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: