Pebbles had received some very nifty new panniers at Christmas, but hadn’t yet tried them out properly. It was time we made the effort.
After studying the MWIS forecast in some detail, Friday night looked like a good bet. The weather was getting colder and drier, and some forecast foggy stuff wasn’t due to come in until Saturday lunchtime. So, a last minute decision was made on Friday morning and we packed up.
I wasn’t fussed about walking any great distances, but had a spot in mind only a few miles from us, that I thought might fit the bill.
The weather was indeed blue-sky-gorgeous in the afternoon, with just a hint of a fresh breeze as we got higher up.
I had been careful not to load the panniers up too much. Some people say that dogs should be able to carry a third of their body weight, others say it should be no more than a quarter. At around 25kg, I have no intention of ever asking Pebbles to carry more than 5kg, and she did in fact, only have 1.2kg in her panniers this day. She had no trouble with that, so I decided she could carry her bed (830g) as well, on the homeward journey.
The potential camping spot we were aiming for delivered a large flat ledge, lots of soft heather and a tiny stream nearby for water.
I generally tie Pebbles to my full rucksack whilst I’m putting the tent up, but in the cold wind that was starting to materialise, she insisted on barking at me to make her displeasure known at having to suffer that indignity.
I just ignored her. Things were soon sorted though and a brew on the go.
I had downloaded some stuff to watch on I-Player for the evening, so sat and enjoyed the Bluestone 42 Christmas Special before cooking tea.
And looking out over Manchester and Stockport a bit later, I was pleasantly surprised at both the sunset and the city lights. Even the lights seemed quite spectacular in the crystal clear night. For once, I wished I’d had a better camera with me.
By now, I was quite surprised at how windy it was getting. It was touching on being strong enough to hinder walking a little. I was sure I hadn’t seen anything about this on the forecast!
The tent is very stable though and I eventually slept surprisingly well – given that I was woken several times by the noise of some particularly gusty periods.
I woke properly at about 7-ish and lay there until it started to look a bit lighter outside. When Pebbles and I finally did have to go out – for toileting purposes – it was absolutely bitter. Her drinking water was frozen, the tent was covered in frost and the wind chill effect was God knows what. I was really pleased I’d lugged my big Rab duvet jacket up for the night!
It was also decidedly murky.
We breakfasted at leisure before tackling the packing up routine. It was far too cold and wild to take stuff outside, so both my rucksack and Pebbles’ panniers had to be sorted in the tent. We’ve practiced this before in good weather, and she was a little star, sitting quietly while I faffed with stuff all around her.
The time came though, when we just had to go out. You can’t pack a tent away while you’re still in it. She came in and helped while I dropped the inner, but I just had to tie her to the rucksack again while I sorted the outer. It was a bit of a wrestle in the wind and I was slightly stressed knowing that Pebbles wasn’t happy at this point. By the time I’d finished, she had managed to make herself into the tiniest curl-up imagineable, in the ‘shelter’ of my pack. She’d also managed to tie her legs up with her lead..
For the first half hour of the descent, the wind made walking a little challenging, but then suddenly, we dropped into a calm day, and even passed people on their way up Kinder in shorts. They would get a shock later.
And Pebbles had no trouble with the extra weight of her bed on the way back, even having spare energy to keep jumping into icy puddles, just ’cause it was fun.