Yes, I know our regular day for Slow Warts was changed to Tuesday this week but it was nevertheless poor weather, very wet, to say the least. So, it seems that the Slow Warts cannot avoid challenging weather whichever day we choose, it was so extreme that we didn’t leave our dry warm cars until exactly 5pm. The deluge didn’t stop as we ten started our paddlathon from Nether North Grain but fortunately it was on our backs propelling us quickly, we thought, onwards for a long crossing of Alport Moor. 

Nether North Grain. Photo thanks to Jim

As it happened, we were starting on a tour of the Grains, crossing Upper North, Grains in the Water, and Near and Far Fork Grains. The Cap’n’s actual plan however was to visit a couple of unnamed rock outcrops south of and below Bleaklow Hill and Bleaklow Head.

A panoramic view of the moors. Photo thanks to Jim

On the face of it, flat is good for maintaining moorland water levels but it does linger, so we spent time dodging between the pools and groughs in the misguided belief that we could keep our feet dry over Alport Moor. No such luck, by now we had alternated between thoroughly soaked feet and beer coloured water filling our shoes especially after the Alport river crossing. It is aways impressive to see the resilience of slime to cling on to submerged river rocks even in the scouring and abrasive rapid water flow. This provides an extra level of jeopardy for our river crossings, only the brave would hop from rock to slimy rock. Success is a rapid crossing and failure is the indignity of an enforced dunking. In between are the cautious cowards like me who hang on to any (slimy) rock to then make a desperate dive for the other bank, again this can be dignified or not. Whichever, a successful arrival on the opposite bank is energising, satisfying and uplifting. As the rain continued, we sheltered behind the first and second groups of rocks to console ourselves with the suggestion that the negative ions generated by rainfall can improve mood. True or not, there were a few smiles amongst us or was this due to hysteria? I’m certainly not going to volunteer for experiments to prove or disprove this!

Sheltering in the rocks. Photo thanks to Chris
It’s a long way back to Nether North Grain. Photo thanks to Jim

To say we were at our highest point of the trip, there was significant climbing and descent to get back to the car from the groups of rocks and, needless to say, some bogginess across The Swamp, a confluence of various streams. Whilst obvious, its name seems to lack imagination, so perhaps it ought to be renamed Death Trap Bog or Swallow you up Swamp? Around The Swamp is an orienteers’ hand rail (a fence) literally and real, to guide us part of the way back to the cars (it does go to Doctor’s Gate). We managed to cross it twice and in so doing I managed to entangle myself in the lower netting, unable to remove my foot whilst astride the fence. My initial calls for help were ignored but then, step forward Chris and Pete to disentangle me, I must admit the thought of finishing my days as a skeleton skewered to a fence was not too attractive. So, thanks again both.

We did get back to the cars when another deluge arrived and we again practiced our warming down contortions by changing in the cars to then dash to the comfort of the YBI who were surprised to see us on a Tuesday. We are definitely regulars there! Birthdays; Jim, Tim, Chris, Michael (and his cake), ageing and the Crookestone Crashout on Saturday were all considered and clearly the negative ions effect had worked although could it have been the beer? A great outing, thanks to all.


Our track. Thanks to Chris

Categories: Warts