Tour de Peaks

I often get rib-tickled about how ‘lucky’ my timing can be when it comes weather and trips out into the hills – and to a degree, it’s true.

But for me it more often than not comes down to careful consideration and planning. Why go to the Yorkshire Dales if it looks likely to be raining cats and dogs when in the Brecon Beacons it could be blue skies and sunshine?

Of course, there is more to it than that and there are many other factors to consider – for me I’m a man on a mission to capture the best of the Peak District National Park on video through all seasons. And granted, some of my planning is meticulous in it’s timing and location. Patience is key and the ability to speed off elsewhere on a whim.

That’s all OK if I could drive (choose not to) but on a wild camp – more tricky. I have to be 90% certain I’ll get some kind of decent weather window if the prevailing conditions look bloody awful.

However, this weekends trip I had the company of my wife and the family car – and so I planned a weekends itinerary to the last detail. Where and when was the key.

All said a done, I had to adapt on the move due to the weather not wanting to play ball, but ultimately it was a successful trip.

First off was a visit to Chatsworth House – here I was seeking (‘praying’ is a better description actually) to record the parks deer at dawn relaxing as they do on the estate when none of us rabble are about. Deep down I was keen to capture the annual rut. But it wasn’t to be. I heard the distinctive guttural roars echo around the park and even antlers clashing but they were always to far away or downwind from me.

It didn’t help that I was wrapped in my bright orange Rab Infinity jacket, either – but come the sunrise I soon dispelled any notion of romantically envisaged shots of the estates deer and set about filming the wonderful scenery and anything else of interest.

Come 9am I walked to a prearranged rendez-vous where my wife (with car) would be waiting for us to head on to the Stanton Moor area (there was a particular stone circle I was hoping to locate).

The rest of the day involved me walking from one point to another and meeting ‘wifey’ at the end before setting off for elsewhere.

Given the weather forecast was bloody awful for the weekend only 48 hours earlier – I experienced blue skies and sunshine. It was much better than I anticipated and so in all in all a grateful bonus!

Sunday was plain dull with thick morning fog – but fortunately Saturday was a very productive day finished off with a fantastic meal and drink in The Royal Oak near Hurdlow (campsite round the back, too!). I was happy and indeed felt lucky.

So, on to next weekend where this time I shall be back to the norm and lugging all my gear in a rucksack plodding over hill and dale with lonesome nights under the stars.

In the meantime, here’s a small selection of ‘freeze frame’ shots from video I captured over the weekend:

I have to add – that while on Wheeldon Hill in the south-west of the Peak Park – I bumped into some friends of mine who were by chance in the same area enjoying a long walk in this scenic part of the world.
That was amusing and made for a pleasant surprise!! 
Not so surprising was bumping into a large crowd of tents with persons at Nine Ladies stone circle on Stanton Moor Sunday morning – empty cans of beer littered around, rubbish of varying sorts thrown into the heather, random fireplaces on the go with any nearby poor trees ripped to pieces for fuel.
I’m a lover of the landscape and history. In fact the latter a particular interest of mine.
I care too for our environment and all within. I respect all religions and beliefs and can even empathise with many on their merits and roots (even though I’m an atheist).
So, why would any such minded person who may be given to an ancient peoples belief camp and treat a special, special site in such a way?
Do they think their ancestors would approve? Do they not see how irresponsible their behaviour can be? Moreover – are they unaware to the consequences of their actions and how it ruins all things to do with such activities for genuine respectful folk?
I’d happily let such activities happen if I were the landowner but not so given to what I came upon this dull Sunday morning.
I’ve no doubt there are many out there who are genuine and would never behave in such a way – no doubt at all – the same can be said in all aspects of life.
But it’s that minority of people who spoil things for the masses that really winds me up a treat.
So, there you go – bit of a dampener to end a blog post!
Now I’ve got that off my chest – time to sign off and rest the weary body…

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Helen Fisher says:

    I guess with Samhain falling this weekend the crowds at Nine Ladies were inevitable. Same happens at the Solstices too. I'd love to be there at dawn at these times but am just put off.

    But at least you have had another great trip into the Peaks with its variety. Your photos really are incredible!


  2. terrybnd says:

    Thank you Helen – you're very kind. I hope the pics are OK – they're screen captures from the video I filmed.

    I thought there would be some campers up on Stanton Moor given what you mentioned. Even so – why all the mess? WTF?!

    And big red signs at all routes to the moor explicitly saying not to camp up there and mentioning it's effects etc.

    Dumbfounds me


  3. Anonymous says:

    They aren't pagans celebrating samhain, they're chavs wanting somewhere scenic for a piss up, ask any of them the history of the place and they'll come out with some nonsensical mumbo jumbo crap, i've seen it all too often mate.

    Take my local samhain celebrations tonight, deep in a wood where they can't be seen, the Stanton moor crew are just attention seeking arseholes who'll happily talk complete bollox to you over a special brew without making an ounce of sense.
    Also, ask them to show you any of the moors 3 other circles and they'll look at you with a blank stare.

    all i can say mate is don't go up there for the summer solstice, it'll make your guts turn.

    Geoff / twigs


  4. Moonlight Shadow says:

    A bit sad, particularly if they are neo-pagans, you would think they show more respect for one of their sacred places rather than treat it as just some big piss-up…

    Quite funny to bump into you on High Wheldon btw, I was wondering who that nutter in a bright orange jacket shouting at me was… 😉


  5. terrybnd says:

    @Moonlightshadow – It was nice to meet you! 😉

    @Geoff – Oh I gathered that talking to some guy old enough to know better. Funny you should say about other circles up there – I went for a wander around (naturally) and came upon what I think was another circle.

    Was about 90metres west of Nine Ladies, amongst some trees. A few of the stones were buried in moss etc. You'd hardly notice they were there. But it was pretty clear with the other stones.

    Hardly any disturbance either – so I'm wrong or it's a little known one?


  6. Terry – sad state of affairs when it comes to this. One thing I cannot stand is litter in the countryside (well anywhere) – there is just no need for it. What's the matter with people ? You should have seen the rubbish chucked out of cars on the edge of Lady Clough forest by the A57 near Snake Pass, I saw on my trip this week. If I wasn't carrying so much kit – I would collected it up myself !!

    Sorry to rant- Hey good post, nice photos. Spent the week off with my wife and family (apart from my 2 day trip), being half term.


  7. Anonymous says:

    Stanton moor North Terry. ?

    Most people walk by the other 3 circles only visiting dol Tor and The Nine Ladies.

    Go to Pecsaetan > Stone circles > Stanton moor group

    Geoff / twigs


  8. terrybnd says:

    @Geoff – Nah, that wasn't it. Looks similar. These were stones about a foot or more high in a circle. Half of em buried with moss and other woodland plants. It was about 4 metres diameter amongst some silver birch. You'd easily walk past it. No tracks to it. But several metres on and you'd hit the main path that leads to Nine Ladies from the Cork stone. I was just taking a slow walk looking at stuff to film up close.

    @Mark – It is a shame. It's these folk though who give their reasons for being there and all it entails and then they only ruin it for themselves and everyone else.

    I picked up a large Fosters can and passed it over saying you dropped something etc and we talked….me being a wild camper etc – they were OK but they didn't come across as very genuine.


  9. Anonymous says:

    No idea then mate, can't see it being anything of unknown as the whole moor has been thoroughly surveyed, around 70 cairns were logged during this, maybe it's the remains of one of those. ?
    Don't suppose you took a pic did ya. ?

    Geoff /twigs


  10. terrybnd says:

    No Geoff – left it be. I'll show you it sometime.


  11. GeoffC says:

    Chatsworth is a marvellous location in Autumn for lovers of trees. I remember from our day walks some superb displays of vibrant browns, well worth the slithering mudbaths that often prevail thereabouts at this time of year!.
    I've never pitched in the White Peak, too busy and too much farmland really.


  12. James says:

    Nice write up Terry as usual – I totally understand from a photography point of view about the whole planning and timing thing, but I still dont know how you do it by just having a weekend!

    We need to get out soon when I'm back to having weekends off.


  13. Peter Crawford says:

    Not strictly on-topic, Terry but you and your readers might like to know that there was a huge dump of snow on Northern Snowdonia last night. Could be the start of a mega Winter…get your crampons and axes out ladies and gents.


  14. terrybnd says:

    @Peter – From some very highly respected forecasters we are indeed set for a dry and cold winter. Not as harsh as last year. December and February look certs for dry conditions 🙂


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