Slow Warts are not particularly known for their timing but we seemed to excel this Wednesday as we seven set off from Blackden car park. As we left the cars at 3pm, it started to rain and as we returned later from our wanderings, the rain then stopped. It was probably as we wanted though we did admit that it was good to get back again and dry off. We immediately plunged into almost extreme conditions of muddy, wet and steep ground. It was all about avoiding the humiliating signs of a sliding fall, that it is, very muddy leggings. Such was our pride that I think we descended more slowly than we ascended on the way back.
Andy, who was unable to make it, had left his plans for the outing suggesting Blackden trig, Ringing Roger, a traverse to near the head of Grindsbrook, Hartshorn and possibly Dunge Clough and back. As always, it was a strenuous route so we felt under some pressure to satisfy his ambition for us. We may have started less courageously than Andy would have, by going around the side of Dean Hill and across the ford to climb from there, passing on the opposite side of the Clough past the “new” landslide. The climbs up to the Kinder plateau fall into a pattern of initially steep, and then a level (well, less steep) shelf for partial recovery before a steep finish to the top. You may think that this sort of profile is ideal with a recovery (?) mid-way up. This night, however, we were not so kindly inclined to think it ideal as the rain continued to rain on all our optimistically described waterproof garments. Nevertheless, we regrouped at Blackden Edge, our group was down to six with Jim deciding his own line and now, John very wisely deciding discretion is better than valour and so leaving to go back.
We were now five, continuing to find Blackden trig in the thick mist. In these misty and probably other conditions, there is a case for painting trigs bright red because the current off white is perfect camouflage in mist. Having said that, Tim lead us directly to it, the only distinguishing feature being the arrow plaque near its base. With 50 minutes now having passed and a suggestion that it would take longer to return via a different line, reluctantly (though not too reluctantly) we decided to “give up the opportunity” to enjoy the traverse path to upper Grindsbrook and instead to take the Blackden Edge path (sorry Andy) around to Seal Edge and descend from there. It is always good (?) to wash off any excess peat from shoes at the end of a run and, conveniently, washing facilities were provided by the lower reaches of Blackden Brook which although narrow in places was surprisingly deep and fast moving. So, not only shoes were washed but also leggings. All to no avail however, as we climbed and slid up the muddy final climb to the cars.
There is a further challenge at the cars, particularly for me, in the race to get to the pub. Wet skin and dry clothes don’t mix, it must be surface tension, it certainly raises my tension forcing wet feet into trousers and, to add to the delays, unknotting my wet laces with cold fingers added more. Apologies to all! Needless to say, we didn’t get to the welcoming YBI pub first so others were already sipping their pints but we had the satisfaction of a dose of deferred gratification! The outing was declared a bit of an epic upgraded after a pint or two to a run of the season if not a higher grade by Clive on the following day. But, did we disappoint the Cap’n for omitting the traverse? Read next week’s blog for his reaction. A challenging outing. Thanks to all.