The Warts’ committee had made a determined effort for the Wednesday night run from Blackden. They had even managed to infiltrate the BBC weather forecast by predicting heavy rain, snow and very strong and blustery winds. Such was the trepidation raised by this forecast that the decision was made at the Blackden gathering to go for a lower level route from the Hagg car park.
So, all very togged up for a soaking and a blasting, we scrambled and staggered up through the wind towards Crookestone Knoll which was amazingly calm and warm (?) in its lee. Onwards along the again very wild Kinder edge (remember the Snake Inn outing) and across the foaming Jagger’s Clough to the 444m summit**. Next stop was the quarry (whiskey and jelly babies) where there was much speculation of an EGM if not an AGM. Speakers were invited to stand on the rock block soapbox to propose how the next AGM should be organized at the quarry. Needless to say there was no clear agreement to do so! Discussions were curtailed as we headed down into the valley for a climb up Telegraph Hill, very much propelled by the wind. Returning to the car park and then the pub, there was an air of disappointment because there had been no rain. Yes, the rain and the snow had held off and some rocks on the last descent track appeared to be actually, dare I say it, dry! Whilst this time the committee had not managed to reach the top class weather conditions achieved on the Snake run, they had won a psychological victory causing a change in the route choice.
However, be warned, there is still time before the Warting season ends for the committee to produce a finale of fearsome fury.
** Editor's note: if you are on the OS map it's a 442m summit, Harvey's has it as 444m, in fact both have the knoll/cairn some distance from the summit. It's clearly not an exact science, as I say every time I get lost.
With the rare appearance of the Club Secretary (or perhaps a hologram thereof), the return from St Lucia of Sarah B, and the addition of the newly elevated Dr Piercey to our ranks, it was a distinctly superior gathering that set out from Hagg Farm lay-by (Blackden having been deemed a little too wild). Cap'n Harmer had clearly anticipated the need to stand on ceremony, sporting a shiny new waterproof from Decathalon (a disturbing sight indeed), so all that was missing was the still globetrotting Dave Bollinger and his top of the range Hagloff jacket. May be next week, eh Dave?
But I digress. The route from the lay-by took us up to Crookstone Knoll, via a foot deep pile of slurry (thanks for that, Big Bob), and some slushy white stuff which passed, I suppose, for snow. Graham-the-weatherman Berry was naturally delighted, whilst the rest of us shuffled onward into a stiffish wind, before descending rather more swiftly to the Cap'n's favourite alternative AGM venue - quite a fine little quarry below Nether Moor, it must be admitted. Disappointingly, the Secretary seemed reticent to declare the meeting quorate, notwithstanding the presence of seventeen other warts (at least three club officials included), so we were unable to carry a motion of no confidence in the still absent Chairman Woe (once more, it was alleged, bearing the chains of office a little too heavily at the Sportsman).
Sometime thereafter the moon came out, the wind didn't drop much, and we returned to our vehicles via a brief climb on t'other side of the A57 - all details you can probably survive without. And as for the route of the 'New' Landmarks race next week, well this drew some considerable interest in the pub afterwards - much more interest indeed than it, in the end, warranted. For all those absent friends, well you'll just have to wait and hear it from the horse's mouth next Wednesday. See you all there, for the annual pilgrimage to Trooper Hawley's t-shirt.
Just to add to Graham's wise words below, here's Dave Lund's track of last Wednesday's adventures.
And by way of a coda:
1. I'm still smarting somewhat at Big Bob's broken promise of whisky in an armchair in the cabin in Lower Small Clough;
2. It's gratifying to note the speed with which Brother Holmes is picking up the finer points of dog-handling, this week showing off the latest addition to his armoury of techniques ... 'heel' quoth he, not once, not twice, but possibly once per minute;
3. And even more gratifying to note Rusty's willful response; 'Heel? You must be joking'.
The Warts have the usual athletic and navigational powers which are wide ranging, of course.
It seems that the Warts committee (all of the Warts?) must have an unerring ability to control the weather on Wednesday evenings. The Warts have taken the view that the more challenging the terrain, the better. Footpaths, roads and smooth ground are to be avoided. Any Wart trespassing on to such territory will be accused, publicly, of being a road runner, the shame of it! To further add to this challenging feature of Warts’ runs, the committee has decided to add another ingredient, the weather. So, the committee sits at a secret location, a couple of days before Wednesday Warts night to concoct suitably challenging conditions. In the past couple of months, it has set out to produce the wet and windies (WW’s). The pinnacle of this glorious combination, terrain and weather, was achieved by the committee in an outing from the Snake Inn in January this year. It had all the hall marks of a carefully planned challenge with an added surprise which gave a certain piquancy, raising the outing to almost legendary status. The route up Fairbrook was in the usual (for Wednesday night) trench foot condition and the rain and wind were winding up for the crossing of Kinder (congratulations to the committee for its perfect timing). The special going (wet, damp and soft to rocky) along the flowing grough bottoms was particularly enticing and by the time the grough mini-dams were reached we were all in sixth heaven. One member of the group, a world orienteering champion, provided the committee’s surprise by leaping into a dam which was disguised as level peat. Whilst the spectacle was memorable, it took a little while to appreciate it and, several Warts to pull him out. Disappointingly, the remaining Warts decided not to follow but, instead, to delicately balance on the edge of a corrugated, interlocking dam wall, holding hands (!) to cross over. Whilst this was an impressive organizational feat for the committee, there was still more to come with the southern edge of Kinder. With no groughs for shelter from the wind, the southern edge provided the lashing rain which had been eagerly anticipated. There was a sort of whiskey/jelly baby stop, which proved to be one of the coldest, wettest and shortest ones. Next was another crossing of Kinder, this time northwards. We were now on the way back and had been thoroughly acclimatized to the flowing, refreshing waters of groughs, this time in upper Grindsbrook, and to the strengthening south(ish) gale. However, in a tour de force, the committee provided a near vertical descent towards Fairbrook which gave the opportunity for some delicate and elegant slipping before the astringent stream crossing clearly intended to launder our peat stained gear, a thoughtful committee decision.
Other mid week outings have provided some of these classic Wednesday Warts ingredients. Again, the wet and windies had been ordered for a trip from Low Bradfield which included some of the most delicious mud, yes, it was tasted during some of the slides down the manured fields! However, the route also included some road, as planned by the chief anti-roadist, the Cap’n himself. So this did not quite reach the top legend spot. The Three Stones race was a serious contender, particularly since it included a crossing of Hallam Bog but the lack of serious rain ruled this out. Coming up towards the top spot but not quite there, was the King’s Tree outing. On the way there, a recce of the Westend torrent ruled out the originally planned route which had involved a crossing of it. Instead, there was a climb up Linch Clough to upper Lower Small Clough during which the gales and rain ordered by the committee, were exquisite and, whilst a whiskey stop nearly happened, it was postponed until lower down in the Westend. It now seemed warm (!) and by the time the sprint down the track to the road had been done, it felt sweltering. Whist the subsequent overland way back to King’s Tree provided a bit more rain and wind, the excitement was the malicious branch which grabbed our leader’s contact lens. In true Warts fashion, he continued to reliably lead us to the cars through some sloping bog. Whilst this is a strong contender for a classic Warts outing, sprinting on the track keeps it from the top spot.
So what will the committee order next and can they match the legendary Snake Inn outing? It’s probably time for a bit more variety in the weather so, as a plea to the committee, please finish the wet and windies phase and order some slippery snows!
An uneventful run, except for the minor detail that we lost young Lewis somewhere around Yellowslacks, and didn't find him again until we had been back at the cars for some time. No doubt he will have a tale to tell - he certainly has, see below. The rest of us visited Hern Stones, Yellowslacks and the pond on the side of James's Thorn, which bizarrely on my map is shown just as a ring contour, no blue in sight, then returned via the eponymous path. As seems standard at the moment, claggy and damp conditions prevailed for most of the run, fortunately the beer in the Snake Inn was as good as it was last week.
This was going to be your usual light hearted banter about this week's warting. But John has beaten me to it on that score. So I thought some might feel it worth an open and honest account of my own outing on a foggy, wet, blustery and cold January evening. The rest of you will probably be bored by it….so be it.
26 of us set out from the eastern end of Doctors Gate on the A57. Initially proceedings were slow. They must have been, I was near the front frequently! Notable in the first half was the way we managed to split up in to two groups 200 metres apart in the 600 metres between stops in Hern Clough and at Hern stones. After that we headed off to Dog rock, with some debate as to where it was - it only being named on the OS 1:25,000, not the Harvey's map. From there down to Yellowslacks brook.
Here we parted ways! Whilst the main body headed up the ridge line onto The Pike, I contoured round mistakenly thinking that the next clough (Wigan) would be a deep one too. My line took me immediately onto steep, rough ground that prevented me from looking at my map. I knew that I'd lost the lights to my left and already had the feeling that the next spell was going to be something different from the normal wart.
Looking at the map now. I see that I left Yellow Slacks well below where I thought I was. and so was not traversing the edge of The Pike itself. My line took me well west of the appointed pond at 498m below James's Thorn. At the next key point in my outing, I knew I was 100m too low for the pond, but did not know whether I'd overshot it, or undershot; north or south (and certainly below it). Then I saw lights. A group going up above me and a group going down below me. I didn't know what they were doing and after a quick dither decided not to try and second guess them. I elected to head back under my own steam. Staying safe on the ground was an important part of the plan. Visibility was poor and the possibility of a fall not something to contemplate too long.
Crucially, I did not know the next waypoint for the rest of the warts was dropping down onto Doctor's gate, and then to climb out via Crooked Clough - a bit path like for our esteemed leader! I also did not know that terrain. Heading down toward Glossop under the circumstances felt counterintuitive. I elected for a rising traverse, with a constant plan to climb whenever the going got uncomfortable. I'm familiar with the route from Shelf moor Trig down to the Pennine way. I fully relocated myself quite soon and ticked off key features as I went. I had a quick look for the trig, but instead just satisfied myself I was within 100 metres (and picked up the trod off). I got sucked into a wrong trod after crossing Crooked clough, which was actually the grossest of errors I made all night, but as I was close to the road by then it had least impact. I did encounter a clear trod that did not make sense. I chose to stick with my plan - just as well because had I taken it, I would have probably headed in the wrong direction. I popped out on Snake Summit (almost as planned) where the Pennine way crosses just a Richard pulled up (thanks Richard).
The way I came back was slower that the warts' route, but it kept me on ground I was familiar with. It was also consistent - all corrections I made were in the same direction, taking me up onto more level ground.
It was a pretty bleak night out! I'm generally comfortable with my navigation (ha!). But its even easier to make a mistake when you are cold, tired and pushing on, than when you are running in a group, many of whom are very good navigators. I was comforted in knowing I had a good set of survival kit on me should I be forced to stop.
What happened? I probably didn't spend enough time looking at the map in Yellowslacks. I was distracted by watching everyone down to the brook and I was distracted by other people using my map. Then I didn't check to correct once I lost sight of everyone, because I was on steep, rough ground - I stuck with my plan. After that? I now know the lights were people leaving the pond. Some over the top and some down to Doctor's Gate. After that I was reasonably soon fully relocated. I went a bit wayward again at the end just because I was close, cold, tired and pushing on down hill.
I knew I could, but I never felt the urge to head down hill and into Glossop. I always had an expectation of getting back to the car; I just had to cross Crooked Clough safely - which meant high up to me. I figured I'd be missed. If the club had searched for me on the hill, it would have been a long cold night. It was not far off an hour back to where I was last seen. and without communication on the hill, people may have been out for many hours - whether or not I was found. I figured I could not go more than one hour overdue - those at the cars would be too cold by then. The thought of Mountain Rescue being called out made me wince, even when I was feeling bleak about my circumstances. It was definitely less fun than usual and definitely mentally taxing.
After my initial mistake, I'm generally happy about the choices I made and why I made them, right up until I started making mistakes at the end.
I hope the next person to go walk about fares no worse than I…and there will be someone.
I'm happy to be considered for the Pertex, but I might feel the urge to join a more adventurous club if this is all it takes to win it.
After last week's debacle, it was a welcome return to Kinder via Fairbrook Naze, whereupon the weather closed in with a vengeance and we were treated to quite the longest, sloppiest and bog-ridden line across the plateau that Big Bob could muster. Both he and, rather more impressively Pete G, managed to bury themselves a couple of feet deep in the slop, whilst the rest of us trogged around aimlessly and the good Cap'n and the Safety Officer exchanged tales of the First World War. Don't ask.
When it seemed that it could get no worse, we alighted upon the southern edge path, somewhere to the east of Crowden Tower, where Bob and Dave Bollinger quickly declared themselves much too wet and cold for an extended whisky stop (for shame). Fortunately sense prevailed amongst others of our gratifyingly large party of 18, whisky and jelly babies were shared, and thus fortified against the elements we set our faces towards Grindsbrook. The line wobbled a little, but the weather and running improved immeasurably, and we made our way Snake Inn-ward via a precipitous descent off the north edge and a bout of chest high heather hopping, before the final descent to Fairbrook. One of those nights where the more we ran, the better it got ... with a couple of pints of Moonshine in the Snake Inn afterwards merely the icing on the cake.
Not since the infamous trip to Thurlstone have we endured quite so execrable a route as that served up by the good Cap'n this evening. Absolutely no idea whatsoever where we went - hopefully the webmaster will be along in due course with a track to throw some light on the question - but frankly we might have been on any one of the many sh1tty footpaths in the area and it would have made little difference. That said, we all enjoyed ourselves in the sometimes persistent rain, enjoyed young Mr Barber's donation of a flask of Glenmorangie - thanks Chris - and took some considerable pleasure in pointing out to the Cap'n the error of his ways. It's also possible that I'm a wee bit biased in my assessment, Eoin having noted my David Starkey tendencies; but let's wait to see if the webmaster can find anything more positive to draw from the whole sorry experience.
Here's a track so that Willy can see where we went. The webmaster had little idea where he was for almost all the route, but at least he started his gps watch. A quick fiddle on RouteBuddy shows we did > 1.5 miles of road (is this a record?), leaving nearly 6 miles of lovely mud.
The most convivial of wartin' evenings under a black starry sky from the West End via Alport Trig, Ravens Clough sheepfold, Banktop Hey and a final plummet through the pine needles. Twenty six warts' head torches raking the precipitous sides of Ravens Clough is indeed a fine sight to behold. Not much else to add, other than to note the off-again-on-again diligence with which Cap'n Harmer oversaw the inscription of his little red book, and the fastidiousness with which the Safety Officer and Chairman Woe kept a check on our numbers. Very good, nevertheless, to have our beloved Chairman back in tow after injury, with a big healthy grin spreading across his chops.
A baker's dozen of warts set out from Blackden in mild conditions for Ringing Roger via Blackden Trig, finding the latter with relative ease before an atmospheric clag descended to lend proceedings an additional charm; only ever so slightly disturbed by the ever present call of the irrepressible Mr Winterburn.
Six of our thirteen cut proceedings short at the southern edge of Kinder, whilst the more hardy majority continued on to the three trees on t'other side of Grindsbrook, returning via a brief but borderline rock climb, and finally some strong running. Pleasant indeed.
International man of mystery, David Peak McGuinness, performed a first for the warts last night, single-handedly searching and rescuing a frailish little old Stannington lady, found sheltering in a grouse butt, two thirds of the way up the track to Cartledge Flat. It appears she'd taken the bus out to Fairholmes and then become disoriented in the clag on the walk back over Lost Lad. By the time twenty-one thoroughbred warts happened upon her, she'd more or less resigned herself to what would have been a dangerously cold night on the hill.
Whilst Guy S, Penny and Sarah escorted David's most recent find off the hill, our eighteen remaining heroes struck out into the teeth of the gale, up and over Cartledge Flat, across an Abbey Brook in fair spate, and up to Berristers for a quick snifter. Though the good Cap'n questioned whether we were entitled to a nip whilst in full wart, the lure of the Bushmills, and warm glow of our previous heroics, soon ruled him out of court - and indeed it was Andy himself who battled headlong into the wind to retrieve our just desserts. A further headlong struggle into the wind to regain the Brook below, this time crossing in something approaching normal order (Young Betts and the Safety Officer would both have been horrified by the cavalier manner in which we negotiated the first crossing, in twos and threes, strung over 200 metres of white water, and with no-one counting), and thence home via Low Tor (in error).
Aside from David's new lady friend, the evening was otherwise most distinguished by the unnervingly low average age of those in attendance, with newbies (at least two) and old youngies (including the welcome return of Messrs Ashton, Cole and Piercey, and Ms Bryan-Jones) in abundance (still 5 bus passes - don't write us off just yet!) - and a pleasant couple of pints to round matters off in the Inn. Not bad at all for a blustery tussock fest.
A fairly select group of warts, including guest appearances from the Spinks and brother Winterburn, enjoyed a real Harmer classic, battling through head-high heather, bracken, bog and assorted filth, at sub 40-minute mile pace across Hobson Moss and similarly unprepossessing tracts of flatish moorland to a number of largely unremarkable landmarks. Actually, that last bit's not true - we happened upon a rocking stone, which occasioned an ill-conceived episode of seesawing betwixt Tractor Boy Ray and your correspondent, and no conclusion as to who was the fatter; a ruined cabin which Chairman Tom declared 'better than some we've visited' and, after a certain amount of disinterested confusion, the wooden footbridge in Oaken Clough. The more we grumbled, the wider spread Andy's grin and, reluctantly or not, the more we were endeared to his truly awful route. His avowed intention was to reveal to us the mysteries of the 'corridor route' from the Hunter Wreck to Emlin trig; and mysterious it indeed was. So much so that the personal responsibility brains' trust soon swung into session in the Nag's Head afterwards to debate the wisdom of declaring a pair's race or not. No doubt the Cap'n will reach the most enlightened decision in due course, just as soon as he's darned the knees of his Martin-esque Ron Hill trackers. Perhaps time to shut up, before this prose plumbs new depths of opacity ... but not without a brief mention of our very own resident hack, Monsignor Holmes, who was evidently so bored with shouting at his canines by the final mile of the expedition that he chose instead to throw himself to the ground, incurring a variety of injuries to upper limbs. Needless to say, he got little sympathy from his fellow travellers.
A steady 2 hours on Kinder, but no-one chose to visit Mermaid's Pool, which had been originally mooted by Cap'n Harmer. The weather was typical Warting fare, damp and breezy, and a bit claggy on the top. Not a lot of excitement, didn't manage to lose anyone, although if Carl and Tim hadn't warned him we could have lost the good Cap'n over a 10ft drop into the valley by the woods - much shouting and waving of hands got him to a safe spot though.
In the spirit of personal responsibility on the hill – or perhaps just in keeping with standard DP practice – it seems incumbent upon me to share one or two top tips to avoiding schoolboy errors on the Scottish Hills, drawing upon my recent experiences in and around Glen Nevis:
1. Think twice before straight-lining it through a spruce forest, however short the distance may appear on the map; whilst heather will slow you down, Scottish pine is pretty much certain to bring you to a complete cursing halt sooner rather than later (particularly when wearing a large pack with ice axe);
2. When departing a munro summit in clag, should your compass indicate you are travelling in diametrically the wrong direction, do not simply assume that you have once again set your compass due south instead of due north and correct for this by turning the housing through 180 degrees without reference to the map; descending for half a mile down the wrong flank of the wrong ridge in the Mamores cannot be compared with travelling half a mile in the wrong direction on Kinder; it will almost certainly result in a complete change of plan for the day;
3. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you’ll just hang on until the rain stops before halting to get some food out of your pack; this will most likely lead to a bonk before the skies even begin to consider clearing;
4. Still not recognising after the umpteenth time on your arse that steep, green and a bit damp looking probably means darn slippy to boot is, well, a wee bit silly; and
5. If you have to take your mobile phone out of its waterproof cover in order to make a phone call, don’t then replace it, uncovered, into the Gortex pocket of your high quality Patagonia waterproof if said pocket has been unzipped for a period of time; the pool of water it has collected in the interim will wreck your phone, rendering you incapable of reporting the whole sorry story via facebook in real time.
On a more positive note, I cannot recommend highly enough the benefits of hostelling with the Paxmans in the Rucksack Club hut – steak, garlic potatoes and rhubarb crumble on night one, and lamb dhansak on night two, all washed down with respectable helpings of alcohol. So if you fancy joining Jim on his upcoming attempt at the Ramsay Round, well what are you waiting for? More details here.
Worth a note because of the fine Spring evening and the small but perfectly formed number of athletes that turned up. There was a surprising unanimity with the route choice in the first mile or so: essentially up and then veer towards Bob's Rock (named in honour of our esteemed deputy leader). From here, so it was said, we would head for Ringing Roger. Some chance as the "navigators" headed off in completely the wrong direction and ended up about half a mile away. At this point there was the usual muttering about wanting split into the old farts and the even older farts; the former went down into Golden Clough and up the Grindsbrook Knoll, the latter took the easier option and stayed up! There was further disunity as the "real" fell runners decided to go down and then up to get the Hartshorn, while the more senior and discerning members did a bit of rimming around the edge of the clough. From here, the magnificent descent down the Wicker and then to the pub. A glorious night!!
A very healthy turnout for the first "summer" run of the year - somewhere close to 40 runners, I suspect, not that anyone was counting. We were blessed with some fine snow drifts and patterns, a mighty fine sunset, and the usual banter; plus, for those of us foolish enough to take the longer route via New Cross (rems of), a couple of impromptu "personal responsibility ... blah, blah, blah ... full kit ... blah, blah, blah ... someone once fell off a cliff ... blah, blah, blah" stuff from the Safety Officer and his Mountain Rescue second mate. We all listened obediently, nodded sagely, and ran away at whatever speed we could muster. Reunited with the short-run stalwarts, we fair filled the pub afterwards. A very pleasant evening indeed, and good to see so many new faces (well new to me, at least - not that I bothered to introduce myself to any of them).
A rescheduled run because of the glorious spring weather. This began in the car and continued in the car-park with the usual highly predictable disagreement between Mr Holmes and everybody else. Mr Holmes, I should add, is an occasional wart who puts in a guest appearance just to ensure that the aforementioned argument happens - a sort of tradition that he feels he has to uphold. Anyway...we decided to have a split with a decision on route being taked at the top of Agden Rocher. Predictably this was feet deep in snow necessitating a detour into adjacent fields to negotiate. The "splitters" seemed to disappear at this point only to reappear later on as we trudged through the snow up to Bar Dyke. I should say that there was a wonderful snowy descent off the Rocher. The debate continued at Bar Dyke, with the sensible ones pointing out that although Emlin was only half a mile away as the crow flies, it was about 3 snowy,waist-high miles as the runner trudges but common sense was never one of our strong points. So we fought our way across the valley, through the occasional cornice and almost sheer snow cliffs up to Emlin trig where the last whisky of winter was taken and so the season ends with the beginning of the dreaded summer runs!!!
For those contemplating what will no doubt be a fine run from Fairholmes, the suggested route, hot off the presses from Cap'n Harmer, is Bamford ho to Wet Stones, via the Barn[west of Abbey brook] and return direct across top side of Poynton bog.
Needless to say we could end up doing something entirely different...
In the end not completely different, but we never made Wet Stones, which would have made for a very long night out. An excellent end, perhaps, to the official Warting season, not sure whether next week counts. Didn't hear any whinges, no-one got lost, as far as we know, and Cap'n Harmer graced us with his presence, on the mend but still wobbling!
A predictable 13 warts turned up including a rare visit by the worshipful Nicky Spinks. In the absence of Mr Harmer and Mr Holmes, the usual debate about route was given to Mr Berzins and Mr Winterburn, should we go south to Barrow Stones or north into the unknown? The latter prevailed and so we set off into uncharted territory towards Dead Edge End and beyond! There was a fair bit of snow around still but a beautiful clear and relatively wind free night prevailed. Mr Winterburn was reputedly recovering from his numerous ailments but seemed nonetheless, to always be at least 100 yards in front. Ramsden Clough was reached and the debate about the route continued: along the edge or down and up? The hearty Ms Wiegand decided to lead us down into the clough while the rest of us were still arguing the merits of the descent and climb, hard as nails, she is. From here we visited another unknown trig point at Snailsden and then a direct and particularly arduous route back to the cars. Hopefully Will will put the route up as I forgot to start my GPS. Nearly the end of the season and time to hibernate for the summer.
Track duly uploaded, Corporal Barber.
A very, very foggy night where visibility was down to a few yards, saw a group of around 15 runners set off up towards Strines Ridge. The group split into two, we think as the next count only realised 11 superbly toned athletes the old scroats having disappeared off the back somewhere. Not to worry, they'd had a good innings. The remaining group headed for the packhorse bridge and Pike Lowe for the whisky stop. A strange night as we could see absolutely bugger all for most of the time but, as was pointed out, this was a standard warts run and we "should all have our map and compasses at the ready all the time!" Mr Harmer we present at the beginning but his mum's sick note was still current and we found him duly wobbling in the pub afterwards. The usual split ensued towards the end and our World class orienteers, Pete and Lucy managed to get lost by following a map, the rest of us who went on "instinct" (note, not Ash whose directional instincts, as we know are somewhat lacking) and local knowledge were well into our first pint before the aforementioned appeared. Worth noting that we were blessed by an appearance of an ex wart, Dave Holmes, who appeared in the pub afterwards, at least he remembers this old tradition.
Just seven cheery warts from Birchin Clough this evening, ably lead by Lucy and the Safety Officer - albeit sometimes in different directions. Still a bit of the frozen white stuff in the groughs, and just the odd sinker too, but a very pleasant run nonetheless, enhanced by the odd star and some moon. Shame about the twisted ankle count, including the SO and me, but the beer in the Ladybower thereafter more than made up for this.
About 15 hearty souls set off on this somewhat bitter night, including one new runner (who's name escapes me). Capt. Harmer sent in a sick note from his mum, so Mr Berry took over the burden of responsibility for the route with Bob Berzins setting the pace and doing most of the route finding. It should be pointed out that our Safety Officer did make some route suggestions but they were duly ignored as is usual. Somehow we ended up on the top of Bleaklow by the Shelf Benches and the very frozen ponds at James' Thorn and then up to Shelf Stones which was bloody freezing in a howling wind. Whisky and comestibles were taken here and the direct route back to the cars was pursued - you can have too much enjoyment and I think we had by this time. Not much else to report really, I don't think we lost anyone but there was a suspiciously empty car there when we left!
Tom and I went to Monsal Head with Southern Wart’s run, we were early and decided to run alone as we had three dogs with us. There was one other wart, a new member who we have seen before but don’t know in the car park, we told him what we were doing, told him to watch the other car park for the rest and we pushed off around 18.35 before the start time 18.50 to do the Thornbridge race route.
Our run round the race route in very different conditions to an August bank holiday was great, we didn’t see a soul.
When we returned, there was Roy who had cycled out and nobody else. We had beers, nobody else was there and nobody else arrived before we left about 9.30
So, not sure what happened, but that’s a poor do for the one person who had a wasted journey if nobody else turned up. It emphasises the problem of various venues being posted on the website, I would have been really pissed off if I had been the only person there.
Well, another epic! I suppose by now I should be used to it. Five intrepid Warts set out from Hathersage to explore the snow. A quick circuit of the Ladybower car park found no other Warts, so off to Fairholmes. The police at Ashopton, stopping vehicles heading onto the Snake volunteered that we were not alone, so we were not surprised when we found another car at Fairholmes.
We were seven strong when we headed through the woods with the intention of going to Alport. This went well, with the strong and cold wind ("Feels Like -8C" according to the Met office) behind us. Not easy to see the path, but we made the edge above Alport Castles without incident. We then went straight past the track to Westend, but realising fairly soon what we had done decided to head East to avoid a huge road run at the end. Normally it would have been a good plan, but for the fact that the wind had dumped all the snow from the edge onto our route off. So a gentle downill trot of 2Km took 50 minutes, with lots of falling over and much blood left on the crusty snow. Everyone seemed to be in remarkably good spirits considering...
Apart from almost heading back onto the hill in a brief moments confusion in Ouzelden, perhaps because the webmaster had cut the relevant bit of his map off, presumably to use at an earlier event, the run back along the valley was uneventful.
A very well earned pint of Blonde followed, and after a few minutes we were joined in the pub by four more Warts who had made it to Kings Tree and had an adventure around the Crow Stones and its environs.
A few of us decided to forgo the dubious pleasures of the Rivelin Landmarks race and visited the Westend River, to see how much snow was still around. Turns out there was deep snow all the way to the Grinah Stones and back (via Barrow Stones then through the woods by the ruined farmhouse). The snow was just frozen enough to take our weight about 50% of the time, which provided good entertainment and frustration in equal helpings.
Bob & Rob's faultless navigation got us there and back without incident, even if Bob was heard to grumble "there's only two of us here with a compass" on occasion. Not true but most of them did remain fairmly in bumbags for the duration.