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]

Monday 31 March 2014

Essential Numbers From March

It’s the last day of the month, so I’ll just throw together a few numbers to summarise how it went. A bit brief, because there are still a few things to cross of the ‘to do’ list, and they must all be completed before bedtime.

I predicted that the miles would drop off in March, but I was wrong:


I did slacken off a bit, only walking on 27 days of the month (and some of those walks were very short indeed, taken purely to keep my Fitbit stats above my daily target).

The daily average is still looking pretty healthy:


And, I’ve managed to plank on every single day of the month (in fact, I’ve only missed one day of the year, and I was so annoyed when I realised I’d forgotten).

All being well, April’s stats should look pretty healthy from a mileage point of view. I’m not sure how feasible it will be to keep up the planking in the tent…

Sunday 30 March 2014

Getting Creative

Last evening, with 60 hours remaining before we set out (on foot) for Scotland, and having finally got all my gear out and had a practice pack, I decided that I’d quite like a new stuff-sack to go with the new quilt (the quilt being bulkier than my down bag and thus it’s a squeeze to get it in my usual stuff sack). Not having time left to source one, I went and dragged some fabric out of the cupboard and got creative.

A while later, I had produced this – a square-bottomed stuff sack, weighing 21g:


I stuffed the larger half of the quilt in to check it for size…


…and decided that it was a bit too long and thin.

So, I measured, marked and cut some more fabric and returned to the sewing machine. A while later, I had a mis-matched pair, both weighing in at 21g, but one being shorter and fatter than the other.


As it goes, the second one is a bit too short and fat, but I haven’t been moved to make an inbetweenie.

Continuing the stuff sack theme, this morning I returned to the sewing machine with the ‘kitchen’ bag, which got gnawed by a rodent on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2012. If I continue to use it in its holey state then the spoons are bound to fall out unnoticed sometime, and that would not be a happy scenario.

The bag was duly patched (perfectly functionally so), yet I then decided to replace it instead. An old silnylon stuff sack was canibalised for the fabric and, for this one, I simply duplicated the design of the old one:


Old one (patched and inside out) on the left; new one on the right

I’ve not sewed a round bottom into a stuff sack before. It probably gets easier with practice, but I found that three hands were useful to get it into position. I’m rather pleased with the result (even if I did get one accidental pleat underneath, thanks to a small mis-sizing of the base).

With time having been frittered away making a bag that wasn’t strictly necessary, I finally turned my attention to the final sewing chore, which really did need doing. With our switch to a quilt, I thought it would be wise to make a couple of insulated hats. The problem is that I don’t have a pattern and I’ve never made one before, so it deserved a little bit of thought (not a lot, mind, what with time marching on!).

My old Paramo Velez (with detachable hood) provided a rough pattern and a couple of hours later Mick and I were both looking truly ridiculous modelling this exceptionally warm head-gear:


The second one (the one I’m wearing) was a better design than the first. If I was to make a third (which I’m not planning on!) then it would be even better. As it goes, they may not be works of art, but they are functional.

I think I ought to go and put the sewing machine away now, before I decide to make something else!

Thursday 27 March 2014



A comment on my previous post asked what meals we have in our dehydrating repertoire, and I thought it a question which deserved a post of its own.

First though, I need to start with a confession: I may have been misleading when I said that we have eleven varieties of meal. It’s an entirely true statement, but of those five varieties are for me and six are for Mick, so we do have a lot of repetition. Happily, we can both live with repetition. We do it at home all the time (fish pie for four consecutive days anyone?!).

The menu as it now stands has been developed over a number of years. I got my first dehydrator in 2006, supplemented by a second one* in 2008, so we now have eight trays of capacity across two machines, and having cooked and dehydrated (and rehydrated and eaten) hundreds of meals over the intervening years, we have (through a process of trial and error) pretty much settled on what works for us.

This year has been pretty relaxed, with just 76 meals to prepare. We peaked in 2008 when 130 meals were cooked an dehydrated at a time when we only had three trays of dehydrator capacity (looking back, my hair is standing on end in fright at the very thought!).

Anyway, our current list of tried-and-tested dishes are as follows:

Gayle’s Meat-less** dishes:

Veggie Pasta Sauce (tomato and onion base (usually with carrots and celery grated in to bulk it up) with diced courgette, mushroom and pepper - served with pasta)

Veggie Chilli (onions, garlic, tomato, green pepper, continental lentils, kidney beans, various herbs and spices - usually served with rice)

Butter Bean Curry (onion, tomato, curry paste, mushroom, green beans, butter beans - usually served with cous cous, unless I have a surplus of rice)

Chick Pea Stewy Thing (onions, celery, leek, peppers, aubergine, chick peas, various spices - usually served with quinoa, except this year I’ve not got any, so it’s going with instant mash or cous cous)

Lentil Stew (onion, continental lentils, celery, carrot, parsnip/swede, butternut squash, spinach – always served with mash)


Mick’s dishes:

Beef Chilli (I’m sure I don’t need to describe what we put in one of those – served with rice)

Thai Turkey Green Curry (onions, turkey mince, Thai green curry paste, coconut milk powder, courgette, carrot and mushrooms – served with rice)

Turkey and Butter Bean Madras*** (same as my Butter Bean Curry, but with turkey mince – usually served with cous cous)

Pork Bolognese (same as my veggie pasta sauce, but with minced pork – served with pasta)

Lamb and Root Veg Stew (onion, celery, carrot, parsnip, swede, tomato, chilli, minced lamb – served with mash).

Lentil and Sausage Stew**** (same as my lentil stew, but with the addition of sausage – served with mash)

Shepherd (minced lamb, onion, peas, carrots, lamb stock – served with mash)

The menu is now reasonably stable, although I do try something new every now and then. Other things have been tried and ditched. I used to have risotto and a couple of fish dishes on my menu, but the risotto came back a bit mushy, and never felt like a filling meal, and the fish got dropped because of issues I had with getting the fish to rehydrate fully, although I do intend to supplement my veggie pasta sauce with fish bought as I go along this year.

As for our rehydrating technique: we boil some water, add the meal, leave it for half an hour in a pot-cosy (an hour for Chick Pea Stewy Thing if I want the chick-peas to be crunch-free), add the rice/cous cous/pasta and leave for another ten minutes, then eat. Mash doesn’t need any more standing time.


(*I’m still grateful to Dawn for more than doubling my dehydrating capacity by gifting the second machine to me :-)

**It’s a common misconception that I’m vegetarian. I’m not. I just don’t tend to eat meat, hence Mick and I have separate meals.

***This one came about because a few years back the quantities cooked left us with a half serving of Mick’s turkey curry and a half serving of my butter bean curry. We mixed them together and Mick discovered that he rather liked butter beans in his turkey curry.

****This one didn’t get made this year, purely because the quantities worked out such that we hit 38 meaty-meals before this one was cooked.)

Wednesday 26 March 2014

How Much?

Whilst playing with the StoCAN* itinerararararary spread-sheet last night, I did a quick tot up of how much I thought the accommodation bill (be it campsites or B&Bs) was going to be. The number up with which I came struck me as being higher than I would have expected, particularly bearing in mind how many nights I have us pencilled in for free camping.

So, instead of doing something fruitful and useful with the next hour (like sewing a foot-box into the quilt), I trawled back through my cost records for all of our UK walks of 10 days or longer (except for the English C2C, for which I haven’t got records to hand) and did a few sums. The walks in question are:

  • Land’s End to John o’Groats – 2008 (12 weeks)
  • TGO Challenge – 2009 (2 weeks)
  • Kent to Cape Wrath – 2010 (8 weeks)
  • East to West – 2011 (6 weeks)
  • TGO Challenge – 2011 (2 weeks)
  • Length of Wales – 2012 (2 weeks)
  • TGO Challenge – 2012 (2 weeks)
  • TGO Challenge – 2013 (2 weeks)

For each of those walks, I looked at both the overall average cost per day (i.e. all costs for the entire trip, divided by the number of walking days in the trip) and the average cost of accommodation per day. The overall average misses out a few things, such as the home dehydrated meals, but should be fairly accurate. The accommodation costs should be entirely accurate.

This is the graph which resulted:


All of those numbers are for the two of us, not per person

I’m not sure what conclusions I draw from the result (other than that the TGO Challenge tends to be an expensive affair for us), but thought I’d share the information anyway. It should go without saying that it would be perfectly possible to do those trips with a lower budget – and it would also be very easy indeed to spend much more.


(* StoCAN = Sledgehammer to Crack a Nut Walk)

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Random Thoughts With One Week To Go

It’s one week until we set out for the start of the TGO Challenge. For those of you familiar with the event, you needn’t go and check your calendars in a panic, or get in touch to tell us we’ve got the wrong month. This year we’re starting from Torridon, and with public transport into Torridon being in short supply, we thought we’d answer the ‘how to get there’ question by simply walking the whole way (accordingly, I’m dubbing this the ‘Sledgehammer to Crack a Nut Walk’).

Hence, our journey to our start point will start next Tuesday, so that we can cover the 625 miles in time for Friday 9 May.

As you might expect, preparations have been in progress for some time and Postie has been delivering various parcels (today we went to the Post Office to pick up Mick’s new shoes; whilst we were there we missed delivery of some insoles. Always annoying when that happens). I finally sent my delaminating Thermarest NeoAir back to Cascade Designs, and they sent me a X-Therm in return. I’ve thought about getting all of my other kit out, in a move towards packing, but haven’t yet got that far down the to-do list.

Otherwise, there’s been a bit of this:


Some of this:


Resulting in one of these:


Which is a two-man quilt, complete with draft-stopper and Gorget, made (more or less) to the Ray Jardine pattern. The YouTube ‘video’ of the original Ray Jardine quilt I made (for Weird Darren) has proved to be remarkably popular, so we took photos of the whole process of making this quilt too, which I will try to make into a similar YouTube snippet later in the year. In the meantime, I still need to sew the foot-box.

There’s also been much cooking and dehydrating. This morning our living room carpet looked like this, as seventy-six meals were laid out in neat lines of eleven varieties:


Then, armed with a copy of the detailed plan, they became organised into individual food-drops, like this:


(Yes, those are all Roses tins. No, we haven’t been eating a lot of chocolates. I would recommend that if you’re in need of Roses tins, then a care home around Christmas time is a good place to ask.)

There’s also been much playing with the itinerarararary over the last couple of weeks. I came up with the route last year, and tweaked it to my satisfaction in February, but somehow omitted to complete my research and the detail of the spreadsheet until this week.

And, of course, there’s been a bit of walking going on, but I’ll reserve comment on the numbers until the end of the month.

Monday 17 March 2014

Pen-y-Ghent and Helwith Bridge

The main event, and driving purpose behind this weekend away, occurred last night (Saturday 15th) when we went along to a fund-raiser at Horton School to hear John Manning talk about his 2004 Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hike.

It was an excellent night, both for John’s entertaining presentation (the time flew by!) but also for the hospitality laid on by the school.

With that event having placed us in Horton overnight, we were well-placed to take a walk up Pen-y-Ghent this morning, and leaving Colin at 9.30am we found it to be not a bad morning. The cloud base was sitting at about 450 metres or so, but beneath it, visibility was pretty good:


Alas, the good visibility didn’t last for ever. By virtue of Pen-y-Ghent being nearly 700m, we were soon up in the cloud, and by the time we got to the top it was cold, very windy and mizzling on us. However, it wasn’t as miserable as Ingleborough on Friday, and Pen-y-Ghent was only a small portion of this walk, so we were looking forward to dropping back down below the cloud.


Lending more evidence to my theory that in a few years’ time the Pennine Way (PW) will be a surfaced path the whole way from Edale to Kirk Yetholm, we could see from the summit shelter (per the photo above) that the PW path up to the top will soon be flagged.

Not long later, a huge digger emerged from the gloom…


… and the other side of that digger was a laid path.

Now comes the first of two rants. I know that Pen-y-Ghent is a popular hill, but its popularity seems to be at silly levels just now. One side effect of that is the quantity of banana skins that litter the place. There are dozens of the things. As if the wet, worn-to-a-shine rocks aren’t hazardous enough, there are now banana skins to slip on, and marring the landscape into the bargain.

The second rant concerns large groups and hill etiquette. On our way down we passed two very large groups on their way up (the backmarker of the first group told us it was a training outing for a group intending to do the 3 Peaks Challenge later in the year). I can live with people studiously ignoring our cheery greetings, but it does irk me when groups barge past, walking three or four abreast, shoving you off the path with an apparent presumption that all others will naturally move out of their way.


The queue for the ‘step’. “I didn’t know I had to do rock climbing” said the one woman as we passed

I suppose it could have been worse. We could have been stuck behind them.

Thankfully, once we passed the path up from Horton, solitude reigned. In fact, the whole way down to Helwith Bridge we didn’t meet a soul, and only two were met between there and Horton.

It seemed to take forever to drop below the cloud and, disappointingly, when we did, the visibility wasn’t fully restored and the mizzle didn’t stop. Even worse, as we made our way along the riverside we had to conclude that it had transformed into a persistent light rain. Again, the sort of rain that gets you really wet (sigh…).IMG_6109

Gloom, even down by the river

We arrived back to the shelter and warmth of Colin (for a cooked lunch and copious amounts of tea :-)), having covered just shy of 9 miles, with 1700’ of ascent.

Meanwhile, I see that a number of friends on Facebook have been posting glorious blue-skied photos of the weekend. Harrumph!

Hangers-on with the Outdoor Writers’ Guild

Ten members of the Outdoor Writers’ Guild (plus Tilly the dog) met at the Pen-y-Ghent Cafe on Saturday morning, where we just happened to be enjoying a pint of tea. “They won’t notice if we tag on behind them” we thought, and thus after they were done faffing in the car park, we surreptitiously followed them up the road, across the foot-bridge over the Ribble to follow the river downstream.

One of the group, David, is a veritable mine of information about the National Park and all things natural, so various stops were had along the way as we learnt about a large variety of features of the area. You don’t get that on just any walk!

Having left the river and crossed fields..


…and having passed a farm with a large array of tractors and machinery in varying states of decay…


We took to a lane for a short while before peeling off to pass Feizor Woods (highly recommended by David, but time constraints/hunger didn’t allow the group to go exploring on this occasion) on our way to the hamlet of Feizor, which is the home of a popular and busy tea room.

Handily, there were a couple of spare seats at the table booked by the group, and Mick and I managed to sneak in at opposite ends of the table without anyone rumbling us as interlopers.

Food eaten and vats of tea drunk, we expected an equally gentle bimble back up the valley. But, no! After sufficient gentleness to allow the food to digest a little, suddenly we peeled off and up became the theme for a while:


The top of the climb was marked by a narrow, steep stile, missing a rung on each side (the remaining rungs weren’t that healthy either). It was a challenge for those of us with little legs, but even more of a challenge for the one with four legs.


Until now the day had been pretty fine. Overcast, but with the cloud base much higher than the previous days. Alas, as we ascended, so the cloud descended to greet us:


Learning about (amongst other things) burial mounds, the plant life in the grykes and the dying juniper bushes as we went, decomposing limestone pavements were crossed…


…to pick up a right of way which took us back down to Horton, where the path leading down to the level crossing proved to be the most dangerous part of the whole walk. If anyone made it down that polished-stone-set-in-concrete surface without slipping, I’d be surprised. Even though I hung back to warn those behind me, I heard a variety of ooohs of slipping-surprise as I proceeded down with utmost caution.

Arriving back in Horton some seven hours after we had left (it had been a long lunch and there had been many informational pauses), we had covered 11 miles with 1300’ of up.

Thanks go to the members of the Outdoor Writers’ Guild for allowing us to tag along with them (particularly to John Manning for inviting us). They were a very nice and interesting bunch of people with whom to spend a day.

Here’s the route we took:


The big splodge in the bottom right of the route is where I forgot to stop the Garmin Gadget when we went in for lunch, meaning that it added on half a mile of wandering whilst we were indoors!

Friday 14 March 2014


With a big area of high pressure sitting above the UK this week, we were looking forward to a fine day today for a walk up Ingleborough (approaching from Clapham – a path we’ve not before taken). Based on the last weather forecast I saw (yesterday morning), which showed a foggy start giving way to sunny intervals in the afternoon, and without the hint of a rain drop, I had opted to bring my not-proofed pair of Paramo trousers with me. Mick very nearly went out without a waterproof jacket at all.

As you may guess, from that preamble, we didn’t enjoy good weather today. Visibility was 100 yards or so when we set out, but at least it was dry.

By the time we were out the other side of Clapham, and starting to gain a little height, visibility was down to less than 80 yards, and the clouds were mizzling upon us.

By the time we were climbing steeply up Ingleborough, that mizzle became a persistent, wind-blown, heavy drizzle. The type that makes you really wet. We still couldn’t see anything.

By the time we got to the top, visibility was so bad that we were taken entirely by surprise to find ourselves on the top. We only saw the (sizeable) summit shelter 18 paces before we reached it.

The only other person we saw on the top was a mountain-biker who joined us in the shelter. He wasn’t looking forward to the terrain of his descent, even without appreciating that he was going to get the freezing, wind-blown drizzle straight in the face on his way down to Ingleton.

Towards Ingleton was the direction in which I had intended us to head, except that the prospect of: 1) not being able to see anything no matter which way we went; 2) having the rain hitting us head-on; and 3) having to trudge across fields to get back to our start point, without the advantage of being able to see the stile/gate on the other side; made me conclude that a better plan would be just to head back the way we’d come.

It wasn’t an exact repetition. At Clapham Bottoms we deviated from out outward route and by doing so we passed some geological features which it would be good to revisit in better conditions.

It was definitely one of the most miserable days I’ve been out walking this year, only surpassed by the day in the Cairngorms when we turned back because it was so horrible.

Unsurprisingly, the cameras stayed mainly in pockets (not that they stayed dry even there), but I did take this one snap early in the day:


The stats for the day were 12.2 miles walked with 2500’ of ascent.

(As I sit here typing this, Colin is being rocked by the wind. I do hope some nice weather is going magically to materialise by morning!)


Arriving in Clapham (the one in North Yorkshire, with a very small railway station; not the one in London with a very busy railway station) just before 4pm yesterday afternoon, I rejoiced in the lengthening of the hours of daylight by squeezing in a 5.75 mile stroll (600’ of up) before dusk fell.

The sun had not been so successful in burning off the fog up here (unlike at home, where we had left a fine day), so we weren’t blessed with distant views, but there was still plenty to see in our immediate vicinity.

Having reached and passed through the village, the falls caught out eyes (an information sign tells us that they were man-made by the Farrer brothers, in a year that I can’t recall):


From there we headed for the public right of way which would have led us to Ingleborough Cave, if the hour of day hadn’t suggested that we didn’t have enough time to go that far. Instead, we turned right instead of left and knowingly took a toll-path without any money on us to pay the toll (all funds in our pockets having been consumed by a box of Jaffa Cakes and a remarkably good local sausage roll in the village shop).

The toll-path took us past the lake which is imaginatively named The Lake. Pretty it unarguably was, but without a good vantage point for a photo to do it justice:


Dusk was upon us by the time we re-joined Colin (oooh, he’s getting about a bit lately!), pitched neatly on a Certified Location just beyond Clapham Station.

A Novel Route On The Chase


A section of nicely-surfaced track just before Stepping Stones

Tuesday’s walk (11 March) is worthy of a very brief mention (for the purposes of my own records), for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it was our first training walk of the year carrying loaded packs (towels and water mainly; if we were to come across a beached whale, we would be well set to help). Secondly, even though it was on our local stomping-ground of Cannock Chase, it saw us visit a couple of tracks and paths that we have never before walked.

A 15.5 mile circuit was followed (with just one failure-to-navigate deviation), with 2000’ of ascent, and whilst I didn’t ache unduly having sat down for a few hours afterwards, I was a touch on the tired side.

The day would also have been remarkable for being the first day of the year on which I wore summer trousers, if that hadn’t occurred the previous day (when Mick and I sploshed through more soupy mud than is reasonable, on a local 10-miler). As it went, it was so cold when we left the car park on Wednesday morning that I was yearning for my Paramo trousers and thinking that I would never be warm again. The latter feeling lasted as far as the first incline.


A section of now-horribly-muddy track, which used to have a nice surface,

torn up from forest operations over this wet winter

Wednesday 12 March 2014

A Quick Trot on Kinder

Sunday 10 March

The plan for Sunday morning was that we were to get up and come home, as there were things to be done. Not least, Mick was rather keen to ensure that he was firmly in front of the TV by the time the England v Wales rugby match got underway.

Our plans often change, and when I snuck a peek out of the window on Sunday morning, and saw these conditions…


With a sky like that, it would have been rude not to, wouldn’t it?

…I put in a plea for a quick trot up Kinder, seeing how far we could get in an hour and a bit, then turning back. With Mick making no objection, I made haste to get us up and out as soon as possible, hoping to stretch the available time a little.

Lilo Lil (also known as Pete), who has been to the Snake Pass Inn a number of times and yet has never been up Kinder, volunteered to come along with us and soon we were all headed up Fair Brook, stripping off layers as we went. The day was clearly going to be as warm as the weather forecasters had predicted.


We made sufficiently good time that I calculated that we could make it around the edge as far as Seal Stones to make our descent, rather than having to do an out and back. It gave Lilo a good taste of what the edge has to offer, and you couldn’t have asked for a nicer day for it (I suppose, if I was being picky, I would ask for a bit less wind).


Tea was consumed, along with a snack, in the shelter of Seal Stones, whereafter I was to be found trotting down the hill, leaving Mick and Lilo in my wake.

We arrived back at the car park only ten minutes later than our intended departure time and we lost no time in saying farewell and heading home for that all important rugby match.

Alas, luck was not on our side, as we decided to go home via Glossop (it being about 50/50 whether we went via Glossop or via Sheffield) and found the road closed for a serious accident. After waiting around for a while (it not looking overly feasible to swing a 20’ van around on such a narrow stretch of road), news came back that the road would be closed for at least 2 hours. Manoeuvring commenced and, with me hanging out off Colin’s back window shouting ‘STOP!’ at appropriate moments, we proved that a multi-point turn was achievable. Even with the delay and diversion, we got home just in the nick of time, thanks to kick off being a touch later than Mick had thought.

The stats for the day were 4.7 miles walked with 1300’ of up.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

TGOC Spring Gathering - Saturday Walk

Saturday 8 March

Having arrived at the Snake Pass Inn in Friday’s late afternoon sunshine, and having spent the evening inside indulging in much chatting, we headed back outside sometime after 11pm to find the skies still clear and a thick frost adorning Colin. It looked promising for another lovely day on Saturday.

Alas, it wasn’t to be. The day started overcast and the clouds descended before they lifted, so it was a bit of a grey, murky, mizzly one as the group (sorry, didn’t do a headcount, so can’t say how many of us there were) set out from the car park and chatted our way along Lady Clough, thence along Doctor’s Gate Culvert to Doctor’s Gate.


An amount of height was lost as we headed a way down Doctor’s Gate, until Graham (who had planned the route for this walk) called a halt at a nice sheltered spot (that wind was blowing again; 45mph was the highest reading I caught) for lunch. Finally, the clouds were starting to lift and break, with a hint that we may see a nicer afternoon.

It was then a touch of off-piste as we headed up a gulley:


It was up here where we found the first evidence of the theme of this walk – Peak District aircraft crash sites. This one was a C47 Skytrain (Dakota), which came down in July 1945. (Click the link for more information; I’m afraid I’m too lazy to reproduce any of the details here.)


A few minor obstacles had to be negotiated on the way up:


And various other bits of wreckage were seen before we levelled out at the top of the climb, just a few paces away from the crash-site itself.


With the cloud having lifted, there were finally some views to be seen, even if they were a bit muted, as we paused waiting for everyone to regroup:


The next point of interest on the agenda was the site of a Lancaster which came down in May 1945, but with little wreckage remaining, it is the memorial stone which is most notable at this spot.

Staggering gently in the wind, over to the trig point at Higher Shelf Stones, a short way from where was wreckage far more extensive than I would have considered possible after 65 years. This one was a B29 Superfortress which met its end in November 1948.


As you may gather from this snap, the day wasn’t a warm one; everyone was well wrapped up!

Following the trail of debris for a while, east was our direction to pick up the Pennine Way, enjoying some good Challenge training through peat hags on our way.

A hop and a skip took us from there back to Doctor’s Gate, where we had the choice of adding another four miles onto the day by heading over to Mill Hill (with the option of taking in another two crash sites) or heading straight back via our outward route. Unusually, we chose the latter and spent the extra couple of hours drinking tea in Colin, happy with the 9.25 miles we had walked (with around 1800’ of ascent).

Thanks go to Graham for planning a such a good route, the main circuit of which looks like this. I would happily go and walk it again (albeit preferably under blue skies!):


Even if you haven’t clicked on any of the other links in this post, I would recommend that you just take a quick look at the full list of Peak District aircraft crash sites. My mind certainly boggled that there are so many.

Biggin Dale & Wolfscote Dale

Friday 7 March 2014

Following our February holiday, Colin sat all lonely for a whole week, until on Friday, much to his delight, he found himself involved in another outing. It was the weekend of the TGO Challenge Spring Gathering at the Snake Pass Inn, and we had belatedly added ourselves to the attendee list.

A perusal of the map of the area immediately around the Snake Pass Inn confirmed my suspicion that there wasn’t an afternoon-length walk from the car park that we haven’t done at least twice before, so instead we opted to stop en-route,  and take a turn down Biggin Dale and along Wolfscote Dale.

After an unpromising, rainy start to the day, things had improved remarkably by the time we parked up in amongst the lorries-on-lunchbreak:


A lunch break sounded like a very good idea (even if, technically, it wasn’t a break as we weren’t in the middle of anything), and sandwiches and tea were soon despatched, before shoes were donned and off onto the Tissington Trail we headed. Those skies may have been a very pleasing shade of blue, but the photos don’t show the keen and fresh wind that was blowing.


The wind was head on as we headed down Biggin Dale, which, for quite a while was lovely but relatively unremarkable. Then things got a bit soggy underfoot:


I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t think we’ve walked down Biggin Dale before, and thus I can’t be certain as to its usual state of wetness, but the way that the bed of this stream was made of grass, and the way that it flowed through the gates suggested to me that it is a stream that isn’t usually there.


One of the gates was particularly tricky to negotiate without getting damp socks:


The water left the path (flowing straight through a dry-stone wall) just before we joined Wolfscote Dale, where we have definitely been quite a few times before, although always in the opposite direction. The direction on this occasion made us notice a cave just a little way up the side of the valley, so we went for a closer look. Small and quite uninteresting, was the verdict, albeit with a good view:


It was just before the end of Wolfscote Dale that we climbed back up out of the valley, to head back to our start point. We’d realised a short time before that our ascent path was going to be the one taken on a couple of Martin’s Christmas walks, which on those occasions had been a muddy, slippery affair. It was muddy and slippery on this occasion too, but definitely easier in ascent than in descent.


When out of the wind and in the sun it was a glorious spring day (making me think that maybe I should have had the forethought to pack a pair of summer walking trousers). The stats for the outing were 6.9 miles walked with a touch under 1000’ of up.