Winter was clearly not over as we gathered in the sleet at the waterlogged Hagg layby, all displaying our best waterproofs, ready for all that the weather could throw at us. The steep start through the woods soon warmed us, until we reached open ground where the strongly windblown sleet refreshed us, (all ready for the Watershedders?). Here, the character of the rest of the run became apparent as there were at least four (maybe more?) groups heading for Crookestone Knoll. We did manage to congregate there, or at least near there, as the wind was challenging on the top. The now, routine splitting gave two groups, the fast and the old, the fast, heading for the spot height of 444m (or 442m depending on the map) and the old, for Hope Cross and then on to Telegraph Hill. It emerged fairly quickly that the fast group was too fast for some members like me and, after a brief stop somewhere in Jaggers Clough we became a set of individuals going our separate ways. It soon dawned on me that the terrain was not right for 444m and, happily, a few of us now got together (Bob, Lucy, Fi and Tim) to retrieve our wanderings. Having by now missed 444m, an easterly bearing eventually brought us back to the quarry and down to the big track back down to Jaggers Clough. The shout for us, was also Hope Cross where, because of our extensive meanderings, we decided to go directly back to the cars using a pleasant forest path to rejoin the main, very rocky track back to the river bridge crossing. Some of the other groups, the remains of the fast and of the old, did manage Telegraph Hill though the Cap'n reported his lonely diversion through some difficult brambles. His reputation remains intact.
All this wandering was revealed at the Ladybower Inn where an ad hoc meeting of the bog rescue committee (Moz, John D and the Cap'n) provided rather graphic information of their intimate acquaintance with life threatening bogs. It appears that, for self-rescue, it is necessary to perform a backstroke, on the basis it may help flotation and it's better to go backwards to the solid ground just left behind than to go into the unknown swamp in front. So, there you have it, advice (hopefully useful) from senior and experienced members of DPFR. In contrast, this committee also recounted their circle running experiences, not around the stone ones, but in difficult places like Totley Moor and the Crook Hills where footprints in the snow initially provided some comfort that someone else was there, until it was realised they belonged to themselves. Hey ho, we've all done it and, as the man said, "Someone who has never been lost has never been anywhere".
© Dark Peak Fell Runners 2018
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