A while ago, in a wild fit of optimism, I signed up for a pair of late-night-and-early-morning events, to be held in an area of upland bog known as the Kinder Plateau. As you do. The idea was this: Go for a long walk in the dark, attend the night event, go for another walk, camp over, and the CO will make bacon sandwiches for the survivors (if any) before the walk out.

Fast-forward to the grim reality that is Friday evening. It is raining, and it is so windy that the building I work in has begun to shed roof tiles. I have backache, what feels like the beginnings of the office cold, and somewhat less than zero enthusiasm for trudging into the middle of nowhere in the pouring rain just to get blown over.

But I did anyway, because I said I would. By the time I pulled up in Hope (there has to be a bad pun lurking in there somewhere) the wind had abated somewhat, and the rain was more annoying than torrential. Things were looking up, it seemed. I trogged off up the hill, and presently spotted a light ahead of me.

White light, above me, and moving around. Headtorch, in other words, so I’m not the only lunatic out at this time of night and it’s probably someone else going to the same event. Keep going up, and up, and up, sweating inside my waterproofs, and top out on the plateau to find a whole swarm of headlamps heading in the same direction. I was the first to reach the Madwoman’s Stones (no, I don’t know why they’re called that, and neither does Google, it would appear), but there wasn’t a lot in it. And so commenced the event.

There was even hot stew. Rather good stew. I also learnt that one very good reason for bringing a dog to this sort of thing is that they make excellent dishwashers if you don’t want mucky pots in your rucksack. While we stood there scoffing and chatting, the rain stopped, the clag cleared and the stars came out.

We were still admiring the stars as we ambled over to Crookstone Knoll. Which probably explained why we took a slightly roundabout route to get there – no, we weren’t lost, we knew exactly where we were, and it wasn’t where we wanted to be!

Most of the others had already pitched, tents crammed onto a tiny ledge out of the worst of the wind. But the wind had dropped since, so I opted to stick the tent on the summit instead. And that was how I came to wake up on top of Crookstone Knoll to a dry morning, a view, and the scent of frying bacon.

First wild camp of the year. ::o)

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