Midhopestones was the starting point for the northern Warts rather than Monsal Head for the southern Warts. It does beg the question whether running around the polished limestone of Monsal Dale really counts as Warting. However, ignoring such controversy, about a dozen of us, including newcomer Duncan, set off into the cool, dry, breezy night. Despite the lack of really wet and strongly windy Warts' weather, we bravely pushed on through some magnificent bog and heathery rock to climb to the dizzy heights of Pike Low. The landmark known as Tom's tree in Hawthorn Clough was the next target. Tom, however, was concerned about his name being used for this tree so Clive suggested, a la Prince, to rename it as the tree formerly known as Tom's. Honour satisfied?
To reach the tree, a crossing of the upper reaches of Ewden Beck/Candlerush was necessary. It's easy to get into the Beck in this direction but requires a bit of a steep, heathery and slimy climb out of it. There follows a stretch of either deep or burnt heather, the latter requiring some high knee lifts and the former, a degree of balance to avoid being tripped. It's not possible to rush over this terrain, so walking (quickly, hopefully) is the norm. This was also the routine to Margery Hill from the tree. I never thought it was quite so far. The high knee lift walking through the heather continued for quite some time until, with relief, we reached the trig point for whisky, etc. The shout now was for the quickest way back though there was a call for a further foray to Outer Edge or somewhere similar. This suggestion was quickly dismissed and high knee lifting continued until Cut Gate. Which was more challenging, the rocky uneven and boggy Cut Gate or the heathery moor? Climbing up through the heather to the trig point, I looked forward to the path but having got there, the heather seemed to be much more enticing. We regathered part way down the track and then headed off to join a pleasant grassy track which was used for sprint practice by the youngsters to the finish. The rest of us lolloped along to complete the outing in about two hours. In the post-outing analysis at the Nag's Head, values of the calories used were provided by Duncan who had had a slightly extended run and had also successfully managed to extricate himself from a leg-grabbing bog. He commented that he'd not realised just how much walking was involved Warting.
Welcome to the Warts!
The Southern branch had a much easier time of it, a mixture of mud, grass and limestone, even some real trail running - much too fast for this Wart. We did manage to conjure up a real Warting descent though. And the pub was only serving residents, much to Jim's disgust, so we had to divert to Little Longstone for refreshments.
© Dark Peak Fell Runners 2018
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