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