There was the whiff of parliamentary turmoil (Brexit, of course) in the air as we travelled to Birchin Clough on Wednesday evening. At least we could leave behind the machinations and rebellion of our government as eight of us(not including the Cap’n), plus a four-legged fell runner, headed for the hills into a strong westerly wind spiced up witha number of soaking showers. After all, what other weather should we expect on a Wednesday club outing?
Our first target was the ruined shooting cabin in Ashop Clough where we took advantage of the excitingly slippery wooden bridge to cross the fulsome river beneath. Thank goodness we didn’t have to wade it, we thought. A sighting of a fox encouraged us to start our climb towards the northern Kinder edge for a crossing to the Sandy Heys trig. I’m still not sure which combinations of slopes provides the most comfortable or the least uncomfortable way to climb. This one, to the edge was initially steep, then gradual with bog and finally very steep leaving some of us gasping at the edge path where, happily, a get-your-breath halt was called in the shelter (from wind and rain) of a gathering of weather-beaten rocks. It was almost pleasant there but pleasant seemed to be wrong so we continued westerly along the path, leaving it somewhere near Upper Red Brook for the trig.
Thankfully, there are many younger members of the club taking part in these Wednesday outings but the old lags of the club may remember that crossing Kinder was a distinctly slough of despond experience particularly in the misty, gloomy grey conditions prevailing. No more dark peat bogs meant we could be almost cheerful amongst the recently planted greenery (maybe in the last ten years or more?). Another possible phenomenon greeted us at the proudly standing trig. Its exposed foundations where at least as tall as the trig pillar itself. Possible, though not feasible (?) explanations, included either the sinking or shrinking of Kinder or the growth of the trig. In good tradition, the foundations were climbed and youth stood side by side with the pillar. More greenery and happiness took us surprisingly quickly to Kinder Upfall where we could enjoy the benefits of wind only generated Kinder river rain. The combination of the westerly wind and a full flowing Kinder river gave a spectacular show which made the outing all the more worthwhile.
Whilst this show had been thrilling, it was now distinctly dark and misty, so torches were now needed for a long crossing of Kinder from the river directly to Fairbrook Naze. Whether we had been conditioned by the earlier talk of parliamentary rebellion or that it was a generally misty murky wet and windy night but it was suggested that the outing had all the characteristics of a Warts’ epic so a declaration was made that it actually was a Warts’ outing despite it not being on the official Warts’ calendar. We may live to regret this decision!
Fairbrook Naze was in and out of the mist until we descended the steep section towards Ashop Clough. After following a fastish trod, the very slippery descent into the clough followed a by a challenging crossing of the river left us in no doubt that our earlier declaration was absolutely correct, particularly with the rather nasty climb back up to the forest track and then to the cars. Even after refreshments at the Ladybower we remained steadfast in our Warts’ declaration. What would the Cap’n say?
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