My last wildcamp, back in November with Jason, was a washout. We were greeted by wall to wall rain, so much so that after one soaking evening, we took to a campsite with a drying room for the second night. After that weekend, I was eager for another wildcamp, but one cold and dry.
As January advanced, the temperature cooled, and snow started to fall. A couple of substancial snowfalls granted me the confidence to commit to a Peak District wildcamp on the last weekend of the month. I spent the preceeding week scouring maps, contemplating routes, and eventually I decided on an attempt on the Edale Skyline. It's a route I've managed a couple of times, although always whilst travelling light, and during long summer days. Splitting the 22 miles over a couple of days seemed manageable, and gave some contingency with snow potentially slowing me down.
Having packed the car the previous evening, I got up early Sunday morning and approached Edale, the starting point, by 8:30am. As I wasn't sure about the parking regulations and the ability to leave a car parked for two days, I'd decided to park at the station for the day, and then pop back down Monday morning to move it to the main car park in the village. On arrival, I was delighted to learn the car park's ticket machine was out of order. Not only would this offer me free parking for 24 hours, but also the confidence to leave the car overnight, as I was confident the machine wouldn't be fixed on a snowy Sunday.
I changed clothes, repacked my rucksack, and headed off towards the Pennine Way. I was confused and frustrated by the closed footpath behind Cooper's Cafe, but after a little retracing of steps, started climbing Grindslow Knoll. I was about half way up when a worrying thought struck me. Whilst still in my car in the carpark, I opened my driver's door window, and alerted a couple of walkers to the ticket machine's failure. Had I closed this window? I do have form for leaving windows open in similar situations. I was worried about leaving the window open overnight in a desolate remote carpark with possible snowfall. However, I was confident it would be fine for a few hours. The walking was fairly easy. My 'natural insulation' favours cold weather, and I quickly ascended the Knoll, past Grindsbrook Clough, and along the northern edge of the Edale valley. The minimal snow and ice had little effect on progress, and in what felt no time, I was on the flanks of Win Hill. As I past Hope Cross, I popped into the woods to scout for camping spots. Whilst the ground was fine, cover from the 50mph winds was absent. Neither trees, nor the drystone wall offered protection, and I realised that wild camping was at risk. As I continued up Win Hill, the wind got stronger, and as I arrived at the summit, I was shocked to witness a fellow walker get blown off the peak by an unexpected gust of wind. That incident made my mind up for me, camping was off, and I phoned up YHA Losehill to check availablility. They had plenty of rooms free, and I eagerly booked up happy to ensure a good nights sleep. In this excitement, I nearly forgot about my car window, and quickly plotted a plan to ensure the car was locked, and get the the hostel intime for dinner. I quickly descended to Hope, and walked to it's train station. A 10 minute train to Edale allowed me to check the window. To my relief, it was locked, so I then walked up Losehill via Hollin's Cross, and down to Hope for a steak pie in The Old Hall. I also took this opportunity to lubricate my knee joints, dry after 17 miles, with a couple of pints of ale.
I finally arrived at the hotel around 8pm, organised my room, and then explored the beautiful grounds to find a suitable spot to try my first star trail photography. I'm delighted with the results shown above. Content, I went to bed.