Under a blanket of stars
What began as a passing comment, soon lead to a two hour drive northwards into the hills. We drove into the Peak District where we chased the stars and the moonlight. The stars particularly bright, glistening beautifully in the cold winters sky. The moon shone with intent, the soundtrack was mellow and that of Mogwai and Mew, gentle airy electronic quietness.
We drove towards the Roaches on the small winding track with the wheels slipping on the fast forming patches of subzero ice as the night deepened. We drove to the lower tier, stopped and looked out on the fading lights behind us.
There was some exhilaration and excitement in the idea of leaving the indoor warmth, to submerge ourselves in complete solitude as small humans underneath the blanket of awe-inspiring lights above.
Exiting the vehicle I looked up as a shooting star exploded. Overhead moments like this remind me of the nights I spent with some of my best friends in the highlands of Ethiopia, after a few beers at the clubhouse we would leave to break into the pool. There we would strip down and jump into the refreshingly cool water. As we would tread water, we would all share our experiences and our thoughts of life. We would all watch the stars explode endlessly above our heads, the night sky was so clear and so deep out there in the mountains of Africa. This night in the peak district seemed so similar, as though under the same sky looking up and watching the glistening lights and moon.
I set the camera on a tripod with a timer. I opened the aperture to allow for a 30second shot into the sky. We followed the stars for a few hours until the early hours loomed. We drove high into into the small quiet villages where locals slept away their January blues. I realised what a luxury the freedom we had that night was. A few weeks ago I had been to the Roaches walking with my family, I promised myself I would return soon and ascend the rocks and boulder the beautiful glacial deposits. That night I looked up onto the rocks with the stars shining above, and again I yearned for the opportunity to ascend these rocks to new heights and chase new routes.
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