A Chilly Night On Kinder

Dixie is now the grand old age of 11, which is very good going for a Boxer. I’ve been around Boxers all my life and only a couple have ever gone past 9. However, in the last 6 months or so we’ve realised that although she will still quite happily hurl herself about the hills for miles on end all day, we’ve had to start restricting her outings to about 4 miles. She is now on arthritis medicine and despite that, too much exercise results in her being in quite a bit of pain once she starts to stiffen up on an evening.

So when James and I were discussing what we might do last weekend, James very kindly suggested a couple of ‘Dixie Friendly’ routes for a Dark Peak wild camp, since – as Geoff and Tilly are currently swanning around France in the campervan – I had no-one to leave Dixie with at home overnight.   We settled on one which started from Hayfield.

On Fridays, I finish work at 12:07 precisely (when the bell goes!) and am then home by 12:30. James, his friend Rich – from runrideandsleepoutside – and Reuben, duly turned up promptly and we had a quick lunch before setting off up Kinder.

There’s a lot of choices of routes onto the plateau from Hayfield, but we opted for the Edale Cross track. I suspect that that was probably far less muddy than some of the other paths after all the rain we’d had last week.

It was cool and dry as we started the climb, with the light already starting to slowly dim as the sun dropped lower in the sky.

Dixie was thoroughly enjoying herself. I actually love the way that dogs just carry on as if they’re perpetual puppies. They never worry about their ages or their ailments – they just keep on getting out and living life to the full!

As the sun was finally starting to drop behind South Head, we had a sudden short shower, followed by a beautiful rainbow and then a brief spell of clear blue skies.

We left the track at Swines Back and headed up onto the plateau, the temperature starting to drop as dusk caught up with us.

It was time to start scouting around for a nice pitch with good views. James had a spot in mind.

We settled on a high camp with views over the reservoir – and quite possibly the windiest place on the plateau!

It was at this point that Dixie thoroughly disgraced herself. When pitching, I always have to stake her out to stop her plonking herself all over the tent while I’m trying to put it up. Normally, she just sits there and glares at me, but today she decided she was going to behave like a thoroughly badly-done-to, cruelly treated dog and bark incessantly for the whole time she was tied up. Honestly, just sometimes,  Man’s Best Friend can be so embarassing…

As darkness finally settled, the skies cleared. The views over Manchester and Cheshire were quite something.  The millions of shimmering lights contrasting totally with the blackness of the Dark Peak. Unfortunately, I didn’t even try taking any photos at this point as I didn’t think my camera would handle it but with hindsight, in this digital age when photos don’t cost anything, I should have tried anyway.

Even though night comes very early at this time of year, the hours until bed time passed quickly. Our tents were all close to each other, so we could cook inside and still chat, with periodic sorties to look at the stars and the view. Rich obviously knew more constellations than me (which is not difficult), and pointed out the Seven Sisters. I’ll never find them again on my own!

After Dixie had eaten, she said that she didn’t care how early it was, she was going to bed.

Earlier in the evening, once tents were pitched, James had texted Yuri – who was on his way up to meet us – with our position. He arrived at around 7:30pm and once his tent was sorted, we all ventured out into the cold again and chatted happily for a while. Eventually though, the temperature got the better of us and we all retreated to our relative cocoons.

It was a chilly night. I had to get up around 4:00am and once again had to struggle with frozen zips on the tent fly. When I got back into bed, I noticed that Dixie was a bit shivery, so I put another duvet jacket over her. (She was already wearing her red pyjamas and covered with one lightweight duvet.) Ten minutes later she was still shivering, so then I unzipped my sleeping bag and pulled her half into it. That sorted her out!

Well, there was no lazy sleep in the next day. There had been a general consensus the night before that the sunrise was going to be worth getting up for, so James had kindly set his alarm for 7:00am to make sure we wouldn’t miss it……

And it was a cold morning too. Minus 5C apparently, with the wind chill. The tents were all covered in ice.

As sunrise time approached, the others all rather energetically charged off into the distance with their cameras to hunt out the perfect shot. It was all a bit too energetic for me before breakfast, so I contented myself with wandering around the camp with a hot chocolate, taking photos from there.

The actual sunrise didn’t turn out quite as expected, but there was obviously a temperature inversion and clouds could be seen down in the valleys to the east. Definitely worth getting up for.

I’d already decided that I was going to take Dixie directly back home again this morning, as I thought she’d probably had enough, so after we’d all breakfasted and packed our tents up (during which process Dixie drove us mad again with her incessant barking), we set off.  The others were going to take a slightly longer route and go round past the Downfall and down Sandy Heys.

It was even cold enough for Dixie to walk with her coat on for most of the descent.

As we approached the village, we had a bit of an ornithological treat as a heron stood in the river, letting us get really close to take a couple of photos.

We were back at the house a couple of hours later and got the kettle on and the cookies out ready for the others turning up not long after that.

I can’t believe how lucky we were with the weather over the two days. The others were back at the house by lunchtime, and not much later the clouds came in and the rain and wind started again with a vengeance. We’d certainly had the best of the weather this weekend, as well as it being a fun couple of days in great company. And Dixie sends a special thanks to James for suggesting a special ‘aged-Boxer’ route that she could join in with.

James’ post about the trip can be read here.

And Rich’s version is here!

41 thoughts on “A Chilly Night On Kinder

    1. Hi Dawn! Dixie was so pleased to join in as I’ve left her behind on the last couple of camps. Mind you, she’s spent all day today testing out various positions of repose on the sofa, and not shown any inclination to do anything else!


  1. I was just typing up my version of events when that pinged through Chrissie. That was a great ‘mini’ adventure, just shows that you don’t have to travel half way across the country for a wild night out (especially if you live in the peaks anyway!). Good to see that Dixie showed her appreciation when she got home!


    1. It was a good night James, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Didn’t Rich do a post at some point about ‘mini’ adventures – just getting out and doing stuff without it necessarily being something epic?
      And Dixie has apologised for all the barking too, she says she just doesn’t know what came over her……..


  2. Nice write up and super photos.

    What a small world, fancy you guys with James, (Backpackingbongos on Twitter), wild camping together on Kinder with Reuben.
    Got a feeling I may know Yuri from LFTO forum. Bet you and your partner will know Terrybnd and a few others.


  3. Nice post Chrissie (and Dixie!) – sounds like a great trip for both of you.

    I’ve just bought a Hutta coat like Dixie’s for Mist – with her long coat she won’t need it that often, but if we are accepted for SARDA training she will be frequently be wet and out for long periods on top of that. Great bit of kit, and light enough for me to carry in winter ‘just in case’.


    1. Cheers Paul 🙂
      Even Tilly has a coat like Dixie’s (only green), with her thick labrador coat. It’s surprising how cold they can get in the wind and wet etc when they’ve been exercising and then have to be stationary for a while.
      In fact, Reuben’s just got a nice new Hurtta coat too, only his model has also got faux fur trimming on the collar…. No doubt there’ll be a picture of it in James’ write up!


  4. Thoroughly enjoyable read and it’s like I’m “there”. With my failing knees, your words and photographs bring contagious enthusiasm. Like you, I’ve also cried more tears over the Boxers I’ve had the good fortune to share my life with. Wyatt Earp has fleece coats like Dixie and loves them. Virtual big hugs and a kiss on Dixie’s chops!


    1. Thank-you for your kind words Karen 🙂 Dixie loves her coat too – when it’s time to put it on, she puts her head through the neck herself, and then lifts her front paws one at a time for the ‘sleeves’. It must be very cozy!


  5. I was looking longingly at clear blue skies down in Herefordshire on Friday while I was working at home so looks like you all made the most of the “window”. Its been weather armageddon down her the last few days


    1. Hope you haven’t had the misfortune to be involved with any of the flooding Andy. I have to say that the news is looking very distressing for a lot of people at the moment.

      I think James is being a bit of a good-backpacking-weather-magnet at the moment; long may it continue……


      1. A few local road floods but we are a long way from the River Wye so no need to get the kayak and scuba gear out just yet. Some terrible pictures from Gloucestershire – they got hit pretty badly a few years back. Can’t begin to imagine how distressing it must be to have your home ruined or destroyed like that


    1. Funnily enough she’s in nearly the same position right now – snoring on the sofa with her legs in the air!
      Yes, I was lying in bed last night, listening to the wind and rain, feeling just a little relieved that I wasn’t in the tent in the middle of all that 🙂


  6. Wish i was a dog and had someone to put a spare duvet over me and then invite me into their seleping bag 🙂
    I`m afraid my fingers just can`t cope with the cold anymore as far as winter camping is concerned.
    Great pic of the heron if I may say so 🙂


  7. Hi Alex! Geoff always says that he’s planning on coming bag as a pampered dog next time 🙂 Dixie’s only got thin fur though – especially on her tummy!
    Actually it was so cold with the wind chill on the Saturday morning that my fingers went totally numb and then very hurty when I was taking the tent down with no gloves on.
    Thanks for the kind comment about the heron piccies – I thought they were a touch shaky as I’d been trying to keep Dixie still at the same time as take them, but certainly worth including anyway. There’s a lot of herons in the village, but that’s the closest I’ve ever been to one!


  8. That last photo’s great 😉 I’m still laughing at it. Your heron shots are really good – you must have a decent zoom? I think digital cameras are very good at very low-light shots generally from what I’ve seen. That’s one of the reasons I bought a compact one in the end – for bothy and night shots. I don’t fancy -5 in a tent though – brrrr!


  9. Thanks! It’s just a small digital camera – a Sony Cybershot. Our neighbour (who’s a professional photographer), recommended it as being half-way decent.
    I’m not sure Dixie really appreciated the -5 actually. She’s enjoys her camping, but I think she may have preffered being in front of the fire that night 🙂


  10. Good little trip that Chrissie. Some nice photos – I like the ones of the Heron. Must look to get out myself soon. I should take delivery of my winter sleeping bag shortly, so that will give me a good reason to test it out 🙂


    1. Rab Expedition 800. I don’t think Rab make that particular model this year – I think it might be a last year’s style – so I managed to find it for £370 instead of around £500. The power of searching on the internet! I do sleep very cold when I’m not zipped together with Geoff (who’s like a radiator), so I need something pretty snuggly 🙂
      What have you got coming?


  11. Fabulous photos, and what a great trip you all look to have had. Minus 5 though? That must be some sleeping bag you’ve acquired.


    1. Thanks Mark, it was a good little trip, even though just down the road for me! It’s funny really, in all the years I’ve been going up Kinder I’ve bivvied out from time to time, but that was the first occasion when I’ve actually put a tent up on the top. Don’t think it was really -5 inside the tent, but when it was windy and blowing across my nose sticking out of the bag, it certainly felt like it 🙂 But as Geoff would say, what do you expect with a nose the size of mine………….?


  12. Doggy arthritis medicine can work wonders. Last autumn I thought that Maisie wouldn’t be back in the hills as she hobbled along even on easy walks. It took a couple of months but in the Spring we built up to a round of the 4 Glen Lyon Munros at Invervar…without so much as a stiff twinge the following day! Good luck to Dixie…keep taking the pills! 😀


    1. She’s very crafty actually. She’s been eating dried dog food (expensive stuff of course) quite happily all her life, but as soon as I add Metacam to it, she won’t eat it unless I’ve added some meat as well! I’ve started getting crafy too though, and am only adding about a quarter of a tin now each night…fooling her so far 🙂


      1. Maisie didn’t react we’ll to metacam…she had tablets (forgotten what they were called) which we just added to her Pedigree Chum. Worked a treat. We found that M&S Rotisserie Style Chicken would ensure any medicine quickly disappeared. 😆

        The pup is on Royal Canin that the breeder recommended (arm and a leg stuff)but at least the vet said that was probably the best dried food available. She had better appreciate it! 😉


        1. Rimadyl? I think they’re an arthritic tablet.
          Boxers can be very difficult to get stuff down that they don’t want to take – Geoff says it’s because their ‘gobs’ are too big – and Dixie also has to have a ‘pissy Boxer’ tablet every morning. (Without these the poor dog’s a bit incontinent these days 🙂 )
          The only way I can get one of these tablets down her is to stuff it into a large cube of cheese – Double Gloucester is her favourite. Even then, I still occasionally find a tablet spat out around the house a couple of hours later…


          1. Butter is the answer! Tablet covered in butter and popped in the side of the mouth. Almost impossible to cough back up. I was amazed how efficient it was.

            That wasn’t the arthritis tablet name…sorry…just can’t remember…would know it if I heard it though. :D.


            1. Tried butter with Dixie – no joy!
              When we were coming back from Scandinavia this summer, we stopped at a vet in Holland for them to have their worming tablets before catching the ferry. In we went, armed with cheese. Tilly of course, will just eat any tablet anyway, with no fuss whatsoever, but the vet declared that she didn’t need cheese for Dixie – she could get tablets down any dog….
              Three spat-up tablets later, it was Dixie 3 – Vet 0. The vet gave in and used the cheese. I then went to pay while Geoff took the doggies back to the van. When I climbed back in with them a few minutes later Geoff says,
              “Hurry, get in quick, we need to get going before the vet realises that Dixie spat the last tablet out too, right under her desk as she left the surgery…….”
              Dixie 4 – Vet 0 😀


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