What better way to spend an evening than hiking out to a remote crag, high in the hills of Northumberland and what better inspiration to do so than Microadventures. The plan was simple, we would take the bare essentials, locate the crag & find shelter suitable for 3 guys & fire. It sounds simple, however when the shelter is 40 feet up in the crag, things get a little more complicated.
(Please click on images for a better view)
What I should say is that I drew the short straw and was in charge of documenting the Microadventure, so unfortunately I very rarely appear in any photos.
After walking down a forest track for a mile or so, Matt saw an opportunity to get ahead on the firewood collecting. Unfortunately I think he underestimated the distance we would be walking.
It wasn’t long before we would turn off, leaving the forest track behind & entering the unknown abyss of the incredibly foreboding pine forest.
Will we be seen again?
The smell of pine, the stillness in the air, the darkness & poor visibility, this was starting to feel like a proper little adventure.
After another couple of miles the dense forest started to open up and all feeling of claustrophobia was left behind.
Finally the forest releases its grip and gives way to the moors, offering unrivaled views of the Cheviot Hills.
A well earned break for us all.
Not wanting to be upstaged, Craig pulls a hammock out of his pack. What!?
Finally I get snapped, enjoying a sit down with a drop to make your stomach churn, but with a view to die for… which could have easily been the case.
By now it was getting dark and we had a lot of rock to explore in order to find the best spot to shelter in for the night.
We knew that this crag was full of overhangs and caves, we just needed to find one suitable. As usual, it’s never easy. Matt lead the way to what looked like a possible shelter for the evening. The problem being, the cave is 40 ft up a 65 ft sheer rock face.
You can’t approach this site from any other direction, the only way was up & to make things worse (or better) it was a difficult climb.
The only other photograph of me, self shot high above the safety of the ground below.
So, we have found our shelter for the night. We rigged an abseil which would be our way in and out of the cave, although I did not fancy this as a means of escape should we need it in the middle of the night. This line would also be used to haul our gear and fire wood.
I’m not sure if we could have wished for a better spot. The cave was spacious & sheltered from wind & rain, there was a beach like sandy floor thanks to years of weather erosion of the sandstone rock. The views were jaw dropping, unspoilt for miles. The isolation was invigorating. There was no sign of other people. We were very much alone. This was both exciting and unnerving at the same time. Should anything unfortunate have happened, we were pretty much unreachable unless you had some good climbing skills & a head for heights. For me though, the isolation and the danger factor is what made this a proper little Microadventure… and yes, peeing was a true test of nerves.
A final nightcap. Epic.