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Saturday, 28 May 2016

A Very Long and Hilly English Pubcrawl

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Apparently, I had the idea for this walk back in 2011. Then, forgetting whatever happened in 2011, I had the idea again in 2015.
The idea, should you still be reading this and have not deserted the pieblog for tales of derring-do on the TGO challenge, is to connect on foot the four highest pubs in England.
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England, it seems beats the other UK countries by hundreds of feet in having more pubs at a higher altitude than any of the others, despite the others being more mountainous.
In addition to linking up the four pubs, as many other pubs of altitude, or of consequence to hillwalkers had to be included, and beer or other liquids taken at each one where possible.
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A sensible walk would visit three pubs, of course as a sort of mirror or counter-weight to Three Peaks walks of various types. The problem with this is that two of the highest pubs are quite close together and the other one isn’t and three pubs would fail to include Kirkstone Pass Inn and walking there was an attractive proposition. An alternative pub trek might well continue North from Tan Hill Inn and end at, say, Allendale.
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So, the four altitude pubs in order are:
Tan Hill Inn
Cat and Fiddle Inn
Travellers Rest at Flash
Kirkstone Pass Inn.
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Dawn joined in the jaunt and Lucky The Dog was recruited as a furry hot water bottle. (This only went wrong once when he was sick all over my bumbag, camera and maps at 3:00 am during a stealthy camp near Kirkstone Pass.)
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I’ll be doing three blog posts about this altogether, by which time I expect you’ll be thouroughly sick  apols, don’t mention “sick” – fed up of the whole thing. I hope, though, that others will have a go at this challenge. Indeed, it’s an ideal long walk for anybody with a couple of weeks to spare and who is of a biblious bent. Like wot I am.
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We began at Buxton and caught a bus to Flash. We had light packs and it rained more or less all day. I had developed a cold overnight and the easy route and inconsequential packs hid the fact that I couldn’t really walk very far, and certainly not uphill.
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The next day we covered 14 relatively easy miles to Peak Forest. We got a bit lost. My bolt had been shot. Luckily, Dawn’s bolt wasn’t very happy either, so the next four days where we covered ten or eleven painful miles each day made us at least a day behind. Contours, specially those close together were proving tortuous. I told the wife about it and, as she happened to be in Calderdale and wanted to visit a fabric shop in Embsay,  she met us at Todmorden and took us to Skipton where we regrouped a bit and started again. I took solace with an ex-school pal in the Cock and Bottle.
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Slowly our daily mileage crept up and by careful rejigging of the route we managed to stay on schedule, covering all of 17 miles on one day.
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The rejigging resulted in the final day being split into two. Unfortunately, Dawn couldn’t make the final lurch over the mountains to Kirkstone Pass, so, I abandoned her, in her tent to a grissly and lonely fate and sailed over to Kirkstone Pass with a sudden apparent fitness and in superb, cloudless conditions. I did tell the police where she was and that she’d contact them when she managed to get to a phone. The police thought that this was a good idea. Just before they realised that if Dawn forgot to tell them she was safe, they’d probably have to mount a search….  The local keeper would have eventually found her mouldering bones anyway, though whilst checking his foxholes, which he was doing when we met him.
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And the next day a short walk brought me and LTD to Ambleside.
We’ll have to return to Todmorden to complete the route by walking to Skipton – a distance by a new and improved route of some 31 miles. I will have maps of the “official” route available for anybody who wants them although these won’t show our navigationally challenged wanderings and the couple of easy alternatives we took to save a bit of time.
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I covered 180 miles in 15 days – and, I have to say, that the route is mainly a specially fab one. It goes roughly like this:
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Travellers Rest at Flash – Cat and Fiddle – Buxton (19 pubs available but The Eagle is dog friendly and is near the bus stop) – Midshires Way – Monsal Train – Limkestone Way/Pennine bridleway to Peak Forest – Limestone Way – Edale via Mam Tor –Ringing Roger – Blackden Moor – Snake Pass Inn – Doctors Gate – Pennine Way to Crowden via Bleaklow - Black Hill – Saddleworth Moor – Standedge –White House Inn – Withens Gate – Lumbutts – Calderdale Way to Todmorden [missing link: Calderdale Way to Sportmans Arms – Widdop – Pennine Way to Stanbury – Bronte Way to Wycoller – Pendle Way to Black Lane Ends – Earby – Elslack –Carleton – Skipton] back on track – Sharp Haw – Hetton – The Weets – Gordale Scar – Malham Moor – Arncliffe Cote – Knipe Scar – Kettlewell – Dales Way to Buckden – Cray – Semer Water – Hawes – Hardraw – Pennine Way to Thwaite – pastures to Keld – Pennine Way to Tan Hill Inn – Ravenseat – CtoC (whichever route is available) to Kirkby Stephen – Lanes and old railway paths to Smardale – CtoC route to Shap – Keld – Swindale – Mosedale – Gatesgarth Pass – Harter Fell – Thornthwaite Beacon – Stony Cove Pike – John Bells Banner – Kirkstone Pass Inn – Ambleside.
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As this walk is all about pubs, the next blogpost will be about pubs – good, bad, snooty, abandoned , closed…
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Sunday, 8 May 2016

Beer Trekkin–All Ready To Go

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This is it, men. Over the hill.

I spent almost the whole day today packing a rucksack and searching for lost things to put in the rucksack.

Very attentive readers may remember that me and LTD and Dawn are intending to attempt to walk between the highest several (four main ones and some others) public houses in England.

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Thus, we have train tickets for Buxton. leaving late morning tomorrow.

On Tuesday we’ll be catching the X15 Stoke-on-Trent bus which will take all of 13 minutes to get to Flash where the walk begins at the Travellers Rest.

We’ll have light packs tomorrow and stay for a second night in Buxton.

And then the challenge begins. (Not the TGO challenge which starts roughly – very roughly – on Friday and good luck to everybody I know who are setting off for the coast on that day ) The plan is then to walk to Tan Hill Inn, drink some beer (just me, Dawn doesn’t and LTD isn’t old enough)

And then we will try to walk to Kirkstone Pass Inn via Shap.

The planned route is 319 kilometres in 15 days.  We may knock a bit off this.

We may fail.

We may get a lock-in. We live in hope.

Actually, we live in Crook….

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Friday, 6 May 2016

Monday, 2 May 2016

Doing The Dodd

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No folks, this is not a new dance, it’s a 614 metre high Nuttall/Hewitt/Sim with a 31 metre drop.
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The Dodd is a lump. A flat-topped boggy lump at that. It is, in fact, typically Pennine. It’s only redeeming features are it’s fine views of the Lake District, surrounding Pennines, The Cheviots and bits of Scotland. The views up here are Big in a Very Large kind of way.
And it’s curlews, skylarks, meadow pipits, snipe, grouse (I suppose…) and the long and gentle ridge heading due North towards a sparkling green glen.
And the bogs, if you like boggy bits.
And the industrial archaeology.
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This was a Wednesday Walkers Walking On Saturdays Group walk lead by Lucky The Dog with me as deputy. LTD, of course, has been here before. There was a previous WSWG walk on this very hill in the summer of 2014; LTD’s first long walk, in fact. I’m not certain if he remembered it.
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12 other WSWG peeps turned up, plus Bailey the Dog and we started in hopeful sunshine, then in unhopeful sleety rain which was happily and hopefully just a brief wetting. Any further showers seem to have just missed us, although it seems that the surrounding hills were enjoying some fairly beefy ones.
There was snow too, remaining from a snowy and unpleasant week of weather which had me hiding indoors with lots of hot coffee. And toast. And preventing me getting to Nenthead for a reccy.
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The snow was starting to thaw in the sun, just still deep enough to disguise the really deep boggy bits from unwary boots and,  after bagging the top, we sailed down the ridge to a square fold where, inside, it was quite warm in the sunshine for the scoffing of lunches. This is not a sheepfold, though. It’s square and the map announces a disused mine near the site of it. My suspicion is that it’s a fold for ponies, used to remove ore from the mine. There’s other square folds in other places…
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We returned via the Miner’s Rest, Carrshields and Coalcleugh – a tussocky trip where we failed to acheive the signpost at the bridleways junction in favour of a contouring route which saved a bit of climbing and was no rougher than the proper route.
At Nenthead, Brian was found attempting to fix the window on his car. He joined us in the Miners Arms determined to delegate the engineering to his son, who was on his way…
The walk is about 12 miles and 1800 feet of up, with some bogs and tussocks. Bits of it are quite fab, though…
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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Derring Daunderers Dufton Dawdle Part 2

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When we left our derring daunderers in the previous post, they were settling in for a nithering night somewhere not all that far from the source of the River Tees. The next morning, needless to say, was frigidly frosty but beautiful. LTD was reluctant to emerge from his stink-pit till the sun started to warm up the akto. And so was I.

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But Things Had To Be Done and we all set off at roughly 9:00 am for the march to Cow Green. Some went on the North side of the river and some (including me and LTD), on the South. Our RV point was to be the Moorhouse NNR entrance near Tynehead.  Alastair and Jamie carried on for the bagging of Belbeaver Rigg and Viewing Hill, two handy Nutalls on Alastair’s List Of Nutalls Still To Bag whilst the remaining 8 blundered on through the tussocks and tracks to the little bothy/unlocked shooting hut near Cow Green which provided a brewing shelter from the nithering breeze drifting off an iceberg just this side of Greenland.

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Reunited we wandered down to Cauldron Snout to join the Pennine Way back towards Dufton. The original plan was to camp just inside the military training range but clearly the army were being a bit sniffy about this, so an alternative camp in the limestone gorge just to the right of High Cup Nick was selected. It became obvious, though, that there would be other camping opportunities beside Maize Beck and, by 4:00 p.m. we’d found a comfy spot beside a little waterfall and popular skinny-dipping spot which would do nicely. It was much too cold for any kind of river bathing, though.

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A convivial evening ensued. I visited a few tents and was shorlty followed by LTD who I thought had been well tucked-in for the night and seemed settled and immovable underneath his thermal blanket and my cosy jacket.

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So we visited Mr Sloman’s tabernacle where he helped Alan in the safe disposal of the substantial remains of a chicken curry. LTD does enjoy teamwork and the cleaning up of remains of scoff from dehydrated meals packets is his specialty. He tends to emply his very efficient and sloppy tongue at an atomic level and in this way, the rubbish bag stays much fresher, specially on multi-day walks, any empty packets being clinically clean.

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Overnight there was a bit of snow and it was still murky and snowy in the morning. Andrew reported that at one point the night was starry, moonlit and beautiful. But I missed it. I always miss these things.

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Another 09:00 start saw us complete the walk back to The Old Post Office tearoom for breakfast, joined once again by Mr Morpeth. On the way, of course, we passed by High Cup Nick where it was still snowy and quite misty. This added a bit of atmosphere to the place, but, maybe it would have been nice for those who hadn’t been there before to get a proper view.

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The whole walk was a bit over 30 miles in two and a half days. And the North Pennine landscape is the only bit of England with anything like the scale of things a bit further North. And, much of the time it was at it’s best with wide sweeps of fell well ventilated by cold North winds and big, sunny views.

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And it was a lorra lorra fun. Lucky The Dog enjoyed being in a bigger pack than usual and worried a bit when the group split up or temporarily drifted apart and would have gone to try to round people up had he not been on his lead.

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And it was really nice to meet old friends from the TGO challenge. (Even the chap who pinched one of my slices of toast – you know who you are. Your Dad works for the Council, innit?) We only meet once every few years and when we do, it’s often in some remote and unexpected spot. It’s made me want to have another go at the TGO. Probably next year. I have a route.

Thanks to Alan for the invite. Hopefully, this post will look less horrific than the previous one (!) – I’ve added a few pics of people who seem to be enjoying themselves….  hope this helps….. 

Good luck to those on this year’s TGO challenge. Me and Lucky and Dawn are off to do some Beer Trekkin at TGO chally time. (Dawn will likely have soft drinks). I’m not confident that either of us are fit enough for this but if we don’t set off we’ll never know. And I have train tickets for Buxton.