Tonight’s outing for we happy few, we band of brothers, the Slow Warts
We were braced for our adventure with these inspirational words from Shakespeare’s Henry V. Whether they would help or not, we were about to find out as we band of seven brothers set off from Fairholmes. We had two absentees from last week with Chris in Portugal and John supporting the Much Ado about Nothing play in Hathersage, he was definitely in Shakespearean mode so his absence was accepted by the Cap’n. There was a welcome return for Clive and Tom.
Surprisingly, there was no rain but we weren’t too disappointed and we enjoyed the quiet of no crinkly waterproofs as we sped up the track around Lost Lad on the right and Poynton Bog on the left to descend Sheepfold Clough to the drumlins where, in Chris’s absence, we felt free to shout the word without contradiction. Of course, the route planner would not let us go without making some sort of gesture to “pay” for our enjoyment of track running all the way to the drumlins. So, it was therefore necessary to cool feet and legs by crossing the notorious foaming torrent of a well-watered Abbey Brook. After delicately sliding in either a controlled manner or, more likely, an uncontrolled manner, into the peaty brown waters, we managed to extricate ourselves on to the other bank.
This was only the beginning of our Slow Warts’ adventure; we were now faced with the rather aptly named Foul Clough and Foul Crag. It is remarkable how much we depend on vegetation for our thrills, the bumpy tussocks, the heather wading and the sure fast (?) holds on steep (very) slopes the latter of which we enjoyed out of the Brook. I think we enjoyed the climb particularly as the darkness prevented us seeing just how steep and deep the chasm was. It’s probably best to only attempt this climb in the dark or, otherwise, blindfolded. This was not what Moz wanted, so he went up Foul Crag directissima so winning tonight’s man of the mountain award.
Regathering, we followed a delicate and faint sheep contour track (for faint sheep commented Clive) and again we were spared any sense of vertigo by the enveloping darkness so we arrived safely at Gravy Cabin, suggested to be an ideal overnight camp though no great enthusiasm was shown for this.
But, back to reality, another crossing of Abbey Brook beckoned. We slid down again and Tom managed slow his slide by scraping his shin on a rock. At least, he was able to wash his leg in the Brook and the cold water could staunch the bleeding. We all followed across the Brook and again used the vegetation for grip and support up to the main track. Clearly, we were getting a bit weary as we didn’t even bother to visit Cogman Cabin and continued on to the Tony Keddie track which is getting less distinct, we need it to be used more! Pragmatism seems to increase the longer we’re out, this time we avoided the rocky contour to Hancock Pond by climbing up (!) the track above Bamford House to descend through a developing thorn tree wood. What with this and the dense bracken there, this field may well become impassable; sadly, I remember this field without any such impediments, surprisingly plants do grow.
Is it age, or is it age? Our estimate for the duration of our outings have been consistently short so an hour’s estimate became an actual time of an hour and a quarter, an hour and a half became two hours and two hours became two and three quarters as was our outing today. No wonder we became pragmatic/tired. It made our visit to the welcoming YBI even more appreciated. Our outing was declared to be a classic Slow Warts’ special. Thanks to all.