Brown Knoll Again – This Time With Snow

“Oh my God, look at the moon! And the lights!”

This was Fran’s third wild camp, but only the first where we had a clear sky overnight. And it was simply stunning. My photos might only be taken with a mobile, but you get the idea.

It was also the coldest wild camp yet for Fran. Trying out our new Skywatch (nicknamed the Poundland Kestrel by James) I clocked -5C with windchill in the evening and -2.9C with windchill in the morning.

The dates for this trip had been arranged since before Christmas, making for a daily study of the weather forecast in the fortnight running up to it, and the plans for where we going to go changed daily along with it.

First it was Kinder via Jacob’s Ladder, then Bleaklow via Doctor’s Gate (Judith gave me that idea), then back to Kinder again…… In the end it wasn’t the weather that made the decision for us, but my left foot.

I appeared to develop a rather sore case of that Plantar Fashy Thingy on the way back from the camp Geoff and I did with the dogs, the previous week. In fact, I could hardly walk on the way home.

Lots of googling and advice had me stretching, applying ice, popping ibuprofen and trying different footbeds, and for a brief moment I thought I was going to have to cancel Fran’s trip.

But, things did start improving. It certainly hadn’t gone, but I felt able to go out. I picked a short route though. The same one Geoff and I had just done in fact.

Obviously it was going to be somewhat nippy, so winter sleeping bags and plenty of insulated clothing were on the cards, making for slightly heavier rucksacks than in the summer. Of course the margin for error is much smaller in these conditions, so I’d always rather have something with me that I didn’t wear, than be shivering with everything on, feeling miserable.

By the time we’d filtered water on the way up, the temperature was already dropping with the fading light. Fran suddenly glanced back at one point, to notice a glorious sunset sneakily happening behind us. Magic.

Nights are still long at this time of year, so eating, drinking (tea and hot chocolate for me, but I’m pretty sure Fran had some wine as well) and watching stuff on I-Player, helped pass the hours.

Fired with enthusiasm after the wonderful sunset we’d witnessed, I checked google for the time of sunrise the next morning and we decided to set our alarms for 7am, to make sure we didn’t miss it.

I settled down to sleep. Dozing, I suddenly heard the unmistakeable, crisp sound of footsteps in snow, passing our tents. I’ve since checked the time and it was around 9:50pm. I looked out my door, but could see no-one. Shouting Fran, she unplugged her ear plugs and looked back along her way, to see a guy walking away from us, with a large-ish pack.

My first thought at this time of the evening was the Rescue Team out on a call, but there would have been a small group in that case, not a lone individual. And they would have stopped to speak, to see if we had any information about who they were looking for.

Obviously someone just out doing something similar to us. Kinder is getting very busy these days!

For once, I didn’t sleep especially well. The wind kept getting up in the night and wind noise is the one thing that tends to keep me awake. But I dropped off eventually and woke to stillness at about six in the morning.

Our planned magnificent sunrise never happened though. The day just slid quietly in, without a fuss.

It was very peaceful. Chatting pleasantly, we took our time over breakfast and packing up.

Kinder looked glorious in the ever changing, morning light.

The wind had completely dropped by now, but the ambient temperature was obviously colder than the night before as there was now ice on the paths. We even put microspikes on for a short section once we hit the track again, as all the puddles and stones were iced over.

A lone walker with his ice axe strapped to his rucksack passed us while we were packing up, no doubt hoping for a good day out on Kinder.

And so, another good camp over. Fran has a shopping list in her head for yet more gear she’d like and a date is already set for the next trip. I just get the impression however, that she might like the next one to be a touch warmer.


24 thoughts on “Brown Knoll Again – This Time With Snow

  1. An alarm set for 7.00am? Oh how I envy you the need. I’m never asleep after 6.00am. Most days not after 5.00am. Frequently 4.00am. Sometimes 3.00am… get the picture. That’s one reason why I’m so crabby and my brain doesn’t work very well.


  2. Fab-u-lous! And buy a spiky massage ball (small yellow one the best size) for rolling the sole of your foot on. Just the ticket for plantar trouble along with calf stretches. Good luck with that x


      1. Best to go for a ball as you can roll it easily in circles as well as back & forth. Fill a water bottle with ice & roll that if it’s really sore. The ball softens the fascia & releases the tension.


  3. Another enjoyable Sunday catch up Chrissie. I suppose it’s just your luck with sunsets and rises, but when you do capture a good one it’s absolutely stunning. Sorry to hear about your foot. I’m having similar problems with my right knee. Poles are a must when descending. Great to see Fran is still embracing the wildcamping in all weathers. I follow her on ig and she is so passionate about it. Glad she’s out with you and learning the do’s and don’ts.
    It’s another cracker Chrissie. Hope you and your othe half are keeping well. Take care………….AndyπŸ˜‰


  4. Good job you took the microspikes! That would be wayyy too cold for me to camp. I was thinking about you saying that you just need a warm sleeping bag but I think my problem is that I chill very quickly indeed and have little circulation, so would be so frozen by the time I got into it, I’d never warm up again all night. I’d be the same again getting up – I only just cope with the cold in a morning in a bothy and they’re warmer as you have a fire until late in the night.


    1. Yes it’s definitely Microspike season!
      Geoff has a lot of trouble with his hands in the cold and has to be careful he doesn’t lose feeling altogether. Cold camping isn’t for everyone though, although there are techniques that may help. For example I always change into dry base layers as soon as the tent is up, then pile clothes on, otherwise I would chill very quickly. Hot drink is the next thing, with some cake or something delicious….. Then I can relax! πŸ˜‚


      1. I definitely find hot drinks very helpful – I make sure I’ve always got a flask most of the year round even just for hillwalking. I have Raynauds too so have to watch my hands – photography’s the worst for that!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. When watching TV use an old rolling pin under your foot or tin of beans or similar. A visit to a podiatrist as you may need inserts? With regard to Geoff , a recent TV programme suggested viagra to help cicrculation!!


    1. Thanks, yes I’m using a bottle filled with frozen water πŸ‘I’ve bought myself some new Sole insoles which feel good so far.
      I’ll pass Geoff’s info onto him….πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


  6. That looks cold but fun! I’ve had the dreaded PF. What killed it off for me was a splint I wore in bed. I have a sock version and a hard plastic one. I tightened it as far as I could without it being too much to affect my sleep and the PF was gone within a week or two. It was excruciating while I had it. Hope you deal it a fatal blow


    1. I’ve seen photos of that splint thing. It is unbelievably painful at times although it does seem to be slowly improving. It’d better go quickly! Ibuprofen gel massaged in seems quite good but I’m also going mad with stretching and ice….. Another week and I’ll be going for acupuncture if nec…


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