Fully 25 warts, including newbies Simon and Richard (I think) x2, enjoyed rather too much running from the Snake Inn over Kinder's freshly sown pastures, in vague search of the ammo box. Having spoken darkly of the need to go suitably equipped onto the hill with map and compass, Cap'n Harmer and Big Bob promptly called a route featuring at least two landmarks for which you will search in vain on any OS or Harvey,s map. Bob's Spring, below Seal Stones, proved relatively straightforward, following which we ascended to the plateau watershed in anything but single-file, with runners strung out across half a mile of grassed-over cloughs and groughs.
With the staller of the warts (Messrs Harmer, Berzins, Berry et al.) performing something of a flanking manoeuvre off to the north, this left the Safety Officer in occasional command of the larger group weaving its merry way in and out of a succession of groughs, heading haltingly westward into the setting sun. For those of us in the know, this was always going to end in tears; and so it proved, as we somehow managed to plough straight across the Kinder River without a pause, simultaneously losing the Safety Officer off the back. So disorganised were things, indeed, that we effected that rarest of fell-running phenomena, separating Sarah B from Penny C for fully twenty minutes of running.
A short while thereafter, a halt was called as it became clear to our international orienteers that, in blindly following the ever enthusiastic Fi, we were now in fact rapidly descending to the western edge of the plateau, having evidently by-passed the ammo box. Sadly, since we had neither a name on a map, nor a map reference, nor indeed (in the absence of the SO) any clear idea as to where said object lay, there was little option but to descend to the edge path, head north to the Downfall and thence east to Kinder Gates, before finally striking out once more over the plateau pastures towards Fairbrook Naze.
In substitution for the setting sun, we now followed a slightly erroneous bearing directly on the rising moon. Knowing no better, one of our new recruits innocently asked what made the moon red, to be met with a volley of more and less probable explanations. It was at about this point that we espied the torches of the earlier splitters group strung out ahead approaching the Naze and lurched drunkenly to our left in hot pursuit. Both parties were more or less reunited for the descent off the Naze, before Lucy struck out on a final heathery line to the left, affording us the classic picture postcard descent into the Snake Inn via river crossing and wood.
The final tracks reveal that we passed only a hundred metres or so north of the ammo box, leaving the field open for our elders (and Penny, and the Safety Officer) to visit the box unaccompanied. Ships in the night, indeed.
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