Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Dark Peak 4 County Tops – 12 April

Within the Dark Peak four counties have their high points, their County Tops, and as you might imagine the challenge of linking them in once continuous route is irresistible to ultra-distance fell runners. It is equally irresistible to The Rucksack Club and so we met before 06:00 on Saturday morning in Hayfield for Will’s Meet – the 42 mile, 7500 feet stroll round the County Tops of South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Manchester. A fresh breeze was with us all day and early in the morning it was distinctly cold. Heavy clouds overhead appeared not to change and it seemed flat grey light would be the “order of the day”.

Over Kinder (Derbyshire high point) we went and passed Alport Castles on our way to High Stones (South Yorkshire) on Howden Edge.

20140412-1-DP4CT-2-Edit-2Alport Castles Farm

20140412-2-DP4CT-7-EditAlport Castles Farm from Alport Castles

North from High Stones towards Holme Moss for Black Hill was next and after a bit of heather bashing the paths along the edges were welcome.

20140412-3-DP4CT-13-EditPresident’s Toffees on Outer Edge

20140412-4-DP4CT-19-EditMap fondling on Featherbed Moss

20140412-5-DP4CT-20-EditA very welcome brew by the A628


After a stop a Rae & Katie’s van by the A628 we were off with a new spring in our step and while this lasted no longer than Dead Edge End where the clouds dropped and rain started it was pleasant while it lasted. Black Hill (West Yorkshire) was next and as we turned into the wind the rain, fortunately, began to ease. South to Black Chew Head (Manchester) and then all we had to do was get back over Bleaklow and Mill Hill to Hayfield.


20140412-6-DP4CT-25Torside Clough and the first of the sunshine

20140412-7-DP4CT-26Torside Clough going towards Bleaklow


The forecast sunshine appeared as we climbed above Torside Clough on to Bleaklow. The last few hours in the dark were much more pleasant than they might have been had the weather not improved. A thoroughly good 17 hour day in the Dark Peak – thanks to Will for organising, to Rae & Katie for the tea and buns and to Tom, Andy H, Lis, Andy L and Helen for the great company.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Not what was planned – 05 April

Usually we know what we going to be doing and where we going to go each weekend and often well in advance but not this weekend. Pauline’s plans we unaffected but mine were unravelling before I finished work on Friday although I didn’t know at the time. The toothache was just a gentle background pain that, unusually, painkillers weren’t making any impression on and it hadn’t gone away by the time I went to bed. A few hours later the dull ache was raging and further sleep was out of the question. Instead of on Winter Hill, my  morning was spent at the emergency dentist in Bolton and the remainder of the day at home with a ‘frozen face’.

This is how Winter Hill looked this weekend last year -

20130406-winterhill (19 of 35)-Edit1Winter Hill (April 2013)

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Honister Hause – 30 March

A wee recce of the nearly non-existent route from Honister Hause to Dale Head Tarn. It seemed so obvious walking from the tarn to Honister but then, it would. I need to know this bit of fell side for later this summer and it might dark when I am back here looking for the barely discernable trods so I needed so big, easy to find markers and I think I found them. I’ll find out in July, for sure.


20140330-1-gt_langdale-76-EditLooking west from above the hause

20140330-2-gt_langdale-86Looking across to Grey Knotts

20140330-3-gt_langdale-91-EditTowards Borrowdale

20140330-4-gt_langdale-98-EditFleetwith Pike

20140330-5-gt_langdale-103-EditTowards Buttermere

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Great Langdale Skyline – 29 March

Pauline’s Rucksack Club Meet of 2014 was planned long ago, before she knew her sister’s birthday celebration would start the day before and end the day after and so we met at the New Dungeon Ghyll without her. The route climbed to Stickle Tarn and Pavey Ark before wander through the Langdale Pikes, going on to Esk Hause via Rossett Pike. From Esk Hause Shelter, we strolled over Esk Pike, Bow Fell and the Crinkles before descending to the valley floor over Pike O’Blisco. The cool wind was an almost constant companion and as the day went on the high clouds thinned to allow some Spring sunshine to bring a little warmth to the day. A few patches of last weekend’s snow lingered but the contrast with last weekend in Buttermere could hardly have been more complete.


20140329-1-gt_langdale-16Climbing to Stickle Tarn

20140329-2-gt_langdale-25Stickle Tarn

20140329-3-gt_langdale-31Pike Of Stickle

20140329-4-gt_langdale-37-EditRossett Pike with some HRMI “Bob Graham Round” aspirants and their navigator

20140329-5-gt_langdale-40-EditIll Crag and more above Upper Eskdale

20140329-6-gt_langdale-42-EditOn Esk Pike

20140329-7-gt_langdale-50-EditThe Scafells Massif

20140329-9-gt_langdale-58-EditLooking down Mosedale towards Cockley Beck

20140329-11-gt_langdale-67-EditThe Crinkles and Bow Fell

20140329-12-gt_langdale-71-EditThe Coniston Fells

20140329-13-gt_langdale-72-EditGreat Langdale

Thanks to Pauline for a great route with weather to match and also to everyone else who came along and provided very fine company on a superb day above Great Langdale

Monday, 24 March 2014

Hallin Fell & Martindale – 23 March

After yesterday’s adventures in the snow my knee wanted a much easier day or a rest day but the sunshine was enough to tempt us to stroll over Hallin Fell after a look at Martindale Church.

20140323-1-penruddock-30-Edit-2Looking south towards High Street

20140323-4-penruddock-82-EditLooking north east along Ullswater

20140323-5-penruddock-86-EditLooking south from Hallin Fell towards High Street

20140323-6-penruddock-119-EditLooking south west from Hallin Fell towards High Street

20140323-3-penruddock-46-EditMartindale Church

20140323-2-penruddock-42-EditMartindale Church

Buttermere – 22 March

Overnight at Penruddock before meeting in Buttermere for a walk over the Buttermere Fells with The Rucksack Club coming back over Dale Head and Grasmoor, if there is time. At low levels there had been a sprinkling of snow and high white hills could be seen in the distance.

20140322-penruddock-111-Edit1Towards the Mell Fells from Penruddock (1)


20140322-penruddock-114-Edit2Towards the Mell Fells from Penruddock (2)

20140322-penruddock-131-Edit3From below Red Pike looking over Buttermere to the Grasmoor fells

20140322-penruddock-132-Edit4After warming up on the climb out of Buttermere a stop was need to remove extra layers

20140322-penruddock-138-Edit5Grasmoor with Crummock Water in the distance

20140322-penruddock-141-Edit6Buttermere and the Grasmoor fells

Before we reached the tarn the sunny intervals had been replaced by heavy snow and the visibility reduced to “not very much”. The extra layers previously shed were pulled back on for the final stretch to the summit of Red Pike. The blizzard awaiting us alternated between snow and hailstones and the wind although never quite reaching the speed forecast was still strong enough to create thigh deep drifts. The ‘stroll’ along the ridge to Haystacks was more of a struggle and not always pleasant but by Scarth Gap the worst had blown through.


20140322-penruddock-144-Edit7Looking down into Buttermere

20140322-penruddock-154-Edit8The Buttermere Fells

20140322-penruddock-156-Edit9Jean, the Meet Organiser, and others at Honister Pass

A small, fast group left Honister Pass ahead of the rest of us with view to continuing over Grasmoor before meeting the main party in Buttermere. The going had been slower than expected all day and it wasn’t improving much although the weather was. Eventually it became obvious that reaching Grasmoor was going to make it a very long day indeed and the two groups met up just before Robinson to descend into Buttermere together.


20140322-penruddock-160-Edit10On the way up Dale Head

20140322-penruddock-173-Edit11Approaching Dale Head summit

20140322-penruddock-176-Edit13Dale Head summit

20140322-penruddock-175-Edit12Leaving Dale Head summit


20140322-penruddock-180-Edit15Towards Catbells with Blencathra in the far distance

20140322-penruddock-199-Edit17Descending from Robinson

20140322-penruddock-209-Edit18The Grasmoor fells


20140322-penruddock-210-Edit19Descending to Buttermere

20140322-penruddock-21120A very welcome and hard earned beer to finish off the day

Huge thanks to Jean for a very memorable day on the hills.