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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Great Knoutberry Station to Station

ruswarp the dog

First of all, here’s a health warning, or, I should say, a tissue warning. This blog contains material which some people might find upsetting. Have some tissues ready.

Message to the vulnerable - You know who you are. Be sensible. Don’t read the last section of this blog post if your mum is about to arrive, or you have an important job interview in the next hour or so. You don’t want to arrive looking like you’ve just been blubbering. Here’s a clue: see that dog in the pic above. Its about that dog. Its quite sad.

I did tell you!

Anyway, this is another post in the series containing fascinating details about how to climb the Yorkshire dales 2000 foot tops. Its also uses the Settle-Carlisle railway line to make a linear walk instead of a circular one, or one that looks like a vegetable …. I thought that using the train was such a good idea, I might well do some more Station to Station walks on the Settle to Carlisle line.

dent station

So, after negotiating a scarily white-coloured A66, we finally slithered into the car park at Garsdale station, where we mooched about for a bit looking at the statue of a dog (Did I mention how upsetting this is by the way?)

The signalman cam out of his signal box and signalled to me. “The train’s on time” he says. We have a conversation across the tracks. He discovers my plan to get the train to Dent and walk back again. “Nice” he says…”And you’ll probably be getting off before the conductor has managed to collect your fare….”

The train comes. I get on. I pay the conductor. He gives me a ticket. Bruno doesn’t like it. The train stops. I get off. I am at Dent Station.

My dad once had a ticket for Dent station from Chatham. Around 1944ish he had a 24 hour pass from the Royal navy and got the train to Skipton, using his ticket for Dent. This was a scam to avoid buying train tickets. I’m not certain how the scam worked. Unfortunately, he fell asleep somewhere South of Leeds and woke up in Ribblesdale, being dumped on Dent station late at night. He caught the milk train back in the morning, but his leave was at an end, so he went on to Chatham. With a new ticket.

Luckily, I managed to stay awake for the five minute journey.

dentdale from the bridleway

We got off and walked up the road towards Garsdale, turning off on a drifted-over bridleway with expansive views from Penyghent to Scafell Pike. This bridleway is worth walking on if you do nothing else. Its brill, man….

whernside and ingleborough from the bridleway

After a while, the sun got stronger and my beard froze, so I was hot and cold all at the same time. We turned off the track and climbed up to the summit of Great Knoutberry – using our new skills of following the hard snow next to the wall and ignoring the peat hags and tussocks. At the top, a chap from Lincolnshire was having his lunch. We discussed tents and sleeping bags and the degree to which our respective offspring liked hillwalking, or not.

following a snow drift

I continued by following the wall which forms the Yorkshire/Cumbria County boundary. This passes dangerously over the fiercely frozen Widdale fell tarn.

widdale fell tarn frozen

I was going to follow the boundary for quite a long way, but it dawned on me that it was leading me away from my parked car and not towards it, so, I turned left and did the follow-a-patch-of-snow thing across a couple of miles of peaty haggy moory stuff back to the road to Garsdale, which was under several feet of snow at this point.

wild boar fell from widdale fell

This road, incidentally is know as the Coal road. The reason may seem obvious until you consider that it links two railway stations together. What’s the point of taking the coal off the train and carrying it over the fell and putting it back on a train again – I wondered. Then I thought that maybe the pits around the sides of the road were actually coal mines. Ah yes, that’s it.

Its also called “Galloway gate” or the “Galloway Road” This is perhaps just a bit older than the Coal road name and refers to Galloway cattle which were driven on high level routes from Scotland to the meat-hungry industrial Lancashire and Yorkshire. It was, in fact, turning the protein of the protein-rich North into silver and thus into carbohydrates (ie bread)

coal road aka galloway gate

We arrived in due course back at the car.

We did 8 miles and 1250 feet of uphill. The snow is still very hard. Its not too late to go and walk on it. Do it now. Gwan… do it now.

dent to garsdale

And now.

A space.

Compose yourselves.

About this dog…..

The dog is, or, I should say, was, called “Ruswarp” This, apparently, is pronounced “Russup”

Ruswarp belonged to a chap called Graham Nuttall. Graham and Ruswarp were instrumental in keeping the Settle-Carlisle railway line open. Indeed, Ruswarp’s paw print appears on the petition. He was a familiar attender at meetings. the campaign was successful.

Shortly after the line was saved, Graham and Ruswarp went hillwalking in Wales. Graham disappeared in the Welsh hills on 20th January 1990. His body was found on 7 April 1990, some eleven winter weeks later and Ruswarp was still in attendance. He was in a bad shape, though and lived just long enough to witness Graham’s funeral. He was a quiet dog, but when the coffin passed through the crematorium curtains, it’s said that he let out a baleful howl.

Hot sweet tea and a fag, I think…..

But what of Great Knoutberry? – Easy peasy, a bit rough in parts. Cracking views, though. It doesn’t really lend itself to long walks, somehow. The train line is very useful and adds interest.

Sniff… I’m still thinking about that dog……

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Restoring Barnard Castle’s Riverside Paths

River Tees at Barnard Castle

A couple of weeks ago I got recruited as a volunteer by Durham County Council’s Outdoor peeps (not the official name!) to take part in a project aimed at restoring Barnard castle’s riverside paths network. (I’ve been a voluntary countryside ranger for the County Council a few years now…)

These are very popular paths for locals and visitors and their dogs and are an important resource for a bit of quiet wandering around in a nice bit of woodland next to the River Tees.

volunteers volunteering

Today’s work was opening part of one of the paths out because it had become overgrown with quite a bit of scrub – lots of elder and hawthorn and brambles and raspberries, so there was a full day of pruning and sawing and dragging bits of shrubbery around.

Most locals who were passing with their doggies seemed to think it was all a really good idea but one chap enquired as to the whereabouts of his favourite elderberry tree…. (doh!)

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I think there were eight or nine of us plus the County Tree Officer and an off-duty countryside ranger with a chain saw.

Well be back in a couple of weeks to do a bit of gardening and there’s some woodland to thin out.

This is quite good exercise and uses muscles other than walking ones( I’ve been sawing all day!) and a bit of positive feedback from the Barnard Castilians and the fact that you can instantly see the difference – makes it all very satisfying. (And, of course, with being a volunteer, you get treated nicely in case you don’t come back! – Its not like having a job.)

If anybody wants any logs or firewood by the way, there’s piles of it by the River Tees at Barney.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Peebles to Moffat

hart fell range moffat

Many years ago, somebody bought me “The Big Walks” edited by Richard Gilbert and Ken Wilson, a coffee-table glossy pics type of thing which was very popular at the time and came in a series – including Classic Walks, Classic Climbs, The Big Climbs and so on.

Any road up, in this “Big Walks” book, there are some ridiculously long routes such as all the Fannichs in one go , The Ben Nevis and Lochaber Traverse and Marsden to Edale. Typically, many of the Scottish walks start and/or end in the middle of nowhere so you have to walk to the start and/or finish as well. They were tuff in them days, so they were….

And so, I’ve had one of these walks slowly braising in the back of my mind for many years and it is – The classic Big Walk from Peebles to Moffat. Or from Moffat to Peebles.

So I asked a few people who I thought might be interested and we have a kind of provisional arrangement to have a go at this at Easter this year. We won’t be doing this in a day, though, not on your muddy-booted nelly. No, we’ll take two and a half days. And then, some people wanted to walk back again – another two and a half days.

Final arrangements still have to be arranged finally but watch this space for further developments.

Here are the two routes: (apols for the poor quality of the maps, but I had to get the whole route on and not much space. Have a look at it in conjunction with a road map and you’ll get the idea)

mpnorth

mpmiddle

mpsouth

Maps not to be used for navigation!

The total distance is around 73 Miles and the first part includes 3 Corbetts and a multitude of Donalds (‘Course, I’ve done all of these hills before ‘cos I’m a Donaldist intye?)

The walk, describes as starting at Peebles just for descriptive purposes goes from Peebles via Kirkhope Law 537metres – Dun Rig 742m – Black Law 698m - Fifescar Knowe 811m – Cramalt Craig 831m Broad Law 840m Hart Fell 808m – Moffat (with some interveining hills between the above) – Southern Upland Way to Ettrick Head – The Western part of the Ettrick Hills including 13 tops from 557m to 677m, Tibbie Shiels Inn, SUW again to Blackhouse, Dun Rig (again) 742m and Glenrath heights 732m – Glen sax to Peebles.

Phew.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Bouncing around Burtree Fell

gate dog snowdrift

Burtree Fell has it’s Scandinavian name (Burtree Fell) and its Anglian name – Middlehope Moor. Really really attentive readers may remember that a couple of weeks ago me and superdawg failed to get up Middlehope Moor due to very deep and soft snow. So, today, we had another go.

We parked up at Cowshill and followed a slippery lane up onto the Fell. And there we found some iron-hard neve. [thrusts clenched fist into air in a victorious kind of manner] Walking on this stuff is incredibly easy, and so enjoyable it ought to be banned, or taxed at least. Every now and then, about once every half a click, it lets you in, so there’s always the potential for wrenching you knee. The trick is to keep away from snow which has anything sticking out of it – for instance, grass, rushes, sedges, you get the idea.

hard neve soft dog

So we fair sailed up to the summit by keeping to the deepest and whitest, crispiest and hardest snow. And it was a nice, brightish morning too. Bruno celebrated by bouncing around and digging holes. He’s not really supposed to be up here unless he’s on the invisible footpath as there are ground nesting birds (not much nesting going on today) But its OK, he’s really a cat.

middlehope moor summit area middlehope moor trig point

We got to the summit very quickly – its usually horrendously tussocky and boggy up here and progress is often at best at a couple of km per hour. The top is marked by a shy little cairn and there’s a trig point a bit South of East.

Further speedy progress was made South East then South using a 100 metre-wide strip of hard snow which had formed on the steeper part of Sedling Fell and we soon arrived at Sedling Vein, which is a continuation of the Slit Vein of ironstone, galena and quartzy stuff which runs along most of Weardale. Its well dug up – which means there are holes and humps to sit and have your lunch on out of the fierce windchill that had sprung up.

following a band of snow

My particular lunch lump had a fine scattering of flourspar, some of which I took a pic of for your edification. This stuff is bright purple when its wet. One of the pieces seems to have a bit of lead in it. Can you guess which one, children? No, its not the purple one. they’re all purple yer daft little sod. This is why I never went in for childrens TV. C’mere yer little brat an’ I’ll smack yer legs…!!

bits of flourspar

Clouds were building up on surrounding tops and the forecast was for rain and snow, so we progressed off Eastwards along the “Rake” which holds the remains of a water leat which used to take water down to mines on the fellside below. It was under quite a bit of snow today, in fact, at the far eastern end, there were some fair sized drifts for the dog to play on. Anybody intent of practising digging a snowhole would find ideal conditions just here.

weather brewing sedling rake snowdrifts

Once on the road, which had been ploughed and cleared, we trotted off down into Weardale and followed the riverside path upstream to Wearhead, where a sign in the shop window of the Weardale Stores announced hot drinks – so I had one. This shop had been derelict for a long time , so its nice to see it operating again. I hope they do well. The coffee was good too.

wearhead stores window

Onwards and upwards by more riverside paths brought us back to Cowshill where the car was still parked.

And just then it started raining.

Missed me!

Smug mode.

burtreeford waterfall and bridge

The snow conditions today are pretty much what I’ve been hoping for for weeks now – good, hard snow which provides fast and easy walking. Its fab. It’ll likely be around for a few weeks yet as the slow thaw is about to end for a few days.

We did 8 Miles and about 1200 feet of ascent.

I’m off to the quiz at the King’s in Crook now. (We’ve won two weeks running, can we make it a hat-trick?)

middlehope moor

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Nan Lyle Academy

Piepeople who aren’t also TGO Challengers – and some that are will probably be aware that somebody called Nan Lyle has recently died, but may well not know much else about her.

So, just for a bit of background – Nan was a venerable TGO Challenger who came from Hawick. She’d completed nine TGO Challenges and had had a couple of goes at completing a tenth.

Nan was also, apparently, a well known figure in Scottish Scouting movement and she was a member of a group called the Borders Exploration Group. This group had been responsible for funding and building a school in a small village in Kenya – which the locals named the “Nan Lyle Academy”

Now the point of this post (we get there eventually) – is that Nan’s funeral is tomorrow in Hawick and there will be a collection of cash which will be used to maintain this school in Kenya.

I have a contact address for anybody who can’t get to Hawick and feels they’d like the remember Nan by the maintenance of this school – by donating a cuppla quid or whatever.

Its probably a bad idea to release somebody’s address on the internet, but if anybody wants to make a donation by post, email me at mike.knipe@btinternet.com and I’ll reply with an address to send cheques to.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Great Shunner Fell

brown dog white background

Anybody who’s walked up the Pennine Way may not recognise Great Shunner Fell in its winter clothes – but they will probably have the long slog up from Hardraw imprinted in their souls, specially if it was raining when they did it.

Today’s walk is even yet more in the series of Yorkshire Dales 2000 foot tops. I’m doing the ones easiest to get to from our house at the moment. This is the theory. But as I battered along the A68 this morning I came across three cars each with their own free parking spot in the ditch. Each one had somebody stood next to it feeling a bit sorry for themselves and one had the rescue vehicle about to reveal the damage. I decided it might be best to slow down a bit, and go down by the A1 and the main road into Richmond instead of my usual Dere Street and country lanes thing. It was, apparently, quite slippery.

So I was a bit late at the Ropemakers car Park in Hawes.

pw towards hardraw

Me and superdawg followed the Pennine Way up to Hardraw, where a toddler in the kissing gate first described the lubbly doggy and then pointed at me and said “Old man” – and repeated this several times until his mum was convinced. The cheeky little beggar. A hoody in the making, hanging about at strategic spots making disparaging remarks about the ever-so-slightly – more senior generation.

misty

Unbothered by these insults (badly brought up little…!!!), we continued up the PW, having first an encounter with a white and black sheepdog who was distracted from rounding up the sheep for a breakfast of turnips, for an invitation to Bruno to have a bit of a play. I don’t believe the shepherd was over-impressed and he did some shouting and a bit of whistling and the junior collie ran off to chase some sheep.

hoar frost

As we climbed the South Ridge (!) of Great Shunner Fell, we came eventually to a kind of frost-zone where the grass was covered in hoar frost – and then patches of deep, hard snow – but only hard enough for a dozen or so steps on the top before the next one (at random) would let in one leg up to the knee. A bit irritating (but not as irritating as having your way blocked by an urchin whilst he shouts insults at you – but lets let that drop now and call it water under the bridge, eh?)

shunner fell summit

Two lasses appeared out of the fog and explained that they’d turned back due to losing the path and the snow higher up was getting difficult. They refused an offer of a joint expedition (probably a good move) – and I continued ever upwards, following footsteps on the snow.

Then they stopped. One set of footprints clearly had second thoughts and turned back. I’d followed the two girls’ route and was now on a blank snowy, foggy and flat moor.

So I navigated. I’ve had the dog specially magnetised for just such an emergency and if I input a grid reference into his left ear with a promise of a bit of my cheese butty in the other, he can find a footpath in a flash. And so he did. It was mainly under several feet of neve most of the time, and it was apparent that nobody had been beyond this point for a few days – but we got to the top in the end and Bruno got his reward and I got my coffee and banana on the frozen snowdrift in the summit shelter.

shunner fell summit shelter

To vary the descent, we followed the fence which denotes the parish boundary down to the Buttertubs Road. I found that by walking near the fence the snow was hard enough for very quick progress for 80% of the time, but whenever I did plunge through, it was quite a jolt and there’d be a soft patch of, maybe 20 yards before normal progress was restored.

parish boundary fence

We reached the road which had been ploughed and gritted and had a few bits of traffic, and we followed this downhill towards Hardraw, turning off at a footpath to investigate a group of two dozen cairns of all different sizes.

cairn in a group of cairns

And so, by lanes and short bits of footpath, we returned to Hawes, still in daylight, which is a sure sign of spring.

In better conditions with more daylight, a return by Lovely Seat is a good way back. Dogs are banned from here, though (as they are from today’s route from the summit to the road) – so my advice is to put pointy ears and long whiskers on the dog and tell the gamekeeper that its a cat. Cats are OK. But not dogs.

We did about 12 miles and 1900 feet of uphill. The weather forecast was for light rain and snow at high levels. It snowed about ten snowflakes altogether.

But how would I descibe the ascent of Great Shunner Fell?(for those who’ve never been up it and are interested)

Its easy – just a gentle uphill stroll, really. The path is normally pretty easy to follow and it can be magical on a sunny day in early summer (say June…go on, say June….) – specially if you enjoy larks, pipits and curlews. The walk over to the Buttertubs road is tussocky and rough and, normally fairly boggy.

shunner fell

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Camping at Kingussie

d12 pups

Like births, deaths and taxes, some things are entirely predictable and, so it is with the TGO Challenge message board.

The first predictable thing is that there will, at several points through the year, be a message from Roger Smith with the simple title of a Challenger’s name. This message is opened with a certain amount of trepidation because it will be the announcement that a fellow challenger, and, therefore, probably a friend, has died.

The reaction will be a series of posts from Challengers recanting a few tales and memories about whoever it is that’s passed away. Challengers can be such a nice bunch of people at times.

It is, unfortunately a function of the age profile of TGO Challengers that one or two, or maybe three will ramble off to meet their maker each year.

Just recently, it was the turn of Nan Lyle MBE, a wonderful woman from Hawick, small in stature, but big in achievements and genuinely well liked and well respected. If Nan had been your Mum, you’d be very proud indeed.

The second predictable thing is that there will be a serious row or two on the TGO Message Board.

Now, i must admit that I do enjoy reading a good old row on a forum and I have been guilty in the past of trolling the trolls a bit. They don’t like it up ‘em you know – but you have to be either fairly subtle, or just call ‘em a troll….

What appears to have happened in this year’s row is that a couple of  Challengers, lets just call one of them “Tim”, for argument’s sake, asked if anybody knew where they could camp in or around Kingussie. A reply soon came forth that Glen Tromie was a good place.

Then some anonymousness, by the unlikely name of Orla Gogg, made a joke that it would be possible to camp on another Challenger’s bowling-green-like lawn, as he had done once in the past – and ruined the grass in the process. Lets call this other chap “Derek”, just for the sake of a barney.

It was obviously a joke and, I would have thought anyway, not the kind of thing to start the dogs barking. The inference was, of course, that everybody should turn up at Kingussie and wreck Derek’s lawn, sleep in his beds and drink his whisky. A gentle bit of ribbing, and quite funny.

Derek took it in good part even though he is very well known for his “unfortunate” outbursts on occasion – outbursts which usually lead to the most flying fur and ripped ears in the TGO kennel. Sometimes his attacks on individuals can be quite vicious. He is a grumpy old mongrel. Everybody knows it.

So, “Tim” (original poster), pops up and says something to the effect that this was a serious question and he expected that people would treat it seriously. Stick duly poked at farmyard dog.

This is a sharpened stick. The mongrel, once curled up and snoozing in the sunny spot by the midden has been prodded and reacts with a sharp little nip at “Tim’s ankles. “Why don’t you just look  at a map?” snaps Derek – using Tim’s own word – the word “seriously”, in fact, just to add a bit of infected saliva to the nip. (Note – If you’re going to have a pop at somebody on a forum, use some of the other person’s own words – its really annoying)

At which point the kennel door is opened and a ripping, snarling attack is launched and our veteran mongrel is overwhelmed by growling houndry consisting of  members of the same pack as those who were being so nice about poor Nan a couple of posts above. Derek’s ears are ripped and there is fur and blood flying in all directions.

P5200120

Ir wuz me!” protests Orla Gogg, our Albanian princess. “C’mon, don’t bite Derek, it wuzz me!”

But the pack is in full cry. They’ll have none of it. Derek’s fur flies.

Our Derek, at times, may not be the nicest pooch and he’s left himself vulnerable to this kind of thing by his behaviour in the past. He hasn’t learned when to keep his virtual gob shut – and, being an old dog, its probably too late now.

That’s the problem with dogs, though. Curled up by the fire and shaking a paw, licking your ears, sniffing your groin - they’re lovely, cuddly, friendly animals. But in a pack – they’ll rip yer to bits.

This dog fight seems to have finished now. I’m not joining in, not on the message board anyway. You can lose your identity in a pack.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Normal Service Resumes?

 great shunner fell summit shelter

I wonder if its now possible to resume my little programme of collecting (or recollecting) the Yorkshire dales 2000 foot tops, following reasonable progress on Drumaldrace recently. The snow seems to have either mainly melted or become hard enough to walk on. Or maybe I’m just being  over optimistic

I’m going to give it a go anyway and, at the same time continue with some more local winter-suitable walks in Weardale, Teesdale and maybe just over in Northumberland

So, the next couple of weeks, hopefully at least, looks quite like this:

24 January – Great Shunner Fell from Hawes

28 January Middlehope Moor from Cowshill

31 January Great Knoutberry (aka Widdale fell) from Dent Station. I’m considering catching the 10:34 am train to Dent Station from Garsdale Head Station and walking back in a linear kind of way. If the conditions are really good, I could start walking from Ribblehead.

 penyghent from fountains fell

A tentative start, but if this works, I may try to do some more stuff using the Settle- Carlisle line – for instance, a nice summer walk may well go from Garsdale to Kirkby Stephen over Mallerstang or Wild Boar fell and there could be interesting opportunities around Horton/Settle/Penyghent/Ingleborough. 

And worrabout Dent to Ribblehead over Whernside……

Anyway thats as far as the current plans go. I’ve also booked myself in to an Over the Hill Club weekend in the Cheviots at Mounthooley.

I feel an exploration of Hen Hole and Bizzle Burn coming on…..

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Trying the snow at Burtree

collier law 020

I arranged to meet Brian somewhere up the Pennines for a quick play in the snow and our cars met on the snowy A689 just past Killhope Wheel.

We finally met at Cowshill in an area of extensive lead mining – a likely place for some steepish but safe snow on which to practise climbing up and sliding down and climbing up again.

And then sliding down.

collier law 014

I had hoped that the snow would be dead ‘ard, like, but this was not meant to be, in fact it was a bit soft. This meant that you had to work a bit harder at sliding down since when I lifted my legs in the air (I had me crampons on) my bum was a better brake than my ice axe.

We had a long chat at one point with a couple from a house up the hill – who had things in common with Brian in particular. Theyt pointed us to a waterfall which was pretty and had some significant lumps of ice dangling next to it which I levered off to form a nice iceberg in the beck.

collier law 019

And that was pretty much that.

It was another foggy day and the thaw, apparently, continues very slowly. It was snowing slightly every now and then and the road west of Killhope was starting to get “interesting”.

The message for anybody seeking hard snow is that higher up, where there seems to have been much less of a thaw (it was still minus 1.5C), the snow hasn’t stiffened up as much as at lower levels where its as hard as a hard thing strengthened by extra hard stuff.

No, unfortunately, its a bit soft.

This trip wasn’t quite long enough to count as a walk, so I haven’t. Nice to have a play in the snow, though.

Tonight we visit Bishop Auckland Town Hall with a box of matches and some candles to see Isla Sinclair (good game, good game) – yes folks, its Burns Night once again here in Co Durham. We have a different Burns night to everybody else. This is Colin Burns from Spennymoor, not yer Rabbie. Still, there’ll be Neeps and Stotties as per tradition and somebody will play the drainpipes and witter on about mice and stuff. I might have the odd sweet sherry, I’m not sure yet.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Collier Law and North Pennine Snow Conditions

collier law 002

I’m trying to catch up a bit on all the things I postponed when the weather was against me. It seems to have relented a bit, so me and superdawg rushed off to Stanhope, a few miles up Weardale for this little walk up Collier Law. I shortened the walk a little to take account of rough going underfoot and the fact that I dawdled too long over me porridge this morning.

We parked on a patch of ice next and walked up more, steeper ice through the old limestone quarries and along a bit of Crawleyside Edge to the old incline

collier law 005

Bruno pensive on Crawleyside Incline

I was struck by how much harder the snow has become in the last couple of days. We’ve had more slow thawing and two frosty nights – around minus one or two last night, for instance – and this has had a significant effect on the snow. Its actually a nice, hard neve in places and steps had to be kicked up a couple of steep bits.

Later, it seemed to be a bit softer and was letting me in an inch or two, and occasionally, at random, up to knee deep, which was irritating – but overall, its pretty hard and can only get harder under current conditions.

collier law 007

There’s a road under that snow somewhere

We followed the old railway incline to the top of Crawleyside Bank and then along the access road to the wireless station on the top of Collier Law. This was mainly under quite deep snow and visibility was , maybe 50 metres or so, so I was quite glad that they’d put snow poles beside the road to mark out where it was – otherwise, there’d have been no landmarks at all, apart from the dog, who isn’t marked on the map.

We duly arrived at the summit amongst very big drifts and a grouse which had come a bit of a cropper and was now headless, plucked and consumed amongst stained snow.

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Collier Law Wireless Station blockhouses and snowdrift

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Air accident investigation in progress

It was much too exposed a spot for sitting about eating, so I dropped down towards Stanhope on a track not marked on my map and then through a patch of deep and soft snow to an open shooting hut which provided a good shelter for the scoffing of Lancashire Cheese butties and a Boost bar.

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Bruno uses Xray vision to discover whereabouts of cheese butty. Don't look into the eyes!!!!

The track brought us back to Stanhope and the Dales centre cafe for coffee and a scone.

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Stanhope Market Place

We covered about 7 miles and 1200 feet of uphill. This snow’s not going anywhere much at all, but it bodes well for a walk on higher things, which could provide some quite fast and easy walking just now. I’m going to have to see what I can do about this – it seems a shame to waste such an opportunity. The time for quick and easy walking on hard neve is now, folks. Get it while it lasts.

collier law