Peaks: the land of the rambler, day walker and odd duffer ;) bimbling along. So me and Andy bucked the trend by going backpacking there.
Trip report Peak District October 2013
Photos HERE see them full size on Google +
Day 1 Saturday 5th
Andy wanted a good test for his knee (he fell off his bike, landing on it recently) and I wanted a trip after my feet had recovered from getting chewed to pieces by dodgy insoles on my trail shoes letting me down in Scotland in August.
We met Dean at Yorkshire Bridge and then got the map out to decide on a route. Planning obviously was décontracté in approach on this trip.
But we decided to go over by Crook Hill to Alport Castles (which has no actual Castles), then we would sorta make a decison on where to stay. The banter walking with Dean and Andy made the miles fly as we gained height, and the views did not disappoint. We shared tips, ideas and the like. The day promised good weather, but we had a bit of mixed sunshine and dull, slightly overcast skies.
I started to think my shelter choice (a tarp - let's not go there) might be less than ideal for the conditions.
Alport is in fact a landslip, and for the Peaks, one of its most impressive sights. We had a break and ignored the large groups of hikers and the mountain bikers, who always seem to be fixing broken bikes. Me and Andy know a man who is rather short-fused with mountain bikers. We reckoned he would have been on a right rant if he had joined us ;)
Dean here left our mini adventure to go home, while we kept going on. The weather started to clear and show hope of improving. We headed direct to Westend Moor but bog, hags and the terrain underfoot had us zig-zagging more than keeping to a straight line. No complaints, as we chalked it up as Challenge Training.
I liked the light and shifting shadows in the early afternoon as we dropped onto the Ridge, where a good path led to more bog.
Slightly annoyed at the wet conditions underfoot, the stones on Alport Head gave us a destination to take in the expansive and fine views, away from the bog. Let's be honest - the Peaks is not vast, but here its best sense of wild land is found, a real gem so close to major habitations. How the ramblers of days gone by fought so hard to allow us the access we take for granted now. The moors for me are always a place I enjoy walking.
We were enjoying poking around the rocks and dangling the feet over the edge, relaxing, when we spotted a large party of hikers not far from our intended wild camp spot. Andy deployed the monocular to check. We waited, playing Ranger dodging, just in case the party was on a field trip with one. Once they cleared, we headed down to camp. Bog-hopping - and let's not make it all nice here - it contained some real deep, deep and awful bog to cross to find the camp. Worth it; and once pitched, whisky, food and chat soon passed the time. Downside: the bloody midges were out. October!! what the heck.....once Deet was deployed and some joss stick thing Andy had, we had a good relaxing time till darkness fell, and then I hit the bivy, Andy his tent to watch a film. Me, a nice bivy....he got the better deal I think.
Day 2 Sunday 6th
Lady luck dealt a superb hand to us. The glow of the morning sunshine gave a warm hue to the hills as we got going early. Andy in fact found it blinding at times. Rich, contrasting deep shadows cut across sun glow on the hills. Absolutely superb (that good). The track above the River Alport winding down this deep ravine then led us back towards the car.
We had to cross the river after dropping to the valley floor; I went for it, while Andy tiptoed across rocks. He was glad to be out of the deep, soaking wet bracken. Being tall, I found it less problematic.
The River Ashop ford: for me, again, a simple cross and sod wet feet as they dry out. Andy on the other hand had Gore-tex lined trail shoes. The old, good, won't-fall-apart-after-ten-miles Inov-8 used to make (not the shit they make now) and he opted to test that an object displaces its volume in weight, and combined with speed, he calculated (after all he is a trained maths teacher) that he could make a run for it, avoiding wet feet. He did ok to be honest.
Ramblers, mountain bikers and those in a hurry might miss the rather clear spring water by Blackley Clough - we did not. A brew and top up of water on a warm day made for a nice break. From there, it was a direct line to Win Hill. Some fell-running race was on. While folk rushed around finishing a fine walk on a sunny day in a fraction of the time ramblers take, Andy decided the crags of Win Hill needed a direct assault.
Once the rather short climb was undertaken and we topped out, we took in the final high views of this fine trip, then the direct line down to the car. Parkin Clough is steep, as well as wet, muddy, and covered in leaves. We went down fast (I took a tumble down a bank) and Andy mentioned something about you could easily fall here - which is true, as a I did.
Once back to the car the next trip was already being hatched and talked about. The Peaks has some fine backpacking. Just watch out for those pesky Rangers.