I sit in the car awaiting developments: Jim is on the last stretch from Exeter, Paul is due a little later. The rest of my flask of tea is sipped while the car doors are pressed into service as a makeshift clothes horse – a mishap with my Camelbak having dumped 3 litres of water in the bottom of my rucksack overnight.
Jim arrives and we head for the pub to await the final member of the party.
An orange tinted sky is starting to darken as we head up the lane and onto the moor. It’s the work of less than half an hour to our planned overnight spot on Cleave Tor.
Tents are pitched and I head down into the Cleave for water. Wisecracks are made about it being a one way trip.
The descent is steep but not deadly. Twenty seconds suffice to fill my dirty platy and begin the reascent to camp.
Back up top, Paul and Jim are already well-advanced into their dinners, and the wine that Jim brought. I’m playing catchup. Out comes the Laphroig and cookies – they go together surprisingly well. The sun finally gives up the struggle and disappears below the horizon. We chat and banter, the whisky and cookies are exhausted, we look at the night sky. To the west Jupiter, to the south Mars, a host of stars twinkling in between. It’s not an early night to bed.
The sun is risen and starting to burn off the overnight dew formed on the tents. My rag is sopping with the condensation I’ve wiped off the inside of the tent. Paul stands on the tor taking in the view over Belstone Cleave. Jim and I join him as mist creeps slowly along the Cleave. With the sun behind us, I suddenly notice a glow on the mist – the image of a figure surrounded by a halo of rainbow colours. Yes it’s a Brocken Spectre, and moreover it’s my first one.
It doesn’t come out well in the photos though.
The mist clears and we pack up so we can be off the moor for a fry-up and then a day’s walk elsewhere.
It’s been a great, albeit brief camp. Tents are hung to dry in Paul’s garden and we head out for the rest of the day’s adventures…