Monday, 31 December 2012
2012 Norra Bad Year, But It End in Floods
Last walk of the year and whilst it doesn’t go exactly to plan – it turns out quite exciting in the end. I had intended to wander up the track from Forest in Teesdale school up on to Fendrith Hill – wander westwards for a bit and then come down to Langdon Beck for a final flourish by the Tees. When I let Trex the cat in at half six or so this morning, it was dark and howling outside and sheeting down with rain. After the cat had shook off the water from his fur and tucked into breakfast, we both went back to our beds – we all went back to our beds, and I include Bruno in this.
Later… after breakfast, I drove up Teesdale through floods and bits of trees and , on the way to Forest, through the swishing of the windscreen wipers, I caught a glimpse of the River Tees. Peg Powler (look it up!) was clearly having a roll and the river was angry and looking for somebody to drown. I had to have a look.
It was magnificent. It roared and thundered and hurtled past in a chaos. We wandered from Low Force up to High Force for the pics. I took a few videos on the camera to show the force of the Forces, but there’s a downloading problem. they’re all on the memory card, but they don;t want to come off. They’ll have to stay there pro tem. I’ll see if I can recover them somehow. The problem seems to be that the camera that took the pics has a broken USB slot, so I use a different camera to download (not mine, so I don’t take it out in the wild..) and there’s some kind of issue with it being a different camera. Bugger. never mind.
Later, after scoffing lunch in the knipemobile, watched closely by a robin under the wheel arch of the car parked next to mine, I tried to visit Gibson’s cave but was prevented by a mud slide of a particularly liquid kind of slutch which even superdawg hesitated over. I decided to go to Ash Gill near Garrigill. This proved to be equally stupendous and I managed to get wetly behind the waterfall. Bruno wasn’t keen on the roar and the spray, so we wandered downstream to see more waterfalls – then home.
We managed about seven miles altogether. And this was the last walk of the year, the scores on the doors of which are below - 2010 in brackets (I can’t spell perenthesesss):
Number of days with walks: 196 (129)
Total distance: 1735 miles (931)
Total ascent: 250500 feet (150000)
Guided walks: 25 (13)
Miles 237 (87)
Punters attending 329 (104)
Deaths 0 (0)
Lost without trace 0 (0)
Injuries 2 (0) (dammit)
TGO Challenge – From Strathcarron to Aberdeen. 10 wild camps, a few hills bagged, some naughty weather, some good crack – specially in Red Bothy and Cock Bridge but, over all, despite some people being a bit psyched out , presumably by the monochrome nature of the weather for the first week (it snowed/rained/blew a hoolie) and the inevitable failures of those taking the walk and/or themselves far too seriously, I enjoyed this trip immensely. This was my 11th and the first involving the robbery of a Chinese restaurant. I got wet, but then you do, don’t you?
And then there was Dawn. We’ve had loads and loads of backpacking trips this year and, this is probably one of the reasons why my wintery TGO Challenge went a lot easier for me than it otherwise might have done. I enjoyed all of the trips with Dawn, some of which were quite tough in a meteorological kind of way. We got well batterred, in fact; several times. Oddly enough, I found this to be mostly quite good fun.
Trips with Dawn:
February: Cheviots – 4 nights camping 1 night in Byrness hostel. This was perishing cold - no, I mean really really cold - and it snowed and froze…brrrr…
April: Machynlleth to Pumlumnon – 5 nights. This was outrageuously wet. When it stopped raining, it snowed. The word is “sloppy” and we both hate Duke of Edinburgh parties.
June: Cadair Idris static camp– Joined by Alan – 6 nights. Wet and windy for a few days, then it brightened up! There was a short drought. This wasn;t a lightweight camp, though – we had lots of proper food for this. There were even fresh onions and spuds. We had chips! Nom nom.
July: Aberystwyth to Machynlleth via Pumlumnon – 4 nights + 1 in a hostel. Mainly a relaxed static camp in a beautiful spot in Hen Gwm with a bit of light bagging a bit of a more serious walk at the end. It rained. Obviously.
August: Knighton to Dolau – bits of Offa’s Dyke and Radnor Hills. 5 nights. Cracking stuff – the weather behaved reasonably well. Some hard days and some less challenging ones. The akto finally started to fall apart.
September: South Downs Way 6 nights + 1 in a hostel. Blistering hot. Dry. No, really, it only rained for the last hour… I think, on balance, that this is probably the highlight of the year for me. Great fun – we got a bit fragged at the end….
November: A few days in a bunkbarn in Buttermere : getting the post-op foot going a bit. I left me bloody gaiters at Buttermere… dhuhh…
We have more plans for 2013….
On the Rangering front – I did a bunch of guided walks (see above) plus a couple of stewarding duties and a bit of stile building – and , along with others, got a few naughty landowners to unblock blockages involving barbed wire, mad horses and signs pointing the wrong way… and a few improvements too..
So that sort of winds it up for 2012. We’ll see what happens in 2013. I have plans (as you’d expect), but the best laid plans of mice and men etc.. and I have this superstition that if I declare a plan too early, something always goes wrong, so I’m keeping them more closely to my chest. They do, however, involve the TGO challenge and some pre-TGO training/shakedown stuff.