There are some times when just one day out on the hills just isn’t enough.. well.. I suppose one day is never enough really when I come to think about it. I have been doing lots of day walks in the Peak District lately so I thought it was about time that I chucked my tent in my bag and headed out for 2 days. As luck would have it I had 2 days spare so I consulted my mate Andy and a plan was set.
Andy decided that he could join me for 2 days of walking and I would Wild Camp alone inbetween as he had other commitments that night. We met up in Matlock yesterday morning at around 09:30, I chucked all my kit in his car and we made our way to Hope which was to be the start point of our walk on day 1. We had chosen to have another wander around the famous Edale Skyline Route which is a fantastic route which is ideal if you have a full day spare. We got on the way just after 10:00 and the first peak of the day was Lose Hill.
Lose Hill stands at the end of the Great Ridge, it has amazing 360 Degree views and in my opinion has to be one of the top 10 vantage points in the whole of the Peak District. We arrived at the top in what seemed like no time at all and I quickly began to put my waterproofs on as the rain moved in from the west. A very friendly sheep came over to say hello, or more specifically try and extract some food from us. She had a nice rummage around my bag before deciding to give up and then wander off very displeased. I have since had a conversation with a handful of other hikers on Twitter who have come across the same scenario on Lose Hill, I posted a picture along with the ewes tag number and it turns out they had encountered the exact same one 🙂
After Lose Hill we walked westward along the Great Ridge towards Back Tor, there was hardly anyone else about at this point which was surprising as this place is usually busy no matter what day you come.
After Back Tor we headed to Hollins Cross and then begun ascending up to Mam Tor. The rain which had been threatening most of the morning arrived for a short time here. Mam Tor was its usually busy self as the crowds love it here, it’s just so easily accessible from the carpark which is only a hop skip and a jump from the summit.
After Mam Tor we crossed the road, headed along Rushup Edge over Lord’s Seat and then swung north west to Brown Knoll. It’s now time to stick in one of my disclaimers… A Bog Disclaimer. This section up towards the top of Brown Knoll can become very boggy indeed after rain, we have had some serious rainfall over the last 3 weeks so it was very moist under foot 🙂
After picking our way through the bog of eternal stench / misty marshes we eventually made it up to the trig at SK 1330 8511. I like it up here, it never seems to be crowded at all and the vantage point lower down at Horsehill Tor is superb. Anyway, back to today. The newly constructed path that leads towards the Pennine Way near Edale Cross has been well laid. Even if it looks rather sterile at times I’m 100% aware of the good it will eventually do as it keeps us off the peat.
We stopped for a quick lunch break after joining the Pennine Way, the view down Jacob’s Ladder to Upper Booth is was as stunning as ever. After our short stop we left the Pennine Way then swung towards Pym Chair, the next section across the boulder field to Crowden Tower was as boggy as ever. We crossed Crowden Brook and then made our way over to the top of Grindsbrook. We hit some traffic here as there were plenty of school groups out around this area today.
Next came Upper Tor with its marvellous rock formations, the rain really started lashing down at this point and I did feel for the groups of kids who were getting a soaking. Andy and I however stayed dry in our Goretex jackets. Thankfully the rain moved on towards Win Hill and I managed to capture a few moody looking images of the view in that direction.
We had some impressive pace at this point and the march was on as we descended down Crookstone Hill. We reached the now famous (to me anyway) sign that points you in the direction of Hope Cross, I had to take another picture as this little rock has become the logo for PeakRoutes.com 🙂
Once we got down to Hope Cross it was time for Andy and I to part company. As the rain arrived again heavier than ever, Andy headed down the Roman Road towards Hope and I sought cover in the trees. This really heavy burst of rain lasted around 30mins so I took the opportunity to check the map and decided where I would camp. I then continued on in the rain for a few more minutes until I reached Wooller Knoll, I quickly made my way back into the forest and found a nice little spot to pitch. The wind was fairly strong so I chose a spot that was back from the edge of the forest, the noise of the breeze rushing through the trees wasn’t so loud further in so it was ideal.
This was the 2nd time I had used my Terra Nova Wild Country Zephyros 1 and I must say i’m very happy with it indeed. It cost me around £100 and it is perfect for what I want. It’s sturdy, pretty lite and relatively roomy for a 1 man tent of this price range. Once pitched I decided to relaxed inside for half an hour or so while I waited for the weather to pass. Thankfully it did and I appeared back out into rays of light streaming into the forest from over towards the west.
I made some dinner, drank some coffee and relaxed beside the tent while listening to some AudioBoos. I even recorded a quick Boo of my own which you can find below. It was great to have some quiete time and have a chance to reflect on my surroundings. I feel at home in the forest as my friends and I have spent many a happy night amongst the pines while Bushcrafting.
I eventually decided to call it a night at around 22:00 and retired to the tent feeling thoroughly relaxed after a great days walk in great company.
I awoke a few times during the night, mainly because of my old Alpkit Matt deflating on me. I’ve used and abused my Alpkit Wee Airic over the last 6 or 7 years so i’m not surprised its finally given up. If i’m completely honest, it gave up a few years ago but i’ve just been making do with it :-). The rain had been intermittent throughout the night but thankfully the sun came out as I stuck my head out of the tent at around 06:30.
I made myself some breakfast, boiled more water for a few cups of coffee and then packed away. I recorded myself dismantling the tent which you can see in the YouTube Video that is embedded further up in the post. I stowed away the Zephyros 1 in its stuff sack, chucked all my gear inside my rucksack and left for another day of walking without leaving any trace of my presence at camp.
I appeared out of the forest and was blessed with stunning sunny views down in the Vale of Edale. It was around 08:00 and there was not a soul in sight. I had arranged to meet Andy at the Yorkshire Bridge Inn so took a few pictures and got on my way.
I had a gentle walk down hill taking in my surroundings as I knew Andy wouldn’t be at the pub until around 10:00. The walk down through the forest is rather nice as the Ashophton Viaduct comes into view down at Ladybower. As we have had lots of rain in recent weeks I found that the “Plug Holes” were being utilised which is a impressive sight to behold. I must say that they do look like a gateway to another dimension or something straight out of a science fiction movie.
Andy was bang on time and he was getting kitted up by the car as I walked around the corner from the dam wall. I decided to stow my overnight gear in the boot of his car as I would no longer need any of it. We then headed off to ascend back up to Win Hill via the very direct path which heads up from SK 1969 8502. Its a sharp accent but it has to be one of my favourite little climbs in the entire Peak District, It would feel pretty punishing after a long day but we were still pretty fresh so we breezed to the top with ease (ish) 🙂
Once out of the forest its only a short walk to the summit of Win Hill. The weather was being pretty kind to us and the rain was staying away. It was pretty blustery up top and I sheltered behind a rock while having some more food. I’ve got used to the sight of the Hope Cement Works now days but if we are honest its a bit of an eye sore. I have no idea about the history or future of the works but I can’t help but think it kind of spoils one of the nicest areas in the Peak.
After our short break on Win Hill we headed of the summit and begun walking towards Hope Cross. The sun was still showing its face every now an then and we made good progress as we picked up the Roman Road. We had chosen to do a shorter route today so it wasn’t long before we were making our descent into the Woodlands Valley and down towards the River Ashop.
We had originally considered the idea of heading towards Alport Dale and then looping back via Rowlee Pasture. The sight of the deep water rushing across the ford where the Roman Road crosses the River Ashop put us off that plan. We decided to take in a new section of footpath that we hadn’t walked before, we swung back east towards Ladybower and followed the course of the River Ashop Silt Trap.
The walk through Blackley Hey Wood is rather gentle and pleasant. We were certainly ready for a more relaxed wander today as yesterday’s challenge route around the Edale Skyline had taken its toll on our legs a little. It wasn’t long before we reached the banks of Ladybower and begun walking along the forestry track that is also used by anglers. It was a nice coincidence that we ran into a family friend who is a warden with the Ladybower Fisheries who i’d been meaning to drop in on for some time. He had said months ago that I should call in for a coffee if I was ever passing, me being me I had never managed to find the time after a walk.
It wasn’t long before we were weaving around the final few corners and the wall of Ladybower dam came into view. We could almost taste the refreshments at the Yorkshire Bridge Inn as we walked past the Plughole’s and along the wall itself. We quickly chucked our gear in the car and headed to the bar to toast a couple of great days out in the glorious Dark Peak. Thanks for reading and I hope to have more Peak District Wild Camping posts for you very soon.