|Mam Tor from Win Hill (Video Still)|
Winter is almost upon us and a consequence of which was many delays to trains on my trip to the Peak District last weekend. I missed my connecting train for Hope despite running down a platform with a 100 litre rucksack on my back (funny how there are times where you can suddenly muster energy from deep within) and so off I went to the nearby Sheffield Tap public house on platform one.
While in the bar supping a delicious pint from a brewery based in Bakewell – I resigned to the fact it would be a late pitch in the dark using a route I’m not familiar with at all. How icy would it be? Should I have packed my Grivel Spiders for extra grip? Will the Rab Alpine 600 deliver on it’s promises in the sub-zero temperatures?
No matter – come 9pm I was plodding along in the cold air stomping on grippy frozen ground and all was forgiven. The skies were clear in the main and a distant moon shone the way ahead for my pitch on Win Hill.
I was hoping to catch a wintry sunrise with panoramic views of the area hence my choice of camp for the night.
Near the summit I chanced upon a flat boggy area (now frozen solid) and flung out the tent in the biting bitter breeze. There was the odd patch of light snow about but it was a little disappointing considering the scenes I hoped to capture on video. Nevertheless, once bed was made for the evening I wandered on to the summit with a can of beer in hand and took in the night time views of the nearby valleys.
I’m pleased to say that on this evening the Rab Infinity came in to it’s own – I was snug as a bug and despite the odd gust of wind ahead of encroaching snow clouds the hood with it’s Lycra edge kept firm on my head.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all concerning views from a certain place – making the effort to visit in different seasons and even at night brings a whole new exciting perspective. I’ve only been upon Win Hill once as it happens and I contemplated why I had not bothered to come calling back more often. Every point of the compass is catered for and each comes with a unique view. A cracking place and deserved of it’s fame.
Wild camping in the winter brings to attention details you’d normally give a miss at any other time of year – the cold ground for starters, water sources frozen (including what you may have stored in a hydration bladder), slow cooking times, pegs struggling to break the concrete-like ground and condensation falling as frost in the tent at night.
With a bit of care and common sense it’s not different to any other time you spend nights out on the hills. You just have to alter your mindset slightly – that’s all.
Come 6am I was already packing up anticipating a fine sunrise – instead I got a bit of clag encircling my pitch and lots of snow on the ground.
I lingered on Win Hill all morning watching the scenery evolve from misty and moody to blue skies and sunshine. It was bloody marvellous and in all those hours I only saw 4 people – not too surprising given the freezing temperatures.
After capturing some scenes on video I then descended to Bamford where I arranged to meet Yuri aka Moonlightshadow where upon we were to head up onto Eyam Moor and camp the night. From up there I wanted to catch another perspective of the dark peak area along with the white peak on it’s southern side.
We enjoyed a memorable winter walk up on the moors and down in the little visited valleys around Bretton Clough – marvellous stuff, then about 3pm we discovered a sheltered cove to pitch in.
The following hours went by slowly as the sunset under now clear skies – the gritstone moors and edges lighting up orange and red – and the temperatures though already low were now plummeting.
|Steam bellows out from a meths stove at sunrise|
I recorded on the Kestrel 3000 air temps as low as -9c and wind chill even lower on occasion – it made for some tricky times. My meths burner was a little slow to get going, my Platypus with water froze (forgot to chuck it in my sleeping bag to keep warm), pegs stuck to hands on pitching, toes got cold if you stood on the spot for more than 5 minutes, batteries began to pack in and much more.
But it made for a memorable trip and more so for Yuri as it was his first time sleeping out in such conditions.
All in all a great weekend out with fantastic weather and one that will live long in my memory – and as for the Rab Alpine 600? I’ll let you know in the final review – so far so good.
Below you can find stills from the video I recorded over the weekend – I’m really pleased with what I collated: