Thursday, 26 May 2016

Did I mention our charity?

You know, I cant remember! Well, i'll mention it again!

Our charity for this years Lyke Wake Walk - Reverse Route challenge on the 18-19th June is Meningitis Now. Oh look, theres even a link to their webpage on the side of this blog! How lucky is that?

I tell you what else is lucky, theres a link to our sponsorship and donations page as well! So you see, you can read all about our three peaks walk, then just pop over the mouse pointer a few inches, and in a click or few, you can make a pledge to support us on our walk and the great work that Meningitis Now does in supporting families hit by this devastating illness.

And, look, see how nice I am to you? You dont even need to drag the mouse that far! Just click here -

and give us some of your money!

Go on, you know you want to! It all feels just soooo heavy in your wallet doesnt it? Go on, lighten the load on your hip pocket, and your conscience!

The Yorkshire Three Peaks....Again!

Due to a date calculation error, the planned walk of Trollers Gill with Sam couldnt happen, so I asked Bob if he wanted to try something else...

'Y3P', was his reply. So, on Monday, we yet again headed to Horton in Ribblesdale, a little later in the morning than normal, and after Bobs customary visit to the public conveniences, parked up behind the pub, and started to get kitted up.

The weather was excellent. 'T-shirt tabbing' straight from the off, however, the forecast was for showers later in the afternoon. After a protein shake and banana breakfast, I dropped a £2 coin into the honesty box for the parking, and we headed off around the church.

The walk to the foot of Pen-Y-Ghent was about as uneventful as it gets, other than having to keep moving aside to let the farmer on his quad bike past, as he did his rounds feeding the sheep.

Heading up, the fine weather had us working up a bit of a sweat. There seemed to be very few people about, and most of those were coming the other way!

It wasnt long before we were tackling the first scramble. In the fine conditions this proved no problem.

Once at the summit, we paused to play a little radio. Pen-y-ghent is a SOTA summit, and we needed just four radio contacts to make it an official activation. Well, these were hard to come by! We had to resort to the big telescopic antenna, but eventually Bob bagged the needed contacts.

As we set off again, we passed by the chaps you can see in the background in the picture below, at this point it was realised that Bob knew one of them, who lives not far from him!

Pen-y-ghent done, we began the descent down to the long tedious drag over to Ribble Head. In the nice sunny weather, and with our nice new comfy boots, this seemed no hardship, and we decided to make a small detour to visit Hull Pot.

This ancient hole in the ground is seriously scary! I cant imagine what neolithic people thought when they came across it.

From Hull Pot we backtracked to rejoin the path and headed toward the Ribblehead viaduct, just visible in the photo below, with the imposing bulk of mistress Whernside dominating the horizon.

At the road junction we avoided the sarnie waggon and decided to just have a snack, tighten the old laces and crack on up to Blea Moor Sidings, to get up the horrendous slog that is Whernside.
Crossing over to Ribblehead viaduct, you can see Ingleborough through the arches, a reminder of whats to come

Its over there!
As the weather had been good for some time, all the water courses were mere trickles

Even the paved slog up Whernside didnt seem as bad as last time. But then, last time the weather was abysmal. As we climbed Whernside this time, it became apparent  just how amazing the views from its summit are! The whole of the Dales, and the peaks of the Lakes, could be seen, as could the sparkling waters of Morcambe Bay and the Irish sea. A slightly less attractive sight was that of a lamb with its eye hanging out.

At the summit, we had a spot of lunch, and Bob changed socks whilst I tried for the SOTA contacts. This time though it seemed everyone was busy elsewhere. Desperate attempts were made to get a spot onto the online alert system, but the only one that worked, via a Facebook page, was sadly too little too late. Bob had a brief run in with a self appointed member of the frequency police, who berrated him for 'not proper procedure' whilst at the same time breaking his own license conditions by not giving his callsign. Despite all attempts, including Bob bagging a summit to summit contact with an activator on a hill in North Wales, we gave up without getting enough contacts to qualify. But, we'd been stopped for about half an hour, time was marching on, and despite the warm weather the slight breeze was making us cold as it dried off our sweat. Without changing my socks, we moved on and tackled the nasty rocky descent.

Yet we still felt good, it seemed all easy going. But dark skies were brewing to the North. The breeze was holding them off, but it was becoming obvious that we were on borrowed time with the weather.

It started to rain, slightly at first, then heavier, as we approached Ingleborough. It was quite heavy as we hit the wall.

NO photo ive yet seen does the wall justice! Like the one above, they all look a much  gentler gradient than is the case. By the time we were half way up, and reaching the scramble near the top, the heavens opened in a torrential downpour.

We had waterproof jackets on, but the effort of the climb meant we were as wet inside as out, but also hot, and with laboured breathing and misted glasses I completed the wall a little behind Bob, and to my dismay realised i'd forgotten that the wall doesnt go to the summit, but just to a slightly less steep section! As we headed back down the other side for the final four miles to Horton, the ground was just a mass of fast flowing rivlets. The only consolation was that at least it wasnt sideways blowing sleet like the last time!

By the time we reached Sulber Nick, probably one of the worst parts of the walk generally, everything was a sea of mud, every rock was slippy, and I was so wet that even my underpants were damp. I also had a very cold left nipple, which turned out to be an open pocket in my jacket that had filled with rain water!

Caked with mud, we left the rain behind as we descended, and having passed the two wooden signs that tell you how far to Horton it is but lie like a cheap NAAFI watch, finally had the roofs of the railway cottages in sight, and Pen-y-ghent in front of us on the horizon. Just a couple of miles to go.

By the time we descended towards the railway, with the beautiful but toxic waters of the Blue Lagoon off to our right, our own body heat had started to dry us out a bit. Bobs bunion was pissing him off a tad, and i'd developed a sore spot under the ball of my right foot, due I believe to choosing to not change to fresh socks. As we crossed the bridge in Horton to head up the main road towards the Pen-y-ghent cafe, it was clear just how much it had rained, as the previously gentle river was a raging torrent below us.

We reached the car, ending our walk just inside the challenge time, at 11h 30. Not our best time, but we had set out to have a steady bimble and not push hard. We both gently steamed as we packed our kit away and took off our boots in favour of trainers for the drive home. The sore spot on my foot was clearly from sweat, something changing socks would have prevented. But apart from that and aching legs, oh and a little extra sunburn, and being decidedly moist, we were none the worse for it.

On the drive home, Bob tried to kill me by feeding me a ridiculously hot spicy sausage, and we decided that, having done the Yorkshire Three Peaks many times now, we would reserve it for an annual test, and from now on look at walking some of those other summits we could see so clearly from the top of Whernside.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Last Monday - Win Hill, Lose Hill, Mam Tor and the Great Ridge

Not content with 20 miles and moderate sun stroke on the Sunday, me and Bob headed back out to the Edale valley on the Monday, this time to the other side, to complete a circuit of the Great Ridge.

Parking at Nether Booth, at first glance the 13 mile route looked a bit of a stroll. And so it seemed until we passed through a farmyard to the foot of the ascent onto Win Hill!

All was nice pleasent road and path walking for a while, lots of lambs and calves to look at

After the first farm, came the first steep ascent. And boy was it a bugger! But once up 300m or so, the land leveled out for a gentle wander up towards the summit of Win Hill

Up there, as Bobs pointing out! After a while, the track turns toward the true summit, which entailed a little scramble

Win Hill surmounted, it was back down into the outskirts of Hope, a rather steep descent, during which we not only practiced our navigation skills a little more, but also brushed up on our Fire Control Orders and combat medical techniques! Something neither of us have used for decades.

The climb to the summit of Lose Hill was also a goodly steep walk, made a little worse for me as the path for a good part was at an angle that was not condusive to pain free walking to someone with one leg longer than the other! A ten minute rest was had half way up though whilst we had a good natter with an old couple coming down

And, at the top of Lose Hill, it was time for lunch! Pasta, lucozade, and bizzare long Polish sausage, all enjoyed in the vicinity of a rotting sheep carcass. Rock n roll!

From here, the path was fairly easy, although varying from rubble and ruts to stone paving, across the Great Ridge to Hollins Cross and then up onto the summit of Mam Tor, and its constant supply of day walking tourists and gale force winds


With the hills now done, we took the track beside the road back to Edale. Our route, with three miles still to go, took us toward the Nags Head, but as we passed the railway station I noticed the Penny Pot cafe was still open - 'fancy a brew?' says I.

A nice pot of tea later, and we settled into the last few miles across farmland back to the car, which by this time was surrounded by chickens. Despite the factor 50 sunblock we'd used that morning, we were still burnt to a crisp.

Last Weekend - Kinder Plateau

Last sunday, myself and Bob set out to carry out a task we had both been meaning to do for a long time - complete the full boundary of the Kinder Plateau!

This totalled about 20 miles

In a change from our normal routine, we started from Hayfield, and went up onto Kinder via the reservoir instead of up Jacobs Ladder. Whilst not really any less tiring, it was certainly more scenic. Some wonderful views to be had.

It soon however became closed in as we ascended up the valley. Very few walkers about but several fell runners stopped for a chat and a moments rest with us

Once up the mountain, Bob started a bit of SOTA. We had also decided that on this walk we would go back to basics and use map and compass, including giving each other navigation exercises, just to keep the essential skills sharp. This proved to be great fun, even if the walking wasnt!

It soon became quite clear why so few people ever walk the north side of the plateau! Its barren, rocky, and hard going, with no easy escape routes should the weather turn. Luckily for us it was great 'T-shirt tabbing' weather!

For now, i'll let the photos speak for me -

About six hours later, and after a debate as to the position of what I thought was an imaginary trig pillar that only existed in Bobs mind, but turned out to be that we were further than I thought and i'd not recognised Edale Rocks, we headed down via Edale Cross

I have a habit of tripping up at some point in the final few miles, and this walk was not to dissapoint on that score, when I went arse over tit into a gully on the descent, and actually got wedged in! Not hurt at all, but so well stuck I couldnt move and needed Bobs help to get up... when he stopped laughing

Finally back at the car park, we discovered that this was the starting point for the Kinder Mass Tresspass in the 1930s, which led to the opening up of land and the creation of the National Parks.

We also discovered that we were quite wrong to have been dismissive of the Met Office warning of a 'moderate' UV index!