Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Solstice Camp-Out Weardale

There's a dog in there that won't come out

Well it seemed like a good idea when I thought of it, just after the summer solstice.

So, me and Lucky used my bus-pass to get the 14:15 bus to Frosterley and wandered up by Bridge End in a lively breeze.

As we clumped ever higher towards the moors, it became increasingly obvious that the lively breeze in Frosterley was a bit of a gale up here, and this could only be even windier at my planned campsite. So, instead, we sought shelter and we found an ideal flat spot just next to Fine Burn, in the lee of some forestry and the fact we were in a deep cleft in the hill.
Fine Burn in a fine spate

So, we settled in for a long and dark night. I had some scotch and a couple of books loaded onto my phone and a warm dog nearby.  It soon became clear that the night wasn;t going to be so dark after all. There was a big and bright moon and a clear sky although the wind blustered around and the beck was roaring away from previous rainfall.

Meanwhile, Lucky enjoyed himself by snoring, stretching, having running-about-barking dreams and producing sulphurous gasses  from deep under his tail.

And I brewed up, read, snoozed and sipped cheap whisky until finally, I found myself waking up to the sound of drizzle sizzling on the tent.
Lucky The Dog

Later, it was dark and the tent was lurching around in a gale whilst the rain hammered down and the beck roared even louder. It was at this point that Lucky's bowels went into biological warfare mode. I swear there was a green glow in the gasses emanating from the dog. Such a small dog, such a large effect. And, not quite worse than this was that the tent had shrugged off a peg at each end resulting in partial collapse. I teetered out into the storm to fix the problem, finding a flat stone to weight one peg, and double-pegging the other. I offered Lucky a short walk for the relief of the bladder and/or whatever was cooking under the tail, and he refused to move from his cosy pit.

Even later, during another snooze, another bit of the tent collapsed and there was wetness in the tent, so I had to duck out once again.

I missed the solstice happening due to the rain still bouncing down at 9:00 am, and yet still at 10:00. The forecast said it would rain heavily till four o'clock, after which it would just be wet. Obviously, we couldn't stay much longer. So we left.
River Wear at Frosterley

The rain did slack off a bit, but the bridge at Bridge End was closed due to it being "Hit by a big tree trunk flertin doon tha rivah" (I use the actual vernacular here). So we diverted to a footbridge half a mile or so downstream. This turned out to be closed too, but I only discovered this when approaching the North end of the bridge where there was fencing and a notice. So I climbed over. Going back would have meant recrossing the bridge, of course, and this did look a bit scary, with the buttress being attacked by a huge and violent wave and being undermined.

I'm now looking forward to the summer solstice where we have a bit of a beach bivi planned.

Happy Yule to all pieblog readers.  The year has turned.  The King is dead(probably drowned I should think) long live the King


Mike Knipe said...

JJ says Just too damned soggy around here for a Solstice I made a considerable contribution to Sam Smith's profit margin instead.

It's 'cos I'm worth it.

Dunno what happened to this comment- it just went up into thye ether, but I saved it.....

TrevorW�� said...

Nice to see that the weather is as wet and windy up there as it is down here on Dartmoor... Enjoy your Christmas and New Year.....

Chrissie said...

Hope your Christmas is far less soggy than the Solstice, Mike!

Quinn said...

I've been soaked through three times today, and a little dampish once. And that's just being home, doing chores! My hat is off to you and Lucky. Or it would be off, if this rain would stop.

AlanR said...

Well done for even trying in that weather. Have a good Christmas and all the best for 2016.

Dawn said...

You have my sympathies Mike!