Saturday 5 December
At 1.30 this morning we were lying in bed just a stone’s throw away from today’s intended summit, when three conclusions were reached:
1) there would not be any hills today;
2) we were not going to get any sleep whilst Colin was being walloped by the wind to the extent we were experiencing; and
3) a night-stop at 1300’ may not have been the wisest choice, given the forecast.
So, for the second time this year we decamped in the middle of the night. This time there were no wild horses involved and, of course, there was no tent either, which made the process a whole lot quicker and easier.
Seventeen miles of debris-strewn roads later put us 1000’ lower and also added another significant layer of mud and grime to Colin; he’s never been so liberally covered in dirt. It was the churned-up car park access track that did it. In spite of the poor quality of its access (and in the absence of any signage, we did wonder, in the pitch-dark, whether we were actually driving down someone’s driveway), the new car park seemed pretty good for our purposes – flat and reasonably sheltered from the wind, and we only had one short incidence of undesirable company.
Today even the modified plan of making a circuit from Cardingmill Valley went out of the window in favour of coffee and toasted tea cakes at the Visitor Centre Cafe. We did eventually brace ourselves for a stroll (/battle against the wind) out to the reservoir and back, but even at that modest altitude we were being blown all over the place. A lazy day was declared, but not before Mick had proved himself to be glove-saviour of the day when he ran down stream to fish out a very soggy hand covering and return it to its owner, after we’d watched the wind whip it from her gasp and plonk it, with great precision, straight into the fast-flowing water.
Apparently tomorrow will be calm so hopefully the final hill of this area will be visited before the weekend is out.
In the meantime, here’s a little video snippet illustrating the breeziness in Cardingmill Valley today: