Four seasons and a bivouac

Kinderlow End, Kinder Scout
Kinderlow End – I was camped out of sight behind these rocks.

I’ve gotta admit I’m absolutely shattered at the moment. I’ve just got back from a 2 night trip in the Dark Peak which was quite intensive in truth. Arriving at Edale late Thursday afternoon I marched onwards to spend the night at Kinderlow End. The weather was a right mixed bag too. First it chucked it down with hail, then rain and thunder followed by sub zero winds and sunshine.

The following day was spent walking to Little Hayfield to film a video for the Lantern Pike Inn and then from there I walked back around Kinder Scout by various paths and tracks including the Pennine Bridleway to make a stealthy camp on Mam Tor.

Saturday entailed me heading down to Castleton, filming a video for the Three Roofs Cafe and then onwards to   the village of Hope and a train home.

Tomorrow, I make my way back to the Peak District for 4 days with my best friend – who hasn’t been backpacking since last August – where we intend to set off on foot from Ashbourne and follow the Dove Valley all the way to Axe Edge in the Western Peak District and beyond.

So, this is a brief blogpost from me.

Highlights of this trip included a starry night spent on Kinderlow End, and a few delicious ales in the Lantern Pike Inn with wonderful hosts Tom and Stella. It’s a proper cosy traditional pub in a fine location just outside of Hayfield and has some surprising cultural heritage. It was here that the writer Tony Warren wrote the first six episodes of the long running soap opera Coronation Street for example.

Another highlight was joining and following the Pennine Bridleway as I made my way to Rushup Edge. A real scenic walk (even if I was a little worst for wear) and one I’ll definitely be heading back to in the near future. It’s one of those gems you stumble upon and are surprised to discover new perspectives and scenes in a familiar area.

During the early hours of Friday night, I woke due to overheating in my sleeping bag. Opening up the shelter to let in some nice cool air (sealed shut from some rain previously in the evening) I was stunned to see a cloud inversion all around me. It was breathtaking! Clear skies and a billion stars above, a sheet of cloud as far as the eye could see below me with only the highest summits peeping out.

You’d have thought I’d have leaped out of my comfortable bed and took some pictures – alas for some strange reason I didn’t bother. I made a hot drink and just lay there taking in the view. On reflection I wished I made the effort to head out into the frost and capture the scene on camera – but there you go. I can be lazy as much as the next man sometimes. The view was impressionable enough on me. Lovely.

I took the new Rab Ridge Master bivi out for the first time on this trip too. And it proved to be an excellent shelter. Without saying too much for now – so far my thoughts are that it’s an excellent all year round bivouac. A real toughie that’s quick to pitch, taut and extremely roomy.

In fact I had quite a bit of new season Rab gear with me on this trip. Including, Outdoor Designs Smartwool gloves, the new Pertex Shield+ Pulse waterproof jacket, Vapour-Rise Lite jacket to name a few. I really did look like a walking advert for Rab (none of which was intentional)!

Anyway, I’m signing off now as I’ve got kit to clean and pack again for tomorrows trip out….

Jacobs Ladder, Edale
Looking back to Edale from the top of Jacobs Ladder – minutes previous it was pouring with rain.
Mam Tor and Edale
This thick dark cloud was roaring with thunder and lightning. Thankfully it passed over meaning it was safe for me
to camp up on the high moors of Kinder Scout.
Kinder Scout
Sunset from Kinderlow End. From this area the view couldn’t be more contrasting. To the west the lower plains and
Manchester conurbation and to the left the towering hulk of Kinder Scout.
Kinder Scout twilight
Looking at Kinder Scout’s westerly profile it really does look like a menacing mountain. The other sides of the moorland
plateau make it look quit benign in truth. Don’t let that fool you though.
Manchester conurbation from Kinderlow End
Cityscape from Kinderlow End.
Tor on Kinderlow End
Not the glow of a sunset but the light pollution of a nearby Manchester against a starry night sky
Rab Ridge Master Bivi
Rab Ridge Master bivi – home sweet home
Pennine Bridleway
The Pennine Bridleway offered some surprising views of the nearby landscape.
Peak District National Park
It doesn’t look much this scene. But it’s one I think has great potential in better conditions. It’s the view over to a viaduct
near Chapel en le Frith. I can imagine this would look lovely during a late summer evening.
Rab Ridge Master Bivi on Mam Tor
Saturday morning on Mam Tor just before sunrise. 
Mam Tor sunrise
Dawn glow on the cliffs of Mam Tor – the Shivering Mountain.
Winnats Pass
The light was fantastic in the clear cold air at dawn. A couple of hours later, it was overcast and raining.
Good ole British weather, eh?

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