As is usually the way with my shift patterns, the great weather comes when I’m at work and the rain arrives just in time for my days off. Well, it certainly feels that way at times and this week was no exception. My mate Ray and I managed to select perhaps the best day however to head out for a wild camp this week. The plan was to find a forest somewhere, pitch the tents, hang a tarp, then relax and enjoy the surroundings regardless of the weather. This was still the plan as we drove towards the Peak District from Chesterfield, as we came down the hill to Robin Hood I suddenly remembered a video I had seen recently. The video was by Luke aka OutdoorEnthusiasts101 on YouTube and he was Wild Camping in the Peak District. He had set off from Robin Hood, gone over Birchen Edge to Big Moor and Wild Camped somewhere up there. I then remembered that the last time I was on Big Moor I saw a herd of deer, It was then that our plans for the night changed and I knew we had to head there to see if we could catch the deer on video.
We managed to get parked up in Baslow at around 16:00, got all our gear together and then set off in a race against the weather. The rain was due to arrived at around 17:00 and I though it would be handy if we could at least get pitched for 18:00 to avoid the worst of what was expected. We headed straight for Baslow Edge up the track marked as Bar Road on the Ordnance Survey Map, we then continued along the track past the Eagle Stone where we met the Highland Cattle that graze there.
After walking along the track at Baslow Edge we came to Curbar Gap, if you just wanted to walk around this area then you can park at the nearby car park but I wouldn’t fancy leaving a car there overnight, hence why we chose to park in Baslow.
We proceeded along Curbar Edge while enjoying the views in all directions, we were very pleased to see that the rain appeared to be missing us. The torrential downpours that had been forecast seemed to be further down in the Derwent Valley near Chatsworth, there was lots of rain up in the Hope Valley too so we were feeling really lucky indeed.
We turned off the footpath along Curbar Edge at SK 2548 7574 and then walked over the boggy moorland up towards White Edge. The Trig Point on the edge stands at SK 2637 7585 and you get some great 360 degree views.
I mentioned earlier that I had seen a Herd of Deer on my last visit to Big Moor, I had spoken to Luke aka OutdoorEnthusiast101 and he mentioned that he had seen them too on his recent wild camp. Luckily, I spotted them today as soon as I looked north from the Trig Point on White Edge. They were gathered around a clump of Gritstone so we walked over to have a look. We were up wind of them so as you can imagine they spotted us straight away. I managed to get a few pictures and a little video footage before they moved away.
The clump of gritstone near where the deer had been gathered looked like a great spot to discreetly pitch the tents. That the name of the game for me when wild camping, I want to be as discreet as possible so as not to attract any attention. As I’m sure many of you will know, Wild Camping isn’t strictly legal. In Scotland you are allowed to wild camp in many places in the hills providing you follow a set of guidelines, in England and Wales the story is a little different. The rules/guidelines are obviously there for a reason but all I will say is that I act responsibly at all times. I always make sure we pitch in the late afternoon and are gone early in the morning, I also make sure that we treat the land with respect, leave no rubbish, damage no property and I would happily obey any requests to move on by land owners and rangers. I have never been asked to move on if I’m honest, as I say I always make sure I’m discreet so my presence seems never to have been noticed in the past…. anyway, back to the subject of tonights wild camp.
After we had pitched our tents on a small piece of grass between the gritstone I set up the GoPro ready to time lapse the clouds. I knew that we weren’t going to get much in the way of a sunset tonight so I figured the clouds/rain moving across the landscape might look good in the video instead.
We really had dropped lucky with the weather this evening, the rain was passing either side of us and I was so glad we didn’t stick with the original plan which was to camp over near the Vale of Edale. The rain looked really heavy and the clouds looked menacing as it moved over the top of Win Hill towards Stanage Edge.
We pitched the tarp over a nice convenient bit of gritstone to enable us to be sheltered if the rain did head our way. Thankfully it was in the perfect orientation to allow us to be out of the wind too as it had begun to pick up as the night went on. We eventually retired to our tents at around midnight where I had a great nights sleep, I don’t think Ray was so lucky 🙂
I awoke at around 05:15 and stuck my head out of the tent to see what the views were like, there was a thick layer of cloud over on the eastern horizon but their colours were beginning to change as the sun began to rise. I immediately took the picture that you can see above and then jumped out to set the GoPro up for some more time lapse footage.
As I mentioned earlier, the general rule that I stick to when wild camping is pitching late and leaving early. We stuck to that rule again today as we were packed up and on our way by 06:15. As we left we spotted the herd of deer again and they were gathered around the Trig Point on White Edge.
The deer had began to move away from the Trig Point as we arrived and I don’t think they were too bothered by our presence. I took the obligatory shot of the Trig and then we carried on along White Edge for a while longer. We eventually came to the path which leads from White Edge to Curbar Gap, we passed another herd of Highland Cattle as we made our way across the fields.
We walked a short section along the road from the Curbar Gap Carpark to the start of the path along Baslow Edge, yesterday we had walked along the track which is back from Baslow Edge itself, we chose to walk back via the edge path this morning to enjoy the views down into the Derwent Valley.
In no time at all we were heading back down Bar Road, we had been very lazy this morning and not cooked the food we had bought in favour of grabbing a full english breakfast somewhere. I could almost taste the coffee and bacon etc at the Chatsworth Farm Shop as we arrived back at the car in Baslow 🙂