I booked a room at The Snake Pass Inn for me and LTD many weeks ago when winter was just a succession of named Atlantic wind and rain storms. So when we set off we (me and LTD) were a bit surprised by the list of snow-closed roads in and around the Peak District and South Pennines, causing me to delay our departure to give time for the weather to warm up a bit and for the County Councils to get their snowploughs out. Winter had waited till the very end of it’s alloted season to do something wintery.
This was largely unsuccessful. When I arrived at Ladybower, the Snake Pass was closed and it was still snowing. Contact with Chrissie over the hill at Hayfield confirmed it was closed, but the Radio 2 weathergirl said it was open in an Easterly direction only. This was no good. I waited and drank coffee.
Eventually, after witnessing several cars head up towards Glossop, I set off and arrived at The Snake Pass Inn ten or fifteen minutes later having driven on a completely clear , but still technically closed, main road.
A biblious night followed.
In the morning, I allowed LTD to make the drive over to Hayfield. The road wasn’t icy or snowy and was just a little narrow for a hundred metres or so on the very top of the pass. It was, in fact, quite safe. but still closed.
After coffee and one of Geoff’s chocolate chip browny thingies (very nice) , we – that is to say, me, LTD, Chrissie, Geoff, Pebbles the boxer pup and Islay the labrador pup set off up the thawing streets of Hayfield heading for the dead-end village of Rowarth. Then, in a brief but wetting shower, to the nursery slopes of Cown Edge. Here, the snow was deep and wet and slippery and soft and quite hard work. We bashed on over fields and moors to the top. It seemed a long way, but the views and the bright and sunny weather were recompense.
Lucky and Pebbles did a bit of squabbling but were better when let off their leads and seemed to be playing but still competing for whoever was to be The Boss. Islay, sensibly, kept out of the issue. I think that Lucky’s older head probably started to gain the day. But I also suspect that this is probably unfinished business. It was noticeable that Lucky’s snarly attacks weren’t actually connecting with any skin or fur, so that’s a good sign.
In any case, the sun was now shining on the snow and so the views were that bit more special. So we headed for Knarrs, a small hill with a fine view from the top and a farm steading once farmed by Chrissie’s family.
And then, more deep snow lead to Lantern Pike with another fine and snowy view over Hayfield and across to Kinder.
Once we’d returned to Castle Crowther , we tucked into steaming pints of hot tea, flapjack and more chocolate chip thingies. After a tough-ish walk, involving some running about on the part of the pooches, all this was incredibly welcome. The walk was 9 miles, although the conditions underfoot would justify exaggerating this a bit (?12 miles…)
LTD drove back to The Snake Pass Inn on the very same road as before, now in even better condition, but yet still officially closed.
More carousing and over-eating took place that night and in the morning, the road was still closed, now having cones across the road at the Ladybower junction. All the traffic, which was now getting quite heavy, was driving around this hazard – which appeared, in fact, to be the only hazard between there and Glossop.
On the way, me and LTD bagged Lodge Moor in the deepest, crustiest and most difficult snow yet.
Thanks to Geoff and Chrissie for thinking up the route, which was excellent, and specially for arranging all that snow, and for the cakes and drinks and so on, and specially for the good company (one does get lonely!).
And to Pebbles for not eating Lucky, and to Islay just for being a pup.
I would also thank Alan Hardy who organises the TGO Challenge reunion every year AND leads a walk (which I don’t go on, but still, eh?). Alan is what you might call a “stalwart” and deserves a medal for his efforts.
And to the peeps at the Snake Pass Inn, who do it for the money. The Snake Pass Inn is very doggy-friendly, though, and LTD was allowed in all the same places as me. He specially enjoyed JJ’s gravy-soaked chips at the dinner and meeting several TGO challengers who are also, on the whole, quite doggy-friendly. So, he enjoyed all the fuss. And the crisps.
And thanks also to Derbyshire County Council who closed the Snake Pass for 3 days when a bloke with a spade could have had the whole thing cleared in half an hour. Or maybe they just forgot about it. It was the weekend after all.
It looks like there might be a Knipeish prescence on the 2017 TGO Challenge. We’ll have to see what transpires. I’m more in the mood for it now.
My cheapo camera didn’t like the bright sun on the snow by the way – so not many pictures. It’ll probably be abck to dark and windy next week, so that’ll be all right, then.