Marc Ford - Freedom Fighter
Listen to the lead in the middle.
Listen to the lead in the middle.
Now I had Ummed and Arred (is that how you spell it) about doing this for a couple of weeks.
What with the water on the knee shit thing going on for weeks.
BUT, the forecast was good, and I had not been out in the hills for a while, probably Dartmoor in August, although I had had a pretty damned fine time doing the North Norfolk Coastal Path.
So I had iced the knee all week.
Taken large quantities of Ibruprofen, and avoided any daft choreographed dance routines in the Panto, that my knees cannot cope with. And YES I will shortly be Widow Twankey in Aladdin. So, just leave it there and move on with your life.
Where was I? Oh yes.. Peaks trip.
So, you cannot read about a walking trip without MUSIC.
YES, some disagree. BUT.. They know NOTHING.
This is MY BLOG POST
PEAKS TRIP. (For an alternative take on it all) SEE MARTIN's REPORT
I had packed early.
Long long before I made the decision to go.
It was an incentive thing.
I wanted to go.
I needed to go.
My KNEE was not sure.
I reckoned that IF i packed, my brain would over rule.
And so, at some insane UN-GODLY hour on Sat morning, I got up and Lucy gave me a lift to the station.
She was more than happy to take me.
Indeed, she seemed quite keen on the whole subject.
I probably do NOT need to know her motive or why.
Possibly best to NOT KNOW.
So, I got the 06.38 fro Waterbeach to Kings Lynn, where Martin met me at the station and we headed to Lady Bower.
ETA 9.30 or as it happened about 10.00.
We headed NORTH.
Chatting most of the way.
Last time I saw Martin was in the Fife at Braemar with Phil on the TGOC.
Prior to that, when Wendy (she is my Tent, and no that is NOT a euphemism), collapsed below Ingleborough).
The journey passed quickly, apart from the last 15 minutes when I was desperate for a pee, and did not wish to foul Martin's car (a close thing as it happens).
We arrived at the edge of Lady Bower.
I ran, vaulted and got stung by nettles as I hid in the bushes for a monumental pee. (NO Photos).
We met up with Dean, who had arrived whilst I was abluting in the bushes, and headed off along lady Bower and then over the main road to pick up the track to Crookhill Farm.
You need to start looking at the maps on the bottom one!!!!
|Second Map (Camp)|
|First Map (Start/Finish) ==> You need to scroll that way a bit OK!|
|Heading up above Crook Hill Farm|
I was being quite cautious early on, what with the knee thing going on. Hoping it would not do something stupid and ruin the weekend.
|Me (From Martin's Blog)|
But I did carry the little Waterproof Pentax Optio.
The quality is not that great and compared to a DSLR, poor (my opinion), but it does ok for a short trip when travelling light, as long as you don't turn the bloody GPS on.
That sucks the life out of the battery in about 6 hours.
|Looking over to Crook Hill|
|Across the valley|
|We actually went through the gate here, but if you love stiles.|
|Heading along by the woods to Hagg side and above Hagg Farm|
Or, it could be the woods above Lockbrook farm
But the views were all rather fine.
|The track has been well repaired with flagstones to avoid erosion.|
Much of the way along Derwent Edge over to Alport castles.
Does My Bum Look BIG in this?"
Don't answer OK!
As we stopped off for a bit of a snack and a drink, just before Alport castles, we could see quite a few people bimbling along.
And also a rather large group pf Mountain bikers all ready to descend down a narrow track and churn it up even more.
In fact, we saw rather a lot of mountain bikers thrashing about the hills.
NOW, don't get me wrong, I ride a lot.
Possibly more than most of the people out on their weekend jaunts.
Definitely a lot more than some of them, based on their physical state.
And I have cycled in hills, and all over the place, inc the Pyrenees.
BUT.. There are just getting too many of them
The paths are getting trashed.
AND.. Some of the buggers need to learn a bit of courtesy.
As it happens most of the ones we met were well behaved and polite.
We in turn were the same.
We know a man who would have vented his spleen on them.
|Assorted Views from Alport Castles.|
I am not sure why they are called Castles.
I guess it is because they look a bit like old ruined castles.
In fact they are just large bits of eroded and crumbling edge.
Look nice though.
After our stop we walked on a bit, and then Dean left us to go back.
We had had a good time walking together.
Next trip Dean.....
Martin and I carried on along the edge path, and then from there we headed off towards the trig point.
Now we were in much boggier ground.
The track that was, was rather wet.
It was easier walking on the grass and heather.
But even so, many detours were necessary to navigate around the wet ground.
|Martin just before the trig point|
|Me heading out after the trig point. C/O Martin's Blog|
Pretty Gloopy stuff
As we gained height, the ground became easier going, and a small semblance of a track was visible on the ground.
We made our way up and over to The Ridge
A good training ground for the Monadhliath.
Actually much nicer that the Monadhliath, since these hills as yet, are not bloody well ruined by land owners cashing in on the blight that is the Scottish Wind Turbine disaster.
Eventually, we made our way up to the rocks for a wee sit down.
The weather had been a bit more blustery than forecast, and although good, quite cold along the ridge.
But as the day wore on, the better weather had come in, and we/I could now walk in just a shirt.
Yep, and trousers!
|Me heading up c/o Martin|
|Martin heading up to the rocks|
|Bleak and wild, and yet so near civilisation|
|Looking down to the rocks we sat on|
I dropped down, and we had a brief rest, looking out across the moors.
As we sat on the top, we looked across to see a group standing around in the valley below, on route to our camp.
I used the monocular to see if I could see anything.
They did not appear to have big packs, so we waited until they headed off, and then we started to head down.
|Me on the windy top c/o Martin|
Martin was a bit ahead of me now, because I was being overly cautious with the knee on the descent. Especially since in places it was quite slippery.
|Martin about to head off|
But sadly since I had forgotten how to turn macro on on the little camera, instead of a great picture, I got this.......................
In Scotland I rarely use a filter, but here in the Peaks, I reckon it is a definite MUST.
Martin was using the Sawyer, and I had my Delios.
The Delios has a finer filter, but compared to the Sawyer, it is a bugger to squeeze water through.
I like the Delios, but I think my next one will be a Sawyer.
A bit of fluid on board, we headed up over the next small climb and then started the main descent down to the nasty boggy swampy area.
Here we chose a slightly different route.
I back tracked a bit and crossed to the other side, to avoid the worst of the bog.
|View across from camp.|
Everywhere around us was bog
Eventually we arrived at tonight's camp.
A fine dry wee spot.
The only problem was I now had to get back across the river.
A bit of stone engineering, and a passage without wet feet was possible.
Time to get the tents up, some food sorted and maybe, just maybe mind a snifter or 3 of the old single malt.
You read my mind!
|But our bit was nice and flat|
|Wendy all ready to welcome me in!|
|Looking out back up to the rocks we had sat on earlier|
above the camp
|Sun dropping down behind the camp|
Then we sat outside Martin's Tarp.
That's a bit like sitting inside a Tarp isn't it.
I have a Trailstar myself, but being from the South and soft, I have an inner.
So really, it is just a bleeding huge tent now.
Yes, I even have a door for it.
BUT on this trip I had Wendy, with her rear ties, that are all coming undone again.
Sadly they were just not in the right place.
BUT.. we will come back to that tomorrow.
Se Martin, I, some Glenfiddich, and some Jura, and few bloody midges, sat and socialised into the evening.
What the ***k are midges doing out in October?
And don't blame me for attracting the midges Evans! OK.
I don't even live in Scotland, and there are Billions of the Bastards there!
Martin dug out some Deet.
I went back to the tent, did a quick spray with repellent, and dug out a citronella joss-stick to try and keep the little blighters at bay. It seemed to work for the most part, but eventually it was getting dark, and a bit chilly, and it was time to head off home.
So, I walked the 3 metres to my tent.
Started up the Jetboil.
Made another soup.
And then settled in to watch a nice film (Double Take), that I had downloaded on the Galaxy Note.
It is the 21st Century.
(OK, except for all this pseudo green bollocks)
AND THEN IT WAS MORNING.
It had been quite cold outside last night, and not much wind.
Inside I was toasty.
And this explains the ridiculous amount of dew on the tent, and condensation on the cone ends.
In fact, Martin had a ridiculous amount of dew on his tarp.
Condensation on a Tarp!
That's cos we is camping in the UK.
And it was time to break camp and head off, after mopping a couple of pints (minimum) of water off the tent.
AND... What a bloody handsome morning it was!
|Looking out of the tent.|
|That boggy bit looks ok today|
Well along the track half way up the hill.
|Martin on the track|
That is probably why it is called the River Alport.
Just a guess that!
|Me on the track.|
|Oohh Loook, that's me again (both c/o Martin)|
At first quite a bit of it was in shadow, hence the coats.
But as we got further along, and the sun rose, it was soon time to lose the coat, and for the rest of the day I walked in just the shirt sleeves (YES!!! And the bloody trousers).
But all good things have to temporarily come to an end, and eventually we left the rather idyllic track, and headed into the BRACKEN.
Now anyone who followed my blog last year on the Peaks trip with Lynsey and Carl, knows how much I JUST LUURRVE ****ING Bracken!
So we headed through some Bracken.
Bracken that got higher and more prickly.
Bracken that may hold in it TICKS
Bracken that was on uneven hillside
Bracken that HID slippy slidy shit that wanted you to fall over down the hill,
and ***k up your already ****ed up knee.
Bracken that was still damp.
Nay, bracken that was still ****ing soaked and that made YOU soaked too.
Miles of the bleeding stuff
Light Years of the Bleeding stuff.
YOU get the picture
AND eventually we descended down to the river.
AND we walked down by the river.
We had left the Bracken behind.
It was flat and lovely and
So we carried on.
I moaned (as I do ok, ****ing get over it!)
And at some point we got so close to the river that Martin and I discussed the possibility of crossing it NOW since it was NOT TOO BAD.
Martin charged across, being younger and more fool hardy and not wearing Gortex lined shoes.
OK, that last bit is the defining factor here
I back tracked ( a habit I have ), not wanting to soak the Gortex lined Innov's, and then tippy toed across, rather like in Dartmoor. And my feeties was all dry and lovely.
|Me crossing another river with DRY FEET|
Having said that, the rest of me from ankles to chest was soaked to buggery by that ****ING BRACKEN!
But time for me to stop whinging on and on and on and on about Bracken!
We clambered up the side of the hill.
Over a gate
Over some thing covered in ****ING barbed wire (DO NOT USE THIS ROUTE ALAN).
And suddenly we were almost at Alport castles Farm
Looking back over to the Castles.
Almost back in civilisation. (Which is NOT all it is cracked up to be, that is civilisation! The view was great)
|Looking back up the valley.|
By the way, that thing top left is MY Finger (Oops!)
|Looking across to Alport Castles|
So we dropped down to the river.
And followed the track out to Alport castles farm
Well, I say followed.
But there were a few bits that we had to move off the track to avoid the boggy water and stuff.
All that said, it is a lovely route.
Then, we were at the farm
We headed up Right of the farm, and then round to pick up the track that leads eventually all the way down to the road.
Crossing the Snake Pass Road is interesting from here.
It is just a short hop.
But it is on a semi blind bend.
On a road driven along bu idiots
AND, on a Sunday......
Big powerful motor bikes, ridden by 40 something middle management, orthopaedic / neurological accidents waiting to happen, and 'Mr Roars the engine a lot Subaru WRX' (get a life geezer, get out of the car and go for a walk.).
We ran across in an interval of time that was small in the cosmic sense, but could have been immense in or tiny lives.
And then we were on the other side and suddenly down by the Ford.
This is NOT deep.
But, it is deep enough to make your feet wet.
You used to be able to cross further up I think, but now it is
1. Walk across and Get Wet Feet
2. Wait until there is NO water
3. Shoes and socks OFF
4. Run like ***k
Martin chose 1
I chose 4
|OPTION 4 (c/o Martin)|
A Video would have been even better
We carried on up the track.
Intermittently encountering a multitude of people on MTB's descending.
Some at Great Speed
Some with a look of abject horror on their faces.
Around Blakely Clough I believe it was (as I said, we did not use maps. But we carried them, and a compass - foolish not to), we stopped by the river for a morning brew. I filled the water from the stream. A clear water, unlike the peat infused water from the night before. It must have had a goodly filter as it dropped through the hills.
We filtered it through Martin's Sawyer anyway, even though we were going to boil it. Lot's of livestock about in these hills.
Had a cup of coffee.
Watched more MTB bikers descend the hill.
Then it was time for the off.
Time was pressing and we needed to get back by 1.30 to 2.00
We carried on up the track, until at last we hit the top and had the joy of a fantastic walk along the top of the edge with great views across to Lose Hill and Mam Tor. A view that apparently (I am told) is meant to be one of the great views in the UK, according to the Wamblers.
Well, it is a fine view.
BUT in my TOP 100, not really in the first 30 or 40.
So many great views in Scotland and Cumbria, and Wales are better.
In my very humble and subjective opinion.
But I do love the Peaks District all the same.
There are some nice views the other side also
There was also a Fell race (well, a running race on today).
We had passed a timing station back along the track.
We headed on along the track to our last high spot on Win Hill.
|Distant Win Hill (or was it)|
A frontal assault seemed in order.
It would be nice to say it was a scramble to the top.
BUT in all honesty it was NOT a scramble.
|Martin on the way up|
|Me almost at the top. (c/o Martin)|
Great views in all directions
|Win Hill Trig Point.|
Shame about the Red Bull sign
And loads of day trippers wheezing their way to the top.
Sweat pouring down their faces as they clutched their chests and gasped for air.
Don't knock them.
There are at least making the effort and getting out.
Fair play to them all.
Better than the so many bloated couch potatoes that sit watching mindless pseudo celebrity pap as they fire their cholesterol levels through the roof on crisps, chips and all other manner of shite
AND, here endeth another one of today's rants
Time was a pressing on.
We had meant to be here earlier, and we needed to get down.
Martin headed off on his much younger legs (well apart from his dodgy ankle), and I headed down the track to Lady Bower.
This descent was the worst bit for my knackered knees.
But if it could survive then all was good.
It is a steepish, slippery track down.
Quite slippery in places.
At some point on the way down, we passed 2 MTB'ers contemplating suicide.
They must have chosen the sensible route.
Or they never made it down to us.
One or the other!
At some point on this descent, just near a tree, Martin Vanished in a gravity assisted moment.
He slid and turned and recovered.
Could have been nasty.
Equilibrium was reinstated
We made it down to the bottom.
NOT far now.
We headed along the last bit of track.
UP the road
Past the pub and resisted, and headed off to the South.
Chatting all the way back again..
Martin dropped me off at Kings Lynn Station, after a couple of laps of Kings Lynn.
Our only navigational error all trip.
We said Au-revoir.
And I got the 17.28 train home to Cambridge.
Lucy picked me up at the station
Went to Lucy's parents for Sunday Lunch (sweet)
Unpacked (well a bit).
Watched some TV
Went to Bed!!!!
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