Saturday, 27 October 2018

Winter is coming

It's late October. Dale's allowed me to join in with a camp. Technically it's autumn, but the forecast is for around minus 2C overnight on Kinder with a 23 mph wind. Snow is forecast for mid morning the next day. So it's on the cusp of winter. It's Friday. The clocks go back on Sunday.

We head towards Edale Cross with our sights on a high, exposed camp. By 5pm we're settled and a brew is on.

Islay's had a Bonio and is snuggled in her bed.

It's cooling fast. My Skywatch is outside and I can see it falling. 1.9C, 1.8C...

I prepare a dinner of cheapo Batchelor's spicy arrabiata pasta with a chopped Pepperami chucked in for good measure. Delicious. To follow, on David's recommendation, Bird's Instant semolina. I've brought a dessertspoon of blackcurrant jam in a placcy bag and it makes a really tasty pudding. Islay tucks into her food with gusto.

I watch a couple of episodes of Fargo, series 3, on Netflix, before retiring. There's ice beginning to form on the tent. It's just below freezing. Islay has her fleecy PJs on and her insulated jacket too. Hunkered down in her camping bed (to buy one see here) she feels toasty warm.

As the night passes I wake a couple of times. In the early hours I check my Skywatch. It's minus 2C and the wind speed is 26mph. In these conditions it's comforting, listening to the wind, secure in the knowledge that all my kit is combining to keep me safe, warm and comfortable. I'm in my Rab Neutrino 600 bag, wearing some Rab long johns, a Montane Allez microgrid top and my Bridegdale liner socks. I'm supremely comfy but I think, for me, it's on the limit for this, my spring/summer/autumn bag. When colder I'll use my Rab Expedition 800.

I check Islay each time I wake. Despite occasionally squirming out of the cover of her bag, she's warm. I cover her again anyway.

I wake just before 8am. There's ice inside and outside the flysheet. But it's dry. The wind has dropped.

Islay and I breakfast in bed then pack up. It's begun to forecast. By the time I leave the tent, there's a thin covering. Islay plays in the snow while I drop the tent.

By the time I've packed the tent my fingers are numb inside my fleece gloves. Once Islay's panniers are on and I've adjusted my rucsac, I don my old, faithful Extremities winter mitts. As we begin to walk my fingers warm quickly.

We head towards Kinderlow End. Islay is loving dashing about in the snow. I love to see her so happy.

With a thin covering of snow we use poles to ease the steep descent off Kinderlow End. A slow pace keeps us safe from trips.

A first outing for my deliciously loud new Dijon, Rab Torque pants.

Home again, Chrissie, Dale and I muse about further trips over bacon and egg butties.

Winter is coming. Life is good.


Friday, 19 October 2018

Sabre crash site with David

It's Thursday morning and we await the arrival of David and Moss. We'd planned a night out from here a while back.

Just a couple of days ago I'd won a Rab Microlight Alpine down jacket in a competition run by Go Outdoors. It was a draw really. But I won anyway. And the jacket is due to be delivered today, twixt 1 and 2pm. Timely.

David and Moss arrive in time for lunch, much to the excitement of Pebbles and Islay. There's much hurtling around the house before we settle to eat. The lovely jacket arrives just as we finish shoving food into our faces...and it fits! Then we're away up towards glorious autumnal sunnyshine.

We climb Willam Clough in heat!

Once atop the col we set out into pathless terrain...ish, towards the site of the wreck of two Sabre jets which collided in mid air up here in 1954, during a training exercise.

Having paid our respects to the poor guys who lost their lives here, we leave to find a patch of ground to accommodate our tents. It's not too hard, the ground being considerably drier than when last I was here. We're soon engrossed in occupying dogs, erecting tents, filtering water and such.

We're in shade already and it feels cold. I'm delighted to throw on my new jacket, which hits the spot perfectly as I faff with camp prep.

We retreat inside our respective shelters, feed dogs and make brews. Darkness is But, once fed, Pebbles are Islay are into full sleep mode, tucked into their cosy, camp beds. As an aside, if you'd like one for your pooch, contact Chrissie who'll happily make one for you.

I'm no photographer but, with my phone, captured a couple of nightytime shots. In the view up onto Kinder's northern edge, close to the horizon at around 4 o'clock from the Moon, you can just see the red dot of Mars.

The dogs felt it necessary to wake up again whilst I was outside.

We passed a restful night. It was around freezing in the early hours, with some ice on the tent. But by morning, cloud had warmed up the air and it was 7 degrees at 7am.

My nice, new jacket was perfect over a baselayer during the chilly evening and cool morning. It has a water repellent outer and hydrophobic down so is well suited to damp, British conditions.

We enjoyed a pleasant, sunnyish walk back to our village home, with smiles on our faces.

A delightful short jaunt. Any excuse for a wild camp. And it's always good to spend time with David. He exudes affability, despite my merciless piss-taking.

We love you David...and Moss.