Navigating, firewalking and a stone circle…

Last weekend I had the pleasure of hooking up with Pete Hawkins from Silva Navigation School based in Tideswell in the Peak District National Park.

Pete’s a well travelled man when it comes to the great outdoors and has contributed to the printed media in various forms over the years, including producing several books concerning navigation. He’s tremendously enthusiastic about the subject and more and it shines through when he takes groups out on one of his courses.

I promised to put a video together for Pete some months ago, but my schedule and mostly the weather had always conspired against us. Alas, last weekend turned out perfect on many levels and so the job was finally done.

The group who were out with him on one of his navigation courses were a friendly bunch too! So, if they pop on by here and take a look (it turned out one gentleman at least knew who I was upon my arrival) I’d like to say thanks for your time and for the company. It seemed you were all having a ball and really learnt something over the weekend.

On Friday I popped over to one of my favourite Peakland pubs – The Royal Oak at Hurdlow. My wife was with me on this trip, ferrying me around to various locations I had to get on video and she always enjoys visiting this often overlooked establishment (well in the outdoors community at least) as I do too. Paul and his team are always welcoming and despite the pub’s popularity with the locals who travel far and wide – service is always top drawer, the local ales in top nick and the food is superb. If you’ve never been, it’s well worth a visit. In fact, it’s a crime if you don’t!

It was while camping, drinking and eating at the Royal Oak that we chanced upon a charity event the pub were holding in a small corner of their campsite. Firewalking!

Firewalking, Royal Oak, Hurdlow
The brave souls wait in anticipation….

Royal Oak at Hurdlow, Peak District National Park
The baying mobs cheer for more flames! (joke)

Royal Oak, Peak District. Firewalking
I’m sure some of them thought they may end up as ghosts walking along the coals!

Royal Oak pub, Hurdlow, Peak District
They all laughed in the face of death.

In truth, after the big build-up it was all over in minutes despite the significant number of participants. And I’m not surprised either! It certainly took some bravado to walk along the red hot coal bed that had been laid out and light in the field.

Another highlight for me over the past weekend was visiting Arbor Low stone circle – the so called ‘stonehenge of the north’. I know some ancient site fans will turn their noses up at the place because of it’s popularity with visitors. But I really like the place. It’s mesmerising.

I chose to pop along during the night to capture some scenes of the circle and it’s large stones under a clear sky and bright moon. I didn’t quite achieve the effect I was seeking in truth. But that was mostly because of the bright moon. I’ll definitely be going back again this winter. Hopefully with a dusting of snow, and a clear dark starry sky.

Arbor Low stone circle, Peak District National Park
The moon was so bright, it ought as well have been daylight.
Arbor Low stone circle, Peak District National Park under moonlight
A closer look at these ancient stones under the gaze of the moon.

And on that note, I shall bid you all farewell. Tomorrow I’m heading on up to ‘Bonnie Scotland’ for 5 night camping and filming. And the weather is shaping up nicely for the weekend when I’ll be planning on capturing the area I’m visiting on video. Happy days!


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