A last minute night on the Howden Moors

by backpackingbongos

With a four day bank holiday I had planned to stay at home and relax. However come the Friday afternoon I found myself feeling restless. Two whole weeks had passed since I had slept outside, the wild camping addiction is a hard one to break. Maps were taken off the shelf and a quick and easy backpack was devised, leading to a spot I have fancied pitching on for a while. Texts and emails were exchanged with Rich and Chrissie and plans were made.

Rich and I met with Chrissie in a lay-by on Bradfield Moor at 5.00pm, just as the day trippers were heading home. She was dropped off by Geoff her husband / chauffeur / maker of fine cakes. He would pick us up at noon the following day from the Strines Inn a few miles away. That meant that we could do a good circuit on the moors without any road walking.

The bridleway of the Dukes road meant that we made good progress across the moor, until we left it at the head of Abbey Brook. Here the ground turned to awkward tussocks. We were in the land of the mountain hare, in every direction they ran, tails still with a hint of winter white. Reuben was quivering with the sheer excitement of it all. We passed a well camouflaged leveret, unnoticed by Reuben who walked within a few inches.

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We headed to the chosen camp spot, hopeful that the tussocks would disappear. They did to some extent, although the ground remained rather lumpy. A good spot to pitch the tents, a feeling of height with great views all around. Sadly the conditions were very murky, no chance of a sunset and rubbish light for photography.

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There was water within a five minute walk, although the colour of brown ale it was palatable after filtering. The stream we took it from even had a good beery froth to it.

Without a breath of wind we all sat outside to eat and socialise until after dark, the first time I have sat outside late this year. Reuben had kindly carried a couple of cans of beer for me in his panniers. It was a treat drinking them on the moor. A nice convivial evening.

The wind did pick up in the night, shaking the exposed tents. After spending the last trip in my Trailstar I had forgotten just how warm and cosy a ‘proper’ tent can be. Despite a period of doggy dreams where Reuben did a bit of wuffing and a mini howl (I reckon his head was full of mountain hares) I slept really well.

We woke early to wind-blown drizzle, the world outside looking less than appealing. Our agreed setting off time was not until 10.00am so I had a relaxing laze with lots of coffee and the compulsory bacon Supernoodles. Rich even made a delivery of homemade banana and chocolate muffins. I had a very full belly by the time we hoisted our packs and walked into the drizzle.

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We headed for Back Tor, initially along Cartledge Stones Ridge. Thankfully soon after setting off the rain stopped and a hazy sun came out. Three sets of Paramo were hastily packed away.

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Back Tor is a great spot, its rocky summit reminiscent of Dartmoor. It is an easy scramble to its trig point, although it took some pushing and lifting to get Reuben up there.

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A simple yomp down Foulstone Road led us quickly to the Strines Inn and a waiting Geoff. It was then a short drive back to my car.

Another trip that shows that backpacking does not need to be a huge epic or involve much planning. Throw some gear in your pack at the last minute and pitch on a hill. Even more enjoyable with good company.

Chrissie’s version of events can be found here.

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12 Responses to “A last minute night on the Howden Moors”

  1. By that Reuben does take a good photo. Definitely the most handsome staffy I’ve ever met.

    And an excellent evening – great to be sat outside chatting over dinner, too. Summer must be on its way 🙂

    Btw, did I spot an errant apostrophe in the post somewhere…?

  2. Reuben has never held a camera in his life. Although I do take good photos of him (Just to be a pedant). BTW is the errant apostrophe Paramo related?

    Reuben met a 4 year old boxer the day after the backpack, she was a bit more friendly with him than Dixie.

    T’was a great backpack with fine company.

    • But can you be absolutely certain that Reuben’s never operated a camera?

      Funnily enough, Dixie used to be a lot more friendly when she was younger. Age has turned her into a bit of a grumpy cynic – plus a few failed romances along the way. You know the kind of thing.

      The apostrophe might have been Paramo related…..

  3. Fantastic pictures. That one of Back Tor is outstanding.
    Cheers, Alen

  4. Some good photos there James. That’s what the Howden Moors look like – the only time I walked this area was in dense fog 🙂

    • You don’t want to be wandering around up there in dense fog Mark, you need your wits about you then once off the path!

  5. Wonderful James, lovely photos too. Reuben looks so poised, dignified even?

    • Thanks Dawn, I will let Reuben know that he is dignified. He is currently having a sulk in his bed as he has not had his walk yet.

  6. I keep trying to get out for some overnighters but never seem to get around to it. That’s work and families I suppose. Great trip, Howden Moor and Back Tor are fine spots

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