17th and 18th November
I planned to go camping one more time before the year was out, and test out my tent and sleeping bag in cold conditions. The weather forecast for the weekend was dry and the temperature for Nottingham was set to drop to 2 degrees celcius. Perfect. I fixed myself some sandwiches, stuffed my camping paraphernalia in my rucksack, checked my bike, then set off. I decided to head for Belvoir Castle, about 20 miles from Nottingham City Centre.
I haven’t cycled in the country in the dark before, so, once the cycle tracks ended, I turned onto country lanes, away from the late evening rush of traffic. It took just over 2 hours to reach the grounds of Belvoir Castle. Once there, I found an adequate spot, just beyond the visitor car park, to pitch my tent.
I’d bought a head torch from Poundland a few days earlier, specifically for camping out in the dark. It proved invaluable!
Dew had already settled on the grass and by the time I’d finished tent pegging, my hands and feet were wet and cold. But I had overwhelming feelings of great happiness as I wriggled into my cosy sleeping bag for the night. I just love this. So much more fun than an ordinary night in at my flat
After a reasonable sleep, I had breakfast at around half four Sunday morning, then got up just after six ‘o’ clock. Once out of that sleeping bag I was cold! I quickly rolled up my sleeping bag and sleep mat, dismantled my tent and set off.
After a couple of minutes of cycling I started to feel quite energetic so I opted for a slightly less direct route back. Daylight was on it’s way but after a cloudless night, it was much colder now than it was yesterday evening, and my hands were going numb.
Below, is the best photo I got of The Castle, and it’s a little blurred. I was still in long exposure mode for the night photos.
There wasn’t a soul around as I made my way along the country lanes and there were some beautiful autumn-into-winter scenes to observe. Yellows and browns of leaves still on trees, red berries in the hedgerows, and the delicate crystals of frost clutching to every leaf and stem of vegetation.
This, however, is what I really wanted to witness. The birth of a new day:
I continued along the country lane, stopping to take several more photos – my numb finger just about managing to press the shutter!
I found it so rewarding to be out here in the country, witnessing this natural phenomenon, that I so often never give a second thought about.
I came across the ruins of this church by chance in summer, although I only saw it at a distance. Knowing I was not far from it, I decided to pay a closer visit this time around. And still, no-one else was about.
Not long after leaving the church grounds, I began to feel really drained and the last ten miles back was a drag. It was such a relief to get back to my lovely warm flat