Under the moon but above the cloud

Sunrise on Wolfscote Hill, Peak District National Park

Well, here’s another trip report – and what a cracker it was!

I managed to capture some of the most beautiful scenes on video I’ve ever seen anywhere – with my own eyes at least – of the Peak District National Park. I wish I could share them with you but in the meantime readers will have to make do with ‘freeze-frame’ shots from the footage.

I arrived in Crowdecote after a pleasant coach journey at about lunchtime, and popped into the Packhorse Inn to say ‘Hello’ to the landlord, Mike – after enjoying an afternoon in his newly purchased pub just the other week.

Enjoying a fine pint of Buxton Gold (for the life of me, I can’t recall the name of the brewery) I chatted for some time with Sharon the landlady before Mike showed up. We recalled the previous weeks drinking session on a Friday afternoon – of which he commented how much of a good time everyone involved had.

He mentioned, too how the locals that evening wondered how me and Eion were getting on camping up on the nearby fells – much to their bemusement and worry. Of course, I said they need not have been concerned (clearly) but we were a little worst for wear after enjoying a bottle of Scotch Malt in the wind and rain up on the tops.

Summit of High Wheeldon

So, after those pleasantries I lugged my pack on and made my way up High Wheeldon nearby. Camp was made quite early in the day (I had permission too from the landowner) as there was not another soul about – despite the fact the sun was shining and the skies were crystal clear.

Nevertheless, despite the wonderful conditions I was here to work – and so I collected my tripod, camera, batteries, lenses et al and plodded on to High Wheeldon’s summit – and what a scene revealed itself .

In my opinion, of all the hikes and recces I’ve done in the area in recent months – the view from up here is the best you’ll see of Chrome and Parkhouse Hill to the west. As the sun begins to sink it really accentuates the narrow limestone ridges – to the point they look almost mountainous!

I sat there for a good three hours patiently waiting and watching the scenes around – with my finger on the ‘record’ button – when I noticed a gentleman pass me by carrying quite a large rucksack.

I figured it was a wild camper at first but as time passed it transpired he was only there to take photo’s – and I don’t blame him.

Once the sun had finally passed below the horizon, I wandered over to chat with him.

His name was John Harpur and had travelled up from Wolverhampton- only to head back some time later – and as we chatted he could see the merits of wild camping to take in the beautiful colours, light and shadows we just had the pleasure of viewing. Funnily enough – it was whilst on this subject of backpacking and the like that he interjected, “Are you Terrybnd?”

Naturally, my answer was a ‘yes’ to which came, “Nice to meet you! I follow your blog!”.

Small world, eh?

John Harpur takes some photos of the limestone ridge

The sun begins to set on Parkhouse and Chrome Hill

With the sun gone – a temperature inversion settles in
And when I look back – he certainly got a good first impression of me….

I finished my bit of filming for the day and decided to head over and socialise – doing so, I was wearing my big orange Rab Infinity jacket, black beanie hat, sunshades, cigarette in one hand and a can of Carlsberg Special Brew in the other!

I must’ve looked a proper sight, no?

Incidentally, the beer was what I picked up on the way up to the Peaks as a drink for when up on the tops – though it has to be said given it’s reputation – I suppose I could be classed as a posh tramp (no news there)!

Besides, the drink didn’t taste that bad up there. Most crap tastes good when away from day to day comforts it has to be said.

Anyway – time passed and I was talking to John about the temperature inversion that had slowly been forming before us in the west – at which point we took a look at each other and dashed back to our positions with cameras at the ready!

John eventually headed back home and left me to enjoy the night time views with the company of an almost full moon – it was getting pretty chilly in the brisk breeze and before long I was cooped up in my sleeping bag noting all the swirling cloud in the valleys below.

The next morning, I woke early anticipating some marvellous scenes with the cloud inversion around – but alas, no. The sky was clear, the air was pin sharp but the world was frost laden, all glowing under a bright moon.

Camera time!

This was certainly becoming into a video study of Parkhouse and Chrome Hill through the hours of the day and seasons.

Moon sinks on the western horizon

And in it’s place – the sun casts it’s rays

By 8.30am I was making my way for a meeting with a client and hiking over fields and through dale with an eventual target of reaching the village of Hartington.

I had some filming there to do, and from then onwards I was to hike to Wolfscote Hill where I planned to camp the night very discreetly (not having permission for this one).

And boy – what views did I get from up there!

The visibility was absolutely superb!

I could see the Ratcliffe Power Station near Nottingham in the south east which was a good 30 miles away, the radio transmitter masts to the south and west towards Stoke, the high moors of the western Peak Park, and Kinder and Bleaklow in the north.

All clear as I look at this type now on the screen – magical stuff!

It led to a fine sunset, too. I really enjoyed it up on that hill – with the views being so far reaching, you’d think you were a lot higher than the 1200 feet or so it’s measured at. A perfect example, of how bigger is not always better (and no sniggers on that from purlease!).

Looking towards Wolfscote Dale
Wolfscote Hill at sunset

It’s worth noting, there was hardly a breeze up there – 3mph at most – and a good job, too.

I recently damaged my Laser Competition tent – once of the sleeve pockets attached to the outer fly where you insert the carbon rods was hanging on by it’s last thread. Not being one to be deft with a needle and thread, I glued the sleeve back on and taped over some spare nylon sheeting.

Well, that piss poor effort didn’t work – and the sleeve had come clean off – threatening to not support that end of my tent up. Fortunately, the wind was non-existent and even though it picked up in the night – it came head on to the foot of my tent and so didn’t cause any undue stress.

Even so, I didn’t fancy a night with a face full of flapping nylon – so come the next morning, I made the decision to end my trip on a high and head home a day early. Reluctantly, I headed back down the hill and made my way to Bakewell by local bus and eventually home.

Unnamed dale
Hartington village
In retrospect, I took the right decision – the weather has not been as impressive since in the Peak District – and I collated all the video I needed and was required. Job done and it ended on a high.

Peak District Wild Camp January 2011

So, I’m back at my desk now for a few days with lots of editing to do – until next time….

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. What can I say? Simply lovely, I love the moon shot. However could you please stop promoting this part of the Peaks please as it is relatively undiscovered compared to the rest! Before you know it, it will be full of men clutching cans of special brew!

    For some incredible views I would highly recomend walking from Hartington to Thorpe but keep to the edge of the access land high above the dales. Some vague paths but you never see anyone up there as loads of ups and downs. A few spots for a quiet bivy………..

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  2. Damn, that shot of the moon is something else. Mind you, the others aren't bad either. I've yet to walk in the peak district, I was a Leeds/moors lad, so south didn't get a look in at the time….but it should've. Maybe I'll bring a can of SB ;p

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  3. terrybnd says:

    @James – LOL Thanks mate. I'll take those points on board 😉 Funny you should mention that route above the ravines, was looking over that way and thinking of doing that myself.

    I got a bivvy as it happens I'm supposed to be testing

    @David – Yeah, that shot of the moon is a good one, eh? You should see the video in HD. Took me a couple of minutes to get it focused just spot on, mind. But worth it 😉

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  4. Btw Terry my Laser comp carbon end pole became detached from the inner tent. I contacted Terra Nova and they got me to send for inspection and ended up fixing it for free. May be worth a go getting in contact with them? They are in the East Midlands to boot.

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  5. terrybnd says:

    @James – I've emailed them, mate. There are other wear and tears on the fly, to be honest. Not worth fixing. Asked if they have any flysheets for my model.

    Ought as well nip down the road – no reply yet! Terra Nova are only 20mins from me, ya see.

    Even put in email I need a prompt reply….clocks ticking!

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  6. GeoffC says:

    Ace stuff Terry!. The conditions were marvellous on those days.
    I remember many muddy days on the white peak paths in that neck of the woods but we never climbed either High Wheeldon or Wolfscote Hill – strange, the views are splendid.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Hi Terry
    Great to meet you on top of High Wheeldon. I know how cold it was on top of there, so I take my hat of to you, for staying there all night. It is one of my favourite views in the Peak district and apart from you I have never seen anyone there. Keep up the good work.

    John H

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  8. terrybnd says:

    @Geoff – The conditions were perfect. You could see for miles, hardly any haze. Those north-easterly winds kept it nice and sharp.

    I'd thoroughly recommend a visit to both those hills. Both being accessible due to Open Access.

    @John H – Hello again! 🙂 Nice meeting you, too. It did get a bit chilly up there come dark, but I was toasty wrapped in down

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