Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Wednesday 10 December 2008 - Shutlingsloe – The Matterhorn of Cheshire (again)

Déjà vu

1001shut1 Tradition dictated that Sue, Andrew and I gather at Trentabank at 7.30 on this December evening for our final evening walk of the year - the ascent of Shutlingsloe, a mere 270 metre rise to the 506 metre summit high above the Cheshire plain, the second highest point in Cheshire.

As last year, there was a nip in the air and the icy paths were frosted over, with a sprinkling of last week's unmelted snow to add to the mix.  Perhaps we missed an opportunity to test our crampons, but we managed to slither our way up and down the hill without any real difficulties.

You can see from the summit photo that we were well wrapped up.  As we lingered here a headlamp bobbed below us.  We weren't the only people up here tonight (as is quite often the case) - a lone and uncommunicative man was making his way up in a world of his own.  Whilst we were ambling along taking in the wide views under a bright moon (torches were completely superfluous), this chap was content to rush along in the comfort of his own bright pool of light, the red stub of a fag dangling by his side.  We let him pass, dazzled briefly by his unnecessary floodlight, before resuming our admiration of the view to Macclesfield, and Manchester beyond that.1002macc After this most enjoyable little 5 km excursion – we were by 9 pm ensconced in front of the Leather’s Smithy's roaring fire imbibing welcome refreshment whilst reminiscing over the year's achievements. 

It really doesn't seem like 12 months since we last enjoyed this outing!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Via Ferrata Ivano Dibona - 20 July 2007

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This Via Ferrata has the longest ferrata bridge in the Dolomites.

The route starts at Rifugio Lorenzi at around 2900 metres after a long lift from Rio Gere.

Join us in the area in 2009!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Sunday 7 December 2008 - A Stroll by the River Dove

Today Sue and I managed to escape from our sick beds (well, Sue has 'flu, I just have a bit of a cold) to join Julia after her annual trip to the Backpackers Club's Christmas celebrations based at Biggin, where they rent the village hall every year at about this time.

0702settingoff By 9.30, after a difficult journey into a blinding sun with failing brakes, balding tyres and frozen windscreen washers, we were stepping out along the path towards the Tissington Trail.0703tissingtontrail
The winter sun was warm in the clear still air, but the path of the old railway remained frosty, firm and deserted.

After a while (and a judicious CCS/flapjack/tea break in the sun) we descended steeply to join the infant River Dove at Fishpond Bank in Wolfscote Dale. Thick hoar frost in this deep cleft hadn't yet been touched by the sun's rays.

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Surprisingly, we did move in and out of the sun as we progressed up the dale, with people around now, but incredibly few considering it was an immaculate day in one of the most popular parts of the Peak District!

A kingfisher flew purposefully past, its back gleaming brightly, and a couple of herons sunned themselves lazily whilst a platoon of mallards floated gregariously, trying to avoid a bevy of dogs that were intent on a swim.

Hounds howled in the distance (on the near line of hills to the right) as we enjoyed lunch on a sunny bank with a fine view west towards Hulme End.

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Passing through the pretty village of Hartington, we managed to dodge the hostelries (though the slide show does portray these and much more) and walk past this magnificent manor house, dating from 1611, where a bed for the night still costs only £15.

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Hartington Hall

For a fuller photographic record of today's amble - just over 30 images - click here.

Here's a rough outline of our route - 16 km (10 miles) with about 600 metres of ascent. It took us around 4½ hours including stops.

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