I am at the border of a nether world, that plane of existence between the voids of suffering and despair. We have survived our first night wild camping in the Peak District. Unfortunately, I’m now trapped in a sleeping bag shaped like a coffin. Even if I have to crawl like a maggot all the way home, the survival instinct is strong.

With Covid continuing to cause commotion with cancelled holidays, we’ve decided to wild camp and get away from it all and test our new gear. In a way it’s a preparation for the cold dark miserable months of a wet winter. Quite why my wife has decided to wear a summer dress for wild camping in the middle of October, god only knows. I’m wearing enough wool and fleece to cause friction and a flash fire.

I’m wearing more wool than a sheep while Sam wears a summer dress for wild camping in the UK in October….

According to my bushcraft book and the “rule of threes” I can survive for 3 hours without food, 3 days without water and three hours without water and probably 3 minutes if I question my wife’s clothing choices again. What I do question though is the kit we have to carry. When I say we carry, I mean, I have to carry. It weighs a ton.

I’m all for a bit of bushcraft and resorting to nature, I’d even use the knife I’ve got for cooking cleaning and shaving even if it is a bit dull, though I’d no doubt be writing this in a pool of my own blood. I’d even forage a blackberry from a bush that a dog may have peed on but we decide to use the boil in the bag food we’ve brought along. Most of the kit we have got is new, ust a pity that we’ve also got the kitchen sink with us, it feels a bit overkill for wild camping. Next time it needs to lighten considerably.

All land is owned in the UK (50% of it by less than 1% of the population( and technically we’ve no right to wild camp without permission from the land owner (except in a few cases) or we would be committing trespass. As a man who still hasn’t paid his poll tax I’m quite happy to oblige and be the rebel.

The new vango tent in the garden test

Adhering to the golden rules of wild camping of pitching late, we complete a reconnaissance of the secret area we want to go to (near Higger Tor) but it does not yield favourable results and we end up pitching at an angle near Stanage Edge and Bamford Edge. The Peak District is not known for its flat pastures. We erect our new tent, our shelter for the night and now only a thin veil of material separates us between the elements and death. I’ve got complete confidence in the tent as I completed a practice in the back garden last weekend, with the sound of my snoring reverberating around the suburbs at 3 in the morning.

They say what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Some say it didn’t try hard enough. Yet the lack of sleep last night nearly did kill us, that slight incline we camped on saw us rolling around like a ship in a storm and sleep remained a stranger. We’ve woken so stiff and sore that it feels like we fell of Stanage Edge. My zip is stuck and I can only crawl like a maggot. I’d quite happily die here, stuck in my coffin shaped sleeping bag and leave no trace of existence….

Bamford Edge overlooking Ladybower reservoir
A bit windy in the Peak District

Nick Cook. Amateur astronomer, space, history, nerd, extreme dog walker, cat slave, severe tinnitus sufferer. 13.7 billion years in the making - not that much better for it.

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