As I step onto the train, I immediately feel the stress of every day working life slip from my shoulders. This trip was all about me, and the landscape I planned to lose myself in. Unlike previous trips, this time I had a photograph to capture, it had been swimming around in the depths of my mind for some time, allowing me enough tantalising glimpses of it to know it was there, but never hanging around long enough to be any more than a rumour, murmured about by my internal voice. After weeks and weeks of these occasional glimpses and imagined compositions I couldn’t take it any more. I booked myself a train ticket and began my journey to a campsite in Edale.
I had to use a campsite, and not wild camp like before, because I was so determined to get this image. I was carrying a serious amount of photography equipment, enough to warrant a separate bag. I needed to be able to make a base camp and strike out from there if I was to have any chance of this trip being successful.
Just as the excitement was starting to wash over me, I hit a problem. The railway. Usually, I would catch a Northern Rail service to Sheffield, then from Sheffield across the peaks. Unfortunately, on this very busy and popular bank holiday weekend, and the only chance to get away that I was going to have this year, Northern Rail decided to hold a strike.
I don’t fully understand the purpose of this, as the only people who’s weekend they were ruining had no power to improve the driver’s wages. Needless to say, I was cross. Very cross. I felt a little powerless, because I have so little time at home (I work away during the week) and I had spent some of this precious time in search of a photograph, only to have it wasted and spoiled by some nameless and faceless union. I was on the verge of just heading home when I found out I could catch a different service, as long as I was prepared to wait 3 hours at the station. The image appeared again in my mind, and my anger and frustration was overcome by a creative need to get out into the hills.
So I waited for a different train, and 3 hours later than I should have been, arrived in Edale to some of the most glorious weather. The campsite explained that a great many people had been affected by the strike, and I sympathised with them, they had had several cancellations, which must affect business.
I quickly pitched my tent, and after a swift lunch and beer at the pub (and a little nap..) packed my camera equipment, map, water, and just after 5 pm began the hour long walk to my destination: Back Tor
I had begun.