How adventurous should your first backpacking trip be? Take it too easy and you will not feel the sense of being out in the wild, away from civilisation on your own. The other extreme and, apart form the obvious risks to life and limb, you might come away thinking this is not for me.
The plan for Will’s first trip was to have a relatively short walk over some rough ground and then camp out using tarps and bivvy bags with an easy route back to the car. Our route went from Meldon reservoir up Yes Tor, over some open ground to Black Tor where we would camp and back down West Okemeet river to Meldon reservoir.
After following a good track from the reservoir we headed over some rocky ground straight to the top of Yes Tor. The wind was very strong on the top and there was a strange feeling to it, with lots of signs of man, including litter, pipes and mess. After a bit of discussion we agreed that this was not a good place to camp so headed west to over Longstone Hill.
We put the tarp up on Black Tor and had sausages and beans watching bands of grey clouds fighting for space in the sky with sunshine.
The weather was unsettled and I was not confident we would have enough shelter, so we headed down and pitched the tarp near the river. Despite a few heavy showers in the night we stayed dry enough.
After a quick hot chocolate breakfast we headed down the river through some boggy ground.
I can see how the tarp and bivvy is a great way to camp. For 2 people we could have done with a bigger tarp but for one it is perfect. The clue is in the name really – Solo Tarp. The only problem we had was that although we were sheltered near the river it meant that there were a few more midges (and I forgot the repellent).
As Will said at the end “I don’t want to see concrete and roads, I want to see more bracken, rocks and grass”. I can’t argue with that.