Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Fight Club Hikers Peramble Pike O’ Blisco and the Old Dungeon Gill

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It’s been tradition now for the Fight Club Hikers to have an annual meet once a year (otherwise it wouldn’t be an annual meet, innit?). And so far, the meet has taken place in early November – often in quite bad weather – principally a lot of rain, some hefty snow and cold and some other weather that wasn’t either of these.
So, it came as little surprise that as I erected my tabernacle on the National Trust campsite at Langdale that it was chucking it down big time.
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Eventually, after a snack and a snooze to the soothing sound of heavy rain on the flysheet, me and LTD repaired to the pub where, after a very nice chicken curry and severalteen pints of various beers, 5 other FCH members appeared along with 2 dogs. As it continued heaving it down outside, a proper boozing session developed.
So, eventually, on a grey and drippy very next morning where it seemed to have stopped raining, we all went off to climb Pike O’ Blisco. Pete and his pooch Bella dropped out early on but five of us including canines LTD and Pepper the Collie made a ponderous ascent of the rocky path leading to Pike O’Blisco’s summit. On the way, three of us took a detour to bag the Very Lovely Kettle Crag, an insignificant Synge top with a significant view of Langdale.
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Meanwhile, at the top of Pike O’Blisco we discovered that, as well as the caitn and shelter the summit furniture included a Geo-cache in a small plasic box and a huge pile of human poo. By the size of it, this must have come as a considerable relief to it’s previous owner – but what a dirty twat they were to do such a thing. LTD wanted to eat it whereas I would have preferred whoever donated it to be made to eat it. The mind boggles at whatever was going through the defacator’s mind.  Prolly though it was funny.
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Anyway, we located the “down” path and came down as the rain started again, bagging the diminutive Brown Crags on the way down, and slipping on one’s arse on the wet grass and/or on the appallingly slippery “path” that’s been “improved” (i.e. hardened) by the utter eeejits who manage to con the walking world that they’re saving the fells from a terrible fate. I must say that falling over on wet grass is much more fun and less painful than falling over on the tilted skitey boulders of this comedy footpath. I wasn’t the only one to come a cropper, and our speed, which should have been a quickish downhill romp, was reduced to a delicate, careful and awkward crawl – resulting in getting much wetter than was strictly required.
We cheered ourselves up by more food and a substantial increase in the profits of local breweries back in the ODG. (This hasn’t changed in 40+years by the way, and the cobweb on the “pub of the year 1989”  plaque still retains nicotine from the days when this bar would have been full of sweaty climbers and tobacco smoke,)
Note that the Fight Club hardly ever have proper fights except sometimes at chucking-out time and we don’t really talk about those occasions… but it’s really nice to meet up every now and then and have some hilly fun and, occasionally, talk TGO challenge routes….
On Sunday morning it was still slashing down so I went home.
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Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Hiding From Fireworks–Carey Burn Camp-Out

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Eeejits in Crook have been setting off fireworks since the last week in October and each time there’s a bang or, indeed, a whizz, LTD runs about panting  and shaking and looking for somewhere to hide.
Sooooo…  As it was firework night on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, I decided that enough was enough and a camp-out miles away from anything explosively noisy would be Just The Thing.
I contacted Dawn and she was up for a relaxed weekend in the hills somewhere (she usually is…) and we eventually decided, in view of some exciting wind-blown weather forecasts that somewhere fairly sheltered would be required. Evenhtually, we lighted on the Harthope Valley in the Cheviot Hills – far away from fireworks and , coincidentally, also away from artillery and machine guns which are quite common in the Cheviot Hills.
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Our first choice was unsuitable, not having easy access to water and not very discreet, so we ended up low down in the little side-dale carrying Carey Burn – behind some gorse and very close to the beck – a sheltered and fairly discreet location.
There was not a bang or whizz to be had. We stayed for two nights and did very little, apart from the odd short ramblette or exploration.
In  early November, the nights are long – roughly between 4:45 pm and 7:15 am and this gives ample time for brewing, meditation, snoozing and general lazing about. This should be boring, but it isn’t. 
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I’d taken my Not-A-Onesie (it’s a caving undersuit), and my cosiest sleeping bag in case it was cold – it wasn’t cold – and LTD had his toasty Woofbag into which he enthusiastically curled up and remained almost without moving for a full 14 hours of darkness, his tea and breakfast both being inserted at the appropriate times and into which he stuck his face unceremoniously, snuffling the meat and crunching the doggybix and finishing with a little doggy burp and sigh as he settled down once again to complete whatever dream he’d been having before he was woken up.
We left mid morning on Monday, to the sound of two cracks of gunfire, which we determined was somebody shooting at rabbits, there being a hefty population of which at Carey Burn. Other than that, the noisiest noises were the pheasants, squawking and hiccuping throughout the night.
All things being equal, and, supposing we all survive till next November, I’m determined to do this again – possibly in the Howgills if it’s not too stormy. Next year’s Gunpowder Plot is more midweek, so it may be less drawn-out. A couple of nights at Blakethwaite Bottom may well be Just The Thing
More info about woofbags and how to get one for your pooch is here clicky