Saturday, 5 December 2009

Dead Stones Delivery

In a couple of weeks time, it will be The Winter Solstice, after which, of course, the amount of daylight increases every day – just that little bit longer each day. Its the turning of the year and deserves a little celebration.

peat hags dead stones Peat haggy ground on the way to Deadstones

There is, in the wind, a little expedition up to the summit of Deadstones, to witness the dawn of the new year (notice I didn’t say New Year).

deadstones rough going More rough going

Deadstones, I should explain is a 2300 foot subsidiary top of Burnhope Seat and is most easily got at from Killhope Cross, where the main road crosses from County Durham into Cumbria. This is at an altitude of just over 2000 feet and is about 2 miles North of the said Deadstones.

Why Deadstones? Well- its fairly easy to get at, and it has a fine view of the East coast on a good day, and it has a little shelter on the top, with a fireplace but nothing in the way of a door. Four people who are close friends could probably fit in. The one nobody likes would have to stay outside.

deadstones howff 1 Deadstones howff

And so, I parked the knipemobile at Killhope Cross and struggled through the snowy peat hags the two or so miles to Deadstones and deposited some luxury supplies – that is to say, some kindling, a fire log and some… All in all enough fuel for a warm fire lasting about four hours.

deadstones howff 2

When I got back to Killhope Cross it was just about dark.

There are a few problems:

1) If its snowy, it could be very hard work getting there – it took me 90 minutes. In the dark and with soft snow, this could be at least an hour longer. (worra struggle – 5:00 am start, I think)

2) The roof is looking a bit dicey. Several tonnes of gritstone slabs are currently being held up by a shaky and split beam, probably very ancient oak, I shouldn’t wonder – and a fence post. If it snows heavily, this lot could shutter in. This will be no worse than a lead mine shutterring in, so maybe we shouldn’t worry too much (ie we wont know much about it if it does)

3) It was full of snow. Clearly, the snow has come from the “wrong” direction. Perhaps we’ll need to excavate….

4) I’ve hidden the fuel, but if some pillock finds it, I bet they set fire to it. To counteract this/get revenge – there’s an evil curse on the fuel and anybody who nicks it or sets fire to it before we get there will crash and die on there way home. It only seems fair.

Not entirely sure who’s coming on this trip…..

deadstones view

The view East


Steven Horner said...

I was up by Killhope Cross on Friday afternoon in the car. Was going to park in the layby but there was already a car and people around it (car on my bumper too), so carried on to Nenthead.

After seeing the snow over near Cross Fell had hoped to walk it yesterday, woke up early saw the rain and pea soup fog and decided to return to bed instead.

I keep intending to walk along to Dead Stones and Burnhope Seat, if I do before New years I promise not to steal your wood. Always imagined it would be very boggy. Think I can remember reading that you'd walked along the tops in the dark and unless I imagined it, you took off you socks and shoes :-)

Nearly forgot I cocked up the comments on my site, but have copied over yours on my TGO route.


icklebigsis said...

I'm visiting for Yule :)

James Boulter said...

Cheers Mike last night was nice and toasty at Dead stones, walking along in the dark and tripped over a bag of logs, twas like Christmas had come early.....................

Mike Knipe said...

All I can say , Steven and James, is note the evil curse...
Don't try this walk barefoot till at least mid April, Steven, other than that, this countryside is, in fact, much easier without the boots on - none of this nonsense about trying to keep the socks dry...its all soft and sloppy... (lovely!)
Rachel - I think this little walk will be on the 22nd, in the morning. I don't think we'll be spending the night up there - in which case, I'll be home by ten.
So put the kettle on and have the bacon ready....

Mike Knipe said...

Incidentally, Steven, the ridge along to Burnhope Seat is very boggy in parts - after Dead Stones, it probably gets a bit eassier. You can do a route from Garrigill or, if you've more time, from Burnhope Reservoir, descending East from Dead Stones. Boggy stuff - but a good walk, in my umble opinion anyway...