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Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Dodd Fell is a Doddle

I’ve been having some difficulty getting walks in for the last few days. I was supposed to do this walk yesterday, but an electrician’s visit to fit two wall lights and do a few other, apparently minor things turned into an epic all-day visit by three electricians and their little mascot who did the running around, used the vacuum cleaner and had the mickey taken out of him by the others.
Its all done now, short of paying the bill, so I bundled superdawg into his travelling harness thingy that smells of wet dog and went via crook co-op for some precious things to eat on a walk.
My TGO Challenge training programme says that I should strive to walk a 14 mile walk in February (16 miles in March) – and I thought this one was 14 miles. I’ve done this walk several times before, with minor variations. I was sure it was 14 miles. Turned out to be 13.4. doh! Near enough, though, I suppose.
On this walk I was also trying out several new things.
New thing number one – a “thermal tee shirt” price £3 from the pound shop. Actually, they’ve loads of these and in reality, they’re base layers. And rather good ones too. I shall buy a few more.
New thing number two – some hi-tec walking boots £30 at the Original factory Store – shudder been £60. very comfy, apparently waterproof (at the moment), light, springy and a bargain. (Note that the walk took place on the Pennines, which are always soggy) Are they robust enough for a TGO Challenge, though? I shall try to find out by treating them badly and walking through soggy peat and wet snow. This may lead to their downfall in terms of remaining useful as a boot…..
New thing number three – as recommended in a breakfast thread on the TGO challenge forum – a Jordan’s superfood bar. Quite nice. I liked it cos it has no added salt. I don’t do salt. Tracy, the cardiac nurse wags her finger at salt.
And a blueberry muffin for the fun.

And so, on a driech Wednesday, we eventually pitched up at the ropemakers car park in Hawes. An unpromising start in drizzle, hill fog and a “fresh” wind which had me Paramoed up from head to foot to fingers.
We plugged our way up through the rough pastures and along an off-road-motorbike trashed bridleway to the top of Drumaldrace. The location of the summit appears not to be at the point containing the summit cairn by the way – but such is often the way with yer peaty lumps.
This hill has a ring of deep shakeholes, all of which were full with old snow. This cheered up the dog no end – almost as much as being accidentally locked in the kitchen with a beef joint would…..
I went all the way around to the Roman road before climbing to the top so that I could have the wind behind me.
Onwards – In brightening weather with a lifting cloud base, we doddled off into a perishing headwind along the Roman road towards Lancaster for several miles till we came to the Pennine Way, at which point we turned back towards Hawes, bagging the top of Dodd fell Hill on the way. The wind started to get its act together at this point and whilst I was merely being blown sideways, superdawg was actually in flight at times – though he does tend to leap along. The leaps were much longert than expected and he wasn’t landing where he expected to land.
The walk became a struggle till eventually we dropped down below the lee of the hill.
Half a mile short of the 14 miles I should have done. The headwind made up for it, though. Hard work at times. Bruno enjoyed the old snow drifts and the short flights.
I enjoyed the blueberry muffin and the view of Whe****de.


Martin Rye said...

You wont have that dog pulling you up them hills on the Challenge you know.

mike knipe said...

Thats a very good point Martin, as it happens. The dog is quite a good artificial aid, specially if you mention waskally wabbits, the name of next door's cat or chewsticks. He does tend to pull at times. Maybe I should leave him at home?
But on the challenge, I'll have walking poles for a bit of forward thrust....

Gordon Green said...

Hi, Mike.

I'm jealous that you can get in so much training for the TGO. (BTW good reading). Does this mean that you will be super fit? And, more importantly, able to get to Braemar before the rest of us mortals: in time to stand the first round??

mike knipe said...

Not super fit Gordon (welcome by the way) - in fact, I'm almost doddering. Everybody will have passed through Braemar long before I get there. I'm hoping that, for charity's sake, several people will leave pints in the pump as I'm a pensioner and have no money at all.
Thanks very much in anticipation by the way.
Actually, I'm just pasing through Braemar but will be at Achallater on the Saturday night
If I get that far (koff!)

fatdogwalks said...

Good to see someone else relies on dog power from time to time! The Fatdog is excellent at tracking people or more specifically the content of their rucksacks, so when I've been left behind in the murk I just hitch her up and she tows me to where the others are.

It's amazing how they like a decent pocket of snow to roll in. I've always got to hitch Maisie up on the summits when most of the snow has gone because of the remaining cornices.

Must have a look at this tgo challenge to see what it involves.

Thoroughly enjoyed the post! Look forward to further updates on your training regime.

mike knipe said...

Dog Power [holds up clenched paw]
There's nothing like a good tow up a hill. I expect labs (fatdogs) are quite effective at this....
My old dog could follow obscure paths in the hill fog - I think she was following the scent of previous walkers. Eventually, when I realised what she was doing I gave up bothering too much and just followed the dog. Never went adrift after that.
Do have a look at the TGO challenge, fatdog - but beware (!) it can take over your hillwalking.. Good fun, though, but no dogs allowed, so the pooch has to pine.