Having just about recovered from the trauma of last week’s trip to Priddock Wood and beyond, the Warts anticipated a less demanding and shorter run to complete the recovery. So, this Wednesday the shout was for a stroll over the undulating terrain from Broomhead. To bring us gradually down from last week’s high, there was a need have some small excitement through the rhododendrons and over the girders. Exaggeration of raging torrents and delicate balancing was not spared for those who had not experienced these delights. Indeed, the Cap’n insisted on demonstrating the girder crawl in the middle of the road, to prepare us all for this crossing of Ewden Beck. This safety demonstration was wasted on some brave Warts who, with youthful exuberance, walked across in some style, though one claimed the secret was to have big feet which spanned the gap between girders. All Warts were accounted for on the other side so tonight’s “newbies” will be able to enjoy exaggerating the dangers of this crossing to the next generation of Warts.
From the river there was a bit of bracken to interest the twelve or so Warts but otherwise it was a reasonably fast (for Warts) trip to Pike Low under the gibbous moon. There had been a plan to, at least, attempt to visit the wreck via Tom’s Tree. However, in the interests of having a less demanding run, a short cut was proposed and accepted, to Oaken Clough, thence to the Dukes Road, finishing via the cairn and on to Broomhead. A 180⁰ bearing was set and the steady pace brought us from Pike Low to Candlerush comfortably and surprisingly quickly enough (it was downhill), though the climb out of it, hard as it was, would have rated as only one out of ten on the Priddock Wood standard. By this time, our vegetation quota was gradually increasing particularly the heather content. Relief was possibly at hand as a deep tree lined clough eventually appeared on our left. Aha, Oaken of course, we’ll follow this up to the bridge and the shooting butts. After traipsing through more heather and no path, it was clear that they had been removed, for renovation perhaps? This self-delusion was short lived as Chris’s high technology GPS device (carefully protected by a low technology old, still white sock) seemed to put us somewhere in the upper reaches of Stainery Clough some way west of the shooting butts and Oaken Clough. Two or three schools of thinking emerged, though thinking may be another possible exaggeration, summarised by the bearings suggested, 110⁰, 140⁰ and 160⁰. Unsurprisingly, the Warts split into groups along these bearings, the Cap’n in one on his own, Tim and Fi in another and the rest of us in the last, 160⁰, group. These first two groups were not to be seen until we reached the cars!
Both the time and the vegetation quota were building up as we dragged ourselves over yet more and more heather eventually across the upper (very) reaches of Oaken Clough at last and, as Clive pointed out, close to the Hunter wreck. His downloaded GPS track and map give a wonderful view of our meanderings which brought us unknowingly at the time to Bruston Croft Ridge. Prolonged exposure to deep heather brings out the greyhound in us as we reached bowling green smooth Dukes Road. The 2km dash on it to the cairn would have made Warts’ admirers (are there any?) very proud. All changed after leaving the cairn as we resorted to stumbling around in yet more heather interspersed with some hidden rocks for added enjoyment. The smooth grassy area leading to the track to the cars was missed so we were fortunate to be able to clean our shoes in a patch of watery rushes. The other groups had met en-route and were busy preparing themselves for a visit to the Plough in Bradfield which we hoped would still be open when we arrived. We weren’t too surprised to realise that our little adventure had taken two and three quarter hours. John D and Bob who were both nursing their injuries, had chosen alternative mainly heather free and shorter outings and were happily settled at the pub by the time the rest of us arrived at about ten o’clock!
Though not exactly a short outing, it was memorable and, accidentally, we nearly got to the other wreck!
© Dark Peak Fell Runners 2020
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