Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Peak District Day 1 (Part 1)

I traveled up to the Peak District on the Thursday, hopeing to have plenty of time to look about and get myself familiar with the area. Unfortunately the motorway Gods took an unfathomable dislike to me, and closed the M1 not long after I was discharged onto its clogged artery. So after a long detour and copious amounts of bumper to bumper action, I arrived at the campsite in Bamford four and half hours after setting off.

I quickly put up the tent, and was soon having a scout about in the hot afternoon sun. It wasn’t long before it started to cloud over as afternoon turned to evening, so I headed back to the campsite to make some dinner and have an all-out skirmish with the local bug population, who seemed intent on draining me of all my life giving nutrients.

I took a few snaps on my phone on the Thursday as I was nosing around. They are Over Owler Tor, an old Millstone at Baslow Edge and a cow who just would not stop staring at me, in a field of buttercups.

I took to my bed fairly early as I wanted to be up for sunrise, which is at an unforgivable hour this time of year. But thanks to the late arrival of a group of jabbering youths, who I gathered, based on their relentless chattering, were on some kind of outward bound course, sleep was an ambition quite beyond me, and I was kept awake until the small hours. But at least, thanks to their sonorous instructors, I now have the ability to read a compass with frightening efficiency.

At 4am I woke to a pretty grey morning, but I was keen to get out anyway and experience a bit of the Peak District flavour. I was based in the Northern, Dark Peak area of the National Park, where imposing landscapes and impressive stone structures abound, as opposed to the more mellow Southern section, which is more rolling fields and rambling stone walls.

A view of Higger Tor looking all moody.

I took the 15 minute drive over to Higger Tor where I had planned to see my first sunrise of the trip. After the short climb to this dominant landmark overlooking the Burbage Valley, I found I had the place to myself. Which may not be surprising considering the hour, but with visitor numbers totalling around 10 million a year and the park being bordered by several large cities including Manchester, Sheffield and Derby, I was half expecting some company.

The only company I actually had was the local rabbit population, who dashed out from the undergrowth with a boisterous flurry at every turn. Unfortunately the conditions were looking as grey as the surrounding gritstone, so the chance of any sunrise colour seemed unlikely. But I was glad I’d made the effort to get out, it was very peaceful up there, the sprightly sounds of nature harmonising with the deep stillness of dawn.

Plus the call of one particular animal I couldn’t see, had the jaunty ‘boing’ of a released spring, and was hilarious.

I managed to get a shot with a bit of colour in the end.

The clouds did briefly show a willingness to perform, but it didn’t last long and too soon a uniform blandness had returned. After a couple of hours I returned to the campsite for some breakfast. Never has a bowl of fruit and fibre been met with so much enthusiasm.

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