A Short in Shorts: The last night of Summer

As October approached we saw an opportunity in the weather forecast to fit in a final weekday trip out. It was Friday and after finishing work we packed our gear into the car and headed out to the Peaks.  

By 6 pm we were walking, equipped with the bare essentials for what we knew would be a temperate night on the moor tops.  I had opted for a one person pole tent in the hopes of using just the bug net and Chris had opted for the more lightweight bivy, that until this point had only been exposed to the rigors of his living room. 


The going was good as we ascended the hill, choosing a peaceful track that overlooked the valley. The reservoir stretched out below us, and we watched the last of those who had come to laze at its banks begin to leave. We had missed the zenith of the sun’s strength, and we were grateful for it. Stopping in the shade of a farm building we marveled at our good fortune this late in the year, and wondered at how few people we had seen, and none with the telltale backpack that would signal they were our neighbours for the night. 

Smug with the outcome of our hastily planned trip we continued on our way.

Reaching the top of the peak we looked back to catch the last of the evenings sun as it slipped away. The heat may have lasted longer this year but the shortening of the days had continued undeterred. In the lengthening light we found our spot and set up for the evening, leaving our camp to climb up and watch the sunset. 

It was atop this vantage point that we realised our smugness had been undue and not only were we not alone but we were in the wrong place. Across the way the party was in full swing. Our invite must have been lost en route and chalking it up to a recent change of address we set about making dinner. 

Twilight waned and our eyes grew accustomed to the unlit surroundings. We took it in turns to use the stove and quickly found the asymmetry of our evening meals. I had packed frugally, bringing a TentMeals dehydrated meal, whereas Chris had brought a veritable feast, equipped with evening tipple.


As we set about making our packs even more lightweight we were joined by an unexpected guest from above. Whilst not divine, the effect was awe inspiring as lightning jumped silently from cloud to cloud. The lightning was unlike anything I had seen in the UK, and although I did try to document it all that I was left with are memories, several black photos, and the semi-focused photo of our pot that I have treated you to below.


Before long the weight of the day began to push us to bed and we started packing up.


I begrudgingly set up the outer layer of my tent as the lightning didn’t seem like a particularly good sign and the clouds that it sprang between negated any chance of seeing the stars. We bid each other good night, I got into my tent and Chris slipped into his bivy, accompanied by childish laughter on account of his shelters fine resemblance to a body bag.

In the morning we were greeted by a clear sky and the promise of a good day walking through the peaks. 

We stowed everything away and sat on our packs as we drank the last of our coffee, contemplating the options for the route back to the car.  

We settled on a gentle circuit back down, taking in the surrounding area and making the most of starting on the plateau.

The walk was good and as we approached our starting point we began to see those who had ventured out for the day hoping to capture some of yesterday’s weather. Alas, rain arrived mid morning and we were reminded that it was almost October. It had been a well needed trip and a great night out, by no means the last but certainly the last in shorts.


Author: G S