International man of mystery, David Peak McGuinness, performed a first for the warts last night, single-handedly searching and rescuing a frailish little old Stannington lady, found sheltering in a grouse butt, two thirds of the way up the track to Cartledge Flat. It appears she'd taken the bus out to Fairholmes and then become disoriented in the clag on the walk back over Lost Lad. By the time twenty-one thoroughbred warts happened upon her, she'd more or less resigned herself to what would have been a dangerously cold night on the hill.
Whilst Guy S, Penny and Sarah escorted David's most recent find off the hill, our eighteen remaining heroes struck out into the teeth of the gale, up and over Cartledge Flat, across an Abbey Brook in fair spate, and up to Berristers for a quick snifter. Though the good Cap'n questioned whether we were entitled to a nip whilst in full wart, the lure of the Bushmills, and warm glow of our previous heroics, soon ruled him out of court - and indeed it was Andy himself who battled headlong into the wind to retrieve our just desserts. A further headlong struggle into the wind to regain the Brook below, this time crossing in something approaching normal order (Young Betts and the Safety Officer would both have been horrified by the cavalier manner in which we negotiated the first crossing, in twos and threes, strung over 200 metres of white water, and with no-one counting), and thence home via Low Tor (in error).
Aside from David's new lady friend, the evening was otherwise most distinguished by the unnervingly low average age of those in attendance, with newbies (at least two) and old youngies (including the welcome return of Messrs Ashton, Cole and Piercey, and Ms Bryan-Jones) in abundance (still 5 bus passes - don't write us off just yet!) - and a pleasant couple of pints to round matters off in the Inn. Not bad at all for a blustery tussock fest.
A fairly select group of warts, including guest appearances from the Spinks and brother Winterburn, enjoyed a real Harmer classic, battling through head-high heather, bracken, bog and assorted filth, at sub 40-minute mile pace across Hobson Moss and similarly unprepossessing tracts of flatish moorland to a number of largely unremarkable landmarks. Actually, that last bit's not true - we happened upon a rocking stone, which occasioned an ill-conceived episode of seesawing betwixt Tractor Boy Ray and your correspondent, and no conclusion as to who was the fatter; a ruined cabin which Chairman Tom declared 'better than some we've visited' and, after a certain amount of disinterested confusion, the wooden footbridge in Oaken Clough. The more we grumbled, the wider spread Andy's grin and, reluctantly or not, the more we were endeared to his truly awful route. His avowed intention was to reveal to us the mysteries of the 'corridor route' from the Hunter Wreck to Emlin trig; and mysterious it indeed was. So much so that the personal responsibility brains' trust soon swung into session in the Nag's Head afterwards to debate the wisdom of declaring a pair's race or not. No doubt the Cap'n will reach the most enlightened decision in due course, just as soon as he's darned the knees of his Martin-esque Ron Hill trackers. Perhaps time to shut up, before this prose plumbs new depths of opacity ... but not without a brief mention of our very own resident hack, Monsignor Holmes, who was evidently so bored with shouting at his canines by the final mile of the expedition that he chose instead to throw himself to the ground, incurring a variety of injuries to upper limbs. Needless to say, he got little sympathy from his fellow travellers.
A steady 2 hours on Kinder, but no-one chose to visit Mermaid's Pool, which had been originally mooted by Cap'n Harmer. The weather was typical Warting fare, damp and breezy, and a bit claggy on the top. Not a lot of excitement, didn't manage to lose anyone, although if Carl and Tim hadn't warned him we could have lost the good Cap'n over a 10ft drop into the valley by the woods - much shouting and waving of hands got him to a safe spot though.
In the spirit of personal responsibility on the hill – or perhaps just in keeping with standard DP practice – it seems incumbent upon me to share one or two top tips to avoiding schoolboy errors on the Scottish Hills, drawing upon my recent experiences in and around Glen Nevis:
1. Think twice before straight-lining it through a spruce forest, however short the distance may appear on the map; whilst heather will slow you down, Scottish pine is pretty much certain to bring you to a complete cursing halt sooner rather than later (particularly when wearing a large pack with ice axe);
2. When departing a munro summit in clag, should your compass indicate you are travelling in diametrically the wrong direction, do not simply assume that you have once again set your compass due south instead of due north and correct for this by turning the housing through 180 degrees without reference to the map; descending for half a mile down the wrong flank of the wrong ridge in the Mamores cannot be compared with travelling half a mile in the wrong direction on Kinder; it will almost certainly result in a complete change of plan for the day;
3. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you’ll just hang on until the rain stops before halting to get some food out of your pack; this will most likely lead to a bonk before the skies even begin to consider clearing;
4. Still not recognising after the umpteenth time on your arse that steep, green and a bit damp looking probably means darn slippy to boot is, well, a wee bit silly; and
5. If you have to take your mobile phone out of its waterproof cover in order to make a phone call, don’t then replace it, uncovered, into the Gortex pocket of your high quality Patagonia waterproof if said pocket has been unzipped for a period of time; the pool of water it has collected in the interim will wreck your phone, rendering you incapable of reporting the whole sorry story via facebook in real time.
On a more positive note, I cannot recommend highly enough the benefits of hostelling with the Paxmans in the Rucksack Club hut – steak, garlic potatoes and rhubarb crumble on night one, and lamb dhansak on night two, all washed down with respectable helpings of alcohol. So if you fancy joining Jim on his upcoming attempt at the Ramsay Round, well what are you waiting for? More details here.
Worth a note because of the fine Spring evening and the small but perfectly formed number of athletes that turned up. There was a surprising unanimity with the route choice in the first mile or so: essentially up and then veer towards Bob's Rock (named in honour of our esteemed deputy leader). From here, so it was said, we would head for Ringing Roger. Some chance as the "navigators" headed off in completely the wrong direction and ended up about half a mile away. At this point there was the usual muttering about wanting split into the old farts and the even older farts; the former went down into Golden Clough and up the Grindsbrook Knoll, the latter took the easier option and stayed up! There was further disunity as the "real" fell runners decided to go down and then up to get the Hartshorn, while the more senior and discerning members did a bit of rimming around the edge of the clough. From here, the magnificent descent down the Wicker and then to the pub. A glorious night!!
A very healthy turnout for the first "summer" run of the year - somewhere close to 40 runners, I suspect, not that anyone was counting. We were blessed with some fine snow drifts and patterns, a mighty fine sunset, and the usual banter; plus, for those of us foolish enough to take the longer route via New Cross (rems of), a couple of impromptu "personal responsibility ... blah, blah, blah ... full kit ... blah, blah, blah ... someone once fell off a cliff ... blah, blah, blah" stuff from the Safety Officer and his Mountain Rescue second mate. We all listened obediently, nodded sagely, and ran away at whatever speed we could muster. Reunited with the short-run stalwarts, we fair filled the pub afterwards. A very pleasant evening indeed, and good to see so many new faces (well new to me, at least - not that I bothered to introduce myself to any of them).
A rescheduled run because of the glorious spring weather. This began in the car and continued in the car-park with the usual highly predictable disagreement between Mr Holmes and everybody else. Mr Holmes, I should add, is an occasional wart who puts in a guest appearance just to ensure that the aforementioned argument happens - a sort of tradition that he feels he has to uphold. Anyway...we decided to have a split with a decision on route being taked at the top of Agden Rocher. Predictably this was feet deep in snow necessitating a detour into adjacent fields to negotiate. The "splitters" seemed to disappear at this point only to reappear later on as we trudged through the snow up to Bar Dyke. I should say that there was a wonderful snowy descent off the Rocher. The debate continued at Bar Dyke, with the sensible ones pointing out that although Emlin was only half a mile away as the crow flies, it was about 3 snowy,waist-high miles as the runner trudges but common sense was never one of our strong points. So we fought our way across the valley, through the occasional cornice and almost sheer snow cliffs up to Emlin trig where the last whisky of winter was taken and so the season ends with the beginning of the dreaded summer runs!!!
For those contemplating what will no doubt be a fine run from Fairholmes, the suggested route, hot off the presses from Cap'n Harmer, is Bamford ho to Wet Stones, via the Barn[west of Abbey brook] and return direct across top side of Poynton bog.
Needless to say we could end up doing something entirely different...
In the end not completely different, but we never made Wet Stones, which would have made for a very long night out. An excellent end, perhaps, to the official Warting season, not sure whether next week counts. Didn't hear any whinges, no-one got lost, as far as we know, and Cap'n Harmer graced us with his presence, on the mend but still wobbling!
A predictable 13 warts turned up including a rare visit by the worshipful Nicky Spinks. In the absence of Mr Harmer and Mr Holmes, the usual debate about route was given to Mr Berzins and Mr Winterburn, should we go south to Barrow Stones or north into the unknown? The latter prevailed and so we set off into uncharted territory towards Dead Edge End and beyond! There was a fair bit of snow around still but a beautiful clear and relatively wind free night prevailed. Mr Winterburn was reputedly recovering from his numerous ailments but seemed nonetheless, to always be at least 100 yards in front. Ramsden Clough was reached and the debate about the route continued: along the edge or down and up? The hearty Ms Wiegand decided to lead us down into the clough while the rest of us were still arguing the merits of the descent and climb, hard as nails, she is. From here we visited another unknown trig point at Snailsden and then a direct and particularly arduous route back to the cars. Hopefully Will will put the route up as I forgot to start my GPS. Nearly the end of the season and time to hibernate for the summer.
Track duly uploaded, Corporal Barber.
A very, very foggy night where visibility was down to a few yards, saw a group of around 15 runners set off up towards Strines Ridge. The group split into two, we think as the next count only realised 11 superbly toned athletes the old scroats having disappeared off the back somewhere. Not to worry, they'd had a good innings. The remaining group headed for the packhorse bridge and Pike Lowe for the whisky stop. A strange night as we could see absolutely bugger all for most of the time but, as was pointed out, this was a standard warts run and we "should all have our map and compasses at the ready all the time!" Mr Harmer we present at the beginning but his mum's sick note was still current and we found him duly wobbling in the pub afterwards. The usual split ensued towards the end and our World class orienteers, Pete and Lucy managed to get lost by following a map, the rest of us who went on "instinct" (note, not Ash whose directional instincts, as we know are somewhat lacking) and local knowledge were well into our first pint before the aforementioned appeared. Worth noting that we were blessed by an appearance of an ex wart, Dave Holmes, who appeared in the pub afterwards, at least he remembers this old tradition.
Just seven cheery warts from Birchin Clough this evening, ably lead by Lucy and the Safety Officer - albeit sometimes in different directions. Still a bit of the frozen white stuff in the groughs, and just the odd sinker too, but a very pleasant run nonetheless, enhanced by the odd star and some moon. Shame about the twisted ankle count, including the SO and me, but the beer in the Ladybower thereafter more than made up for this.
About 15 hearty souls set off on this somewhat bitter night, including one new runner (who's name escapes me). Capt. Harmer sent in a sick note from his mum, so Mr Berry took over the burden of responsibility for the route with Bob Berzins setting the pace and doing most of the route finding. It should be pointed out that our Safety Officer did make some route suggestions but they were duly ignored as is usual. Somehow we ended up on the top of Bleaklow by the Shelf Benches and the very frozen ponds at James' Thorn and then up to Shelf Stones which was bloody freezing in a howling wind. Whisky and comestibles were taken here and the direct route back to the cars was pursued - you can have too much enjoyment and I think we had by this time. Not much else to report really, I don't think we lost anyone but there was a suspiciously empty car there when we left!
Tom and I went to Monsal Head with Southern Wart’s run, we were early and decided to run alone as we had three dogs with us. There was one other wart, a new member who we have seen before but don’t know in the car park, we told him what we were doing, told him to watch the other car park for the rest and we pushed off around 18.35 before the start time 18.50 to do the Thornbridge race route.
Our run round the race route in very different conditions to an August bank holiday was great, we didn’t see a soul.
When we returned, there was Roy who had cycled out and nobody else. We had beers, nobody else was there and nobody else arrived before we left about 9.30
So, not sure what happened, but that’s a poor do for the one person who had a wasted journey if nobody else turned up. It emphasises the problem of various venues being posted on the website, I would have been really pissed off if I had been the only person there.
Well, another epic! I suppose by now I should be used to it. Five intrepid Warts set out from Hathersage to explore the snow. A quick circuit of the Ladybower car park found no other Warts, so off to Fairholmes. The police at Ashopton, stopping vehicles heading onto the Snake volunteered that we were not alone, so we were not surprised when we found another car at Fairholmes.
We were seven strong when we headed through the woods with the intention of going to Alport. This went well, with the strong and cold wind ("Feels Like -8C" according to the Met office) behind us. Not easy to see the path, but we made the edge above Alport Castles without incident. We then went straight past the track to Westend, but realising fairly soon what we had done decided to head East to avoid a huge road run at the end. Normally it would have been a good plan, but for the fact that the wind had dumped all the snow from the edge onto our route off. So a gentle downill trot of 2Km took 50 minutes, with lots of falling over and much blood left on the crusty snow. Everyone seemed to be in remarkably good spirits considering...
Apart from almost heading back onto the hill in a brief moments confusion in Ouzelden, perhaps because the webmaster had cut the relevant bit of his map off, presumably to use at an earlier event, the run back along the valley was uneventful.
A very well earned pint of Blonde followed, and after a few minutes we were joined in the pub by four more Warts who had made it to Kings Tree and had an adventure around the Crow Stones and its environs.
A few of us decided to forgo the dubious pleasures of the Rivelin Landmarks race and visited the Westend River, to see how much snow was still around. Turns out there was deep snow all the way to the Grinah Stones and back (via Barrow Stones then through the woods by the ruined farmhouse). The snow was just frozen enough to take our weight about 50% of the time, which provided good entertainment and frustration in equal helpings.
Bob & Rob's faultless navigation got us there and back without incident, even if Bob was heard to grumble "there's only two of us here with a compass" on occasion. Not true but most of them did remain fairmly in bumbags for the duration.
I lost a dark blue helly shirt after the warts run at Castleton last wednesday. I got changed outside the pub & may not have picked it up before going in for a pint. I went back later that evening after checking with everyone in the car but couldnt find it.
If anyone picked it up I'd be grateful for its return.
Tim Hawley 01142 851633 07801321424
By very popular demand (Messrs Harmer and Westgate seem especially keen, but I know Rob C and Lewis will take particular delight also), I offer the first in an occasional series of "spot the control points" race tracks.
Tim T's birthday race started and finished from the Sportsman (my watch was eight minutes late kicking in), and featured six control points, with a short option to visit just four. I eventually visited four, with a very half-hearted attempt to visit a fifth.
A pint of Landlord to the best guess/description as to what these five control points might have been (without reference to anyone present on the night, please).
And for those who were present, an alternative game: a pint of Blonde to the best prose reconstruction of my thought processes as I ambled around the route last night ...
The one thing I will say in my defence is that the attention to detail demonstrated in avoiding any form of trespass over the western end of the route is, I'd suggest, truly laudable.
Only 7 finely tuned athletes turned out for this "proper" warts run. The conditions were perfect, cold and clear with a few inches of snow on Kinder to add to the pleasure. The north wind on Kinder soon froze all extraneous appendages and spare clothing was utilised for a purpose which the manufacturer had never dreamt of but if it works, it could be a good selling point (keeps the head and knackers warm etc!) From Seal Stones we strayed onto a path but not for long as our gallant leader took us direct to Snake Bridge via just about everything. From here, we crossed the road and up to the end of Oyster Clough with a climb up the reverse of the Alport race route. We stuck to the southern edge and found a huge crevasse, where the hill is quickly detaching itself in what promises to be a monumental landslip. Unfortunately, Capt. Harmer found this too readily and fell into it with a cry of obvious agony! The problem was he was in pain but stuck fast and all our pulling and tugging couldn't shift him. Eventually our gallant Pertex holder reached down and freed his foot but Capt. was now convinced that his leg was broken. After much lying down, heavy breathing and cursing (and offers of whisky), a recovery took place and he managed, despite near fatal injury, to guide us back direct to the cars, whereupon he expired gracefully, heroes are all too rare these days. We were so glad to have the Safety Officer with us, who at least managed to take some photographs but piteously, didn't make us aware of the potential danger of this crevasse, well worth seeing incidentally, just don't lose yourself or a dog in it, before it blocks the Snake for good.
Having found my Garmin on Saturday morning lying on the tarmac where we parked on Wednesday, with various walkers stepping over it, I've now managed to upload the track! A rarish visit from Nicky Spinks and her two dogs (and mine which made a total of four dogs, must be a record!), followed the "Winterburn" route up to Pike Lowe in the brilliant moonlight - a stunningly clear and moonlit night. We then followed the ridge route up to Marjory Hill, where whisky was taken in the icy conditions. There seemed to be the usual debate and confusion about where we were going to next, so the frontrunners set off in an easterly direction leaving me to minister to the knackered Capt. Harmer. Somehow we managed to get back! I should also a record our fond farewell to Dan, who has become a faithful wart but who sadly has departed this life for a job in Reading! We shall drink to absent friends every Wednesday, good luck Dan. (Gone to Williams F1, you never know he might be on the telly!)
After being talked out of going to find the plastic rock by Gardom's Edge, on the grounds it would be too far, young Rob took us on a trek across the worst terrain Big Moor has to offer. And it is bad, well up to Cap'n Harmer's standard. At the whisky stop, when another plod via some spot height or other to the White Edge trig was offered, a breakaway formed, and the four free bus pass holders set off around the corner instead to pick up more track running. This was so successful they arrived back at the pub 15 mins later than the direct route group. Hey-ho.
The annual warts' outing to the White Peak! A pleasant evening with a fair number of the locals and even Mr Holmes, who tore himself away from the Sportsman to grace us with his presence. The unity of the group, always an issue when there is a range of running speeds and ages present, was going to be a problem, the younger members fast disappearing into the distance leaving some of the old farts to catch up. However, it soon transpired that the young farts hadn't a clue where we were going, so it all balanced out nicely. Until....somewhere near Abney, there was a breakaway up the steep hill. The more sensible of us followed the path through a wonderful quagmire and after much searching, to the stone circle on Eyam Moor, which isn't a stone circle at all but never mind. This seemed to take a long time (how time flies etc. etc.), as we had now been out over 2 hours, so a hasty retreat for the main group back to the cars, only to find that the footpath/road runners had beaten us by 20 minutes after they took the easy route. tut-tut, standards are beginning to fall.
A fair turnout for one of our prime venues. The pre-run arguments between Messrs Holmes and Harmer were confined to the car with only me to witness, so all was seemingly well as the route had been discussed at length and the fact that this was THE warts run was commented on and dismissed by Capt H. with a vitriolic but poignant "fuck off, Dave!" Nuff said. Anyway, the run..... up the now denuded forest to the top gate and then to New Cross (remains of!) which was found amazingly easily and the first show of unity ensued with all bar the VERY slow contingent, arriving together. Naturally enough, confusion ensued with the next leg of the run: some heard that the waterfall was the next checkpoint and some Berrister's Tor - a split ensued with the Safety Officer (amongst others) taking an easy route. leaving the rest of us without safety cover in the likely event of a disaster.Tut tut, that stripe, Lance Cpl Harvey may yet be in jeopardy! Anyway, nobody died, as far as we knew and whisky was taken in the wind and rain like real warts do. Low Tor and the concrete cabin and thence to the pub. A standard, if slightly short, warts run but given the rain and the lure of the fire in the pub, there were no dissenters.
Gone are the days when we used to lament the fact that only a hard core half a dozen or so came warting - now we manage to attract 34 highly tuned athletes including the remainder of the old hard core, now sadly well knackered!
However... we set off in a determined manner up to Seal Stones and then towards Hartshorn, still visible in the gathering gloom. From here we dropped down into a black abyss and then amazingly enough, went straight back up, to Grindslow Knoll, to consume the assorted alcoholic beverages on offer. There was a notable degree of straying from the party line, not least by Lance-Corporal Harvey, the self-appointed safety officer who never seems to be there when help is needed! Following this, the usual splitting of the multitude occurred. I was following my dog Tess, before I realised that I was leading a group into the blackness, fortunately in roughly the right direction (amazing instinct these dogs) up Grindsbrook and thence to the northern edge. From here it was a gradual, very wet descent to the pub. A generally good night, we wait to see what happens to the numbers when the weather gets worse!!
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