It appeared that Wednesday night was going to follow the serious weather pattern we have grown to love. In the morning there was some heavy rain in Sheffield which lead to some local flooding so things were building up nicely for a wet evening from King's Tree. By 6pm however, there was no rain and an orange moon was rising over the east of Sheffield. This misty moon was to stay largely in view for the whole of the evening outing. Driving up the valley, over the bumps and through the car washing puddles we reached King's Tree having heard on the way of the adventures that Tom, Mark and Bob had in the wilderness of Knoydart at the weekend. A trip from the Derwent valley must have seemed a little tame after their experiences. There were two suggestions for the run, one over to Westend and beyond or the one actually chosen, up to High Stones, Margery Hill and, possibly, Bull Stones. As is traditional, the first climb was up to Cold Side Rocks having first had a refreshing semi-immersion whilst crossing the now swollen River Derwent. The relatively high temperature of about 10⁰C, the lack of wind and the steep climb all mitigated against any serious chilling. The 16 of us regrouped at the rocks before heading for High Stones. There was a fast group of 6 (Tom W, Rob C, Tim H, Willy, Tim Ray and the SO) who sprinted off, found a trod, allegedly all the way along the full route and were never seen again by the remaining 10 who did not find the fast trod (it's half an excuse for our lack of speed). At least, we 10 did have the pleasure of finding a couple of curious stone structures built into the hillside. What were they for, who built them and could they be used as a check point in future races? Then, over the usual tussocks, heather, rocks and some oleaginous peat, we reached High Stones where refreshments were taken. As we left High Stones on the obvious track, the Cap'n presciently warned that though the route may appear to be straightforward, care was needed on the final approach to Margery Hill. Sure enough, having left the track on the final approach, we were diverted to the left, i.e. west, by a large gulley (with caterpillar tracks?). With an adjustment of 90⁰ to the north and a bit more heather, the trig appeared out of the thick mist. The newish fence from Margery then guided us down towards Cut Gate for the final rocky descent to Slippery Stones and on to King's Tree where the group of 6 were waiting, all fully changed and ready to go to the pub. At the Ladybower, there was excited talk of next Wednesday's run using the train (!) to Chinleyand, from there, heading via brown Knoll (?) to Edale for a drink, if there's time, and then back to Sheffield on the 9.30 train. We will see!
And as a post-script, since the safety officer, ex-chair and young Rob were so obviously delighted by their little ruse, the two Tims and I must admit to having happily trotted on past the clag-bound Bull Stones with nary a backward glance, whilst our (mostly) elders and (occasionally) betters hid themselves giggling behind said features. Unlike the pond last week however, I had at least clocked the presence of some vaguely familiar stones and wondered absent-mindedly whether they might be significant.
© Dark Peak Fell Runners 2018
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