A Dark Peak Bivvy – Alport Castles

It’d been a while since I’d rolled out the bivvy bag and the need to enjoy (or is that endure?) a night in the big orange sock became too great at the weekend.

The destination? My backyard.

I left home at lunchtime and wandered through Old Glossop past its incongruous aluminium works to the Doctor’s Gate. Walking this old route, I soon joined the manicured section of the Pennine Way where I went against the grain of the national trail, heading south east to Mill Hill and Kinder Scout’s northern edge.

Jumping from boulder to boulder on this my favourite stretch of the plateau, I dropped down to Woodlands Valley via Blackden Brook, which entailed a steep diversion at its head due to some sloppy navigation on my part.

In fading light I made speedy progress up Alport Dale where I collected water for the night and soon found a sheltered plateau just below Alport Castles for the bivvy.

A night of mizzle gave way to a damp dawn and I was soon pressing on up Alport Dale at first light. After Grains in the Water I joined the Pennine Way again which carried me across Bleaklow Head to the Longdendale Trail and the pub in good time for lunch.

Joining the Doctor's Gate Path from Old Glossop
Joining the Doctor’s Gate Path from Old Glossop
Heading along the Doctor's Gate
Heading along the Doctor’s Gate
Slabs of the Pennine Way - easing passage across some boggy expanses
Slabs of the Pennine Way – easing passage across some boggy expanses
Mill Hill looking towards Kinder Scout
Mill Hill looking towards Kinder Scout
The northern edge of Kinder Scout - lovely wild country in the evening light
The northern edge of Kinder Scout – lovely wild country in the evening light
The River Ashop after a rather tortuous descent of Blackden Brook
The River Ashop after a rather tortuous descent of Blackden Brook
Rolling out the trusty Big Agnes bivvy just below Alport Castles - a nice sheltered bedroom with the right amount of breeze.
Rolling out the trusty Big Agnes bivvy just below Alport Castles – a nice sheltered bedroom with the right amount of breeze.
Alport Dale in the morning mist
Alport Dale in the morning mist
The skyline of Alport Dale heading to its upper reaches
The skyline of Alport Dale heading to its upper reaches
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12 thoughts on “A Dark Peak Bivvy – Alport Castles

      1. Light and weather are fundamental things in landscape. Nan Shepherd discusses this at length in her fab book about the Cairngorms. How conditions can bring the distant closer, skew perception, create enormity.

    1. I’m lucky, I can walk out of my front door and be among it in half an hour or so. Sometimes, when something is so familiar and accessible, you can lose sight of its appeal… take it for granted even. I try not to.

    1. It’s a Big Agnes Three Wire Bivvy. The design has changed now and sadly it’s no longer made from Event fabric which I think is excellent for this purpose. It was one of the few bags I could actually fit in and I bought it on a trip to the States (where it was considerably cheaper than over here). It has served me very well. Shame about the colour though… not great for stealth camping.

    2. It weight about a kilo and packs small. You can get tents that weight less these days, but they won’t be as bombproof as the bivvy. The night are different in the bag too. Sometimes great, sometimes nasty!

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