Thursday, 27 June 2013

Wild Camp No.1

Seems an age ago now... but right at the start of May, sick of not seeing a sunrise for a whole month, I decided to go camping. Those of you that have been following my photo-ing for a while will know that I don't have a car (I can in principle drive, but this is the life of a student who spends all his PhD money on photo gear) so I rely on the Hope Valley train line to get me places. The earliest train is 6.20am, arriving about half an hour later - which for the winter months is absolutely fine (if quite an effort to rush up hills in time) - but this was my first summer of serious photography so it didn't take long for me to get itchy feet.

As usual, all the photos in this post are available, or can be made available, on my website.

I've never woken up to a better view.

I've not been camping since about the age of 10 either, when we used to occasionally go to the Lakes or Wales on holiday... which is largely due to the fact that I am terrified of spiders, so it has never really appealed since - but still, this is something I just had to, somehow, get over. It did play a part in my choice of  equipment though, as I had to buy relatively cheap tent in order to not have lost too much if I really hated it having woken up to a tent crawling with spiders every morning... So, I bought a Vango Soul 100 - a small (I can't even sit up in it) but very practical tent, which has been everything I wanted so far. The main problem, being 6ft 5, is the length... but I imagine I'd have that with most tents... 

Anyway, I headed out quite late (I wanted my tea beforehand!) so had a rush up Mam Tor from Edale to catch the sunset and just about caught it and missed it at the same time. The sun was just entering the thick horizon haze bringing the sunset forward by a few important minutes.But I snapped away anyway, and quite enjoyed the soft light after the sun had set. Whilst the shots from that will probably never get hundreds of sales, what with people liking spectacular light and all, personally I find them very satisfying as they capture the countryside at it's best - with nobody else around!

Some lovely light on the way up...
The last of the light.

I had planned to camp just below Lord's Seat further up the ridge, but the amount of lumps and mole hills quickly scuppered that plan... so I wandered across the farmland towards Winnats Pass, knowing there were flatter areas around there, in order to find a better spot. It's not so much a 'wild' camp down here, more a 'farmland' camp - but once it's dark it's all the same. I found a spot out of view of any farms, just on the cusp of the Hope Valley looking over Castleton and sat in the dark watching the lights below for a nice coffee before bed. I thought my spot was out of the wind, it was in a dip and on an east facing hill, but as it turned out the moment I zipped my tent up it started blowing a gale which lasted right through until 3am, when out of the blue, it just stopped. I know this because it kept me up for all this time. So, 4am came and I 'awoke' to the most lovely pre-sunrise light... quickly packed my tent away and headed off to Mam Tor. However, I couldn't resist that light so in the end changed my plan, made the most of that and only ever reached the bottom of the hill by the time the sun rose... which worked out nicely as I ended up with a number of very original photographs.

(The photo at the top shows my spot for camping, and the first light I saw... explains why I stopped!)

Finally, when the sun did show itself, I was treated to some of the most colourful light I've witnessed... the photo below is entirely unedited (all of the above have no enhancements in terms of colour either, I'd like to point out... entirely natural!) - but this shows the colour of the light...

I ended (or started, depending on how you look at it) my day with a walk up Mam Tor and along the ridge to Hope for the train back to Sheffield. If sunrises like this were guaranteed every time, I'd have no problem camping out every night...

The scale of Kinder Scout, towering above Edale.

At least, so far, I've not had a single spider problem either.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed reading your post and viewing your awesome photos on this rather dreary, rain smitten day. Thanks for providing the excellent material to make an otherwise dull day a lot brighter. Look forward to reading more.