“Come back Andy, all is forgiven” Chris’s plea at about 7pm on Wednesday 17th January 2024

Whether it was the cold (very) or our navigation that caused this comment I’m not sure, but I suspect it was both. There were just five Slow Warts (Chris, Tim, Simon, Jim and me) at Broomhead where the “feels like” temperature was about -8⁰C if not lower. As we had moved away from the longest night, towards summer, we had the short lived pleasure of a clear-sky winter sunset. Whilst the track looked surprisingly tempting, Chris decided that there was a need to explore an ancient monument, a) because we needed to improve our local historical knowledge and b) because Wednesday night is also when the Slow Warts need to maintain their Harmerian quota. Despite the fact that we were promised a decent path in the ancient ditch boundary between Northumbria and elsewhere, time had done its job increasing the undergrowth to ensure we had the full experience.

We did reach the shooting cabin where, conveniently, its south facing wall provided some relative warmth from the northern wind but, all good things must finish and we left to face the wind on a narrow path which was sufficiently challenging, being narrow and snow covered, with ice and cold water beneath, to satisfy the hard men in the group had. Our second check point after the cabin was the lower bridge on Oaken Clough at this path end and then the third CP at the higher bridge. We achieved the lower one but we missed the upper one which can be hard enough to find in even daylight. So, we conferred and targeted the Landrover track which we saw traces of but failed to follow it to the red pyramids, no, I’m not hallucinating, but instead found some small red posts. We cut our losses and went directly to the Dukes Road where we confirmed our antipathy to long hard tracks with a dose of aversion therapy. It was very hard on the feet and legs. Surprisingly, it felt slightly quicker than the traditional way through to the Rushy Dike crossing. There was yet more track as we peered into the darkness looking for The Cairn which looked smaller than expected but it was found and ticked off. A rough bearing was taken, and then duly ignored, as we subsequently drifted left into some very deep heather, obviously to make up for all the track running. Chris again checked on the technology and lead us successfully to the Landrover track. I don’t think the Cap’n would have been very pleased with our performance, hence Chris’s comment as we were finishing the outing!

We changed quickly though frozen laces meant keeping freezing shoes on for the pub where discussions ranged from Jim’s Irish relations to deciding that Andy would be asked to decide next week’s venue.

A grand, cold outing thanks to all but would Andy have managed without gloves?

Graham

Last night’s track thanks to Chris

Categories: Warts