First Camping in Dovedale Valley

Little I knew about camping when couple of years ago, an idea popped up into my head about Camping on bank holiday weekend. When it comes to holidays I am the most happiest person on this earth ( You might think Am I insane to think that I am the only one who feels happy for a holiday, Isn’t it same for all humans 🙂 ). But what makes me happier is planning for the trip. I am a favourite member of my gang when it comes to trip planning and all of them have by default guarded me that duty. A big big thank you guys for trusting me and believing in planning skills. Ahhhh We Girls, you give a chance and can talk about ourselves all day long:P.

Coming back to my story, so I had proposed the idea of Camping without having a clue about how a good camping is supposed to be done. What I could recall from facebook pictures was we need a tent, few clothes, a sleeping bag and some food and most important a tent pitch. So my idea of camping was welcomed by my friends.

Hence I called a camping site owner, booked a pitch, my friends got a 6 men tent and we were set off for a journey to peak district. Driving through busy bank holiday weekend traffic and a beautiful country side of Derby, we finally reached our camp site.

Camp Site
Camp Site (Picture courtesy Ash)

Yeyyyyyy!! But that expression did not stay any longer, as sky was covered with dark clouds after a while and we had to make sure tent is intact before it starts to rain else a sleepless night in car was awaiting us.

As new we were to camping, it was same with the skills on how to put a good tent too. So all the engineers were on the duty to put the tent, some one was hammering the nails, others were pulling the poles( basically everyone was getting their head around in bits of tent) and after 1 hour of hard work, we had a tent – DISASTER. It was not proper, not firm and a blow of strong wind will knacker us out.

Disaster (Picture courtesy Ash)

So the whole process began again (this time using our much-loved YouTube) and YeYyyyyy our tent was stood up once again and this time properly intact :)(hopefully :P)

Me- Inside Intact Tent
Me- Inside Intact Tent

All exhausted, it was time for a home-made sandwiches :). We then started our trail to Dove Dale via beautiful Ilam village. If you are visiting Dove Dale, I will recommend you to visit this tiny hamlet of Ilam village. Ilam is very picturesque, with its “Swiss chalet” style houses. There was something about this place very serene, calm, rustic,victorain that will just make you fall in love with it at once. Believe me, no exxageration!! There is a small pub, a neo-Gothic Ilam Hall that has now been turned into a Youth Hostel, parks. Naturally its a paradise for hill walkers, climbers- surrounded by gorgeous mountains.

Me & Ash @ Ilam Cross
Me & Ash @ Ilam Cross

The same route will take you down to Dove Dale car park, from where you can begin your walk to Dove Dale, Thorpe Cloud, Milldale. While at Dove dale you can also visit rock pillars such as Ilam Rock, Viator’s Bridge, and the limestone features Lover’s Leap and Reynard’s Cave

Dove Dale Moors
Dove Dale Moors (Picture courtesy Ash)
Dove Dale
Dove Dale (Picture courtesy Ash)

Weather was definitely not in our favor that day, as we reached the starting point for Dove Dale walk it started pouring down heavily. But we decided to walk upto the famous Stepping stones that takes you to other side of River Dove  to start a small hike to Thorpe Cloud and Mill Dale. It was a beautiful place, everything around was bright green and the rain had made it soaking beautiful.

Soaked In Rain
Soaked In Rain

For people who would love to try this walk, can also get information on this link –

It’s a long walk and will come under easy/moderate gradient. There are so many stories associated with this place like Lover’s Leap and Reynard’s Cave.

A walk up to Thorpe Cloud would do justice when you will see the views( I found out from research, I am definitely going do it next time)

When we returned to campsite and started bbq preparations, it started raining again 😦 and the food we carried was suited only for bbq. So the next thrill(you would not believe it)- me and my friend took two umbrellas, sat under it & holding it in a direction so that rain water doesn’t reach our food and stop wind doesn’t hamper the fire. After so much of hardships we managed to bbq few marinated chicken wings. It could not do justice to 7 hungry people and we had to sleep with an empty growling stomach.

Night was scary, there were strong winds and heavy rains, we were worried about our naive tent skills :). Thankfully when we got up tent was still holding up on our head.

This was my first camping experience, exciting but not in the way we expected. Promised myself to have better arrangements next time. And You will notice that improved skills in future posts 🙂

6 thoughts on “First Camping in Dovedale Valley

  1. Another well written post Aanchal. One thing missing “CHOTA SHIKARI” you were honored with this tittle in this trip :-P. But its ok only us lot will understand this not everybody who reads the post 🙂


  2. Well written Aanchal.. It reminded me of our trek on railway track from Sakleshpur to Subramanya (on the way from Bangalore to Udupi) during which we had camped at Yedakumari for a night.


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