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Navigation walk – 20 March 2016 – Report

In glorious sunshine and armed with maps and compasses, 6 of us paced and timed our way to a variety of paths, stream junctions, ponds and grouse butts in an effort to practice our navigation in the wilds of Bleaklow around the upper Alport valley. We were also lucky enough to see 2 mountain hares in their white winter coats, and only one person fell in a stream (I think without getting particularly wet fortunately).
Thanks to all who came, for your company and for willingly engaging in the challenges (especially the mental arithmetic) of the day. I hope our skills are now slightly less rusty!

The track of our walk (I did not record the first section through Lady Clough Plantation). Our coffee, lunch and tea stops are indicated where there is a red star. Andy.


Sean’s photos:




Macclesfield Forest Mountain Biking Sun 13th March 2016

Well we set out in T shirt weather on the “Screaming Cats route” around Macclesfield Forest, could have been a disaster as we had intended stopping at the Cat and Fiddle for refreshments but we stopped prior at friends house at Forest Chapel for tea/coffee crumpets and chocolate cake and discovered that the C & F is shut! good technical ride. Thanks to all participants.

Mountain Bike Meet Sunday 28th Feb 2016

On a fantastic morning 5 Castle bikers competed with the full face helmeted down hill crazed mountain bikers for car parking space at Wharncliffe and needless to say all Castle cars were in the car park. A lovely ride through Wharncliffe onto the Trans Pennine Trail ensued with only minor hiccups of lost GPSs and pushing of bikes over the very muddy terrain of the link bridleway to the snow road running parallel to the Woodhead. After a few -only minor – navigation errors we ended up very hungry at the Langsett Café. There meals eventually appeared although the fearsomeness of Leon meant that one employee not knowing the whereabouts of tomato ketcup flatly refused to ask anyone. Luckily another member of the group was offered a new bottle of tomato ketcup before the situation got too desperate. After a sunny afternoon cycling 33.5 miles we arrived back at Wharncliffe with a new fully fledged Castle mountain biker – welcome Marion! Thanks to all for a lovely day.

Patterdale Meet Report: 20-21 Feb 2016

25 people eventually arrived at the George Starkey hut in Patterdale on Friday evening. Whilst some were reminiscing about past meets, 60’s and 70’s bands in the ‘White Lion’ [and realising the memory banks are not what they were!] and enjoying a pint or two, others were battling the roadworks and traffic on a variety of motorways. However, all were reunited after the extortionate beer prices forced a retreat from the pub and an opening of various bottles and cans back at the hut.
As the forecast wasn’t looking good, there was no rush to bed from many, in fact the party girls and boys were up till 2.30 where much was discussed: the appearance of the ‘Quagmire of Mystery’ and tales of fork lift trucks were much admired, the ‘Cesspit of Gossip’ was opened and kept sipping vodka and demanding more, until finally bed called.
Saturday morning dawned sunny and bright……I’m sorry, I’ll read that again: Saturday morning dawned rainy and sh*te, nevertheless, the keen were up by 7am and out on the hills no later than 10am! Those under 5ft 6 were issued with aqualungs whilst the meet leader was steadfastly refusing to join in, not wanting, it appeared, to get wet! However, after the last of the stragglers had left, he eventually made his way out.
Rather than one big party, there were many small expeditions: 2 of which went along the side of Ullswater and up/down Boredale in opposite directions, [one of which looked so miserable they were asked by the local postie if they were injured!!] meeting in a café halfway round. An ascent of Sheffield Pike was made, Loughrigg was visited and various groups made it to Grisedale Tarn [and beyond].
It was obviously not a day to linger on the hills, so early finishes were mainly the order of the day, with 8-9 miles being the average. However one party of two, who have pleaded to be anonymous had a rather longer trek. Having passed Grisedale Tarn in appalling weather they took what they believed to be the route they wanted, not checking map or compass. On arriving at the road they noticed a pub where no pub should be. Being true mountaineers they passed by, wondering !! Some time later they realised they were not where intended, indeed, they were in Grasmere, tired, wet and cold and many miles from home. At this point, I should be telling the tale of a heroic trek back to the hut; unfortunately they succumbed to a bus pass, £6.50 in bus fares and a £30 taxi ride back to Patterdale, to be greeted with much teasing. During discussions about how it happened, many suggestions were put forth, including compass deviation due to new knee joints and total incompetence! Their names may be revealed at a later date.
Due to an early finish, several members took the traditional wet weather route of gear shopping, driving to Keswick. Mary had a need for new trousers, although professing to hate trying them on, returned with 2 pairs, a top and a lovely rucksack, total cost [due to Leon’s ‘encouragement’] into 3 figures. She was later horrified to learn that an aversion to trying on trousers is a characteristic she shares with a certain Mr J Clarkson!!
A mass migration to the pub for food was undertaken by the majority, where the beer prices hadn’t changed but the fish and chips were whale sized. Back in the hut, the strain of battling the elements along with the previous late night meant all was quiet by 11.30.
Sunday was also wet and horrible, only an intrepid few donned still wet boots and ventured out. Many spent the morning over breakfast, tea and coffee and tidying up before setting off for home, several managing to scatter their possessions around the hut to be collected later thanks to last minute rescue by the last to leave.
Despite the weather, it was a great weekend, to quote Mr Riley, ”it had the atmosphere of an old style Castle Meet”. Long may they continue.
No pictures yet, my phone drowned whilst taking snaps and hasn’t recovered yet. Anybody who has any, please send to Andy Smith for publishing.
Paul Gibson

“Saturday morning……….. An ascent of Sheffield Pike was made, Loughrigg was visited and various groups made it to Grisedale Tarn [and beyond].”
Place Fell and related tops were ascended also.
Can’t quite claim a ‘full mountain day’ for Sunday. Drove to the start of Gowbarrow Fell, but passed by (£5.00 NT parking) and headed to Great Mell Fell where there was no parking available. Finally came to rest below Little Mell Fell, which was ascended (0.5km 125m) and descended in a leisurely, though wet, 15 minutes. Then drove home!

Patterdale meet, Feb 2016. Photo by Dave Crowther

Patterdale meet, Feb 2016. Photo by Dave Crowther

Patterdale meet, Feb 2016. Photo by Dave Crowther

Patterdale meet, Feb 2016. Photo by Dave Crowther

Sunday walk report – 14th February 2016; Derwent Edge

In bright and breezy conditions a party of 10 left Cutthroat bridge and very soon arrived at Whinstone Lee Tor. Cameras appeared as the sun came out and we made our way along Derwent Edge to Back Tor for a short break and group photo. Views were extensive in all directions.
Continuing along the ridge for about 1k we then followed a faint path (yes there was) north westerly into Abbey Brook and joined the main path high above the river. A short climb up Abbey Bank brought us to our lunch stop, with superb views over Howden Reservoir with water spilling over the dam wall. A high level path then took us to Wellhead where we were joined by Frank for the final climb up Grindle Clough, and back onto the Edge before our descent to the cars.
An excellent day out. Sunny, breezy, a few flakes of snow and no rain. (12.8 mls)


Back Tor, Sunday 14th February 2016

Back Tor, Sunday 14th February 2016

Abbey Bank, Sunday 14th February 2016

Abbey Bank, Sunday 14th February 2016

Sunday 17th Jan 2016 Eyam walk

After some initial confusion as to who was parked where ( some members preferring to avoid the ungritted side road giving access to the free car park) 9 members and 2 relatives of Sean assembled by the church .
Conditions were good with a covering of snow, high cloud and patches of blue. We quickly passed the Riley graves and descended to Froggatt bridge where we continued through the valley to Grindleford bridge at which point our numbers swelled to 12 with the arrival of Fiona J.
Taking the woodland path to Kettle House we joined the main trail to Leadmill bridge where we stopped for lunch by the river.
Lunch over we climbed through the woods to Callow Farm and then past Highlow Hall and continued to Stoke Ford after crossing Highlow Brook.At Stoke Ford the long climb to Bretton followed.By now the temperature was noticeably colder and,as we continued past Lady Wash mine, snow began to fall.
At Gavin’s suggestion the return to Eyam was taken via Jumber Brook and the Plague Stone which proved to be a pleasant alternative to the route the meet leader had planned-although,those of us who inspected it did not find the Plague Stone impressive!
All that remained was to escape the worsening weather and get ouselves home.

Sunday 10th Jan 2016 – Road Bike Ride

10 of us met near Rivelin Mill, prepared to be tortured by a supposed 25 mile route, led by Mary – Dungworth –> Bradfield –> Bolsterstone –> Midhopestones, a leisurely lunch at the café at Langsett, then back on some of the Tour route via Ewden, Agden Bridge, Strines, but without a stop for a pint, a short section on the A57 and finally the back road to the car park. Various GPSs told us it was closer to 32 miles. Mary – thanks for arranging the dry and not too chilly weather and somehow, no real head winds.

Height profile attached
Dick Murton

New Year 2016 meet (31 Dec – 3 Jan): Keswick

On New Years Eve, 12 Castle members joined 15 members of the Glasgow Glenmore Club and 3 members of the Perth Mountaineering Club at Denton House in Keswick for a joint meet. We soon got to know each other over a communal meal where we sat with different people for each course and most joined in with the Scottish dancing which led us up to the New Year which we celebrated in traditional Scottish style.

We woke on New Years Day to a clear sky and a sprinkling of snow on the high hills. As a result many people were tempted to ascend Skiddaw. This was done by various parties on varying routes but conditions high up were not pleasant – very strong winds and icy under foot. Most people were not equipped for the conditions! Only two Castle members made it to the summit, the rest retreating at various points including the start of the summit ridge and Skiddaw Little Man. Two members took in Latrigg as a consolation on the way down. However it was a good mountain day with excellent views of the surrounding hills and waterlogged fields and a very muddy looking Bassenthwaite Lake. Other members choose to climb Latrigg and run up High Seat.

2 January – the cloud was down on the summits but the weather was better than forecast and we did see the sun and some blue sky in between the showers. Some members went home after shopping and lunching but most choose to walk from the hostel and had another good mountain day. We ascended Walla Crag and had excellent views down over Keswick and Derwent Water. We then went on to Bleaberry Fell and High Seat before descending steeply to Ashness Bridge and the shores of Derwent Water. The Lake was higher than usual but we made our way back along the lakeshore and roadside footpath and reached the hostel just as it was getting dark. Two other members had a stroll up Catbells, Maiden Moor and High Spy.

3 January – another overcast day with heavy rain forecast by midday. Most packed up and made for home. Two members choose to drive up Borrowdale to Rosthwaite and did a short walk up Castle Crag, down the track towards Grange and back along the riverside path to Rosthwaite. Unfortunately the heavy rain came before the walk was finished but a very pleasant round was enjoyed.

An excellent long weekend. Thanks to the Glenmore Club for organising it, especially Caroline, and thanks to Chris Huxham and Dave Crowther for inviting us to join the Glenmore Club for their New Year meet and celebrations. (Chris and Dave are members of both the Castle and Glenmore clubs). It was lovely to meet new friends and enjoy the hills with them.

Rosy Smith

A report from the Glenmore Club is below the photos

Outside Denton House

Outside Denton House

On the way up Skiddaw

On the way up Skiddaw

Flood damage to footbridge

Flood damage to footbridge

Walla Crag

Walla Crag

Derwentwater from Walla Crag

New Year’s Eve Ceilidh

Bleaberry Fell

Bleaberry Fell

Castle Crag

Castle Crag

Report by Ann Dean of the Glenmore Club

New Year Meet Keswick 2015-2016

This was an historic event in the annals of the Glenmore Club – the first time (and I hope not the last!) that we had joined forces with other clubs on a New Year meet. We enjoyed the company of 10 members of the Castle club from Sheffield, and 3 members of the Perth Mountaineering club. Including Chris and Dave, who of course are also Castle members, there were 15 Glenmorons attending, with 1 relative and 1 friend.

We were all a bit apprehensive after the recent floods in Keswick, and didn’t know in what state we would find the town and the Denton House hostel. The hostel, although near the river, had not been flooded, and the town was recovering, although piles of debris outside affected houses and along the course of the river showed how high the water had come and how devastating the flood had been. It was good to see that Keswick was very busy with visitors, and there was even a market in the high street.

The hostel was very well situated, being just a few minute’s walk from the centre of town. It was an odd building, having a long corridor from one end to the other, with rooms leading off seemingly at random. I don’t know what it can have been used for before its hostel days. There were 2 kitchens, both well away from the dining room, one for hostellers, one for the warden, neither of which were well equipped for small parties cooking for themselves. However Caroline organised her troops very well, and we had a communal meal the first night, pies and pudding bought in the second, and most people explored the culinary delights of Keswick the last night. The dining room was large and had a good springy floor for dancing. The dorms were a bit cramped, with nowhere except under the bunk to store anything, but my bed anyway was very comfortable, and the showers were hot!

Everyone got on together very well, and the Castle club and the Perth club entered into the Glenmore traditions wholeheartedly, although I did hear mutterings from one person when we changed places at the communal meal after every course! There were the usual Scottish country dances, with everyone taking part, and also some English and Irish dances for variety. We were treated to some lively Irish step dancing from Mary Cox and Noelle Ryan who spontaneously took to the floor to show us how it should be done. Chris tried valiantly to teach us her Carpark Reel, with the usual results. Some people were so taken with this dance, that they plied Chris with questions in forensic detail. Even at breakfast the next day they were quizzing her, as they wanted to bamboozle some friends by showing them how to do it.

I almost forgot to mention the hillwalking! Most people decided to climb Skiddaw on New Year’s day, although high winds meant that not everyone got to the top. David Foster went up Binsey, and Henry and Kathleen pioneered High Seat and Bleaberry Fell. Roger, Ann and Louise circumnavigated Derwentwater trying to keep out of floodwater, and Alan Dean went a cycle from the hostel taking in Hardknott, Wrynose and Newlands passes. Next day, most people reprised Henry and Kathleen’s Bleaberry Fell, although going the other way round. This unfortunately gave rise to an ear worm for some, and strains of Fats Domino’s Blueberry Hill resounded for a while. Mary Cox , Elizabeth Maitland and Louise did Watch Hill by Cockermouth, David went up Lord’s Seat from Whinlatter, and a small select group consisting of Perfects and Deans went round Buttermere and had coffee and toasted teacakes to recover.

Seasonal Stagger on Sunday 20th December 2015

Nine members arrived early, catching me in my dressing gown wrestling a wedged box of mince pies from my letter-box, but after a photo of them all on the front steps, we set off downhill past the houses to Whiteley Woods and then followed Porter Brook up-stream, past the decorated tree, to emerge into open countryside and some rather muddy fields. A wrong turning at a stile, which necessitated back-tracking, allowed us to arrive nearer the pre-arranged meeting time at the Norfolk Arms, where most of us sat on their car-park wall to eat sandwiches, before buying drinks inside. Four more members arrived, including the second meet leader, Paul Gibson, so there were no further wrong turnings on the way back to High Storrs Road, via the Limb valley. Numerous cups of tea and many and various ‘goodies’ were enjoyed [especially the home-made ones – Rosy’s lemon drizzle cake and Lynda’s quiche disappeared particularly quickly]. Other members arrived, some freshly washed [!] including eventually some of the cycling group [who’d turned up at the Norfolk Arms after we’d left] ready for some carbohydrate replenishment having cycled about 30 miles compared to the walkers’ more modest 9 miles [Andy’s GPS reading]
A lovely and most enjoyable Castle tradition to lead us up to Christmas.
Vanda Boyd

Seasonal Stagger 2015 Seasonal Stagger 2015 Seasonal Stagger 2015 Seasonal Stagger 2015 Seasonal Stagger 2015 Seasonal Stagger 2015

Kinder Walk – Sunday 13 December 2015

Steve’s instructions were: “Meet at free parking along the Upper Booth road, Edale (GR:107847) for a prompt 9:30 start. Route goes via Crowden Brook, Kinder River, Fairbrook Naze, Ashop Edge, the Downfall and Kinder Low. Approx 12 miles. No cafes or pubs along the way so come prepared!”

Unfortunately, Steve was unwell so I “stepped in” as the meet coordinator and tried to follow his instructions to the letter. I’m sure that some of the team could have walked the route in their sleep and I ended up leading from the rear for parts of the day.

Steve had not mentioned mist, drizzle, sleet or more persistent rain but we encountered all at times. Conditions were understandably wet underfoot, but not excessively so. The recent winds had blown over a tree in Crowden Clough soon after the start which we had to climb through . We opted not to scramble up Crowden Brook itself due to the volume of water in it and were soon at plateau level heading almost due north for Fairbrook Naze. If you have not been on Kinder or Bleaklow for a few years you will be amazed – green with new grass rather than black with peat. We found the Kinder River but possibly followed it too far as the Kinder Gates came into view, so a change in bearing soon brought us to the northern plateau edge. Andy’s GPS track shows a bit of a sinuous shimmy in the middle of the plateau, but I say you need to weave a little to get into the right drainage system!
Following a coffee break/early lunch we pressed on westwards along the edge of the plateau to the Pennine Way and a sharp turn to the the south east and thence Kinder Downfall and lunch part II. From here it was the trig. on Kinder Low and a descent of Jacobs Ladder, returning to the cars just as it got dark. 12.1 miles on the GPS.

A good day out – thanks to all those who came, especially to Janet who was on her first non-climbing meet.