Monday, 16 April 2018

More TGO Challenge Training Stuff–Sheffield Pike and Other Hills

There’s been a minor hiatus in Piewalks recently due to Pietowers maintenance requirements and an almighty wind which rent the firmament and cast down the high places including bits of the new tabernacle. So, I’ve got a bit of catching-up to do.
Part of the catching up was to do a walk with some contours and the English Lake District is ideal for this kind of thing. This walk, in particular turned out to have 1044 metres of uphill contours and a very similar amount of downhill ones too, given that I ended up exactly where I’d begun.
And this was also the second outing for The KIlt – proper hillwalking test with proper mountain breezes and lots of witnesses too, which, to be honest, was the part I was a little worried about.
I parked expensively in Glenridding. Eight quid. I meantersay, eight of Yer Queen’s Quids. You can have full access to my body for several hours for eight quid fer evvansake. (I’d demand biscuits, though)
Despite this initial setback, we left the expensive car park (they’re taking the mickey, surely…) and climbed Glenridding Dodd for starters. Lots of contours here.
We followed this by an enjoyable climb up some more contours to Sheffield Pike which was sloppy on the top but otherwise pleasantly rocky but not really scrambly. This gives access to the vast open grassy prairies East of the Dodds – in this case, a contouring route to Hart Side and a gentle climb up to White Stones where lunch was declared. A few people passed. Nobody mentioned The Kilt.
We made a long plod up to Stybarrow Dodd and then across the motorway path to Raise, the highest point on the walk at 883 metres and the only snowpatch on the route, although the ice-axe and spikes I was carrying were unrequired. Here, I met a lassie who was deciding where to go next. We had a chat about what a lovely day it was and how nice it was to sit in a bit of warm sunshine and she didn’t mention the kilt. I should point out that whilst the hills had been claggy in the morning, the sun had broken-through and it was now a thoroughly cracking day, ideal for sitting about considering some salted nuts. if… maybe not the….  An elderly, I should say, senior fell-runner, was the only person to mention my hillwalking kit – and she said “You’re a brave man getting your knees out…” as she hopped gracefully from boulder to boulder down the hillside. She was a brave woman to be hopping gracefully from boulder to boulder; if I tried that I’d probably require a new face.
Anyway, my next objective was the diminutive Synge named Stang, a small lump on the ridge heading East from the summit of Raise. This also has the terminus of a lead-mine flue ending at a “chimney”. This now provides a small stone shelter, suitable for sitting in with a satsuma or, indeed, a banana should there be a strong westerly airflow making sitting about with fruit a bit uncomfortable.
It was here that the extent of the rambling population of Helvellyn could be made out – lots and lots of little black dots on the horizon, many, no doubt, carrying comedy hiking kit and teetering and sliding riskily down the snowy headwall of Swirral Edge. I expect that this could have been “thrilling” for some. As for me, I was clearly over-equipped for a sunny spring day with no snow, yet oddly under-equipped in the trouser department.
We progressed and followed the flue down to the lead mine spoil heaps and then down the Stake Pass path to the YHA where I joined the hordes returning from Helvellyn. Nobody mentioned the kilt here either, although I did detect some interest from some senior ladies. I trust they could raise the eight quid fee….. To be fair, most people seemed more interested in LTD, who is extremely friendly to strangers and this does distract attention from the knees, I think. DSCN2803

We did 9 miles and 3400 feet of uphill. I really really like this kilt, thing. (In fact I wore it again the following day on a 9 mile “easy” trundle with Crook and Weardale Ramblers and , whilst there was some initial banter and the singing of “Donald Where’s Yer Troosers?”, in general the reception was positive. I suspect that most people, when sober, are just too polite. More kiltiness coming-up soon.


Alan Sloman said...

My older sisters wore pleated skirts to their rather posh Grammar school. As soon as they were out of view of our house they would roll their waist bands over and over to shorten the skirts to a more fashionable hemline.

Is that what you've done?

Dawn said...

Fantastic stuff Mike.

Mike Knipe said...

Alan - Never thought of that - and the other thing is that it would show-off the tartan suspenders. This kind of thing would have been frowned upon by most of the teachers at the posh grammar school I attended (the music teacher being the exception) and many of the boys. (We didn't have any girls so we had to invent our own)
Dawn - Tar! See you Wednesday ooop the Cheviots.