The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 31 December 2008


Looks like I was a little premature in posting The Year in Numbers. When I wrote that I had expected to sit on the sofa for the rest of the year. Of course, I did manage to drag myself off the sofa and up a hill. But, in the grand scheme of things, adding 8.75 more miles, 2500 more feet of ascent and 53 more photos don’t really do much to the figures.

I had good plans of setting 2009 off to a flying start (although we’re unlikely to come anywhere near to 2008’s miles or variety). Alas on my way down from Catbells yesterday my knee said ouch. A few steps later it said OUCH and continued to do so the whole way back to Rosthwaite.

A night of rest didn’t cure it. It still hurts, particularly to walk downstairs.

It goes without saying that I’m wholly unchuffed about sudden knee-poorliness (particularly as I didn’t even do anything to warrant it; there was no stumbling or twisting). I’ve plans to walk a small section of the North Downs Way next Wednesday, so that knee needs to make a rapid recovery!

The Lakes For A Day

The bonus of having had a house full of guests for Christmas was that it forced a serious tidy-up. That meant that when, on Monday night, we belatedly decided to pop up to the Lakes for a couple of days, all of the kit was exactly where it should have been. We were packed in record time.

Early yesterday morning the kit was stowed in the car and in we had got too before I noticed that contrary to the crisp, frosty, clear skied morning I expected, based on the forecast that had led to this quick trip away, it was mild and cloudy. But, we were on our way by then so all I could do was hope that the forecast was holding true ‘up North’.

Sure enough, as we approached the Lakes the misty-gloom started to thin and finally blue sky was seen.

Into the half empty NT car park at Rosthwaite we pulled at just gone 10am, where we sat for twenty minutes sharing a cup of tea and watching the occupants of the fast-filling car park faff around their cars before setting out for their own walks.

After much car boot faffing ourselves, out of the car park we headed and for reasons unknown decided to cross the River Derwent on the perilously icy stepping stones rather than via the bridge a short distance further along.

Up Tongue Gill we headed, already feeling like we were in a procession as a group of five followed us over the stile. The cold weather was enough to entice me into a fast walk up the initial part of the hill, so we soon got ahead of them. In fact, for much of the walk up, as long as we didn’t look back, we could have kidded ourselves that we were almost alone.

Great swathes of ice on the path demanded attention, but in between them we were able to look around to the frosty valley and the clear tops around – exactly what we had come for.

Once up on the ridge we could see lots and lots of people were making their way up High Spy, using the path immediately above Eel Crags. That seemed like a good reason for us to use the path slightly to the east, which, somewhat inexplicably was being universally shunned by others.

By the time we got to the top of High Spy people were sitting all around, reaching for their Thermos Flasks. How was it lunchtime already? I’m not accustomed to these late starts. We didn’t pause for sustenance at this point, although we did dig out the Stickpic for its first proper trial.

PC300031a PC300032a

By the time we got to just before Maiden Moor a slight breeze had picked up and the already cold temperature felt even colder. As we stopped in a sheltered spot of sunshine for our soup I was cool even with my down jacket thrown over my Paramo, and with two hats atop my head.


The walk up the last stretch of Maiden Moor soon got the blood pumping again, and it was as we started down the other side that an ‘Oh my goodness’ escaped me – I had just spotted the spectacle of the top of Catbells, and as I observed yesterday I have never seen so many people on one hilltop.

Fortunately, by the time we got there, many of those people had headed off, and we just had a couple of dozen people with whom to share it. It didn’t make for a desire to tarry there.

The views were spectacular and the ridge ahead did look enticing, but by this point I wasn’t inclined to complete it. It was the length of the valley walk back to the car that was putting me off, so, we retraced our steps a short distance and headed down the stone staircase that has been built there in the name of anti-erosion.

We made it back to Rosthwaite before the Flock-In Tearoom closed and it seemed rude to pass by without popping in for a mug of tea, some of their tasty food and a leg of lamb for Sunday.

The plan had been to camp the night, finally testing out the new tent. But that meant making our way to one of the few campsites open at this time of year, pitching a new tent in the dark, contending with frozen ground, and spending a night in the cold, purely so that we could drive home in the morning – all of which was weighed against the option of a nice warm bed at home. The warm bed won and so the new tent remains untested.

The stats were 8.75 miles and 2500 feet of ascent. Six hours driving for five hours of walking – but worthwhile given the spectacularly good conditions.

Here’s the day in pictures:

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Many People, all in one place

I do believe that today I saw more people on one hilltop than I have ever seen before.

That may be because we have a bit of a habit of visiting hilltops in poor visibility and thus even if there were hoards of people surrounding us, we wouldn’t see them. Or maybe the poor weather puts people off.

Today we had fantastic weather. Indeed, it was purely on the basis that the forecast looked too good not to go for a walk that we got up at an early hour and drove for 3 hours to amble along a ridge that has long been on my ‘want to walk it’ list.

Apparently everyone else in Britain who owns a pair of walking shoes had thought the same thing. Great minds think alike.

More to follow…


Hmm, is that a halo around my head?

Monday, 29 December 2008

The Year in Numbers


Number of miles walked:


(and that’s not rounded; my log shows 1800.2 miles)

Number of feet ascended:


(that is rounded and is only approximate)

Number of photographs resulting:


(oooh, that looks like a made up number too; it’s not)

Number of summits visited:

a paltry


Number of nights spent in a tent:


13 in Wendy, 70 in Vera, 2 in Midi Tent

Number of words blogged via the tiny Pocketmail keyboard whilst walking LEJOG:


Number of words contained in my book of the year’s walks:


which equates to 219 A4 pages

Number of walks that I just realised I omitted from the compilation:





Wednesday, 24 December 2008

The Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Were empties and buts left around by some louse
And the best bottles I’d hid in the chimney with care
Had been swiped by some bum who’d found them down there

My guest had long since been poured in their beds
To wake in the morning with some gosh awful heads
My wife too was cold with her chin in her lap
And me, I was dying for just one more night cap

When out on the lawn there arose such a tizzy
I sprang from my bed, and boy, was I dizzy?
Away to the window I tore like a flash
Fell over the table, broke a chair with a crash

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
Made me think of the coal bill and all I did owe
When what to my wondering eyes did show up
But eight bloated reindeer hitched to a beer truck

With a little old driver who looked like a hick
But I saw it was Santa as tight as a tick
Like General Grant tanks those reindeer they came
And he hiccoughed and belched as he called them by name

‘On Schenley, on Seagram, we ain’t got all night
You too Haig and Haig, and you Black and White
Scram up on the roof, get off this high wall,
Get going you dummies, we’ve got a long haul’

So up on the roof went reindeer and truck
But a tree branch hit Santa before he could duck
And then in a twinkle I heard from above
A heck of a noise that was no cooing dove

Then I pulled in my head and cocked a sharp ear
Down the chimney he came right smack on his rear
He was dressed in furs and had cuffs on his pants
And the way the guy squirmed I guess he had ants

His droll little mouth made him look a bit wacky
And the beard on his chin was stained in tobaccy
He had pints and shorts in the sack on his back
And a breath that would blow a train off its track

He was chubby and plump and he tried to stand right
But he didn’t fool me, he was high as a kite
He spoke not a work but went straight to work
And missed half the stockings, the plastered old jerk

Then putting five fingers to the end of his nose
He gave me the bird and up the chimney he rose
He sprang to his truck and slid on his face
And finally managed to flip flop in place

And I heard him burp ‘ere as he passed out of sight
‘Merry Christmas to you all, and to all a Good Night’

With thanks to the copyright owner, whoever that may be (and in the extraordinarily unlikely event that copyright owner stumbles across this blog and objects to me reproducing it, I'll happily remove it).

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Day 2 Addendum: The Stats

Forgot to say, stats for Day 2 were 11 miles with 1500 feet of ascent.

Rhinogau Bogs and Fog: Day 2

I said ‘to be continued’ as if something else interesting was going to happen – which was a bit misleading.

I slept a lot better than I expected (which wasn’t too difficult given that I hadn’t expected to sleep at all), and arose in the morning to find that the rain had stopped, the wind had dropped and I was enclosed in a blanket of cloud.

Darkness and dense cloud don't make for a good photo. 'Fraid that there weren't any more from the day either.

In the poor visibility, it looked like the day was going to be a bit of a navigation exercise, with the first mile or so across rough, pathless terrain.

With compass in hand, off I yomped into the gloom, over crags and through bog and heather and bilberry, the latter two nicely concealing boulders and holes which are just lying in wait to break an ankle. I took as much care as I could, but in the dampness a few slips were unavoidable – and it was wholly predictable that I did at one point temporarily lose a leg in a hole.

It was, I think, as much luck as judgement that I reached the valley bottom exactly where I intended to, next to a boarded-up building from where it was but a hop, skip and a slip to the track which runs along the valley.

Things nearly went awry when I reached a junction of tracks at the edge of the forest. I was so sure that I needed to turn right, yet my compass told me that was 180 degrees away from the bearing I had taken. Ooops - worse than a schoolboy error: when I’d taken the bearing I had been holding the map in the direction of travel – or to put that another way, I had the map upside down! At least I realised that something was awry before I took a step in the wrong direction.

Being now on good tracks, mainly-visible paths and the occasional stretch of road, things got easier; all I had to do was make sure that I spotted the turns and then preferably follow them in the right direction – something which would have been simplicity itself had the descent seen me drop below the cloud such that I could see which way was up. As it went, that low cloud turned out to be more a case of fog: even when I arrived back at sea level a few hours later, visibility was curtailed.

I’m not quite sure when the race for the 12.49 train started. It had been in my mind when I set out that I may make it back for that train but my intention had been to get the later one. Sometime later it occurred to me that the walk back would not take me vastly longer than the time available to make the early departure and that with the next train being 2 hours later, I would be somewhat stuck for something to do. There’s only so long one can spend browsing in Woolworths and drinking a cup of tea in the only café open out of season.

About half way through the morning I decided conclusively that I wouldn’t cover the distance in the time available and slowed down from the punishing pace I'd been setting.

But, then it played on my mind that I would find myself with over an hour to kill in an out-of-season seaside town and that there was no point taking a circuitous route or passing slowly over the terrain when I couldn’t see anything anyway. So, the sprint continued and I modified my route (track and road, rather than paths over a lump) so as to maximise my chances of getting home 2 hours earlier and enjoying some of the journey in daylight.

With the best part of 4 miles to cover and under an hour available I really didn’t think that I would make it, but continued to race along anyway. If nothing else, it was good aerobic exercise.

The outcome was that I reached town with time to dash into a shop for a bottle of water and made it to the (busy) platform with enough time to stow my poles on my pack (the other outcome was that two days later I still ache quite considerably from the effort!). No sooner had I straightened up from my pack when up trundled the train and on I got, attracting the odd glance from the well-dressed ladies who had no doubt been in town for the draw of market day. Perhaps I did look a little bit out of place with my dreadful hat hair (something that I didn’t notice until some hours later) and with mud adorning my trousers up to mid-thigh.

The journey home was uneventful and there I arrived some five and a half hours later in a state of extreme tiredness (a combination of the relentless pace I’d set followed by a long journey, me thinks), but happy with what I had achieved.

And the all-important question: would I go solo again for a night on the hills? Absolutely, I would.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Rhinogau Bogs and Fog: Day 1

I was on the platform at Wolverhampton Station by 6.35 (thanks to my sister getting up at an unaccustomedly early hour to drive me), with a cup of tea clutched in my hand and my backpack at my feet, ready for the first train to Machynlleth.

Six people shared the blissfully quiet carriage with me, and after a change at Mac, it was in the company of stunning scenery along the mouths of the Dyfi and the Mawddach that we trundled along to arrive in Barmouth on time.

View from the train window as we make our way along the mouth of the River Dyfi

My first port of call was the Co-op for some flowers, snacks and lunch and after de-stemming the flowers at a bin outside of the supermarket doors (watched with interest by the person who had just served me), I started huffing and puffing my way up Dinas Oleu.

The flowers were left at my father’s memorial (once I’d put it back together; it had been taken apart by sheep since my last visit), and now that I had two hands free out came my poles: I do so prefer to be a quadruped!

Fine, if a little hazy as I look up the Mawddach

All was quiet at the climbing slab as I passed on by, glowing with the effort and enjoying the sunshine. It was obvious, looking at the dark clouds ahead, that the good weather wasn’t going to last and I could see that much of the ridge was in cloud.

Cloud covering the ridge ahead

Despite having made the same direct, pathless ascent up onto the ridge twice before, my memory had made it shorter than reality. My memory had also made the ridge much flatter than it is. Some of the undulations up there are really quite violent, as I was soon reminded.

Approaching the most violent descent-to-reascend on the ridge

Although the views were curtailed, it was a bonus that I didn’t get up into the cloud until the latter parts of my walk. By the time I approached Diffwys, however, not only was visibility severely limited, but the wind had picked up (as forecast) and I was passing patches of snow.

The occasional gap in the cloud allows me a fleeting glimpse of the ground below me

A while later I lost all shelter and caught the full force of the wind. Unfortunately, that was just as I came to the place at which I planned to camp. Looking over the wall it was to the sight of the tiny llyn boasting quite a sea-state, with spray being blown off the tops of the waves.

I didn't think to take a photo on this occasion, but here's how benign the llyn looks on a calm summer's day

Once over the wall (via a stile further along the ridge, I should add) my pack was plonked down just as my phone went beep. It was a text message from Mick telling me that it was 3pm, night would soon fall and that I needed to be inside a tent with a cup of tea, not still walking.

I didn’t respond. Instead it seemed like the best order of events was to descend the killer-hillside a short way to a trickle of a stream to gather some water whilst I still had good light, then pitch the tent and get myself settled, before reassuring Mick that I was not floundering around in the dark.

It all started to go awry when I put the tent up and found that even with the shelter of a wall, it was too windy for comfort. The tent was moving around like a blancmange on a wobble board and although I had every faith that it could withstand the wind once I had it properly pitched, it didn’t seem conducive to a good night’s sleep.

It was 3.30 by this time, and a quick calculation told me that I had no more than one hour of daylight remaining. What to do? There clearly wasn’t enough time to get down to Llyn Hywel, where I could have had a good pitch with good shelter. I ruled out a quick descent down the west side of the ridge on account of the wind direction and there was nowhere within an hour’s walk back the way I had come that sprang to mind as a suitable and sheltered pitch.

That left just two choices: to stay where I was and try to find the best position for the tent, or descend quickly down the east side of the hill and take my chances that there would be a tiny patch of bog- and tussock-free terrain down there. Without the luxury of time available to me for dithering, by 3.35 I had the tent packed back away and, trying not to get blown off the edge, I made a swift descent.

It was a bit of an inadvisable route, really, considering the steepness. I lost 400 feet in 200 yards and then found that when the ground did level out it was, as suspected, all bog and tussocks or heather and boulders.

There’s nowt like a bit of adversity in failing daylight to make a trip more interesting, is there?

On I ploughed, covering the ground as fast as my little legs could carry me, searching the whole time for just the smallest bit of ground exhibiting a modicum of dryness and levelness.

Finally, at 4.30 the progression of dusk was making it difficult to see and it was clear that I wasn’t going to find the elusive dry and level patch. However, with the onset of desperation, it’s amazing how I was able to convince myself that a small slither of flatness between tussocks was big enough to accommodate my small frame and thus I threw the tent up on the most ridiculously tussocked ground on which I have ever camped.

The only virtue of the pitch was that it was reasonably dry, but it was far and away the worst pitch ever.

Make no mistake: the ground under the tent is no less lumpy than that around it!

No point crying over spilt milk. I was where I was, needs must, and all those other good clichés. Into the tent I crawled – having a good giggle at the immense lumps in the floor.

A bit of wriggling around did reveal the Gayle-sized flat ground that had attracted me to the spot and I was content that I wouldn’t be having a wildly uncomfortable night.

With dark now fully upon me, I set out my kit, crawled into my sleeping bag and within five minutes of having pitched, it started to rain. What fortuitous timing!

With tea eaten I settled down for the night, realising that the expected terror had not materialised; I was not in the slightest bit concerned about monsters and bogeymen patrolling outside of the tent. I was a good mile away from the nearest path reassuring me that no-one was going to stumble across me and there weren’t even any animals around to make scary noises. The only sounds I could hear were the gurgling of the nearby stream and the wind hitting the tent.

And to those sounds, a couple of podcasts and an audio book, I drifted off to sleep.

The stats for the day were 9.25 miles with 3,500 feet of ascent.

To be continued…

Friday, 19 December 2008

Rhinogau Bogs and Fog: The Background

Back when I was introducing Mick to the joys of walking, he announced during one Sunday afternoon jaunt that he quite fancied trying backpacking. He liked the idea of multi-day linear walks and self-sufficiency.

I scoffed and declared that “For the avoidance of doubt, I will never go backpacking”. Then I reminded Mick that I whinged enough when carrying a daypack containing just a couple of cagoules, a couple of sandwiches and a couple of bottles of water for a couple of hours and that there was no way that I could ever carry that plus a sleeping bag, stove and such gubbins.

A while later, on our first backpacking trip, Mick suggested that we should try a spot of wild-camping.

I scoffed and declared that “For the avoidance of doubt, I will not be camping anywhere that doesn’t have facilities”.

(Incidentally, since then Mick has become nervous whenever I have used the phrase “For the avoidance of doubt I will not” followed by some ridiculous activity.)

My mind was changed a couple of nights later when a group of ignorami kept us awake into the early hours of the morning on a campsite.

Amongst these bold declarations, I did not say that I would never go backpacking and wild-camping by myself. It was one of those statements that did not need to be made. I’m a complete wuss and a scaredy cat when it comes to being by myself in the dark and even earlier this year I commented that I couldn’t even contemplate spending a night in a tent by myself. Read about my night on Cannock Chase if proof is needed – and Mick was easily within shouting distance on that occasion.

So, it was a little unexpected (perhaps even to me) when recently I declared that I was going to spend a night on a hillside by myself.

Mick was concerned about my plan, probably as much about the terrified state in which he knew I would spend the night as for the potential of me being eaten by monsters or falling down a hole on my way there or back.

I hesitated to disclose my plan to my sister and to Much (my gran). Much, in particular, is always horrified if I tell her my intention to walk 5 miles along a canal tow-path by myself, and is doubly horrified when I tell her that I walked up a hill unescorted. She seems to be of the belief that mad axe-murderers and rapists hang around in these places just in case a lone woman happens by, whereas I take the view that I’m far more likely to come to harm at the hands of a third party by walking into town than I am on a ridge in the Rhinogau.

As it went, neither my sister nor Much batted an eyelid at my plans. They told me to be careful (“Oh, do I have to be? I was planning on being really reckless”) and told me to have a good time.

Now, some people may say that half a week before the longest night of the year is not the best time for someone who is terrified of being alone in the dark to venture out to spend a night on a hill. They’d have a jolly good point. Fifteen and a half hours is a lot of darkness, and perhaps the middle of June in the North of Scotland would be a more appropriate experiment.

However, I had a need to pop to Barmouth this week and with a five hour journey each way, it seemed sensible to spend a night, so it looked like a good time to test out my ability to spend a night out with just my own company – and potentially lots of scary noises outside of the tent.

To be continued...

Thursday, 18 December 2008

After the Rhinogau Bogs and Fog

This morning I walked 3.75 miles in 50 minutes. Not headline news, you may think, but worthy of a mention as it was preceded by waking up in a tussocky bog and walking the initial 7 miles in poor visibility, some on rather tricky terrain, without a break. Added to that, I was carrying 9kg on my back. So, I was pretty impressed that I managed to maintain the pace required to make it to the train station on time.

I arrived at the station just a couple of minutes before my train trundled up and after five and a half hours of travelling, a bus dropped me right outside of the house.

Utterly exhausted, I shuffled along the path, muscles protesting after the unaccustomed exercise followed so swiftly by complete inactivity in uncomfortable seats.

I then resurrected a post-walk ritual that has not been exercised for a long time: I ran a hot bath and sank into it with a glass of red in my hand.

The phone rang and I ignored it.

Then I felt guilty: after all, it could have been Mick telling me that my aged car had broken down and that he needed to know with whom we had breakdown cover.

Out of the bath I got, dripping over the floor. It was a delivery driver who couldn’t find the house.

I directed him and signed for my parcel.

Back into the bath I sank, thinking that the relaxation had been rather marred.

Then the phone rang again. This time I really did ignore it, but the relaxation had truly been lost.

However, I digress. This was the end of a 2 day (1.5 day, really) trip, about which I will write more in the next couple of days. Before then, however, I need to sleep - and hopefully tomorrow I won't ache as much as I do now. Where did all that fitness go?

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Fresh Air & Exercise

“What are you doing?” asked Mick as I pored over a rather holey map of Cannock Chase just before leaving the house.

“Deciding where I’m going to walk.” was my quite obvious response.

“But you’ll just do one of our usual routes.” he said - and he was very nearly right.

Work commitments prevented Mick from joining me on this short outing (which commitments also led to the cancellation of the (already postponed) trip to trial the new tent), so I was on my lonesome as I stood in the car park pondering which direction to take.

The first deviation from the norm was starting the usual circuit in reverse.

Fifteen, maybe 20, minutes later (I couldn’t look at my watch, it was under my gloves, under my jacket), I was approaching the familiar sight of two fishing ponds. The grey skies didn’t set them off as well as blue skies do, but the surfaces were prettily reflective in the still air.

Looking east, over the bigger of the two ponds

And looking west over the smaller one

And playing with the self-timer, feeling a little bit silly with so many people around, and failing to adopt an appropriately nonchalant pose.

After the ponds, tradition would see me turn south to head toward’s Marquis’s Drive, so today I turned north and headed towards the Birches Valley Visitor Centre.

With the benefit of hindsight it was a bad move. It had already crossed my mind that a Sunday is perhaps not the best day to be heading towards a place that I know to be always busy, but what I hadn’t factored in was the proximity of the path to the road and the popularity of the Christmas Tree Sales Centre next to the Visitor Centre.

If the quantity of bikes hadn’t been sufficiently off-putting (was it National Get On Your Bike Day today? There really were abnormally large numbers of bikes about), the number of cars and people around the Visitor Centre was horrendous. Admittedly, had I carried on through the Centre it may have been quieter half a mile the other side, but I didn’t feel inclined to find out.

Instead I turned around, walked back fifty yards and took a signed Bridleway – and finally I was by myself for a while. Admittedly I wasn’t quite sure where I was heading, but for a stretch I didn’t even see any bikes.

A while later some houses came into view and, recognising them, I realised that I’d looped around to a point I’d already passed earlier, on my way to the ponds.

Past I went again (encountering a potential killer dog as I went; by good fortune a chap was approaching from the other direction at the same time and by some judicious slowing on my part the dog’s attention turned from me to him) and, surrounded once more by bikes, I made my way back down to the ponds.

This time I turned to the south after the ponds and took the usual route. Huge amounts of forestry work have been going on in the vicinity of the Chase Visitor Centre – most ugly – but it didn’t take me long to pass it by and through the seething masses of people and dogs, out enjoying a Sunday afternoon stroll.

It was then just a hop, skip and a jump to follow a few tracks back to the car.

The Stats: 2 hours; 6.25 miles; a whopping 600ft of ascent; and 954* bicycles encountered.

(*perhaps a slight exaggeration)

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Sunshine on Stanage Edge

It was with the impediment of the rapidly sinking sun in our eyes that we struck out, off the trodden path, across the tussocky, boggy flatland between Rud Hill and Stanage Edge.

Had the sun not been so low in the sky and shining directly into our eyes, we would have been able to see where we were going, and perhaps would have avoided quite so many above-ankle dunkings in the thawed bog, and perhaps I wouldn’t have taken the comedy nose-dive into the heather.

But, had the sun not been so low in the sky, and the hour of sun-set so rapidly approaching, we would have taken a longer route and thus would not tackled the rough-going direct route.

The timing had been the result of a number of factors, primarily a complete failure to get out of bed at anything approaching the intended early hour, followed by a mission to buy Mick some new boots. As it went, we set out onto Stanage Edge with only a couple of hours until sundown, and with little intention other than the objective of a ‘short stroll’.

Stroll we did, for a while, along the Edge and then along a track that led us to Redmires Reservoirs. Then we left the masses (and there were a lot of people out on this day of perfect walking weather, with stunning blue skies and views to match) and took a permissive path.

We knew that we didn’t have time to complete the originally intended route before dark, hence the spur of the moment decision to do the tussock route.

Jolly good fun it was too. Even the nose-dive bit. Perhaps the soft landing in deep heather helped.

It seemed for a while, as the legs started to tire of the constant exaggerated steps required by the terrain, that we were getting no closer to the road that we could see before us, but by and by we did get there, albeit not before having a bit of a snow-fight with the remaining patches of the white stuff.

Back onto the Edge we went, so as to avoid a bit of road walking, and our timing was impeccable. As we reached the Edge the bottom of the sun was just touching the horizon. As we came to our exit point, the sun was just sinking below the horizon; we paused to watch.

We dropped back down to the car park, surprised to find it still almost full. Then we looked back up and saw snakes of people making their way back down; people no doubt as determined as we were to get the most out of the fantastic day.

The great shame on such a perfect-weather day was that I had forgotten to pick up a camera. All was not lost, Mick has one of those new-fangled phones that comes complete with a camera. It’s not good spec, but it took a few snaps of the delights of the day