Two recent races, the Crashout and Moz’s birthday run, and another one, Bob’s night race, about a month ago, meant that we’d spent quite some time roaming around the delights of Kinder in mist, wind and rain. The prospect of another outing to Kinder from Blackden felt that it might be a step too far. However, the weather was relatively clement with a mist free clear sky, a crescent moon and a crisp, frosty ground. If this wasn’t enough to lift our spirits, the route, thanks to the Cap’n, was only marginally on Kinder as we turned almost immediately left after crossing over the river Ashop from the Blackden car park.
Walls were to become a bit of a theme for the outing as we, thirteen of us, contoured round Dean Hill following a wall, before climbing then descending into another “unnamed” clough (what about Innominate or Dean, Clough, perhaps?) with a non-holly tree and, apparently, a waterfall. I somehow missed the latter in the dark. To continue the theme, the first check point was a wall corner incorporating a sheepfold. When we arrived, the wall corner was declared to be the best in the Dark Peak mainly because it required a bit of precision navigation to reach it. Can anyone think of a better wall corner? Leaving this prime example of stone masonry, we ascended towards Kinder, at least, to a kind of finger of it thereby taking us out of our reverie of wall corners and into the harsh reality of breathlessness. On the edge there was a wide diaspora of lights, all supposedly aiming for the same check point of Madwoman’s Stones. Eventually, there was a convergence though there was a claim that there was quicker route though it seemed to take longer. Such is the danger of making claims like this in the vicinity of Madwoman’s Stones. Subsequently, waywardness was absent as a very crispy, crunchy, icy, fast and narrow path was taken to Druid’s Stone where I think a limited amount of sanity was restored. Though, please note, no whiskey had been taken at this stage. Next check point was another wall corner.
This time, at the top of Rowland Cote Moor, though this corner did not have the same accolade as the previous one, it being a bit easier to find. The thought arises of devising a list of wall corners with their categorisation, from best to worst, i.e., the Dark Peak WC index. If there can be a Dark Peak 15 trigs long distance outing, why not a Dark Peak WC Round or, perhaps, Square? From the wall corner, a direct line was taken through a fair bit of vegetation (oh joy) across Ollerbrook Clough on to the rocky Ringing Roger where the usual refreshments were taken. These, of course, included jelly snowmen/babies; maybe, in future, they could be made in DPFR colours to add a bit more entertainment at these feeding stops? I was surprised how quickly we reached the next check point at the Blackden Trig and then there was the usual dash to the finish, hopefully following a ruined wall taking us to a descent down a nose into Blackden Brook. However, this wall eluded us and instead there was enjoyment to be had from scrambling down a small stream into the Brook.
Post outing analysis was at the Anglers. It was not really too serious Kinder terrain and the weather was definitely kinder than recent previous experience so it was generally good to be out on the tops. Again, an excellent outing and we look forward to next week’s early excursion from Edale Station to, yes, you’ve guessed it, Kinder again, perhaps?!
© Dark Peak Fell Runners 2020
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