Sunday, 23 January 2011

Kinder Trial 2011 – 22 Jan

The Kinder Trial is low key orienteering type of race requiring competitors to visit all 12 checkpoints in any order before finishing at the start. The route is typically 11 miles with about 2000 feet of climbing, in you don’t get lost. The 2010 KT was my first and I enjoyed it so much – the race, the terrain and the fantastic atmosphere – that I vowed to come back again and again.

The year the clouds were low at the start and I gambled on them lifting and so chose to go round anti-clockwise and, being very lucky, the clouds did lift and the last few controls were easier to find than they would have been three hours earlier. The Scout Hut in Hayfield which is the start and finish is simply buzzing with excitement and anticipation as the first runners get ready to leave – all part of the great atmosphere.


Kinder Trial 2011-002Registration

Kinder Trial 2011-004Start & Finish Team

Kinder Trial 2011-001Almost time to go for these three!

Kinder Trial 2011-003Just waiting

Kinder Trial 2011-005Looking back to Hayfield just before disappearing into the clouds

Kinder Trial 2011-006Near K5 looking down to Kinder Reservoir as the low cloud begins to clear out

Kinder Trial 2011-007Waterfall on Red Brook with icicles on the rock face behind

Kinder Trial 2011-008Waterfall on Red Brook

Kinder Trial 2011-009Looking up to Kinder Downfall

Kinder Trial 2011-010Kinder Reservoir

Kinder Trial 2011-011Organiser, Andy Howie with some of the prizes

I had a good run, improving my place and time from last year (although that wouldn’t actually have been awfully difficult) and the results are here. Huge thanks are due to Andy and his team of helpers – this really is a great day out and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

A Google Earth version of my own route is here

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Glasgow – 16 Jan

Last weekend we headed north, not to the hills but to Glasgow to celebrate my Dad’s recent 85th birthday. On the Sunday morning we had a wander around the city centre as it was wakening up. Glasgow’s city centre retains many of its grand Victorian buildings, many build in local red sandstone that has been cleaned in recent years to remove the grime of the industrial past.

Glasgow 2010 Jan (8 of 8)The old St Enoch Underground Station

Running north from St Enoch’s Square (and the above underground station) is Buchanan Street, one of the grander shopping streets. Linking Buchanan Street with Argyle Street is the “Argyle Arcade” – a shopping arcade inside the Argyle Chambers.


Glasgow 2010 Jan (2 of 8)Buchanan Street entrance to the Argyle Arcade

Glasgow 2010 Jan (3 of 8)Buchanan Street entrance to the Argyle Arcade

Glasgow 2010 Jan (4 of 8)Looking east from Buchanan Street

Glasgow 2010 Jan (7 of 8)Notice at the Argyle Street entrance (perhaps it doesn’t rain in Buchanan Street?)

Glasgow 2010 Jan (5 of 8)Looking north from the Argyle Street entrance

The Arcade is now populated only by Jeweller’s shops which was slightly sad to see, not least because 22-23 used to be occupied by the Clyde Model Dockyard a famous toy shop, for Dads rather than lads. It was always a special treat to “cut through” the arcade because it meant a chance, however brief, to gaze in awe and wonder at the boats and trains in the windows. On Sunday, everything seemed so different that I wasn’t even sure this was the right place – it was, it has just changed very considerably. Unfortunately this old black & white photo isn’t dated but it still gives an idea of how it was once.

Glasgow 2010 Jan (1 of 8)Pauline & Dad

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Marsden–Edale Double – 7th/8th Jan

The first Rucksack Club meet of the year is, by tradition at the end of the first week of the year,, the linear walk (or run) from Marsden to Edale which is a distance in excess of 22 miles crossing Black Hill, Bleaklow and Kinder with an ascent of over 5000 feet, depending on the route taken. We did this three years ago as our first meet in true club tradition by travelling to and from the meet by train. There is another tradition of doubling the route, i.e. starting the night before in Edale and crossing Kinder, Bleaklow and Black Hill to reach Marsden in time join the main party at the start of the meet. There is another practise (not a tradition and not even a habit) of “Double Doubling” but that doesn’t really bear thinking about, believe me.

So it was that I joined the Doublers on Friday night to walk over the hills to Marsden where Pauline would be with the Singlers for the walk back to Edale. Friday’s snow melted sufficiently quickly for the roads to be clear even if it meant a lot of water on the hills. This water would be of significance as events unfolded.

Double-001The other “Doublers” in Edale at 22:00 ready for the off

Crossing Kinder went well until we tried to avoid a bit of road on the way up Snake Pass – we avoided the road but we unable to cross the river (because of the rapid thaw of the day’s snow, and more, the river was higher and much faster flowing than expected) so we backtracked, crossed the bridge and followed the road up to the summit of the pass.

Double-100A bite to eat before the road section

Double-101Dave’s Birthday Present

Friday was Dave’s birthday and his wife, Jo, sent along a tub biscuits as his birthday present – we all enjoyed them and he only had an empty tub to carry! Once over Bleaklow, at about 03:30, the tail wind became a head wind and for about 4 hours drove the rain into our faces – what had been pretty good became pretty grim. The frozen bogs now had an inch or so of water on top of their ice and the remaining river crossings were impossible (in one instance) or very difficult. Consequently we arrived in Marsden later then expected but still in time to see all the Singlers setting off – with smiles on their faces as they had just seen the rain cease and could now see blue patches in the sky.

Double-102Black Hill

Double-103One of the rivers draining Black Hill

Double-106Outflow from Woodhead Reservoir

Double-105Second Outflow from Woodhead Reservoir

The two outflows show the excess water pouring into and out of the reservoir systems on the Saturday afternoon – no wonder the river crossings were difficult.


Finally, after the rain through the night, the snow and sleet in the early afternoon some sunshine appeared on the distant hills of the Derwent Edges as we made our way up the final climb of the day for the short crossing of Kinder and the descent to Edale. This is a tough walk to the pub on a Saturday night as it involved setting off on the night before, walking 45 miles with more than 10,000 feet of climbing in about 19 hours – only to find the pub was closed! Fortunately, there is a second pub in Edale.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Lostock AC – Haggis Run 02 Jan

We were lucky enough to be invited to join Lostock AC on their 2011 Haggis Run over Winter Hill. The only thing we were fairly sure about was it would us,rather than the haggis, that would be running. High clouds and considerable clarity combined to provide extensive views, in particular, along the North Wales coast to the mountains of Snowdonia. These are a little far away to photograph but Fiddlers Ferry power station added drama to the sky.

Winter Hill 008Fiddlers Ferry power station – looking towards North Wales

Winter Hill 019Rivington Pike

Winter Hill 021Pauline & Ray running towards the Two Lads and the haggis

Winter Hill 026Crowd gathers at the Two Lads in anticipation of the haggis

Winter Hill 030Haggis dispenser (in green fleece) goes into action (the haggis was better than some of the faces might suggest)

Winter Hill 039Post haggis summit photo

Winter Hill 045Rivington Pike under a dramatic sky with the power station making a spectacular contribution

Monday, 3 January 2011

Clougha Pike – Ne’er Day

Ne’er  Day is, of course, New Year’s Day in Glaswegian but this could easily have taken place on April 1st. GJ, whom we had a great day helping complete his sub 18 hour Joss in August 2010 invited us to join the Thursday Night Running Club on their traditional New Year’s Day run up and down Clougha Pike before retiring to Gordon’s house for for food & drink. Having old us where the start was we “knew” this would something like a 3 mile run which seemed very sociable. However, as the cast gathered it became apparent that not everyone would be turning round at Clough a Pike so I joined the group that would go on to Ward’s Stone. “Knowing” it would be a short run I decided to travel light which means a camera and no food or drink which is fine for a short run. At some point even the extension to Ward’s Stone became not far enough and we ended up on a 12 mile tour of the north western corner of Bowland!.

Clougha Pike-001Clougha Pike

Clougha Pike-002Kevin, Joanne (I think) and Kirsty on Clougha Pike.

Clougha Pike-003Kirsty & Steve leaving Clougha Pike

Clougha Pike-004Kirsty & Joanne on their way back from High Stephen’s Head

Clougha Pike-005Kevin & Yiannis descending from High Stephen’s Head


Despite the weather (another dreich day) and the extra miles it was a very enjoyable outing and the hospitality and Gordon’s made it all worthwhile. Thanks for the invite, Gordon and thanks to everyone else for the company and a great start to 2011!

Google Earth Route Download

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Dreich Days conclude 2010

After the powder snow and the sunshine at Christmas the warmer temperatures brought dreich days with slush and fog while we were still struggling with this season’s cold virus. The local woods and fields were as far as we ventured all week, sometimes running but more usually walking.

Aspull 005Ram or Tup with Pauline

Aspull 003Tup

The tup ran across his field to meet us at a corner. Once there he seemed less sure what to do and seemed disappointed when we didn’t feed him – so disappointed that he gave us an impressive display of head-butting the fence posts which only ceased when we wandered away.


Borsdane Woods-001Holly tree with some Copper Beech trees

Borsdane Woods-002Frozen pond

Borsdane Woods-003Dreich Day – grey sky and low lying mist combine to provide top to bottom dreichness

Borsdane Woods-004Icicle on railway bridge

(the haziness is my breath condensing in the cold air – I should have tried harder to not exhale!)

Borsdane Woods-005Copper Beech trees

Borsdane Wood seemed to be at its least interesting after the snow thawed. With new growth many months away I wasn’t expecting to see anything worth a second glance until I realised many of the Copper Beech trees had retained their copper coloured leaves and how in one or two places they stood out, even against the fallen leaves in the background.