Definition: grand or heroic. It certainly felt like that for the Warts’ longer outing in the snow, ice and westerly wind over Kinder and Brown Knoll territory. The mountain weather forecast had promised about 0⁰C and a “feels like” temperature of -7⁰C, so we had been warned. Even before we set out from Edale, the car journey there was ominous in that the heavy sleet brought out the now, routine comment, “Well, it is Wednesday night after all, what else would you expect”. There was, perhaps, a slight regret that we hadn’t taken the train like Penny and Moz. Nevertheless, Eoin and I persevered to Edale where, almost disappointingly, the sleet stopped and the skies cleared. Did we all really deserve this almost good weather?
First gathering point was Grindslow Knoll where we were in full cooling snow and wind conditions, almost welcome after the warming climb from Edale. Unusually, we continued on a path as we followed the Capn’s route initially towards the head of Crowden which was circumnavigated rather than directly crossed, as was the original plan. And the path was made of slabs! To compensate, there was a thorough foot soaking across the rather full head of Crowden Brook. After here, some mild grumblings and likening of feet to blocks of ice and “Why didn’t I wear my neoprenes” were heard. I felt it was my smug duty to report my feet were almost warm in my neoprenes. That wasn’t received too well, I hasten to add. Having suffered a dose of the slabs, we were entertained by some significant bogs which Chris referred to as Kinder custard, albeit of the lumpy variety, on our way around the Woolpacks, Pym Chair and Noe Stool. We felt that slabs may have some attraction after all. Nevertheless, we ploughed on towards the headtorch lights of Fi, Sarah and Eoin who were in front taking a direct line to Kinderlow trig. We were now thankfully away from hazardous paths on relatively pleasant grassy pastures though our abhorrence of paths had drawn us northwards away from them, and not westwards. A cry of “Let’s check the technology” was made, with the proviso that the battery may have frozen. Whilst this was checked, the pointy thing guided us westward towards a significant path on the edge of somewhere and, to add to our enjoyment, the mist rolled in. Such was the spread-out nature of the group, that someone did find the trig about 200m south of where we met the path. Ah, success, rewarded by a few jelly babies and pastilles.
Brown Knoll next. Straight forwardly south, of course. We ran over a rocky outcrop, thought to be Swine’s back, descended a bit and came to the top of a cliff with an impressive network of paths below. The technology was called up again and together with a bit of map scanning, it was Pete who put us right. We were now at the top of Swine’s Back and the previous set of rocks were, in fact, Edale Rocks. After an exciting descent, more slabs followed though this time their iced surface now made the alternative semi frozen bog much more attractive, especially if you’re wearing neoprenes. We were drawn too far down a path leading to South Head before cutting across the open moor to the Brown Knoll trig. The freezing wind along our subsequent long traverse of the famous BK well-conditioned bogs provided us with sufficient motivation to move relatively quickly, but too far. As the looming outline of Lord’s Seat came ever nearer, more technology and map consultation confirmed we had missed the large cairn near Horesehill Tor by quite some distance. A rapid descent very steeply towards Edale was therefore called for. This is all very well if you have a decent pair of shoes. My pair of well-worn, partially disintegrating Hokas were no match for the combination of slushy steep soggy grass and bilberry. So much for being smug about neoprenes! Come uppance comes to mind.
A gentle wander past a slightly ghostly bunk house and more, remarkably slimey fields brought us back to Edale Station and the Jolly Rambler where it was noticed that our Warts’ group included four previous Pertex winners. Does that signify anything?However, was it an epic outing? Well, maybe it was for Warts but Jasmin Paris puts us all into the shade with her epic victory in the Spine Race!
© Dark Peak Fell Runners 2019
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