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
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. David
What a great weekend! Many thanks to all of you for making the time special. Great venue, thanks to Andrew and Ali for organising. A big thank you to Marian for sorting out another excellent 3 course meal. Over 30 of us gathered, and walking, mountain biking, running, cycling, kept us busy in the daylight, although the mountain bikers did need some darkness to complete, or were they fooling us, and in the pub?? The gales didnt stop us on Saturday, we ignored the health and safety signs on Wenlock edge re trees that could fall down….. Saturday night was mulled wine, food, more alcohol, secret Santa, awards, more alcohol, singing, laughing, and yes, more booze!! I was grateful for the lovely Davinia’s help on giving out the annual awards, she must get points for the windswept blond hair look! Awards only go to anyone present on the night, so this is a summary in case you missed it….. Cycling- Steve w Walking- Andy, Rosy, Chris and Chris Hospitality- Elen Colourful language- Leon Misfortune- Ali Old relic- Tom Where are you?- Linda and John Hawley Climbing-Vanda Climbing and falling-Bill Champion of the club-David Looking forward to next year’s do!
Despite a horrendous weather forecast, 8 of us convened at the side of Ladybower by 9.30, after cunningly depositing a couple of cars at strategic points along the Snake Road. Setting off via Crookhill Farm we gradually made our way up towards Alport Castles, with a rising wind, but thankfully only brief bursts of the promised rain. On ascending out of the track to Hagg Farm, the open moorland saw us battling quite a violent wind, so much so that Vanda attached herself to Geoff to prevent being blown sideways. She claimed a combined total of approx 20 stones was just right. She later attached herself to most of the men in the party, some things never change. We had hoped to have elevenses in the birdwatching hut at Alport, but it’s no longer there, so we were forced to shelter behind the remnants of a dry [!!] stone wall a bit further on. Those of us sitting with our backs to the wall had the eerie sensation of feeling the wall move, such was the strength of the wind. On emerging from the end of the wall, the wind appeared to have got even stronger, but we decided to move away from the edge and make our way to the trig point midway to Bleaklow. We subsequently arrived [see picture], but by this time there were a few revolting natives who wished to remove themselves from the buffeting and not go to Bleaklow. We decided to drop into Alport Dale where the party split into two. The chief revoltee led her party down Alport Dale to the car left at the bottom and returned safely by 2.40, approx 9 miles. The rest of us then traversed into the upper reaches of Alport Dale, well above the river but nicely sheltered from the wind at first. However, the further up we got, the more the wind was funneled down on to us, hail for a short time, resulting in one broken pole [cost £4.99], a slowing of progress and aching joints. Eventually we reached the top of the valley, but rather than heading for the ridge, we turned towards the west and made our down to the Snake Road, hopping over in to Lady Clough Plantation and a return to the top car by 3.35. 12.2 miles of the finest Dark Peak bog-hopping in challenging conditions, but all returned safe, if slightly battered, with dry coats, before dark. Some of us later joined Martin & Pat in Wetherspoons for an evening meal before they set of to the Canaries to celebrate Pat’s big birthday.
A great bike ride around N Notts was a real treat last Sunday. When I woke to wind and rain I was expecting phone calls crying off but not to be. Apart from 10 minutes light drizzle around 1pm it was a dry trip with a ride around Hardwick Hall, bacon, sausage or egg butties at Pleasley Pit community Café and then on to the high point of Nottingham at Silverhill. Any navigating errors obviously deliberate to ensure we completed over 30 miles. Thanks to all. Mary
Just lucky I had printed off so many maps and instructions, god knows what would have happened if I had thought to suggest people catch the train to the start! and thanks to Mary for providing a front wheel for me, wasn’t looking forward to a day’s unicycling. Goes without saying we had a fantastic weather day, too good for cycling should have been climbing really. Plenty of variety having to stop at the Mill Inn with a great water wheel then later stopping at roman remains. Bill
7 hardy souls met and set off for some wet gill, slimy rock scrambling. Although the clag was down the weather was good to us with only a couple bits of light drizzle whilst scrambling. Up a scramble, down a scramble and up another scramble. Were we lost? NO – just having a good time. Our couple of 4 leg friends survived the day with one heart stopping moment from Scout and Tiggy well into the role of the parcel in the game of pass the parcel up the gill. Thanks to all for an enjoyable day. Mary
Lovely day at Windgather with sun in the morning and some cloud in the afternoon. The initial 4 (2 late due to coffee and croissants) joined quickly by others so in total – after a mountain biker needing even more exercise attached himself to us, there was the grand total of 8 plus the dog. Great to see 2 non members on the meet. First time I have been to Windgather and well impressed and not only for the loads of climbs I could attempt. One of highlights of the day was Steve W beginning his challenge of 1000m of ascent before next June. Rumour has it he hasn’t done this much in the past decade! Anyway good start with some confident leading.
After an ominous start to the day the rain cleared, exactly as forecasted, at 9:45. The day captured the early pioneering spirit of the Golden Age as lone climbers fought their way to the ‘hard to find’ Dowel Crack, some opting for the high path and hoping to drop in at the right spot, while others opted for the jungle bash on the lower path. Having found the crag, the group of 6 were met with a whole host of awkward, green cracks on this relatively unclimbed area of the Peak. This provoked a barrage of abuse at the meet organiser with comments like, “you’re not organising any more meets”, and, “there’s a reason why this area is quiet”. The group soon realised they were actually having an awesome time climbing in the testing conditions and the abuse eased as the day went on. Safe to say that I think Mary, Nigel, Bill, Hugh, Ellen and Simon all had at least one interesting/horrific experience on what was an awkward crag in testing conditions. Routes ranged from HVD to HS with some well earned ascents of Dowel Crack HVS 5a on a top rope thanks to Ellen and Bill. Simon
The meet began 24 hours before most weekend away meets and by Thursday evening people were gathering in the bar of the Wasdale Head Inn. There were current and past CMC members and Smith family members. It was raining and overcast – typical Lake District weather – but the forecast was good for the next day.
As forecast, the weather on Friday was excellent: warm and sunny, little wind, and good visibility. All the tops were clear. A party of 16 headed up the Shoulder route (southwest ridge) of Lingmell. There were attractive views over Wastwater on the ascent. At the top we had a coffee break. This was Andy & Rosy’s 213rd Wainwright since retirement; just one more to do: Scafell Pike. We dropped down to Lingmell Col where we joined the busy tourist route coming up from Brown Tongue. A ‘tedious half-hour’ (according to Mr W) brought us to the top of the Pike. The highest point in England was predictably crowded but we squeezed our way onto the summit platform and popped our champagne corks to enjoy a glass of bubbly in celebration of completion of the Wainwrights and Andy’s 70th birthday. A quieter spot was found nearby for a picnic lunch which included Rosy’s yummy homemade ginger cake and a pork pie with a candle on it!
Eventually it was time to leave and we dropped down to Broad Crag col, and then down the somewhat unpleasant scree gully to reach the Corridor Route to Sty Head. Before reaching the latter, we left the path and descended to join the old bridleway down to Wasdale Head (except for a splinter group of four who continued over Great Gable). On the way, four of the party enjoyed a dip in the Emerald Pool below the confluence of Piers Gill and Lingmell Beck. It had been a great day out in the mountains. That evening 21 of us sat down for a celebration dinner in the historic dining room of the Wasdale Head Inn (the ‘birthplace of British climbing’), surrounded by old photos of tweed-clad and nailed-boot-shod climbers with hemp ropes tackling local and Alpine routes. Afterwards the birthday cake was cut and consumed while we enjoyed reminiscing about past days out in the hills.
After a wild night (wind, thunder, and heavy rain), Saturday dawned wet with with the cloud down on the tops. Some of the campers packed up and headed for home. The rest of us split into different groups: some for low level walks and others heading higher. A group of 10 walked to Overbeck Bridge and climbed Yewbarrow. We were in cloud at the top as we ate our lunch. Then it was down to Dore Head over Stirrup Crag, which involved some mild scrambling. From the saddle, three dropped down into Mosedale. The cloud was lifting off the tops by now and the rest of us had a pleasant walk down Overbeck back to the road. The weather had improved so much that we could see the scene of yesterday’s achievement: the top of Scafell Pike.
On Sunday, people headed off to different destinations, mostly homeward. On the way a party of 6 of us walked from Bigert Mire (above Ulpha) to the top of Whitfell, and were rewarded by good views: a panorama of the high Lakeland fells to the north; a view over Walney Island and Morecambe Bay to the south. From here, two continued on a ridge walk and four returned the same way.
Many thanks to everyone who has sent me some of their photos. There are some great pictures there. I have put a selection into a Picasa Web album which you can find here.
Andy and Rosy completing their final Wainwright – Scafell Pike – on Andy’s 70th birthday