Finally, Backpacking Again!

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.

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About chrissiedixie

Love being out on the moors and mountains, backpacking, dogs, travelling generally. Favourite place in the world - Yosemite National Park. Retired teacher and ex Mountain Rescue Deputy Team Leader. Married to Geoff, who puts up with all sorts.
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29 Responses to Finally, Backpacking Again!

  1. Dawn says:

    Fantastic, looks like you had a really good trip. Well done.

  2. A nice area to backpack, I recognised quite a few of those spots in your photo’s and the weather didn’t look too bad considering the summer so far.

    • Hi Mark – yes we’re obviously being deliberately secretive about the naming of exact spots, but of course anyone who walks the area regularly knows them all anyway!

  3. Well done Chrissie – glad your recovery is proceeding well.

    You certainly hit the weather just right, a bit of a ‘black art’ at the moment!

  4. southwestdesertlover says:

    Beautiful photographs and delightful story, as always.

    I didn’t see Dixie on this trip. :^)

    • Thank-you 🙂 Much as I love her, Dixie is a bit of a ‘lone’ backpacker I’m afraid. She’s fine with people and she’s actually fine with Reuben – but only really if I keep her on the lead! If I let her off around camp she’d be constantly trying to ‘assert’ her authority over Reuben and it wouldn’t make for a peaceful evening! To be fair, she’s also getting to an age where something like that second day would possibly be too much for her now anyway.

  5. brilliant write up and photies are ace 🙂

  6. surfnslide says:

    Must have been a very long 6 months out of action so great to see you back in full action mode. Always intrigued by wild camping in the Dark Peak. I know a few spots to throw a tent up but they are few and far between, that one looked a cracker and you got lucky with what looked like a decent day on Sunday. Cracking report, enjoyed that, I’ll be able to compare and contrast when James and Martin get their versions up 🙂

    • I have to say that it has felt like a long 6 months and it feels like I’ve missed a whole season out too! It was a good spot wasn’t it?
      To be fair I’ve only managed to get my blog done so fast as I wasn’t working today 🙂

  7. backpackingbongos says:

    Wow you got that post up quick Chrissie. An enjoyable couple of days with good company. Reuben must be worn out as he has spent the whole day in his bed asleep! Thanks for planning the route and cheers to geoff for the lift.

    Lets see if my ankle is the one to play up now! I must look where I am going in future……

    • Get some frozen peas on it and let me know how it goes…

      I was determined not to work today – in fact I did actually turn some work down this morning! – and was just in the mood to get it done straight away. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend James and it feels like a real milestone out of the way now. Thanks again for your company 🙂

  8. ’bout time…. (!)

    Well done, though – a decent walk for a first post-recovery event.

    The dog’s a bit of a sweetie..(Bruno doesn’t agree with this statement by the way)

  9. I’ll give you ‘…’bout time…’ 🙂

    Don’t tell Dixie I said this, but Reuben is definitely a bit of a sweetie…

  10. backpackingbongos says:

    He’s available for hire, just weddings at the moment but working on his portfolio……….

  11. Wa-hay!
    Must be a great feeling to get out and about again – and you hit lucky with the weather. Storming!

  12. Pingback: Wild camping in the Peaks – Alport Bridge to Hayfield | Backpackingbongos

  13. Martin Rye says:

    Great to have met you. That fruit cake was a nice surprise and thanks again. I am glad you’re back on the trail healing well. Keep it coming and have a great trip on your holiday coming up.

    • Nice to finally meet you too, Martin. Hope you have a wonderful time over in the States and I look forward to reading all about your adventures when you come back!

  14. Well done! 6 months though – I suppose my wrist will probably take that long before I can do much of anything scrambly 😦 It just seems a long way off – not that I’m over-eager to go scrambling but, of course, on some of the hills I have left to do, I’m going to have to unfortunately.

    Love those doggie panniers!
    Carol.

    • I can’t deny that 6 months has felt like a long time Carol, it’s a good job they didn’t tell me that in the first place! It did pass though and I’m sure you’ll be out again before long. You’ll know when you’re ready! 🙂

  15. backpackbrewer says:

    great report and a nice trip to break the long absence from camping, even if you had to put up with Martin and James 😀

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