A meander through Monsal Dale

Fin Cop Fort at sunset

Well, my injured knee is slowly recovering and my lower back and abdomen, too. The latter from a fall while negotiating a tight squeeze through a stone wall. Pain, pain, pain…

Yesterday, I had another nightmare to contend with. I was transferring video I captured from my latest visit to the Peak District National Park, when I noticed the odd skip and jump in the footage – frame dropouts, they’re called.

At first, I panicked thinking my video camera was about to die a death but it transpired to be just a faulty tape after much playing around and screaming.

Fortunately, I managed to recover enough video to use for my next production featuring the wonderful Monsal Dale. As you can imagine, for a while I figured it may have been a wasted trip!

And what a wonderful couple of days I enjoyed, too.

The skies were clear, the sun shining and there was a big skip in my stride as I explored this short but dramatic limestone gorge.

Hob’s House maybe?

I took full advantage of the open access land in the area, too – coming across a peculiar rock formation in the shape of close knitting towers. Nestled high amongst the towering cliffs above the River Wye. I didn’t get this on video, I’m afraid. It was dark and damp and not worth getting the kit out to capture – but I’ll head back in the summer and see what happens.

Eventually, I made for a tiring and steep climb up onto the little visited Fin Cop hill fort. And very impressive it was too – with far ranging views across the Peak Park but somewhat spoilt by some wooden fence posts and barbed wire to let the ground recover from some recent archaeological digs.

And something else I’ve not encountered before – cattle tracks and their prolific dumping of waste. Handy as I wandered about the steep ground but also dumbfounding they tread on such terrain!

Stealth camping – living on the edge is the only way I live

It was while the sun was low in the sky I came across a sheltered pitch for the night when I noticed a familiar sound in the sky (well, if you frequent the Chiltern Hills from time to time) – the shrieks of Red Kites!

Wonderful birds they are – riding on the thermals up high as they seek out carrion for food. I managed to capture them on video – as you’ll see below – whether they are just passing through or nesting in the area, who knows?

A special site and sound and one to cherish.

It was nice to chat with some of you via Twitter as always – like-minded folk keeping me company when out on the hills (not that I need the company – but it’s nice to have from time to time – it’s great to share and I got fellow blogger ukmase to thank for that!).

I commented on my choice of alcoholic beverage for the trip – Tenants Super:

“-0.9c now. At least the Tenants Super warms you up a bit. No class me!”

To which, tookiebunten replied: “rocket fuel. all you’re missing is a 3 litre bottle of cider!”

It’s these ‘austerity’ measures that are affecting me, you see?

So, as I while away the time editing my next video and planning for the next – hopefully the weather improves – take a look at some outtakes I’ve put together below. It features a tiny glimpse of the sights I enjoyed on this last trip and gives you an idea of how I go about producing my work:

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. I have to admit that I have looked up at Fin Cop numerous times but yet to set foot on it. Could be a cracking spot for a mid summer bivy?

    Like

  2. terrybnd says:

    Hi James,

    The fort itself is impressive with far reaching views but it's on private farmland 😦

    Any other land around it's intake walls is used by cattle – so lots of mess everywhere.

    However, nip off over a stile on an unmarked path above Hob's House….. 😉

    Like

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