-down by the look of things), another Forestry Commision Campsite had opened a little further down the road, towards Kinloch Rannoch.
I enjoyed a brill tea of home-made and home-dehydrated pasta bolognese + a dollop of olive oil followed by a couple of Eccles cakes for pudding. Eccles cakes really are quite excellent – especially when they’ve been crushed inside your pack. For a true Cordon-Bleu experience they should be submerged under a topping of instant custard….but not tonight. Only because I wasn’t carrying any.
Chorley Cakes, BTW, simply won’t do. They’re a completely different animal. Obv.
By 9.15pm (as I was writing my diary up) it had got very cold so I was snuggled in my sleeping bag, supping a mug of camomile tea.
Sunset over Loch Rannoch
I left my tent door open until quite late, watching the light fade over the loch. It was all quite romantic really.
Cuckoo count: 7 (much better)
Other wild animals: Two red squirrels, numerous lizards, various deer, and a suspected eagle - there were other birds too but I didn’t count them.
No wild Challengers though.
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