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Saturday, 2 February 2013

Standards Is Up

frozen pond on long crag

No, I don’t mean that Standards are up, this is not another blog post title aimed at reeling in retired teachers for a bit of a rant.  Standards is up. Standards is the top of a little hill stuck on the side of Long crag, which, in turn, is stuck on the side of Mickle Fell. It suddenly appeared as something I had to tick in the website. I did consider this hill at christmas, and even got to park at the bottom. It was chucking it down at the time and, whilst I waited for it to abate, I accidentally ate my banana. Everybody knows how dangerous it is to go out on the hill without a banana, so I had to abandon the walk, go home and drink hot coffee and eat toast and jam in front of a warm dog.

 fish lake pond

But today was different. The roads were a bit slippery this morning, but the sun shone and the landscape baked in just-below-freezing temperatures, so I set off. Bruno, unfortunately, couldn’t come as this is a dog-free zone, as is much of the North Pennines due to the grouse    need to preserve ground-nesting birds.

close house mine

Standards is a mere hop and a skip from the Brough-Teesdale road and the route passes Close House mine – which seems to consist of a huge open-cast hole in the hillside and some ponds. And some signs which are intended to deter casual visitors – such as “no unauthorised entry” and “its really really dangerous in here” and “bugger off or I’ll bite your leg”. I ignored these and climbed the hill using the estate tracks, with a short loop or diversion to bag the baggable.

standards summit

Its a good top, too. It has a cracking view and multiple cairns, including an ancient one with a little roofed room attached.

a bit of hard neve

standards 008

The bogs were well frozen and there were extensive patches of hard, pure-white neve and so, in view of this and the fine, sparkly weather, I was drawn ever upwards on to the Long Crag plateau.

cow green resr. from long crag

I trespassed briefly across the line of the Warcop firing range warning signs to reach the summit of Long Crag and then used the boards as an easy navigation aid to get myself into Arn Gill for a look at the waterfall.

whernside peeps through a gap in the hills

This was a bit underwhelming, but nice enough, I suppose. I escaped back to the car the way I’d come in. There was estate activity around the mine, including driving a JCB about and lighting a huge fire whilst lots of kids and dogs ran about just like kids and dogs are supposed to run about.

mod warning notice

Fab day, on the whole. Just under nine miles. There’s a map below, although why anybody else should want to wander around in circles like this is a mystery, unless they just do it for fun.

I suspect “Standards” might refer to the cairns. Who knows?

arn gill force

long crag



chrissiedixie said...

Poor Bruno. I hope you took him back a Jumbone or two to compensate.

Al said...

Years since I was last at the mine, it was working still as I recall. So thats an interesting photie of Close House mine, I understood it had all been "landscaped", but it looks like theres still a bit to see. I shall have to have a return trip! It was great weather wasn't it.

Alan R said...

Walking poles! Is that an age thing or a test review pending for the NHS?

I believe stds refers to the cairns too. But what was there first?

Mike Knipe said...

Chrissie - I'm afraid Bruno was in bother when I got home - scoffed the cat food and some mince pies after "accidentally" becoming locked in the kitchen. he's a very naughty boy.
Al - Not much infrastructure there, but the enormous hole could do with looking into (!)
Poles alan. i use 'em when I don;t have a dog to pull me old bones up the hill. One of the cairns is a venerable currick with a shelter. Cracking lookout spot. Without the cairns the hill would be nonedescript

Dawn said...

Fantastic walk Mike. Your photos, as per norm, are excellent.

Matt O'Brien said...

Thanks for this route, I thought the top of Standards looked quite interesting when I saw it from a distance on Binks Moss a few years back but have never got round to visiting yet. What was the parking like?

Mike Knipe said...

There's plenty of room to park where the estate track meets the main road, Matt - probably enough for several cars without blocking the gateway. The estate track was busy with all kinds of estate traffic when I was there - all very friendly, as well...

Matt O'Brien said...

Cheers Mike, I might well add this to my plans for this year (I need to finish off the last few Deweys in the North Pennines first though!).