An overnighter at Rail End

October doesn't seem like the normal time of year to be heading out to a field in Yorkshire for an overnight camp to most, but I guess Kev and I aren't quite normal.  Sometimes the lure of sitting around a campfire for an evening, burning wood collected from the riverbanks while in a canoe to cook some food and unwind by is too tempting to resist.  A phonecall to the farmer to check all was okay and we were off.  No tents, just the tarp and bivi bags, simples!

Our tarp setup at Rail End

With the tarp up and our shelter in place we set to collecting firewood.  A simple task, just paddle up stream gathering small branches which have been brought down in flood water and are hanging in the trees along the river bank.  We soon had enough for our needs and headed back.

Plenty of firewood

Back at camp, our fire was soon ablaze and shortly after ready to cook over.  I use an old helium gas bottle which has been cut in half as a fire pit, makes sense to keep the fire off of the grass and keep towards "no trace camping" if possible.  A vegatable soup with bread rolls somehow managed to expand to involve rice and baked spuds and beetroot.  Once we'd eaten though, we could make up the fire and sit back to enjoy the evening as a full moon rose behind the trees.

Our evening fire.

A pleasant evening followed as we talked about everything and nothing.  We turned in quite early as we were both very tired, but I woke up around three to find Kev sat beside a lively fire which he'd brought back to life and was thoroughly enjoying.  More talk again for a while before sleep overtook us once more.

I'm not sure what time I woke, but Kev maintained his slug impression for a while after I'd stirred.

Kev's slug impression.

Not wanting to light the fire to make a cuppa, I fired up the meths burner.  Tea followed shortly.

Breakfast brew.

Before long the smell of bacon, sausage and eggs wafted out from our little camp, while he refused our offer of a bacon sarnie, Bob the farmer called in to say 'Hi' and declare us as 'mad'.  We'd had showers on and off through the night and morning, but we were pleased to catch sight of this rainbow.

A rainbow over our camp

With full stomachs and a bit of sunshine we relaunched the canoe and headed off downstream with Kev doing the paddling.

The river looking very nice

He looked quite at home as stern paddler.  Definitely getting the hang of it now.

Kev getting to grips with paddling 'Jus Chillin'.

A change in the weather had us heading for home, we hadn't gone far so with both paddling it didn't take long for the return trip.  We'd moved the car back to the entrance of the field as the way in had involved a pretty steep bit of banking that was quite slippery.  We didn't want to risk getting stuck and having to call Bob out with a tractor, but this meant loading the canoe with all the kit for the last bit to get back to the car.

All too soon it was over, both of us wishing we could stay another night.  Ah well, back to reality.  Hopefully another chance to get out will present itself soon.

Written by Al Girling

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