Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Double – 06 January

By tradition, the first meet in the calendar of The Rucksack Club each year is the linear walk (or run) from Marsden to Edale, a distance of about 25 miles (depending on the route chosen) with about 5000 feet of climb. If done “with style”, and many still do it this way, Marsden will be reached by train and a homeward train taken from Edale after a pint in the Old Nag’s Head. Some consider that it can only be done “properly” if Marsden is reached by walking from Edale and so it was that I made my way to Edale on Friday night to walk to the start of Saturday’s meet some 25 miles north. Eleven set off and of those, 2 would go only as far as Marsden – 1 by design the other by choice on Saturday morning.

The wind was going to remain a constant companion but the evening’s rain did stop at some time during the night and finally gave up just after breakfast making the return leg more pleasant than parts of the outward leg had been.

double-500-100All smiles in the pub on Friday night

double-502-101Alternative route required

Although there hadn’t been much rain in the previous 24 hours the ground is very wet and the rivers are very high – so high that when we reach the first crossing (Fair Brook, a tributary of the River Ashop) we are facing a raging torrent and are unable to cross it. The alternative adds 2.5 miles and several hundred feet of climbing to the original route as well as some concern about the river crossings ahead of us – river crossings were a problem last year.

double-504-102Relaxing on top of Bleaklow

double-505-103About four on Saturday morning – some snap before tackling Black Hill

double-508-104Breakfast at Marsden in the back of Wade’s camper van

double-510-105Julie with her dog, Johnny, (who, almost, “Doubled” after being thrown in a stream and swept away) as Wade looks on

double-512-106Wessenden Reservoir (the black spec is Andy, our leader, who got left behind a bit here as we headed south)

double-519-107Preparing for the Group Photo on Black Hill

Several Group Photos were taken before (another) Andy arrived so it all had to be done again, in fact, it had to be done several times as the first few were taken before everyone arrived.


double-520-108The ‘final’ Group Photo on Black Hill

double-521-109After getting there we need to get off the other side

Johndouble-524-111Johnny being inserted into a rucksack

Johny was carried for a bit so I am not sure if his attempt really counts – on the other hand he was swept away in a river during the night which probably more than makes up for the short carry. At the river crossing in question the river was a little too wide to jump comfortably and too deep to wade through so Julie attempted to throw Johnny to the far bank but he didn’t quite make it and was swept away before anyone could do anything. Happily he climbed out before anyone was able to attempt anything rash – like trying to rescue him.


double-525-112Satellite wreckage on Sliddens Moss

I thought this was aircraft wreckage but when I looked for details of it I found it described as satellite wreckage and I can’t tell the difference.

double-527-113Another river crossing

Will (in green jacket) has just jumped on to the rock in the middle of the river – I tried to snap him in mid-air but failed and then did no better when Dave repeated the feat moments later.


double-530-114Sunshine on Snake Pass provides some late afternoon encouragement

double-532-11519 hours in and Kinder still to cross – you can see what fun we have

With a near-complete absence of navigation errors and a complete absence of serious navigation errors we reached Marsden about an hour later than expected as a result of being unable to cross Fair Brook. Fortified by Wade’s breakfast we didn’t lose time on the return leg, the river crossing were fine and we reached Edale just after dark.


double-535-116The 2012 Doublers with an interloper who stepped out of the pub just in time for the photo

This is the end of the journey but as the first meet of the year it is also an opportunity to catch up with other club members and, of course, some of the “Singlers” in the pub.

double-100-117Andy Howie and Lis

Andy is the “Double” Meet leader and got us safely to Marsden and back to Edale in time for a pint.


double-102-119Lis and another

Lis left Edale with us on Friday night but had enough sense to “call it a day” at Marsden so “Singled” in the other direction.

double-101-118Plans being being laid by, amongst others, Dominic Oughton - current Club President (in black shirt above the  menu)

Huge thanks to Andy for getting us back to the pub safely and to the other 2012 Doublers for making sure the Double happened again.

Finally, Gerrard Cudahy who provided the road support for the Winter “Tan-Cat” soloed the Double. Leaving Edale while we were still in the pub he managed to cross Fair Brook (describing it as ‘difficult’). Once over Bleaklow and remembering how difficult Fair Brook had been decided to go round rather than over Black Hill. We met him at Wessenden as he was starting back to Edale.


  1. Well done Ian. I've long fancied a double Marsden Edale!

    The Bogtrotter's Guide by Chris Holmes is a good read if you're interested in reading more about the origins of the classic Peakland challenges

  2. Great post Ian.
    I almost wish I had been out there with you, instead of sat in front of the fire with a pint;)

    Love the Snake pass sunbeam shot

  3. Be more than welcome to join us next year, DT.

  4. fantastic going, well done! my only question is how did you get home after all of that?! see you there next year :)

  5. kate - we have an arrangement with another couple that involves Pauline doing the Single and driving us home from Edale where I have taken the car. Plenty of people do use the train at both ends. It should also be possible to arrange lifts if you start asking early enough.