10.06.2012

The Bracken Forests of Bleaklow

Sat 29th and Sun 30th Sep 2012

I had comments about the dreaded music last week.
So here it is.
But for those that need to turn it off sharpish, I have put it at the TOP.


Richie Arndt - I Fall Apart
So, to the story.............. 

I had spent a rather good 3 days working in Warwick Bridge near Carlisle,
(staying at Walton on Hadrian's Wall).

Well not actually staying on the wall, more in a bunkhouse near the wall. I have been there before, I will not bore you with the details.
Anyway, it came to pass that I needed to head off to Alistair and Lynsey's flat in Stockport, so on Friday night I boarded the train at Carlisle, and began my journey.

A few hours later ........................................................................

 Alistair picked me up from Stockport station and back to theirs for the Black Cuillin Ale I had been promised and tempted with via Twitter over the preceding week.

'Twas a goodly ale and went down a tweet (sorry I meant treat).
 I could easily have been tempted with another from Alistair's cavernous beer cabinet, or even whiskey from his equally cavernous whiskey cupboard, but I resisted due to the need to wake without a headache.

Much chat and them time for sleep, because it was to be an early start to meet Carl in Edale.

Carl was leaving home at the insane hour of 4.00am.  

 "Good God man, that is in the middle of the night" !!!!! 

We rose early and got a lift to the station at 7.00, to get the 7.15 to Manchester and then across to Edale. All of a sudden we were there, Carl met us at the station,and I hauled my ridiculous work bag up the hill to Carl's car.
Dumped it in, and had a bit of a rucksack Faff. Carl had bought my rucksack up, which I had left with him on Monday.
He had resisted the urge to sell off the contents on EBay, and it was time to go.
Well, nearly, because first we needed a cup of tea at the cafe which was just opening.
A fine establishment, Carl grabbed some breakfast, and I had a nice cup of Tea.
Soon though it was time to head off, so back to the car, to grab rucksacks, and Carl, Lynsey and myself headed off to Jacob's ladder and then on to Kinder.






The interactive map below is roughly it, but since I was not doing a very good job of following it on the map, on the grounds that I did not have one (I know, I know...Leave it...) then this is a good approximation

The probable route. 
You can drag the map about and zoom in and out, 
and I might change it when I find out where I really went.





Carl and Lynsey (what fine company)
About to head up Jacob's ladder (looking back)
The wind was blowing in interesting gusts between the consistent buffeting.
It wasn't raining, but early on, we realised that a high camp was not going to happen unless we could find some decent shelter.
Anyway, enough of that, onwards with the journey.
It was a good stiff climb up to the top of Jacobs Ladder (why is it called a ladder, it's steps!).
Near the top we stopped for a quick gear Faff and a addition of clothing.
It was getting a might blustery.
Over the top to Kinder we were getting knocked about a bit by the wind, but it was just good to be out and about for a change.

Approaching Kinder Downfall.
It is rather out of focus. I was getting blown off my feet taking this
Once over the downfall, we climbed up to the top, before the descent down to the Snake Pass and then off to Blealkow.
Just near the top there is an excellent little depression with great shelter, and also almost perfect seating formed in the rock.
An excellent place for lunch, which is what we did.

Carl at the Lunch stop above Kinder Downfall
Lynsey at the same stop
After lunch we had the long long descent down to where the path crosses the Snake Pass and near Dr's Gate. It was lucky in some ways that this part of the Pennine Way has been slabbed, because even so, it was very wet in places. I was trying to stop filling my Terrocs with water.
Carl stepped off the path briefly to submerge his leg to half way up the calf.
A tendency he would continue As it happens later on, I may as well have not bothered either, because I submerged them anyway.

Looking back to the ridge
So in pretty good but very blustery conditions we headed off up to Bleaklow.
Once we got up the top, we realised for sure that a high camp was not going to happen.
We stopped briefly for a rethink and decided that heading down to Ravensbrook Clough would hopefully find us some shelter.
 I say we, but as I cunningly had left my printed maps on the printer earlier in the week, I just nodded and agreed.

Carl and I near the summit.
Picture courtesy Lynsey's Blog
Just after this we came across some people making repairs to the path.
A Helicopter was flying in large bags of hardcore material.
Considering the wind this was a might impressive feat of flying.

First glimpse of helicopter.
We had seen it fly in from the West
Returning to get more ballast
Hovering just near us as it dumped another load
I had a chat with one of the chaps. We were about to head off into a wilderness of bog and hags, so we would not be in the firing line for hard core ballast attack, or being wiped out by a large metal pendulum hanging beneath the helicopter. There were red markers in the ground and we did our best to keep well clear of these.





It was quite a trudge over the top.
Good stuff, but no real markers on the ground, as we navigated our way through hags and bog.
Visibility however was excellent, which made navigation much easier.
Carl took the lead, taking us on an interesting route through slippery wet boggy, heathery bits.
He did a great job, and showed us many of the hazards, by demonstrating what might happen if we didn't look where we were going. Slips, slides, plunging into bog, twisting knees.

Excellent stuff. Could have done with a video :-)   




Me trying not to get wet feet (why did I bother?)
Picture courtesy Lynsey's Blog
Eventually we began our descent down to Ravens Clough.
The going was tough, traversing along the edge of the river, through wet ground and long grass and bracken.

This was bracken day one.          

AND  THIS WAS NOTHING!

There was definitely nowhere to camp.
We would need to drop a bit more.
We/I was getting tired limbs now.
This is the time of day that accidents happen.
Tired bodies navigating slippery, uneven ground.
 It was pretty obvious that no one comes this way, except maybe sheep.

Heather on the way down.
Slightly out of focus, it was blowing a tad.

Lynsey and Carl.
After this it got rather more slippery
Eventually, we arrived at a spot with nice tufty grass, and sheep shit.
The first possible pitch had a dead sheep in it, so we decided that crossing the river and pitching up the other side, as far away from it as possible was in order.
We proceeded to put up tents.

Lynsey had the Akto.
Carl was giving his Trailstar an outing, which was good, because it is always important to have a party tent.
I had brought Wendy out.

First time out since her injury on Ingleborough.
Now she had a new pole, repaired tear, and new stays at the back.
She was ready to go. I will still be using the Trailstar for longer hikes, and the Challenge, but I felt it cruel to leave Wendy confined to a cupboard.


Looking back along the river
View to the hills
I had brought the Samsung NX10 with me.
I think I will definitely take this for my next Challenge rather than the little camera.
I also this time just brought the 50 - 250 IOS lens.
This was an experiment, but for longer hikes I will leave this at home. It is too big to really carry 2 lenses, and on it's own it is not right.
You need to have something like an 18-55 with you to get the proper pictures.
The width is just not enough on the longer zoom lenses.
Although it is good for close ups from a distance.

Food preparation
There I was taking photos, while Carl and Lynsey were getting food ready.
Time to put the camera away.

Wendy
Shock Horror
As I checked on Wendy to add a bit of tension, I noticed to my horror, that one of Sean's added guy tabs was already coming away. The other two were steady as a rock, as was the repair to the pole sleeve at the back. Luckily it was fine, even in the wind, and I have now over sewn it, and resealed the seam with some tape.

She will be fine.

Not sure why this one came loose, because as I say the others were rock solid, and the Oookstar last year was absolutely bloody marvellous.

Me Faffing around with something at the camp
Picture courtesy Lynsey's Blog
So, I dug out my stove, and boiled up some water, sitting near the porch of Carl's Trailstar.
It took forever, and I have now decided, that unless I am going to be cooking food in a pan, then I am going to get a Jetboil Flash. Most of the time, I just boil water, and have drinks, or soup, or cook in the bag meals from Chris at Outdoors Grub, so for me, it will be an ideal addition. And, so I had my meal.

My feet had been rather wet, and I had foolishly put Crocs (I will not discuss the colour) on over the wet socks. (see how I did that?)
My plan was to dry them out a bit. As it happened, I just froze my feet in the wind to the point where I could not feel my left foot, and the big toe had gone white. I trudged off to my tent, and removed the wet socks, rubbed them quite a lot to try and get some circulation in them, which from outside the tent sounded a tad improper, although I hasten to add I was NOT moaning as well.
Then I put on some warm fluffy windproof socks, and bemoaned the fact that I had decided to leave my Down Socks at home.
My feet were bloody cold, and let that be a warning to you. It took another hour and several drams of malt, before they came back to life.  

Lesson learnt.

Eventually, it was time to head back to Carl's tent with mini music speaker, and a very sociable and enjoyable evening, where much whiskey flowed.
Carl had also bought some Tennants 9% lager (aka rocket fuel).
Much talking, it was a bloody good evening in brilliant company, and I had a great time.

So enough of Bothy Nights,  

Trailstar Nights is the new social hub.

Eventually it was time to go back to Wendy, gathering cooking equipment and stuff on route.
The wind had dropped, but it was now seriously chilly, and I was glad to get into my bag.
If I needed a pee in the night, it was going to have to wait.    

Day one was finished.

Tomorrow we would leave at 8.00 for a route back to Edale, as yet not fully decided.   

And then it was morning I could have got out of the sleeping bag a bit earlier.
I had heard muffled signs of life.
It had been a blustery night, but only a short rain shower, so the tent was not too wet.
Eventually it was time to surface.
I packed most of the stuff inside the tent, and then came out to pack her away.

Everything done, we were away by 8.02 (AL !!!!!)

We resisted Carl's initial route to cross the river 15 times, and just stayed on the same side.
It worked well, until the fence with BARBED WIRE on it.
No idea what this was keeping in or out other than walkers, because there was a big hole under it.
After looking at the possibility of a Slomaneque disaster climbing over, Lynsey and I checked rucksacks over, and then climbed under. Carl walked up the hill and climbed over somewhere.

We continued through vast swathes of every increasing bracken and bog and hill and wet and stuff.
This was NOT a route to bring someone to introduce them to hill walking.
BUT it was an excellent and isolated route, and surprisingly Scotland like in places.

Eventually we descended to a stile, and we could see the track to Derwent Water in the distance.
Why the stile was there I don't know either. No one as far as I can see had been that way for years.
We stepped over into a muddy descent and more undergrowth.
Great stuff.

And lo it came to pass that eventually, we arrived at a track, that became wider, crossed over the river, came out onto the road,


and then along the length of Derwent Water.

One of the Two towers of the dam at this end
It was bloody hard to resist the temptation to catch the bus I can tell you.
A lot of runners and cyclists about as well today.

Nearly all of them ok Read on .................

Once round the little pointy bit of the walk along the dam (technical jargon that), we turned off onto the track.

A surprising steep climb up.

By the time we got to the top it was definitely time to take the sleeves off the 3rd Element Paramo jacket, despite the cold wind. I was cooking on gas.

As we waited, some mountain bikers came down the track.
They were all quite pleasant and polite. I say ALL!

All apart from the first arrogant TWAT, who did not slow down at all, and ploughed through a large puddle, pretty much soaking Carl.
What a ***t.

Where are your walking poles when you really need them. 

As we shall see, not the ONLY MTB incident.
We carried on up the hill and over the top.
As we turned the corner, to head down to Hag Farm, the wind really picked up.
We dropped down another steep track to the farm and then crossed the Snake Pass road again, and headed up and into the woods, and then over towards Edale.
Near the top, we started to get overtaken by a variety of fell runners.
We passed over the top, and I texted Ollie (No 1 son, to wish him a happy 17th Birthday).

I had not planned the date of this weekend walk very well.
We dropped down to the bottom again. At the bottom a we thought that a runner had collapsed.
But it turned out to be a young lass, who had been out pony trekking.
Her horse had been spooked by an MTB  (just sayin' probably just a spooky horse but ....)
A man who had been running had stopped to help, and seemed to be completely in control.
Definitely had medical skills.
Carl gave them a second Space Blanket to keep her warm
She had fallen heavily and hurt her chest and back.
The Mountain rescue had been called in and were on there way.

Later we would see ambulances and a helicopter (and it was bloody windy).
We had to go on, there was nothing else we could do. Everything was being done.

As it happens a HAPPY ENDING, we later found out that she was ok, just badly bruised and winded, but kept in for observations.

SO........ Whatever, SLOW DOWN for Horses OK!!!!

Not fare to go now ....................

We made our way back finally to Edale.
The cafe was open and we went in.

AND that was one of the best Bacon Rolls I can remember.
(Carl had 2, told the lass it was for me, but she could easily see through the hungry falsehood of his statement)

Along with much Tea.

We stayed here quite a while.
And then it was time to leave.

Carl was giving me a lift home
We dropped Lynsey off at the station, and drove South to the Fen Flatlands.  

It had been a truly excellent weekend
In the absolute best of company.
Brilliant!


AGAIN, AGAIN they cry.










     

17 comments:

  1. When I read Lynsey's write-up I thought you were two-timing Tereeza. Then I read this and all is clear, Wendy is your short term love - and Tereeza is for the long term (ok trips - but, it read better).

    Lovely part of the World, and, as usual, a very good write up by both you and Lynsey. I may have to wait a while for Carl's: he's still on the TGO - Day 2 I think!

    I'm off to Crianlarich and Oban in a couple of weeks - Munros to catch up on.

    Cheers,

    Gordon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gordon, you are a cheeky mite! I'm on day 6!!!

      Delete
  2. You retired people.
    Always climbing mountains.
    I can't wait.
    Sadly I will have to because government has buggered everything up.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Replies
    1. Not 7.32 though.
      Never before 8.00.
      Never :-)

      Unless...............

      Delete
    2. It's still late in my book! A good write up Andrew. Hopefully I'll get day 2 write up tomorrow...

      Delete
  4. Twitter? What's your @ there?
    Still walking I see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could tell you that if I knew who you were!

      Delete
  5. whoops sorry, I didn't have any of the drop down 'comment as' options.
    I thought you might be able to work it out from my 'still walking...' quip.
    hannah x

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ah.... H :-)
    @akkw1803.
    Still on gmail as well and same mobile no.

    Have had issues with anonymous comments recentky, hence my response.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What people being horrid?
    Why do they bother.
    Freaks.
    I'll head over to twitter and see you there.
    You can delete my messages - I shouldn't be on here not being a 'walking person' :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sounds like brilliant fun! Hope you took the opportunity to give Carl a nudge, he needs to get his Challenge write up finished. I'm impatient!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Louise, you are as bad as, well, everyone else! I'll get there, I promise. Hope you are well, gal. I miss the challenge massively. I will miss it for at least 2 years before returning. You folk are the best!

      Delete
  9. It’s no wonder you had wet feet with Lyndsey in charge of the map. Ha.
    Good weather for a kinder backpack. Glad you like the camera and i like the photo of the Derwent.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Andrew, well done. A great report - and good to see your shots, some of which I will pinch. I have a smasher of you. Really good picture.

    Second roll? What second roll?

    I had such a great time, you've brought the memories back nicely. And have a managed to nurture a pass for The Pass (reunion). I sh*t you not.

    I will work on the daunder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent Carl.
      I will validate dates with Alan Hardy.

      Delete