Day One, 5.5miles
It had to be done. I had to get out there with a full pack again, go over rough ground again and keep going for at least two days on the run again. I think Geoff was initially a bit concerned that I was rushing things – especially since we’re off on holiday soon and he was worried I might overdo it just before we went – but I felt ready.
And James and Reuben very bravely said they would accompany me on my first proper post-broke-ankle-outing, so a plan was hatched for a secret camp in the Dark Peak.
It was initially planned for last weekend, but we postponed it due to the MWIS forecast talking about the risk of lightning on the tops. With hindsight, I don’t think any lightning storms did materialise in this area but it had been uncomfortably humid, so I think we actually ended up with the better weekend for walking anyway.
James and Reuben came over to our place early on Saturday afternoon and after a leisurely coffee we were ready for off. The plan was for James to leave his car outside our house, then Geoff would drop us off at some distant point and we would walk back to Hayfield over the weekend, wild camping on the way.
The morning had been pleasantly warm and sunny, but within ten minutes of setting off on foot the sky typically darkened and the showers started. We resisted overtrousers for as long as possible, but it wasn’t too long before we gave in and they were then on for most of the afternoon.
The rain was intermittent though and never particularly heavy, so it didn’t spoil the afternoon’s wander.
We were soon on the tops and taking in the extensive views. Despite the grey skies the cloud was never low enough to interfere with gazing out over the moors.
We stopped for a drink and a photo opportunity on the edge.
A couple of backpackers approached from the opposite direction. The guy in front was obviously in a hurry and charged past – I’m not even sure he noticed us – but the second one saw me snapping away and immediately offered to take a photo of us all.
James has recently got himself a Sat Map and was monitoring its battery usage over the two days. Of course neither of us would ever dream of using one for navigating with, they’re just for emergencies……come to think of it, can’t think why I ever spent the money on one if I don’t use it……
Reuben had a lucky escape at this trig point. James had planned to put him on the top for a pose, but gave up the idea when he saw all the water he had to wade through…
Anyway, a bit more bog trotting and we were within sight of our intended spot for the night.
Martin – from Summit and Valley – was already pitched up and fed when we got there. (We’d known he would be, it wasn’t an unexpected meeting.)
After a quick chat and customary greetings, we set about pitching our tents while Reuben went into instant deep meditation mode.
It’s an idyllic spot with plenty of space, a bubbling stream, grand views…
We all chatted happily whilst sorting meals and hot drinks, contented with the day’s walking and enjoying the dry evening.
Reuben on the other hand, couldn’t wait to tuck himself into bed for the night!
Just before turning in, I went for a little wander. Our wild camp looked peaceful and quiet in the lowering light.
Once back at the tent, I was quickly lulled to sleep by the relaxing sounds of the nearby stream.
Day Two, about 10 miles
I was vaguely aware of a couple of showers overnight, but slept pretty well despite them and was finally woken properly at around 7:30, by that big, yellow, sun thing shining through the tent and starting to make me uncomfortably hot in my sleeping bag.
Martin was already packed and ready for the off. He wanted an early start. There had been talk the previous evening of him leaving at around 5:00am, but he said that when he’d glanced outside at that time it had been misty and rainy so he’d gone back to sleep again. Seems like a sensible decision!
After he had left though, the sun was well and truly shining and James and I lounged about having leisurely breakfasts, before finally deciding to pack up and go around 10:00.
Reuben busied himself by working on his tan while we packed up.
We were soon ready for off and climbed up onto the top of the moor again in the late morning sunshine.
Today’s route then initially took us on a bit of a flagstone slog. Quick progress, but they did seem to go on forever.
Poor Reuben had a bit of a traumatic experience on this section. He was just in front of me when he suddenly decided to jump off the slabs, landing in a big, wet, peaty bog. He was left completely covered bar his head and front legs, which were hanging desparately on to the edge of the flags. I quickly reached down, grabbed the handle on his harness and pulled him out. He really didn’t look as though he could have got out on his own. Once safely out, he gave James such a look that quite clearly said that he thought the whole nasty episode was most definitely his master’s fault! Dogs!
By now, although still dry and mainly sunny, a coolish north breeze had whipped up so a suitably sheltered spot at one of the many Peak District aircraft wrecks was found for lunch.
Reuben was consoled with a couple of meaty sticks.
Yet more flagstone walking followed lunch, before we finally got within 2 or 3 miles of the village and went back to more grassy and heathery stuff underfoot.
We finally got back to Hayfield around 4:00pm. It had been a great weekend and I was feeling so pleased to think that I finally seemed to be properly back on track again. A couple of weeks ago (5th July), had been the 6 month ‘anniversary’ of the ankle break (who’d have thought it would take so long?) and I now feel that I can plan stuff again and put it behind me.
Many thanks to Geoff for the transport and the fruitcake….James and Reuben for the great company and gamely puttting up with me….and Martin for adding to the sociability of the Saturday evening – it was good to meet another fellow blogger and lover of the hills.
James’ account of the trip can be read here.
To find out what Martin got up to that weekend, click here.