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]

Friday, 18 June 2010

Bleaklow to Upper Booth

Distance: 11.5 miles

Weather: overcast

Number of mountain hares: 3

Number of lizardy things: 1 (could have been 2, depending on whether other tail I saw disappearing under a rock was a lizardy thing or a snake)

It was just gone a quarter past six this morning (rather earlier than my usual hour) when I left my camping spot and took to the trail again. The weather was decidedly overcast, but still warm enough for most of the walk to be completed in my short sleeves*.

Heat was also being generated by my speed. I was on a mission! Mick had very kindly offered to come and pick me up from Edale, and I had given a ridiculously early estimated time of arrival. I could have revised my estimate, but I was up for a challenge, so along I sped to see how close to that time I could get.

IMG_1645 Approaching Wain Stones (I’d deviated from the Pennine Way to camp, and rejoined it just after Wain Stones)

I still had time to look around me though, and to take a few photos (although the weather conditions weren’t really ideal for getting good views), and I passed a few minutes with a chap who had also opted for an early start, but was heading the other way on his first day of the Way.

IMG_1655 About to hit a layer of low-level cloud, on my way to the Snake Road

At Kinder Downfall (not boasting much liquid falling down today) time was taken for second breakfast and to don an extra layer. The day was still reasonably warm, but there was quite a brisk wind, so as soon as I stopped I cooled quickly.

IMG_1661 The rather dry river bed, looking upstream from Kinder Downfall

I was soon on the go again, and only five minutes later I saw someone else coming towards me, and who should it be but Mick? Perhaps at that point I could have slowed down, as the ETA was irrelevant, but uttering “I want to see if I can make it to Jacob’s Ladder by 10”, I barely broke stride as Mick did an about turn and we trotted along together (me chatting incessantly, but Mick probably expected that!).

We did make it to Jacob’s Ladder by 10, and by 11 we were at Barber Booth, which is where Mick had parked. Given that my objective for the walk was to reach Glossop, I didn’t feel obligated to walk the final couple of miles over to Edale to consider my walk complete, and so without further ado** into the car we got. Ten minutes later, on our way home, it started to rain. Excellent timing, I thought.

And so my FAT*** was over. Excellent fun it was too (I think the weather helped). I rather liked the Pennine Way when we walked it as part of our LEJOG in 2008, but had forgotten quite how nice it is, and that section between Horton and Edale does boast an excellent selection of scenery.

(*Actually, when I say ‘my short sleeves’, I mean Mick’s, because I accidentally picked up Mick’s black short sleeved Icebreaker rather than my own. It’s the problem of having Howard & Hilda kit. As it happens, I found the baggy fit much more comfortable in the conditions.

**That’s not strictly true. If you must know, before I got into the car I looked around to check there was no-one in the immediate vicinity, and dropped my trousers. “Urgh” said Mick. I knew that the bites on my right leg were quite large, but my reaction to them seemed to have increased ten fold since last night. Don’t know what it was that bit me on that leg, but my body doesn’t seem to object so much to whatever bit me on the left leg. That’ll teach me to close my leg vents before sitting on the grass for lunch!

***Football Avoidance Trip)


  1. Sounds like an excellent trip!

    (I've just had a practice pitch of Bill in the back garden. He looks a little flappy, maybe I should start again...)

  2. Have you introduced Bill yet? What is he?

    I spent a while in the garden with Connie pitching her and taking her back down again. Glad we don't have any neighbours overlooking us, or they really would have wondered if I'd got stuck in a loop.

  3. Furtive tent pitching in an overlooked garden does get some funny looks. And lots of questions from the neighbours' puzzled six year old!

    Photos of a flappy Bill are about to be posted.

  4. Hi Gayle,
    Having commented on Martin's blog re your OMM chest pouch in error, i will now comment in the right place. Here.

    I presume that considering you are still wearing the pouch that you have found it a handy piece of kit. I know i am lost without now.
    Even though it's not waterproof the contents can be put into waterproof bags if necessary. --Alan

  5. Hi Alan,

    I did see your comment over on Martin's Blog (but wasn't home to respond), and I'm sure he wouldn't have minded me using his space as my own personal message board!

    You deduce correctly that I have become a firm fan of the OMM Chest Pouch. The incredibly small amount of extra faff in taking my pack off (which really amounts to undoing one extra clip, and thus isn't any trouble at all) is by far outweighed by the handiness of having various bits and bobs to immediately to hand. Even better, that plastic stuff on the back is the exact right stuff to grip an Ortlieb map case, and thus I can shove the rolled mapcase between the mesh cover and the plastic stuff, and be confident that the map isn't going to fall out - and hence I always have the map to hand too.

    As for the waterproofness, I did take the precaution of putting stuff inside of a plastic bag when it rained, but we've been so incredibly lucky with the weather that not even the rainiest of our days has seen water get inside of the pouch.

    Really must get around to writing reviews of some of the kit I've been using this year, including the OMM Chest Pouch.