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Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 Norra Bad Year, But It End in Floods

high force in flood 
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.
low force
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.
high force 004
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.
ash gill force ash gill
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 2012 010
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?
cadair idris camp
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:
cheviot backpack 018
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…
pumlumnon 016
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.
cadair idris 019
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.
wales and wbf 008
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.
radnor 030
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.
south downs way 066
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…. 
buttermere 021
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….
burble 1

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.


Louise said...

Excellent. All the best for 2013!

Dawn said...

There was some grand walking there Mike. The wild weather we sometime experienced is all part of being on the hill. We got wet, we got muddy, we got cold, we got sunburned and hot and frazzled. Best of all, we had fun and pleasure in our wanderings. Thank you Mike. The coming year looks as if if it could be a cracker too. Am really looking forward to it.

Lydia La La said...

I'm totally tired out just reading of your exploits.. Well done.
As a point of interest, I see you guys are getting/was hit with Chemtrails. I feel this is the cause of your wild weather patterns. They look pretty but oh so questionable.

Mike Knipe said...

Thanks Louise - same to everybody up there in the even more frozen North.
Thats what i thought, Dawn. Cracking year of walking...
Lydia - Contrails? It's the main approach to Gatwick airport - I counted 40 aircraft in 20 mins one morning - all coming up the English channel. Its like that all day - a constant stream

Iain said...

Good to look back on the things and places we visited this year. Have a great New Year. Oddly enough, from my perspective, it didn't seem nearly as damp and wet as you suggest!

Alan R said...

All the best for 2013 Mike. You had a good 2012 and the blog has made excellent reading. Thanks.

markswalkingblog said...

Fantastic shot of the Tees there. All the best for 2013

aroundthehills said...

Blimey, that's a lot of walking. I'm looking forward to a top secret pre-Challenge wander. Also, this year's Challenge will be gloriously sunny, but not too hot, with the odd shower just so we feel justified in carrying the waterproofs.
By the way, is Bruno wearing a gabardine mac? No sou'wester?