Location: Dove Dale – Derbyshire/Staffordshire
Date: July 2015
Kit: Solo Tarp (BPL.co.uk)
Third Micro Adventure
My third Micro Adventure and possibly one of my last for a short while as I await the imminent arrival of my baby daughter. I got in touch with a friend of mine Dean Read to see if he fancied a MicroAdventure somewhere in Derbyshire/Staffordshire. His suggestion was to head to Dove Dale as its about equal distance for us to travel to and not too far given the time constraint for a mid week camp. Phone thrown in the draw, laptop slammed shut I grabbed my kit, put on my MicroAdventure T-Shirt from Alistair Humphreys and jumped in the car for the 17km drive up to Ilam. We met up and took a short walk into Dove Dale following the river and over the famous stepping stones. The plan was to find a suitable camping location and then continue up to Alstonefield to The George pub for a few pints and wait for the hoards of tourists to leave. A couple of pints later we strolled out of the pub and followed a footpath leading to Ravens Tor. We found a great spot overlooking Dove Dale which Thorpe Cloud was perfectly framed by the rocky limestone valley. We setup our bivvy bags and tarps under a single tree at the edge of a steep hill. I was the first to send some kit rolling down which I had to chase after and fortunately I managed to grab it before it was lost forever. Dean had a similar experience only a few minutes later as his cook kit bounce down the hill stopped thankfully by a bush. We got some food cooking and sat up until 1am talking about everything from our kids to music and films and our wild camping experiences. A nightcap then off to bed. I was using my Backpackinglight 3 season down quilt for the first time, which was brilliant (I’ll do a proper review soon). The night was fairly calm with only the occasional gust and light shower. I did have to move back up the hill every hour or so as I was slowly sliding down. The morning was nice and we drank coffee while gazing at the amazing display of rolling clouds moving through the valley in front of us. Time to get going as I had to be at work so we packed the kit away, checked the camp was as we found it and started working out a way down. The steep valley beneath us was too dangerous to navigate safely so we tracked back along the hillside until we found a suitable place to descend to the path. At the bottom of the valley we were on the wrong side of the river to the path so opted to ford the river. I’m sure we could have found a perfectly good bridge but joked about Micro Adventures and how strictly speaking they should include a wild swim, we waded shin deep through the river. The walk back retraced our steps along the Dove Dave path back to Ilam and back to our cars.
A perfect MicroAdventure and made even more enjoyable by finally meeting up with Dean who I’ve followed on YouTube for ages and who has played a major part in inspiring me to get out and enjoy the world of wild camping and micro adventures. Thanks Dean!
Sadly I didn’t take many photos or video footage as I was enjoying myself so much, but here is a short time-lapse I took of the Dale.
Here is a brilliant video that Dean put together of the MicroAdventure:
A few photos I took on my iPhone 5s