Slightly disappointed in myself having made it to February and not camped out overnight yet, I took advantage of a good weekend forecast to head to the Peak District with the hope of spending the night on top of Mam Tor. The forecast was for fog in the morning and I was hoping for an inversion to be able to capture the ridge across to Loose Hill breaking through the cloud.
Most people think I'm slightly mad for camping out in winter, but I really enjoy it, it adds a little spice to the adventure, and also there is the satisfaction of brewing up on a cold crisp morning whilst feeling warm and refreshed from cold night air! After experimenting for ten plus years I've made most of the mistakes, forgetting my sleeping mat during a winter climbing trip to Pembroke was the worst, a horrible cold night with very little sleep ensued even though I had a bag rated to minus twenty! A good bag is certainly worth the investment, I bought mine at least a decade ago and its still toasty, and coupled with an Exped down mat I've never been cold even sleeping in just pants.
Mam Tor was particularly exciting spot to sleep as I was also camped in the remains of an iron age fort which covers the summit of the hill. I pitched up somewhere within the ancient ditches for the fort, now little more than furrows in the landscape but still substantial enough to offer a bit of shelter, although these days from the wind rather than the neighbouring tribe on the warpath. I found it inspiring to go to sleep thinking about all the others through the millennia who have called this hill home for a night, what were they doing there and what did the landscape around them look like?
Come morning the cloud inversion didn't happen but I did set some sunrise photos although shooting into the sun was a bit of a challenge i'm not used to. Not sure there is a stunning image amongst them but thats not the point.