Three for the price of one.

I’m back after a week in Bakewell in the Peak District having had a rather lovely break. There were several stand out trips from the week and rather than blog about them all, you get three for the price of one today AND they’re not even past their best before date…..

First up was a small walk from around Winster early in the week with the whole family, three generations together. Our eldest son Ifor (4 years old) led the walk using the Making tracks series of walking packs. I expected it to be great practice for reading, but the stand out aspect of the walk was seeing his confidence increase and his skills develop from leading. There was some strong emotion on seeing him check off navigation features and get a bee in his bonnet about striding on at the front. It was a joyous thing to see his outdoor life and independence start – I’ll be posting a review of the Making tracks series shortly.

Hawthorn above Winster

All the gang

Ellis has a go at leading

One of the other family trips was just a short stroll up to Robin hood’s stride to have a bit of scrambling fun. It’s a set of rocks in the white peak near where Cath’s folks live. Ellis bounced about like a leprauchaun and I’m not sure he has actually developed his fear reflexes yet on the strength of his behaviour that day. Ifor was much more cautious, but again it was awesome to see their decision making skills coming on in leaps & bounds. If you have a spare couple of hours and fancy some easy non-scary fun scrambling, it’s well worth a look.

Robin Hoods Stride

Rock hero pose

love the rock

It's so much fun my hair stands on end

The final trip was a swift wild camp with Andy (AKA @mixedupmessedup). We took a Backpacking Bongos trip from a week or two earlier as inspiration and changed it around to make it slightly longer. The initial evening walk to our camp was uneventful as we headed up from Howden resevoir, but the weather looks more beautiful than I remember according to these photos. I’ll let them do the talking.

Leaving Howden resevoir

Up towards Bleaklow

Towards Grinah Stones

Journeys end

Time for a brew

The second day was dreich as they say North of the border. I awoke to the sound of rain on the tent and it didn’t stop until the following day. We had planned to meet Martin Banfield of Postcard from Timperley fame on the second day to stroll with us. After packing away the tents, we strolled up from Grinnah stones towards Bleaklow stones where we were due to meet Martin. He had already spied our camp spot via the power of Social Hiking so we got a text to let us know he was at Bleaklow Head. Mobile signal was intermittent to say the least and whilst we were at Bleaklow Stones we began to worry as on the OS explorer maps, it is shown away from the most recongnisable rocks such as the anvil stone. To cut a long story short, we then had a joyous 3/4 hour of intermittent texts, with hill fog reducing visibility to 50 metres and the rain stepping up a couple of notches whilst we tried to find each other in amongst the Pinnacles of Peat. Eventually we found each other and it was a timely reminder of just how difficult navigation can be in crappy weather, especially in the Dark Peak.

Finally strolling on, the conversation flowed as easily as the rain did. The weather was totally crud but there are few areas in the Peak District that lend themselves as well as Bleaklow do to getting away from it all. We followed a straightforward route back to the Penine way, cutting down to Grains in the Water then up on to Allport moor for the obligatory trig photo. We then strolled towards Alport Castles before heading left down the hill back to the car. Dollops of wilderness and a sense of scale and height you don’t get elsewhere in the Peaks made for a wonderful day despite the dampness. Add in some decent company in the form of Andy and Martin and the day was over far too quickly for my liking.

Misty start to the day

Andy H

Bleaklow Stones

Up to Alport

Andy had been feeling pretty duff after a stinking cold so we finished up early, just in time for a swift drink in the Ladybower Inn. Whilst there, we overheard a group of farmers have a local land management presentation. It focussed on what they were doing to look after the moorland, particularly when they should burn heather. It was the most interesting 10 minutes I have ever heard on moors, of which the stand out facts for me were that Midges pollinate heather and heather only stands a 5% chance of germinating if it hasn’t been near smoke. All of a sudden the midges didn’t seem so much of an irritation. It never ceases to amaze me the balance and purpose there is in everything in Nature.

If you want to look at more pretty picture they’re here. Martin’s elegant report is here, James’ blog that delivers inspiration by the bucketful is here and our tracks in the rain can be followed below.

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  • DavyWA

    Nice handful of trips there. I’ll be interested in the Making Tracks review. Haven’t heard of it before and I want to get my wee girl outdoors using maps, she’s only 2 1/2 but as soon as I can get her making sense of maps I want to start.

    Thanks, Davy

  • karenguttridge

    You were right about ‘three for the price of one’ – lots of info, pics and goings on in there! The boys (both big and small..) look to be having a great time :-)

    I love it when – quite by chance – you pick up some interesting stuff (the midges!). That happens to me all the time but I think you have to keep your ears open and also be brave and engage people in conversation. Or just be nosey, like me :o)

    The added option of seeing extra photos in your Flickr stream was great too. Fab post!

    • http://www.webtogs.com Gareth

      Hey Kazza, we were definitely nosey this time, we got some dirty looks when they realised we had gone silent and were listening in! Thanks for stopping by.

  • http://www.deanread.net/ Dean Read

    Great post, looks like you had a great trip. Interesting fact about the midges, right place at the right time to find that out.

    • http://www.webtogs.com Gareth

      Cheers Dean, I’m half tempted to drop them a mail to see if I can get hold of the presentation ;) Kudos on the Karrimor video BTW, you are officially “dishy” according to my other half :)

      • http://www.deanread.net/ Dean Read

        Thank you very much re Karrimor video. Also, thanks to your other half :-)
        The only other feedback I’ve seen about me in the video was a YouTube comment calling me “scruffy” :-)

  • Martin Banfield

    Nice one Gareth – enjoyed the day out despite the dreich, especially the tramping around in an assortment of bogs and hags waiting for your next ‘treasure hunt’ message to come through.

    • http://www.webtogs.com Gareth

      Thanks Martin, lovely to meet up with you and share the day. There’s a game we could design based around our experiences I reckon…

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