A couple of months ago a mate of mine asked me if I wanted to go hiking around the Peak District with him and a few others. It was to be a grand adventure. Orienteering over the many mountains Sheffield has to offer, sleeping under the stars, finding food hidden within the dark depths of baked bean cans, and many other manly ways to survive amongst nature – however, in the weeks leading up to when we were scheduled to do so, we realised that after two years of being in full time jobs that a chill couple of days in a campsite with a few BBQ’s sounded a whole lot better, and a bit easier on the legs.
Just to warn you, this is likely going to turn into a pretty image heavy post. I’ll do my best but story-wise this is essentially a post about a bunch of guys going camping so and eating a whole lot of red meat, so don’t expect Shakespeare. Pretty photos, though.
James (the guy tugging at the tent in the photo above) and I drove up from Shrewsbury to the little village of Edale on the Friday morning. The weather for the weekend wasn’t meant to be all that promising, though it wasn’t meant to rain and that’s all that mattered. We arrived to what was a pretty cloudy sky, highlighting the expanse of rolling hills and mountains around us. In fairness we were given the occasional blast of sunshine, at which we’d take off our jackets for being too warm, for the sun to then hide five minutes later and jackets go back on again…
Between us it didn’t take too long to get the two tents up and the gear inside, the plan was then to drive into Sheffield and pick the other two up. Originally we’d been told the site we were camping on was a short journey away but, 45 minutes later we turned up at Ben’s student accommodation, picked him and Greg up, got some stuff from Asda, drove back and had a BBQ. Oh, and please refer to the image below and on the left as proof that I did indeed help out with the tents. I can do stuff, honest.
Sleeping that night wasn’t too bad, temperature-wise it was mild but once acclimatising to the sleeping bag I think we all drifted off pretty easily. We woke up around 10, and decided to drive to Ladybower Reservoir to do some walking around the surrounding area. We parked up and just aimed for whichever path took us uphill, as we wanted to find a decent view of the reservoir – which, we never really found. Instead we stumbled across forests and mountain views, and a handful of instagram-perfect locations.
Over the course of the day we walked a good 12 mile. I’d love to point at a map and say where we went but, honestly, I don’t have a clue. We all just followed our nose.
Eventually we wound back up at the car park, each had a hot chocolate (James being quintessentially british had a tea) and drove back to the site where, you guessed it, we had another BBQ, lit the fire pit and talked nonsense until the early hours of the night. All four of us also just so happened to see a meteor hit the atmosphere just above us, which I’d never seen so clearly, so, that was pretty rad.
We awoke to James cooking up some sausages, then just had a kick around in the field opposite for a while before I then left to vaguely plan a hike for the day. The peak right in front of the campsite was a pretty famous one, with quite a few round-trip hikes around the summit and surrounding area. The main peak we hiked up was called ‘Mam Tor’. It was a fairly easy 5 mile route, but though easy was ridiculously interesting.. At one point, the route leads you up a road that had fallen victim to a landslide a few years ago, which now look like a scene from a post-apocalypitic landscape (see photo below!). It also took us passed the Blue John mine, somewhere I’d visited in my child hood, but at £12 a per for a tour of the cavern, instead we took their £1.20 coffee and left.
We got back to the car and headed back to base, picked up a disposable BBQ and drove up to another of the local peaks. What happened then was almost bucket-list material. There’s something quite magical about cooking up some burgers on the top of a mountain and watching the sunset, I’d call it romantic but for the fact it was just us four guys, which, for some that might be fine, but believe it or not, I’ll pass. Greg however, who knows.
James manned the grill whilst Ben, Greg and I set to making the most of the sunset. Ben had three cameras on the go, two of which recording time-lapse. I’d just gone with using my stills camera to catch the atmosphere and grab a few shots of the guys, but truth be told I was jealous seeing the little red light blinker on his GoPro. We’d seen someone with a drone earlier in the day, I think any of us would of killed to have one for the view we had whilst we munched down on our burgers.
After packing up all of the leftover food and gear, we drove back down the hill in the dark to crowd around the fire pit to chat for a bit, before wandering back into our tents. It was especially cold that evening, James and I both pretty much slept fully clothed (beanies, gloves and all) but once we’d nodded off, that was it for the night.
Morning came, and we all woke to the taste of Mr Lee’s instant noodles (yep, see how I just tied this in to a previous post?) before parting ways. First James and I dropped off Ben and Greg in Sheffield, before driving back to the site to pack up all the gear and somehow fit it in the car again.
Driving without a rear view mirror is pretty easy, but what was interesting was checking blind spots on the motorway.. But around 6pm we made it back to sunny Shropshire, unloaded the car, and that was another adventure ticked off the list. The weather had been pretty spectacular over the few days we’d stayed in Edale, and it really did make the weekend. However, with a slightly muddy car and a bag full of dirty clothes, I was home and it was back to work the next day.