I’ve been wanting to do a wild camp on Bleaklow for so long now. Most people question why, a baron flat place with not much to see or photograph but in my opinion that’s an unfair perception. There’s some really interesting spots including the kissing stones and the B-29 Superfortress and I have had some images in mind for some time now, particularly ones that were either in the dark or at sunrise, both of which requires navigating Bleaklow in the dark which is never a tempting prospect.
I had actually planned to wild camp in the Lakes but the forecast not looking great, it seemed better to finally get this one ticked off especially as there may be heather around (turned out there wasn’t) and it made more sense not to waste fuel/time for little or no reward.
I had decided that while a considerably longer walk and tougher ascent that it would be best to park at Old Glossop where the car would probably be safer left overnight. From the off, it wasn’t going to be my day. I took my bag out of the car and wondered why it was wet. Turned out that my new platypus had leaked due to not sealing the nozzle (something I hadn’t needed to do on the other one), luckily it was only the outside of the bag that had got wet. I had lost most of my water but had a travel tap with me so wasn’t overly worried. So me and my friend started our ascent via Doctors Gate eventually turning off up one of the cloughsm, unpathed to Higher Shelf Stones. It was tough going over steep grassy ground but ultimately better than walking to the Pennine Way to come back on ourselves.
We pitched not too far from the Superfortress crash site but far enough away for it to not be spooky or disrespectful. There’s a certain chilling ambiance in the air around the crash site.
It was my second visit to the crash site and while you have probably read in my previous blog about it, just a short refresher for you those that don’t know about it.
“On 3 November 1948, USAF Boeing RB-29A Superfortress 44-61999, of the 16th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 91st Reconnaissance Group, 311th Air Division, Strategic Air Command; crashed at Higher Shelf Stones, Bleaklow, whilst en route from Scampton to Burtonwood. All 13 crewmembers were killed. A large amount of wreckage is still visible, as a memorial to the crash. Also, a proper memorial was erected at the site in 1988.”
I decided to try and capture the site just before sunset, there were some clouds about which made a little change to my previous visit. Due to where the crash site is, the suns golden lighting quickly vanishes behind the hill way before setting so in theory you can catch a sunset after nearby, maybe at lower shelf stones. The sun vanished and it became cloudy, a good chance to do some long exposures with the big stopper I thought. However, here is an image with some nice light and clouds I managed to get: