Our Summer Of Hiking Has Started!
After months of planning, we’re all set to head off on our first long distance hike. Read about our daily adventures hiking and camping the Pennine Way in our diary updates starting here…
D-Day! Rucksacks packed & ready for the off. Pennine Way here we come!
Day 1 – Edale to Kinder Scout (5.12 miles) – Tuesday 24th June 2014 – ‘Wild At Heart’
The start of our Pennine Way adventure began with a train journey to the small Peak District village of Edale. From here we intended on hiking 16 miles to our first campsite at Crowden. But in typical English style, it was raining when we arrived. So instead of setting off and getting soaked straight away, which would have put a dampener on our spirits, we headed to the Nags Head Pub, our best alternative. We ordered ourselves a pint, as is customary to begin the Pennine Way, and mulled over the situation.
A wet arrival in Edale led us straight to the ‘Hikers Bar’.
Still in high spirits despite the rain. A customary pint to mark the start of the 270 mile Pennine Way.
So there we were debating whether to camp at the nearby Coopers Farm, stay in the pub and have a session or just go for it and set off on the trail. Wayne had a reccy outside and decided on the latter as the rain had almost stopped. So at 4.30pm we finally set off just as the sun made an impromptu appearance. A mile or so on, we stopped briefly for a late lunch of squeezy cheese wraps before heading up Jacob’s Ladder, a series of steps up a steep hillside that seemed a breeze compared to hiking up Colca Canyon in Peru, despite our heavy packs.
Setting off from Edale…
Thankful that the rain had finally stopped (for now!)
Looking across Upper Booth Farm.
A paved trail makes it an easy start…
Heading up Jacob’s Ladder.
View looking back from the top of Jacob’s Ladder.
Enjoying the view on the top of Kinder Scout as crepuscular rays appear through the clouds.
We headed to the Kinder Plateau and decided we would wild camp for the night as we’d set off so late. But first we needed to re-fill our water bottles. We had no luck with streams as those we passed were dry, but managed to find water at Kinder Downfall. It was around 9pm when we found a nice flat spot to pitch our tent, past Kinder Downfall, above a place known as Sandy Heyes.
Looking out over Kinder Downfall.
Not too bad. Our first wild camp spot in the UK!
Wayne prepares our first camp dinner.
A selection of rations from our food pack.
Healthy lightweight option – Cous cous, tuna and flour tortillas.
Settled for the night with our synthetic summer sleeping bags. (A last minute change to our kit that we soon regretted!)
Dinner was simple, using food from our ration packs. But at least that meant our backpacks would be a few grams lighter in the morning. By 10pm, we’d bunked down in our sleeping bags – but it wasn’t to be a night of contented sleep. Far from it! I was still awake at 2pm because I was so cold. We’d made a last minute decision to bring our 2-season sleeping bags thinking our 3-season down bags would be too hot for summer in the UK. Big mistake! I put on all the layers I had with me but still couldn’t get warm, which meant a restless night shivering away, until I finally nodded off as the sun came up.
Day 2 – Kinder Plateau to Crowden. (10.9 miles) – Wednesday 25th June 2014 – ‘Support Team To The Rescue’
A gorgeous morning to wake up to.
Looking across to Kinder Reservoir.
Hardly any sleep during the night meant we didn’t make our 6am alarm call. In fact, we didn’t wake up until 8am, causing us to panic as we’d intended on being long gone from our wild camp location by then. The first job of the day was to make a hasty phone call home to see whether Wayne’s parents would drive out and meet us somewhere along the day’s route to bring us our 3-season down sleeping bags, which we desperately needed. I was in two minds about ringing them as I didn’t want to put them to any inconvenience. But Wayne pointed out that the further north we go towards the Cheviots the colder it would get. Better to bring them now on Day 2, which is closer to home, than have to drive to the Scottish borders in a couple of weeks! True, and Wayne’s parents were fine about helping us out.
Setting off to meet the parents at Snake Pass.
A great day for a walk in the hills!
Meeting us at Snake Pass with our much needed 3-season down sleeping bags, our fantastic ‘Support Team’. (Aka Mum and Dad in-law).
By the time we’d met up with our newly designated ‘Support Team’ at Snake Pass and refuelled on their picnic supplies, it was after midday before we set off again. We headed through Devil’s Dike to Bleaklow Head which was quite hard going on the feet because of stony trails. The fortunate thing about walking through moorland though is that there aren’t any stinging nettles. The downside on the other hand are swarms of midges forever on the attack, which are even more annoying than sand flies!
Continuing on the Pennine Way to Bleaklow Head.
Navigating the stony trail.
Looking out to Torside Reservoir.
After what seemed like a long day getting used to the weight of our packs, we made it to our campsite at Crowden by 5pm. The Caravan & Camping Club campsite is really well maintained with lovely flat pitches and spotless kitchen and bathroom facilities. What makes it even better is that the walk-up price is cheaper than what is quoted online. There is even a well-stocked camp shop where we bought a couple of free range eggs to go with our dinner. The only negative we can say is that there isn’t Wi-Fi, but hey, you are in the middle of nowhere!
Wayne prepares dinner while I got on with the task of laundry.
After a hot shower we settled down to a dinner of super noodles ‘a la Thai style’ with a fried egg on top!
Perfect fried eggs until one slid out of the frying pan onto the grass. Oops!
Day 3 – Crowden to Standedge. (12.5 miles) – Thursday 26th June 2014 – ‘A Head For Heights’
After what I can firmly say was the best night’s sleep in a tent ever (after the previous night’s shivering), we set off on Day 3 fully refreshed and raring to go, especially after a hot bowl of porridge and a cuppa.
Setting off across the moors from Crowden.
Wayne’s getting better with his fear of heights!
Enjoying the view.
Stopping at Black Hill for lunch.
It was a tougher day with a lot of elevation change, but the trails were good and we found we had a steadier pace and were getting more accustomed to our packs. (Maybe because we’d eaten some more of the food rations and off-loaded a tiny bit of the weight!)
Heading down Dean Clough.
Continuing on the section past Wessenden Reservoir.
Still smiling despite the midges!
The weather was also fine for England. (We didn’t actually realise how lucky we were, as the following day’s 17 miles was a wet and windy trudge in complete white-out. More of that to come in the next post!)
We reached our next campsite behind the Carriage House Pub at 5pm exactly! It was another dinner of super noodles and peperami (I’m starting to get a fetish for them!) Then an early night for both us.
We still haven’t got any blisters after hiking 28.5 miles in 3 days… So far, so good!
(Please note: Wayne would like you to know that whilst on the trail our photos are a mixture of shots from mobile phones as well as our cameras, edited on the go via the mobile App ‘Snapseed’. He really is missing his ‘Lightroom’ though!)