Hi again avid fans,
mission report continues;
The dawn was preceded by a chorus from the birds in the trees, that's what woke me. I found a heavy frost covering everything, including my bangers, (that's my mustache).
The fire had not long burned out and the last of the embers were glowing gently in the half light of dawn. I had slept really well an not felt cold at all in the night but crawling out of my cocoon was A bit of an effort, I fought off the urge to snuggle up an sleep some more and I put on some layers an my boots.
The fire took a little bit of coaxing but eventually I got the embers to take some fresh fuel and I had a small fire going again.
Breakfast was a tin of smart price sausage an beans and two mugs of sweet black coffee, then I packed away my sleeping bag Bivvy bag an roll mat.
I walked down to the waters edge through the trees an had a very fast strip wash, that woke me up proper! then I went back to my camp an warmed by the small fire.
The Basha was taken down an folded carefully so it would go up in the dark again with out any dramas and I put what was left of the fire out.
By now the sun was up and it was warming a little. I checked over the camp area making sure I had packed away every thing, then put the empty tin and the dead snap light into the bag containing last nights tins an put it next to my Bergen.
I dug a whole where the seat of the fire was, took a dump in it then covered it with the dead ashen remains of the fire, just to make sure I finally pissed on it an covered it over with the dug earth tramping it down with my boots.
I scattered the dead leaf litter about an stood back to check my handy work, It looked like no one had been here, no fire, no camp site, no rubbish left behind, no trace of my visit and that was the way I wanted it. I was after all wild camping in the national trust park and only about a hundred meters from a main pathway.
I slung my Bergen on, picked up the rubbish bag and started walking.
After walking back to the dam and putting my rubbish bag in the bin I took out my camera screwed on the mini tripod an walked to a spot where I thought would be good for a few photos. The dam has some history to it and I switched on the camera. Nothing. I switched it off then back on again. Still nothing. I thought back to when I had used it last, it was a long time ago and I hadn't made sure it was charged up before I set off on this jolly. My heart sank and I was pissed off with myself for not being more methodical in my planning but that's life, I had dropped a bolock and that was that. I unscrewed the tripod and put it and the camera away quietly.
The dam, as I mentioned it has some history to it, most notably for me it was used by the dam busters during the second world war to practice using there distance measuring bomb sight.
For those of you who don't know the story they used the towers of the dam along with the special V shaped sight to get the distance from the dam wall just right so when the Bouncing bomb was released it would take a few skips then hit the wall and sink blowing the dam from the base under water, it was a simple V shape hand held device and when the hole at the base of the V lined up with the pins at the ends of the V and the dams towers they knew they were the correct distance, also used was a clever but simple height gauge consisting of two spot lights on the fuselage of the Lancaster bombers turned slightly towards each other, when the two spots of light met they knew they were at the correct height to get the bomb to skip. OK so I'm boring you now, but its interesting stuff to me honest. Anyway the dam busters mission was a success and although they took heavy casualties they blew the Ruer valley dams in Germany causing massive damage to the German war effort by flooding the factories and causing widespread power failures. Barns Wallace at first thought mad for his plan of a bouncing bomb was hailed a genius, by the way he tested the bombs bouncing ability in the Wash not far from me and the actual dam busters were also stationed in Lincolnshire not far from Woodhall Spa, also not far from me. so there you go, that's my history lesson over.
I walked the base of the dam wishing my camera was working, wondering what it would be like to see a couple of Lanc's blasting up the valley, I bet it would have been an impressive sight.
Then I started off up the east side of Derwent reservoir taking my time and enjoying myself. By lunch time i had walked all the way round the top through the woods and back down to the dam on the west side. It was a relly nice walk but I felt like a change so I set off to the south west through the woods. It was relly steep in places but eventually I cleared the woods an got a great view of the area to the south an west and down the pass to the north, the A57 winding down the pass and out of sight like a snake giving this road its name (snake pass).
I pushed on cross country heading downhill now and eventually got to the A57 just north of the Snake pass inn, I crossed the road and on the south side picked up the stream that feeds the Ladybower reservoir. I followed it on the south side till it opened up into the res, then followed the south shore of the res for a while.
After about three an a half K I decided to set up camp for the day and headed uphill south through the trees and after bimbling around for a while in the woods found a nice spot not to far from the water but well out of site and secluded enough to set up camp in daylight.
I started by collecting dead wood from the ground setting it in a big pile, then started on the shelter, it was a bit more elaborate than the night before using the dead wood to make an a frame shelter bound together with withys an then covered with the Basha sheet to waterproof it. the floor was covered with leaf litter to a depth of about six inches giving plenty of insulation. then I took my sleeping bag out of the bivvy bag an spread it an the ridge rest in the shelter, looking good so far I thought it was time for a little RnR so after lighting a small fire and making sure it was safe to leave I went down through the trees to the water an striped off naked.
The water was freezing cold but I wasn't bothered as I had left the fire going to warm up with after my swim. I messed about in the water for a little while and then got out shivering, gathered my clothes and went back up through the woods to my camp.
I stoked up the fire to a fair old blaze and felt so good with myself I actually danced around it naked till I was exhausted.
After putting on my clothes an boots I started tea, It was boil in the bag rice and a tin of smart price chili con carnet made in my mug on the fire with the last of the water from my water bottles. after tea I went back down to the waters edge an washed my mug and racing spoon properly with a scotch pad and filled my water bottles up with res water filtering the particles out of the water with a bit of stocking over the mouth of the bottles as they filled, this keeps the chunks out of the water but to make it truly drinkable I put water puritabs in the bottles for the stuff you cant see that makes you sick.
I spent the evening watching the fire while sipping at a pocket size bottle of dark rum, the shelter was warm an dry my heart was happy and I was at home in the middle of nowhere. At some stage I must have fallen asleep tucked up in my sleeping bag watching the fire cos when I woke the fire was long dead and the birds were just starting, it was still pitch black and I turned over snuggled down an went back to sleep.
When I woke again it was about ten in the morning.
I crawled out of my pit an looked at the dead fire, it wasn't worth lighting up from scratch just for breakfast so I cheated an got my sigg fire jet stove out and within minutes I was eating tined beans n sausage (smart price of course) and drinking sweet black coffee.
I packed up camp in the usual way an gave the area the once over, again no trace I had stayed the night so Slinging my Bergen on my back and bag of rubbish in hand I set off by half eleven.
Continuing round the south of the res heading east I crossed below the southern most dam of Ladybower on the footpath and walked into Ashopton dumping my rubbish in a bin on the road near the boats moored up. It was just a short walk up to the 57 again from here and after a while I got a lift into Sheffield and from there another to Lincoln and one from lincoln back to Boston. It was late in the evening and I was worn out but really pleased with myself.
The whole trip cost in total five tins of smart price best, a bag of rice, some coffee and sugar, two cotton wool balls, Maybe half a cup of petrol for the sigg fire jet, a couple of puritabs and a small bottle of rum. Oh yea and a sense of adventure. Cost in £s maybe £12. Pleasure value, priceless.
I had A great time and would like to thank the five people that kindly gave me lifts to get there an back, they know who they are.
And I'm looking forward to doing something like it again soon.
Note to self, must charge camera next time :(