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Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Its all downhill from here

walking to the start cross fell behind

It seemed like a perfect plan. We would leave a car at the bottom of the hill, drive another car to the top, sledge down and retrieve car number one after a long descent of 1800 metres horizontal (er….tilted…) and 150 metres vertical (ish)

The maths should have told us it wasn’t really very steep, although, from Brian’s house, it looked quite scary. White and scary as it happens.

leaving a car at the top of the hill

So thats what we did. We left a car at the bottom and drove to the top of Killhope Cross – at 627 metres above mean sea level – and we walked another ten metres of ascent before beginning our individual luges.

This is where it went wrong. The snow was too soft and deep. The sledges didnt so much hurtle down the slope complete with screaming bearded geriatrics, but rather they slid very very slowly, powered by pairs of rotating arms and cries of “faster, faster….” It was difficult. There was blasphemy and the snow was cursed.

tracks 1 tracks 2

The slope even levelled off a bit, just to make it a bit harder. Then came a steep bit. We had a short hurtle. A very short hurtle, as it happens.

And then we arrived at the little dam. Ice covered, it was. There was a foot of snow on top of the ice and the ice had sunken and collapsed in the middle due, no doubt to it not having rained liquids at Nenthead since the 12th of December.

the dam

This gave a few minutes of slippery sport.

A gully gave two fast and scary runs into a beck, but the effort of climbing back up the sides was too much.

We had managed an 1800 metre "journey" with a 150 metres drop, though.

sledge track

So we went back to Brians for soup and regroup.

After, we had a look at the Yad Moss skiing grounds, which had a few skiers and snowboarders skiing and snowboarding.

(Note: next time take skis to the top of the hill – or at least the ski-bike…)

target for tonight

And then we contented ourselves for a good while trying to snowball a boulder in the stream below the waterfall at Ash Gill. A snowball descent of around 40 metres. We missed. We explored the little cave which can be used to descend to the foot of the waterfall and found it full of water ice and quite slippery. We went to the co-op in Alston.

ashgill bridge

There’s still a lorra lorra snow on Alston Moor and the North Pennines, and its either very deep and powdery on a deep, hard base, or very deep and soft and heavy on a deep, hard base. The main road is just slightly over single track and the road to Teesdale is single track between walls of snow.

Its quite fab, really. Walking on the moors would be difficult, however.


Alan Sloman said...

You can see what a great sporting nation we are - we got a Gold medal in the Olympics for this...

mike knipe said...

Really? Olympic snowballing? I'm not so sure, Alan - but it would be a good idea. And there'd be the Men's Individual Snowman competition....

oh, sorry, you meant the huge luge.... dhuhh.... We live for speed... (and beer)

Compo said...

Looks like a real white knuckle ride.
Shouldn't there be three in the party really if you are going to be getting up to these sort of madcap schemes? One with a mac and a flatcap, one with wellies, string round his midriff and a woolie hat and a.n.other who changes now and again and who's principal purpose is to be exasperated by t'other two?

Word verification: L.O.T.S.W.

mike knipe said...

Well, Compo, you're right - I estimate that we reached speeds of up to 3 or 4 mph at times - on the really steep bits. There was a very real danger of benightment.
The LOTSW reference has been made by spouses and partners and isn't hurtful any more..... In fact sometimes, there are three of us...

arlee bird said...

Looks like a little too much cold adventure for this Southern California guy.

mike knipe said...

We're all waiting for spring, Lee....

Pennine Ranger said...

By 'eck, it's Eddie the budgerigar.

mike knipe said...

Have you seen what's in my matchbox?