Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Pennine Way. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pennine Way. Show all posts

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Thursday 7 June 2012 - Bleaklow

First of all, I’ve been informed by Heather T-S that Grant Cunliffe’s body was found on 7 June in the Braeriach area, as the snow line finally recedes in the Cairngorms.  You may recall a posting in January that I made at Heather’s request.  It’s very sad news, but at least his family can now grieve properly.  Our thoughts are with them, and with all his friends.

Andy and Gareth near Grains in the Water

Now then, Gareth and Andy had been camping out on Bleaklow.  Despite a rather dire weather forecast I popped out to meet them, as Obi 1P (last seen on a November backpacking trip with Mick and Gayle), who I wanted to borrow again, was languishing in Andy’s car.

I left Polly at 7.30 on the top of the Snake Pass, where the Pennine Way takes on a rather strange look.

The Pennine Way by the A57 road

Turning the other way, I wondered briefly as to my sanity, but the flowers were nice, and the plovers certainly noticed me.

The path towards Bleaklow

‘Welcome to the High Peak’ muttered a runner as he breezed past.  (Or was I imagining that?) 

Hope Woodlands Moor

The runner was one of only five people I saw on the hill today.  Two of the others were Andy and Gareth, who took some tracking down.

I was at Bleaklow Head by 8.30.  It’s a bleak sort of place and I didn’t feel like a long wait.  I knew that they were camping at Grinah Stones, some way off, thanks to Gareth’s ‘buddy beacon’.

Bleaklow Head

So, with the unexpected benefit of a phone signal, we arranged to meet at Bleaklow Stones.  We arrived there within a few minutes of each other, but Andy and Gareth didn’t think these were Bleaklow Stones, so they moved off to an obscure map reference just before I arrived and taunted me from there.

Bleaklow Stones

It didn’t help that I’ve still not learnt how to use the Satmap GPS, so I bumbled around, already having inadvertently turned 180 degrees on the path from Bleaklow Head to Bleaklow Stones.  It was that sort of day, I think Andy and Gareth did something similar.

Anyway, I zigzagged my way to their obscure location, half expecting to find an envelope with directions to my next ‘clue’.  But there they were, a jolly pair of backpackers in the rain, which was the dominant feature of the day’s weather.

At last - Andy and Gareth in the mist

After making our way back to Bleaklow Head, the navigation became very easy for the rest of the walk.  We simply headed back down the Pennine Way, turning left down Hern Clough to Grains in the Water, near where the dynamic duo are pictured in the top image.  Beyond there, Alport Dale narrows and the path moves high above the left bank.  It’s a beautiful dale, even in the rain.

Andy found a little difficulty in staying upright, banging his head and his knee at one point.  So G brewed up for him and all was well again.

A brew stop in Alport Dale

Andy’s spring had been re-wound, and off he went again as we contoured gently past Over Wood Moss and along the delightful contouring path across Alport Moor.

Alport Dale on a wet day

Opposite Grindlesgrain Tor, our route switched to the heights of Westend Moor, climbing steeply but briefly beside Glethering Clough.

Gareth and Andy on the pull up to Westend Moor

Andy was suffering…

Hard work for Andy

Soon we were up at the trig point on Westend Moor.

The trig point on Westend Moor

By now we were rather damp.  It really was raining quite hard.  Perhaps a little harder than on the first Sunday of the TGO Challenge.  It was certainly more wetting, perhaps because I’d deployed an old set of waterproofs for this day walk.

Cameras were stashed before they drowned, and we made our way along to Alport Castles where a left turn took us down the excellent path to reach Andy’s car at the hairpin bend near Fox’s Piece.

The Ladybower Inn then provided real ale and a large plate of chips, which went down very well.  In the next alcove a group of farmers had assembled to listen to a fascinating presentation on management of the Peak District moorland.  It seems that much good is being done, with new techniques revitalising the land.  We left feeling that there is much hope for the future wellbeing of the magnificent landscape and the flora and fauna, not to mention the crops and livestock, that are being helped to flourish in their moorland habitat.  One slide showed an area where there had previously been hardly any skylarks changing to the extent that their numbers are now uncountable!

Thanks for your company, and to Andy for the lift back up to Polly, and Gareth for the loan of Obi 1P, and if you want a bit of a laugh you can chuckle at my wanderings, as recorded by the Garmin gadget:

Friday, 25 March 2011

Saturday 12 March 2011 – The TGO Challenge ‘Snake Reunion’

The ever optimistic Tony Bennett prepares for blinding sunshine

Alan Hardy (that’s not him above!) again kindly organised this reunion.

Whilst some attended the whole weekend, Sue and I joined a hard corps of about 30 folk – nobody was counting – for a 17 km walk; followed by an evening with 40 or so diners at the Snake Inn.

The route chosen for the walk was excellent – from The Snake we dropped through woodland to the River Ashop, for Essential Training – a river crossing.

Crossing the River Ashop in Lady Clough

But the crossing was hardly a practice for Scottish burns in May. Nobody got their feet wet.

Then a large portion of the day’s height gain was achieved on the ascent to Seal Stones. Peter struggled. He may need to adjust his red wine/exercise quotient to get fit for the Challenge.

Barbara and Sue greet Peter as he ambles up to Seal Stones

But we were in no hurry. We pottered slowly along Seal Edge, then across Kinder Scout to the Downfall. There wasn’t much falling down; it has been dry.

Posing on Seal Edge
Peat Hags on Kinder Scout
Kinder Downfall

The well surfaced track of the Pennine Way saw us over Sandy Heys to William Clough, where lunch was taken and one of the less robust members of the party, who shall remain nameless, decided to take a short cut down the Snake Path and Ashop Clough.

The rest of us continued along the Pennine Way to Mill Hill, then along the long paved path across Featherbed Moss to the top of the A57 Snake Pass road.

The paved Pennine Way snakes its way to the Snake Pass

After a long wait for JJ, who had been testing a vital item of Challenge Kit, the motley group carried on to ‘Old Woman’ before leaving the ‘Motorway’ that is the Pennine Way.

A light shower didn’t deter us from enjoying the final few kilometres down Lady Clough and back to the Snake Inn.

Here’s our route – 17 km, 620 metres ascent, taking a leisurely 6.5 hours.

Our 17 km route, with 620 metres ascent, taking 6.5 hours

Then, after a few beers etc, a jolly evening was had by all those who didn’t leave early, and by even more who arrived late.

Waiting for dinner

Great to see you, folks.

There’s a slide show here – not very good images I’m afraid, but they do feature one Challenger who seems to be preparing his own head for target practice!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Thursday 17 June 2010 – Standedge to Crowden – Blue Skies on the Pennine Way

Gayle kindly provided the impetus for today’s little excursion.  We met her at 9.30 at Standedge and left her around 3 pm at Crowden, to return home whilst she continued towards Bleaklow to enjoy a wild camp by Torside Brook.

We chose a good day to join her on her FAT (Football Avoidance Trip), the weather being typical  for the UK in June – why would anyone wish to be elsewhere at this time of year?

Sue and Gayle stride out from Standedge

At Black Moss Reservoir we chose an easy route across White Moss and Wessenden Head Moor, rather than the more undulating Pennine Way route.

New flagstones across White Moss are giving the previously heavily eroded moorland a chance to recover.  Gayle was puzzled by the vocal opposition she had heard to such flagged paths; but I’m convinced that the majority of us are in favour of properly constructed pathways across such moorland, enabling the eroded vegetation to recover.

Newly laid flagstones on Black Moss

The white bags on White Moss contain bundles of heather and seeds, to help with the regeneration of the natural moorland.

Heather bales and seeds

The short section across Wessenden Head Moor to join the Pennine Way before Black Hill is little used and would be very boggy in wet weather.  But with the current paucity of Pennine Rain, Sue and I found it quite easy to hop across any damp patches in our trail shoes, though Gayle got slight ingression due to wearing Flip8s (which she likes, but which do at all times attempt to act as sponges).

An anxious curlew wheeled around us.


We spotted this prone object beside the path, and realised the cause for concern, before hurrying on.

Curlew chick

The summit of Black Hill was a sun trap today.

Norman, doing the Pennine Way on a B&B basis, but with a bigger rucksack than Gayle, kindly took this photo for us.

Black Hill summit

Gayle was astounded by how much the area, which used to be a 365 days a year quagmire, had recovered since her previous visit two years ago.  Her observations are here.

The sceptics would have us walking through deep bog in a 100 metre wide section of eroded moorland.  I like this newish path towards Dun Hill.

The path to Dun Hill

A long lunch stop in the sunshine followed, and then a buzzing helicopter dropped a team to attend to a lady with a twisted ankle.

As we descended past Laddow Rocks towards Crowden, numerous Mountain Rescue personnel rushed past, in various states of breathlessness.  We half expected a medic to be following them up in case they collapsed themselves.

A busy aircraft ‘motorway’ was in operation above us – obviously no volcanic ash problem today!

Eventually, at around 3pm, the path to Polly (our car) led down past the ice-cream haven called Crowden, whilst Gayle’s route to Glossop (she never did get there) headed off in the other direction.

So sadly our ways parted, but it had been an excellent little outing.

Parting ways at Crowden

Gayle’s report is here, and her Black Hill observations are here.

Our 15 km route (see below), with 350 metres of ascent, took a leisurely 5.5 hours, though Mr Slowman Naismith would have cut nearly two hours of that time!

The day's route - 15km, 350 metres ascent, 5.5 hours

The full slideshow (29 images) is here.