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.
I lost a dark blue helly shirt after the warts run at Castleton last wednesday. I got changed outside the pub & may not have picked it up before going in for a pint. I went back later that evening after checking with everyone in the car but couldnt find it.
If anyone picked it up I'd be grateful for its return.
Tim Hawley 01142 851633 07801321424
By very popular demand (Messrs Harmer and Westgate seem especially keen, but I know Rob C and Lewis will take particular delight also), I offer the first in an occasional series of "spot the control points" race tracks.
Tim T's birthday race started and finished from the Sportsman (my watch was eight minutes late kicking in), and featured six control points, with a short option to visit just four. I eventually visited four, with a very half-hearted attempt to visit a fifth.
A pint of Landlord to the best guess/description as to what these five control points might have been (without reference to anyone present on the night, please).
And for those who were present, an alternative game: a pint of Blonde to the best prose reconstruction of my thought processes as I ambled around the route last night ...
The one thing I will say in my defence is that the attention to detail demonstrated in avoiding any form of trespass over the western end of the route is, I'd suggest, truly laudable.
Only 7 finely tuned athletes turned out for this "proper" warts run. The conditions were perfect, cold and clear with a few inches of snow on Kinder to add to the pleasure. The north wind on Kinder soon froze all extraneous appendages and spare clothing was utilised for a purpose which the manufacturer had never dreamt of but if it works, it could be a good selling point (keeps the head and knackers warm etc!) From Seal Stones we strayed onto a path but not for long as our gallant leader took us direct to Snake Bridge via just about everything. From here, we crossed the road and up to the end of Oyster Clough with a climb up the reverse of the Alport race route. We stuck to the southern edge and found a huge crevasse, where the hill is quickly detaching itself in what promises to be a monumental landslip. Unfortunately, Capt. Harmer found this too readily and fell into it with a cry of obvious agony! The problem was he was in pain but stuck fast and all our pulling and tugging couldn't shift him. Eventually our gallant Pertex holder reached down and freed his foot but Capt. was now convinced that his leg was broken. After much lying down, heavy breathing and cursing (and offers of whisky), a recovery took place and he managed, despite near fatal injury, to guide us back direct to the cars, whereupon he expired gracefully, heroes are all too rare these days. We were so glad to have the Safety Officer with us, who at least managed to take some photographs but piteously, didn't make us aware of the potential danger of this crevasse, well worth seeing incidentally, just don't lose yourself or a dog in it, before it blocks the Snake for good.
Having found my Garmin on Saturday morning lying on the tarmac where we parked on Wednesday, with various walkers stepping over it, I've now managed to upload the track! A rarish visit from Nicky Spinks and her two dogs (and mine which made a total of four dogs, must be a record!), followed the "Winterburn" route up to Pike Lowe in the brilliant moonlight - a stunningly clear and moonlit night. We then followed the ridge route up to Marjory Hill, where whisky was taken in the icy conditions. There seemed to be the usual debate and confusion about where we were going to next, so the frontrunners set off in an easterly direction leaving me to minister to the knackered Capt. Harmer. Somehow we managed to get back! I should also a record our fond farewell to Dan, who has become a faithful wart but who sadly has departed this life for a job in Reading! We shall drink to absent friends every Wednesday, good luck Dan. (Gone to Williams F1, you never know he might be on the telly!)
After being talked out of going to find the plastic rock by Gardom's Edge, on the grounds it would be too far, young Rob took us on a trek across the worst terrain Big Moor has to offer. And it is bad, well up to Cap'n Harmer's standard. At the whisky stop, when another plod via some spot height or other to the White Edge trig was offered, a breakaway formed, and the four free bus pass holders set off around the corner instead to pick up more track running. This was so successful they arrived back at the pub 15 mins later than the direct route group. Hey-ho.
The annual warts' outing to the White Peak! A pleasant evening with a fair number of the locals and even Mr Holmes, who tore himself away from the Sportsman to grace us with his presence. The unity of the group, always an issue when there is a range of running speeds and ages present, was going to be a problem, the younger members fast disappearing into the distance leaving some of the old farts to catch up. However, it soon transpired that the young farts hadn't a clue where we were going, so it all balanced out nicely. Until....somewhere near Abney, there was a breakaway up the steep hill. The more sensible of us followed the path through a wonderful quagmire and after much searching, to the stone circle on Eyam Moor, which isn't a stone circle at all but never mind. This seemed to take a long time (how time flies etc. etc.), as we had now been out over 2 hours, so a hasty retreat for the main group back to the cars, only to find that the footpath/road runners had beaten us by 20 minutes after they took the easy route. tut-tut, standards are beginning to fall.
A fair turnout for one of our prime venues. The pre-run arguments between Messrs Holmes and Harmer were confined to the car with only me to witness, so all was seemingly well as the route had been discussed at length and the fact that this was THE warts run was commented on and dismissed by Capt H. with a vitriolic but poignant "fuck off, Dave!" Nuff said. Anyway, the run..... up the now denuded forest to the top gate and then to New Cross (remains of!) which was found amazingly easily and the first show of unity ensued with all bar the VERY slow contingent, arriving together. Naturally enough, confusion ensued with the next leg of the run: some heard that the waterfall was the next checkpoint and some Berrister's Tor - a split ensued with the Safety Officer (amongst others) taking an easy route. leaving the rest of us without safety cover in the likely event of a disaster.Tut tut, that stripe, Lance Cpl Harvey may yet be in jeopardy! Anyway, nobody died, as far as we knew and whisky was taken in the wind and rain like real warts do. Low Tor and the concrete cabin and thence to the pub. A standard, if slightly short, warts run but given the rain and the lure of the fire in the pub, there were no dissenters.
Gone are the days when we used to lament the fact that only a hard core half a dozen or so came warting - now we manage to attract 34 highly tuned athletes including the remainder of the old hard core, now sadly well knackered!
However... we set off in a determined manner up to Seal Stones and then towards Hartshorn, still visible in the gathering gloom. From here we dropped down into a black abyss and then amazingly enough, went straight back up, to Grindslow Knoll, to consume the assorted alcoholic beverages on offer. There was a notable degree of straying from the party line, not least by Lance-Corporal Harvey, the self-appointed safety officer who never seems to be there when help is needed! Following this, the usual splitting of the multitude occurred. I was following my dog Tess, before I realised that I was leading a group into the blackness, fortunately in roughly the right direction (amazing instinct these dogs) up Grindsbrook and thence to the northern edge. From here it was a gradual, very wet descent to the pub. A generally good night, we wait to see what happens to the numbers when the weather gets worse!!
START Near bus turning circle CP1 TRIG-MAM TOR-reached via open hillside [no path from mine] the gully is also out because of debris CP2 Lords Seat  CP3 Rail bridge  via Chapel gate track - no road down to barber booth CP4 mam tor trig - via cold side - using bit of road/footpaths to Harden clough - no road to mam nick FINISH at the cars. This race, 5 miles, 2,180 feet or thereabouts, is an Andy Harmer production which has the potential to become a classic and certainly deserves to be run again! Some 9 runners started at 6.45 and the rest of us went off at 7 pm. Phil Crowson was notable because of his lack of head torch which resulted in him doing his usual trick of getting lost but enjoying it immensely! Somehow he managed to finish intact. There were many different routes, mine, below is not meant to be the definitive one and no doubt others had a better one (and many had a worse!). We'll have to visit Castleton more often, even the pub was good!
The first of the "unofficial" (yes, I know before someone starts a rant) warts runs, the first real one being last week from Rowlee Bridge which was generally a lot of fun! Anyway, to more current matters: the route took us in true warting fashion up through the forest to the top of the ridge and thence over a steady bit of moor to the Westend. Ok so far, everyone stuck more or less together, although there was the meerest hint of antisocial behaviour from the front runners! From here we went north into the unknown! Warts are naturally a cohesive group, dependent, as they are, on each other for survival in inclement weather. However, the benign nature of the weather, perhaps contrubuted to the "splitting" in the group and the loss of two of our less mature members. Poor communication meant that one group set off in the direction of Alport Castles and the other, including myself went off in a northerly meander. Yet two more runners whose names I shall disguise (A Damn Shit, anagram) went off into the dark without map or compass between them. So imagine our surprise, if you will, when the two major groups eventually reunited after one had visited the Castles and the other had set off towards Grinah Stones, only to find that the aforementioned had disappeared. So we set off in our usual direct line to the cars until the whisper went round that someone was injured! Who it was that started this rumour is as yet unknown, so....we set off back up the hill. I might say that in all my warting experience, I don't think we've ever done this before, so it was serious, or so we thought. The search failed to find any bodies, living or dead, so we thought "bollocks to this" or at least I did, and we descended through the impenetrable forest to the cars . Some fifteen minutes later the damn shits appeared from down the road in the direction of Westend.
A lesson for us all, map, compass, whistle is essential for these nights!!
Various races meant that this was as usual a small select gathering but indeed we were honoured by the presence of Mr Tett looking a healthy orange colour following his return from sunnier climes. Also of note, was a new member, Clare, who although new ran most of us older members well into the ground. After the usual initial arguments about where we should be (Doctors Gate it appears, should have been the starting point) and the route onto Bleaklow, the group set off and immediately split into three with TT forming his own group, which was to be the pattern of the run and the rest just wondering aimlessly in a more or less westerly direction. A good run (for our Chairman's sake) with lots of ups and downs which eventually got us to some stones on Bleaklow. We then ran up and down again and found some more stones and then ran back to the cars and to the pub. A wonderfully pointless and enjoyable run!
We will meet in the car park at Upper North Grain on the A57 (GR 101929), leaving at 1845 hrs. The run will be lead by Mr Berry. Please note that the weather and visibility can be poor on these alternative runs, so it is essential you come prepared with the right kit and the confidence to get yourself back to your transport on your own if necessary. If you require any further information contact Mark Harvey on 07802587598
Another select few athletes turned up including the Chairman and Safety Officer and Capts. Harmer and Berzins. A new boy Dan also appeared and in true Dark Peak fashion, he was completely ignored! (not true really, he was welcomed into the fold as this group being the core of warts, whom as we know are truly sociable, welcoming and protective to all new members!, unlike some subgroups.....). I have to say that this run ranked highly, even the weather was good if not a little too hot but at least we're heading in the right direction towards winter!! Up Black Clough to Alport trig and then into the Westend valley and up to Grinah Stones where the midges were awaiting our arrival! From here there was the expected split as the heartier souls went in search of the source of the Nile and the more sensible ones headed back along Black Clough. The descent back to the car should have been via the ruined farm but somehow we came off too early (sadly not for the first time) and ended up in impenetrable conifers which somehow we did penetrate...and so to the pub.
The "alternative" run took place from Fairholmes and in true warting fashion, went straight up the bank through the brambles etc. up to a firebreak above Lockerbrook and into Alport Grain. It was about this time that we realised that we had a nice runner, who was probably a brilliant road runner but hadn't expected the typical Westgatian/Berzins line up the hills!(I stand corrected at the pub last night, that it was actually Clive Last who devised this obscure route but it still had all the hallmarks of the aforesaid TW and BB!) Ah well at least he'll know what to expect next time (let's hope there is a next time!). From here up to Alport Castles and down a bowel-clenching drop to the pond, which at this time of year is just dilute cow shite. However, this didn't deter two foolish people, namely Ben and Dave McG, who stripped off and swam through the ordure. They were duly shunned for the rest of the run (what has four legs and flies? Answer: Dave and Ben!). An interesting contour line which most had not done before and then back up to the edge. The usual split in opinions and lines occurred here, with the heartier souls opting for the direct line and the more sensible runners opting for a a good blast downhill. As we all arrived back at roughly the same time, we can safely say that there was "nowt in it".
The first official alternative run or the last of the unofficial alternative runs, dependent on your perspective! The instruction was to climb and descend lots of hills so that we could ensure that our new treasurer would not receive a double pertex for his efforts or lack of, in Jura next week....and so it was. The route was up to Seal Stones, back down again to the holly tree or thereabouts in Blackden and then up again to the edge. From here, across to the southern edge and down, damn near to Edale. Up to Grindslow via the manhole cover (which will surely be a checkpoint on a race in the near future!) and then to the Knoll, where whisky was partaken. As night was surely descending, we set off over a hitherto untrodden part of Kinder to the Northern edge to a fine descent. A brilliant evening with perfect weather i.e not unlike mid-winter, so perfect in Harmerian terms.
A large group of finely tuned athletes including a number of Penistonians gathered at Blackden for the evening's fun, around about 25 including the safety officer. The run began by stumbling up Blackden Rind and then up to a notch(?) in the top opposite Seal Stones. From here the group set off towards Hartshorne, Mr Harmer electing to take the long route in a sort of semicircular fashion, the real navigators went straight there! A good old-fashioned bogtrot followed over to Kinder Gates via the river and then with the gathering mist and gloom, back towards Seal Stones, the hardier souls taking the direct route, whereas the more sensible ones went for the edge path. The run off Seal Stones to the cars is arguably one of the best descents in the Peak and they've even put a stile and access sign at the bottom, where previously we thought we were trespassing. What is warting coming to?
Let's hope that that we hear no more talk about there being a drought in South Yorkshire! Messrs Westgate, Harmer, Hawley and Barber were the only intrepids to set out on this the foulest of nights for some time. After struggling across Ewden Beck which had turned into a raging torrent, the run up to Pike Lowe was uneventful just very wet. The wreck, the usual next checkpoint was found without too much fuss and in true GW fashion, rather than heading for home in what was by now, the gathering gloom, we set off to find the Hunter wreck. Unfortunately, our trusty navigator, Capt. Harmer, in whom we place infinite trust, managed to get us hopelessly lost ('nuff said on this matter), somehow we went in the direction of Howden Edge and on encountering some rocks and another raging torrent (the head of Abbey Brook, we now realise), we had to acknowledge that we hadn't a clue where we were - some 2 miles or so from where we should have been. Ah well, put it down to old age and infirmity. By this time the gloom was well and truly gathering and very shortly had turned to pitch black. After much struggling in the dark, we eventually found the Duke's Drive and relative safety but still managed to go wrong in the now, very pitch black and driving rain. Drought, don't make me larf!
I fully intended to attend the officially advertised run from the Sportsman this Wednesday evening past, not least to support Ian Fitz's Skyline debrief, but with my car having just failed its MOT earlier that afternoon (even more of a death-trap than its driver, apparently - which may, or may not, come as a surprise to those privileged enough to have ridden in it), I found myself somewhat vehicularly challenged. A series of panic phone calls to all the usual suspects ensued, including one to David McG, who I'd be glad to report was happily sunning himself in Majorca were it not for the fact that this particular conversation will very likely have cost me considerably more than I had initially anticipated. Anyways, the upshot of said calls was the realisation that no other b****r I knew within a three mile radius of Crookes was traveling this particular evening to the Sportsman, and it was now too late to make it in time for the off under my own human steam. I was left, therefore, with little alternative but to call the Chosen One to see if a lift might be available to the (now here's the controversial bit, folks) Guerrilla Wart from Ouzelden Clough. There was some hesitation on the line as the Chosen One consulted with his chauffeur, the Safety Officer*, before the response came that they were just passing Crosspool and that I had 5 minutes to be ready and outside. This left me with very little faff time, but much to my best beloved's surprise I just about managed to keep to the prescribed deadline, emerging a little haltingly into the Crookes slush accompanied by a selection of kit and vaguely hoping some of it might be appropriate for the adventures ahead. Taking my place in the back seat alongside Big Bird, we descended to Malin Bridge to pick up Ernie, only to find that he had arrived with Bert in tow (or rather had somehow contrived to get Bert to give him a lift), so the decision was taken to travel in convoy to Ouzelden Clough, the SO determining that four passengers in the rear of his vehicle probably constituted an unwarranted risk. Upon arrival at Ouzelden, we were pleased to be joined by Long John Silver and Cabin Boy Jim, together with the ever glamorous Ms Lesley Ash, all kitted up and ready to go - which is precisely what we did. Up Ouzelden Clough and thence via three alternative lines onto a crisply snow-cloaked Rowlee Pastures, we were rewarded with some stunning views of all the surrounding fells, bathed in the white stuff, and some particularly dramatic skies (Ms Ash was to be heard later in the pub opining on the "four different types of light" we'd witnessed; so it seems we can add Constable's eye for aesthetic landscapes to Lesley's many other hidden talents). It should also be noted at this juncture that, whilst Big Bird, myself, the Chosen One and Lesley all took more or less the natural line toward Alport Castles, Ernie led the rest of our merry gang via a more oblique route to the flags which, notwithstanding his subsequent protestations that said flags were covered in a significant depth of snow, only goes to further support the gathering view that he is increasingly gravitating towards road running in the (early) twilight of his otherwise most distinguished fell running career. Having all gained the edge path above the Alport Valley, we were now treated to the sight of a series of spectacular cornices (for this, the Chosen One assures me, is the correct technical term used by real winter fell-types and mountaineers). The temptation to slide forty feet off the lip of one such cornice soon proved too much for the Chosen One who, demonstrating his leadership credentials admirably on this occasion, first gingerly then with gay abandon hurled himself off the edge, closely followed by the rest of our party (with the honorable exception of the SO, who chose a rather more cautious traversing line to the stile to the south-east of Alport Castles). A little whooping and excitement later, we regained the edge path, with Long John Silver and our Lesley demonstrating their own very particular mountain-craft abilities by spending a full five minutes burrowing their way back up the sheer face of a second cornice, to the collective hilarity of the rest of the party. Once back on the edge (or perhaps this was prior to our first cornice slide?), we briefly inspected the jerry-built hide overlooking Alport Castles - erected for the viewing nesting Osprey, I am told, though this would have been difficult to achieve this particular night as the snow had somehow managed to find a way into the hide and fill much of it three-quarters of the way to the roof. It was at about this point that Big Bird announced he felt like staying out in the snow all night ... to which I quickly responded by donning most of the remaining kit in my bag, thick gloves in particular, whilst the rest of the party sped onward to Birchin Hat. The reddening sunset behind Alport Tower, offset by dark and brooding clouds, was truly one of those glad-to-be-alive moments, which may explain why the option to free-sledge down a second cornice on the somewhat longer slope to the north-west of the Tower was ultimately passed up. Furthermore, as the sun began to drop behind the horizon, the temperature rapidly dropped, so we began to turn for home, wading through often knee-deep snow down into Fagney Clough, with young Jim's superior speed soon becoming apparent on the few occasions when real running became an option. As we traversed out of Fagney - or perhaps it was Ditch Clough - our Lesley took up the lead, showing off her beautifully botoxed behind to full effect, whilst the Chosen One and Big Bird, with the occasional intervention from Ernie, haggled over whether the bearing was 130 or 135 degrees. Fortunately they didn't quibble for too long, alighting upon the eminently sensible solution of telling Ms Ash simply to "head for the moon" (which was, like most other elements of the natural world this fine night, looking rather splendid). It was at this point that I did, I confess, begin to regret not having donned neoprene socks for the outing. Fortunately the running began to pick up a little once we'd crossed to the east of the spur of Birchinlee Pastures, and a memorable evening's running was completed with a fine descent to the plantation fringing the reservoir and, with half of the party finally unfurling head torches, a short scramble through dense conifers to the track beside Ouzelden Clough. As the Chosen One observed back at the cars, it was quite a good line upto about a foot and a half off the ground. A magnificent evening was made complete with two (in my case, three) pints in the Ladybower, with a good deal of reminiscing, particularly it seems about DP dogs we have known and loved, and most particularly about Tansy (is that how we spell it?) who, in Ernie's opinion at least, appears to be the finest fell dog that ever bestrode the Dark Peak. My thanks to my fellow renegades - I'm no longer an entirely virgin guerrilla wart** - though whilst the temptation to join the GWs again may upon occasion prove too great, as maintainer of the Calendar I remain honour-bound to frequent the Sportsman on official nights back at the club. After all, it's hard to deny one gets a superior degree of sartorial elegance at the Sportsman (something very close to my heart, you understand), and I've even been known to enjoy the company of a road-runner from time to time ... * whilst some might argue this title does not constitute a name change, I've taken the view that the SO has been so conspicuous by his absence for almost the entire Wartin' season past that no-one within the club will surely remember who he is ... others (including the SO himself, very likely) would no doubt argue that it would, in the current context at least, perhaps be a little disingenuous to include the SO under the innocent-and-to-be-protected category ... ** having said which, in my hurry to get out of the house in five minutes, I forgot to take my trusty Garmin, which means I have no track to post here and, as consequence, there is no concrete evidence that I ever did go Guerrilla Wartin' ... so if I'm ever accused of having done so, I will naturally deny it.
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