Sunday 9 May 2010


Hull Pot

Hull Pot

Cam Beck

Wild camp
WednesdayMay 5th. Camped OS map OL2. GR815772.
Travelled up from London, arriving in Horton in Ribblesdale by mid afternoon, had a cuppa and a nibble in the cafe, good cafe but oh, the prices. Headed out on the Pennine/Ribble way, making my way up toward high Birkwith moor. This, in many respects, was an experimental trip, niggling, ongoing health problems have caused a few difficulties and have ruined any fitness I had; plus a minor op last week, have made me cautious. However, cabin fever was settling in and no matter what I had to head for the hills. Thus it was I settled in to a slow but steady pace, just enjoying the views and the fact that the weather was not bad.Being limestone country I was aware that water could be a tad difficult but I was surprised just how dry things where. Coming across Low Birkwith Moor I saw a meander of slow moving water; it was the first trickle that looked half decent, earlier water sources had been quite disgusting, oily, stagnant and slimy looking. By now it was around five, (1700hrs) and wanting to have a faff around with the tent
to try out a slightly different configuration I stopped. Finding a suitable spot to pitch was not that easy and I was fairly close in to the forest when I found a place. Tent up, faffing over with, brew on, wonderful, or so I thought! Had heard a vehicle on the track but I was just out of sight as intended. To my surprise a figure all dressed so fine in camo and cradling a rather large, high power rifle, came bursting out of the trees demanding to know what I was doing? That seemed rather obvious, however, before I got a word in he he gave me quite a tirade, was camping illegally, all wild camping is illegal etc and warned me that if I remained where I was I could be hit by stray bullets because they where shooting in the woods. There was no point in arguing with the chappie and I was quite prepared to move on. He asked where I was actually heading for and seemed a little non plussed that I had no fixed destination in mind. When I said that I would push on down the track to High Greenfield the guy got very irate, stating that I would be trespassing due to the fact the forest and track where private and also that I stood a very high chance of being shot. There was no way I was going to argue with him but I firmly pointed out he was in the wrong and there was a sign posted and defined public bridleway through the wood and also there was no warning signs or anything and that in turn is surely illegal. He was having none of it though and gave me a few more warnings and dire threats before stalking off to skulk in his little spot in the wood, but I had marked his position and gave him a little wave when I left; little boys and their toys! As I packed up I wondered if if he had bothered to warn the local farmer as there where sheep grazing close by. Strange thoughts where going through my mind as I moved off, of sheep wearing tin hats and wearing flack jackets, dodging all those stray bullets; it would make a great sketch on Shaun the Sheep. It crossed my mind too that if I had got shot folk could say I went out with a bang??What puzzles me though, over the years I have met a number of stalkers and keepers, the majority have been professional, skilled people who know their trade and even if I have not always seen eye to eye with some they have never resorted to acting like a spoiled schoolboy throwing a wobbly. Listening to the fusillade of shots later in the evening I would question if the shooters where indeed professional at all; the first shot would send any self respecting beastie running for cover; maybe it was a new way of tree pruning????????? An official complaint has now been made to the national Park authorities.
Thursday. Camped same map GR 805795
Rain by early morning, cold rain driven by an east north east blustery wind, lingered for a time in the tent before packing up and moving on. Once out and moving the rain was fairly light but the driving wind made it a tad unpleasant. Made my way over to Ling Gill, a deep, fascinating gorge, tried to find a way down in to the gorge but it really is not accessible from the top end. Checking the map at the bridge I could see I was in for a rather long plod over the moor; instead I turned off and picked my way up Cam Beck. Finding a suitable spot for the tent I pitched camp and the went for a wander up along the beck and around Cam Fell. By early afternoon the rain had eased to just a few showers. It is surprising how little water is actually flowing down the beck, I can only assume the majority is underground due to it being limestone country. A lazy sort of day but my intentions for this trip had never been ambitious. It may be cold and a wee bit wet but there are a plethora of plovers, curlews and other birds in the area; also saw a couple of voles.
Friday, same map GR 824747.
A cold night, my baby thermometer was hovering at around+1, making me glad I had brought my down vest, my jacket thrown over the sleeping bag gave me a bit of extra warmth too. With the ongoing niggly problem I am having, it means having to get up several times during the night to go to the loo; thus I get snugged down all cosy in the sleeping bag only to lose that warmth every time I have to get up, it gets tedious. The rain had returned overnight but showed signs of clearing by morning. Being in no hurry I was content to dawdle and was chuffed when the rain did stop and allow me to set off in the dry. Not wanting to do too much I backtracked over to Birkwith moor. From there it was an amble over Burnrigg and Black Dubb Moss. it was amazing how dry the ground was and walking was made easy, even over the boggy bits. The blustery wind continued, pushing the temperatures well down. Bird life was abundant all around me and a couple of grouse almost gave me a heart attack when they exploded from under my feet, stubby wings whirring like crazy and their manic cries of 'go back, go back'. Pen-y-ghent loomed large on the horizon, a large hump back hill; however, I was not heading for it. Instead I swung off to follow Hull Pot Beck down to where it disappears underground and found a suitable place to pitch the tent. The beck is strange in a way, one moment there is a steady flow of water, the next all that remains is dry river bed, the water just ups and vanishes underground. It is odd walking down the water worn rock that consists of the dry bed; Hull pot is a humungous hole in the ground. To be honest I expected a cave or some form of opening in the side of the hill instead, as I wandered along suddenly there is this great gash, the very hillside rent asunder, a yawning chasm below one's feet. There must be an amazing cave system under there somewhere! After pitching the tent and making sure it was snugged down against the buffeting wind, I went for wander up Whitber hill, on the way looking for the caves marked on the map. No sign of them though a jumble of rock may indicate blocked entrances. Sell Gill beck was bone dry; it was just a gentle stroll and a lazy wander back to the tent for a cuppa.
Saturday. Was awake early and sat nursing a cup of tea gazing at Pen-Y-Ghent; it was so tempting to head up there, certainly I had the time, probably I would have had to take it easy on the steep bit, uphill on steep bits I currently struggle a bit; however, I had been warned to take it easy. (You see Rachel I do listen, sometimes!) Instead I just lingered for a while longer before packing up. The morning was dry but the wind had again pushed temperatures down enough to warrant hat and gloves. It was only a couple of miles at most down to Horton in Ribblesdale and my train was not until early afternoon. Wanting to have at least a small walk I headed back up Whitber hill on the footpath and then headed across diagonally toward Blackber moss and down towards the footpath I came up yesterday. From there it was down to the bridleway and an amble back to civilisation.
On this trip I had taken a chance on my choice of gas cylinders and had opted for the smallest one available; it was enough, just, i ran out just as my morning cuppa came to the boil. This time around I was using theGolite Shangri La1. Golite have gone back to basics with this tent, at one time ridge tents where the norm and several designs had the tapering rear; Saunders still make their own version. Also, modern day ultra light folk are not the first, back in the early part of the 1900 hundreds, 1910 for example, people where experimenting with tents made from silk and they proved strong and weatherproof and weighed ounces rather pounds. Size wise it is a roomy tent for one with a good porch area, the downside of this tent, apart from it being single skin, is that it is designed to be pitched using trekking poles. The concept is ok but in reality a pole slap bang in the middle of the front of the tent is not that good. Having faffed around with quite a few ideas and configurations, including using the poles externally and suspending the whole tent from a taught line between the two; my conclusion is that if you want a go fast, ultra light tent with no frills just for overnight stops and little else then this would suit fine, however, if you start adding an inner midge net and such the weight is instantly doubled; unless of course if you use one of the small ultra light midge nets. The Shangri 2 is an ideal tent in many respects but its baby sibling is not quite there. At present I am working on an idea to modify this tent and may also be putting the sewing machine to work by making an inner for the winter.


  1. Hull Pot is awesome. Glad you could get out for a stroll!

  2. Love the hut pixs

    What do you pack in your bag that so seems to attract these weirdos? Glad to see you stood up to him, despite the agressiveness on show, and followed it up with a formal complaint rather than let the Git get away with it on another occasion

  3. Lol John, true though, I do seem to attract strange folk.An update on the gun incident, the head ranger e mailed back in quite an accusative manner, I should not have been wild camping etc. This provoked a strong response from me, I pointed out that I visit the area summer and winter and consider myself a responsible and experienced hill walker etc and wild camped for personal and private reasons. In return I recieved an apology from the ranger and a promise that this will be folllowed up. It seems there is no actual law concerning shooting over public bridelways, which, when there are laws concerning carrying fixed blade knives in public areas, is most odd; a high power rifle is a tad more dangerous than a knife.