Happy freakin’ 2012 (again!)

Dawn respite from camp – The Roaches, Peak District National Park

I’m not having much luck of late with regards to the weather. It would appear my “sun god” status has been revoked. After arriving in the Peak District on Friday I made my way to The Roaches in the south west of the park with fellow backpacker Mike.

I was planning on spending a few days in the Peaks filming and the forecasts looked favourable for me to capture some nice video of the area – alas as is often the case things turned out to be quite different.

After taking in some of the grey and miserable scenes near Hen Cloud, me and Mike headed up to Doxey Pool to set up camp. Initially conditions weren’t too bad but as time went by it got much worst. Strong consistent winds with some horrendous gusts and side driven rain along with thick clag. So dense in fact, that our head torches were next to useless – completely diffusing in the murk.

We picked as sheltered spot as we could find and made do in the end while we waited for Martin from Summit and Valley to join us for the night. Conditions were such that I ended up bunking down with Mike in his Wild Country Sololite as the winds grew stronger and battered the tent senseless. Even so, we had fun drinking some cider and malt to numb the senses to it all.

As the night rolled on by I took a call from Martin who had decided to spend the night in his car instead of heading out into the storm to meet up. Sensible decision to be honest (he woke in the early hours to his car rocking in the winds).

I happened to have the Vaude Power Tokee UL out with me for this trip and apart from the awful noise of the tent flapping incessantly until dawn it stood up to the winds remarkably well. Not ideal by any means but impressive nonetheless. There were no signs of friction burn on the flysheet and what have you – but the main tent pole had awkwardly curved somewhat. The tension band system Vaude use for many of their tents certainly works, make no doubt about that – but I can’t help but suspect that it consequently encouraged the pole to misshapen.

Nevertheless, I slept through the night reasonably well and woke just before sunrise. By now the clag had lifted and the winds had died down a little but were still very strong.

While packing our gear away a break appeared in the cloud to reveal the sun rising up in the west – one of those moments where morale shoots into the stratosphere. It was while taking pictures and video that Martin finally arrived.

Not long after, we headed off to the east and to walk a circuit of the Roaches and then back to Martin’s car. By this point we had clocked average wind speeds of 45mph+ (Kestrel 3000) and it was then I decided to call my trip a day. We were struggling to walk straight – looking at us, you’d think we just spent a few hours in the local pub! The weather wasn’t improving and checking forecasts online revealed it wasn’t set to get any better for the next few days either – more so given how wrong they had been the previous day and currently. The seeds of doubt had already been planted in my mind so it was tail between the legs and back home after a one nighter for me again.

At the end of the day, there’s not much work I can do in such conditions – the camera shakes (even if I pin down the tripod), dust and rain gets in the lenses and of course there’s not much to film.

Oh well, until next time…..hopefully things will get better later in the week.

Cozy in the tent with cider and malt for refreshment.
Vaude Power Tokee UL – performed exceptionally well in strong winds for a single pole tent.
Martin finally arrives – 12 hours late
The familiar pic of Martin from behind as he introduces himself to Mike.
Dawn from The Roaches – twas splendid despite the prevailing conditions.
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