Martin on Cnicht

Martin on Cnicht

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Thursday 7 June 2012 - Bleaklow

First of all, I’ve been informed by Heather T-S that Grant Cunliffe’s body was found on 7 June in the Braeriach area, as the snow line finally recedes in the Cairngorms.  You may recall a posting in January that I made at Heather’s request.  It’s very sad news, but at least his family can now grieve properly.  Our thoughts are with them, and with all his friends.

Andy and Gareth near Grains in the Water

Now then, Gareth and Andy had been camping out on Bleaklow.  Despite a rather dire weather forecast I popped out to meet them, as Obi 1P (last seen on a November backpacking trip with Mick and Gayle), who I wanted to borrow again, was languishing in Andy’s car.

I left Polly at 7.30 on the top of the Snake Pass, where the Pennine Way takes on a rather strange look.

The Pennine Way by the A57 road

Turning the other way, I wondered briefly as to my sanity, but the flowers were nice, and the plovers certainly noticed me.

The path towards Bleaklow

‘Welcome to the High Peak’ muttered a runner as he breezed past.  (Or was I imagining that?) 

Hope Woodlands Moor

The runner was one of only five people I saw on the hill today.  Two of the others were Andy and Gareth, who took some tracking down.

I was at Bleaklow Head by 8.30.  It’s a bleak sort of place and I didn’t feel like a long wait.  I knew that they were camping at Grinah Stones, some way off, thanks to Gareth’s ‘buddy beacon’.

Bleaklow Head

So, with the unexpected benefit of a phone signal, we arranged to meet at Bleaklow Stones.  We arrived there within a few minutes of each other, but Andy and Gareth didn’t think these were Bleaklow Stones, so they moved off to an obscure map reference just before I arrived and taunted me from there.

Bleaklow Stones

It didn’t help that I’ve still not learnt how to use the Satmap GPS, so I bumbled around, already having inadvertently turned 180 degrees on the path from Bleaklow Head to Bleaklow Stones.  It was that sort of day, I think Andy and Gareth did something similar.

Anyway, I zigzagged my way to their obscure location, half expecting to find an envelope with directions to my next ‘clue’.  But there they were, a jolly pair of backpackers in the rain, which was the dominant feature of the day’s weather.

At last - Andy and Gareth in the mist

After making our way back to Bleaklow Head, the navigation became very easy for the rest of the walk.  We simply headed back down the Pennine Way, turning left down Hern Clough to Grains in the Water, near where the dynamic duo are pictured in the top image.  Beyond there, Alport Dale narrows and the path moves high above the left bank.  It’s a beautiful dale, even in the rain.

Andy found a little difficulty in staying upright, banging his head and his knee at one point.  So G brewed up for him and all was well again.

A brew stop in Alport Dale

Andy’s spring had been re-wound, and off he went again as we contoured gently past Over Wood Moss and along the delightful contouring path across Alport Moor.

Alport Dale on a wet day

Opposite Grindlesgrain Tor, our route switched to the heights of Westend Moor, climbing steeply but briefly beside Glethering Clough.

Gareth and Andy on the pull up to Westend Moor

Andy was suffering…

Hard work for Andy

Soon we were up at the trig point on Westend Moor.

The trig point on Westend Moor

By now we were rather damp.  It really was raining quite hard.  Perhaps a little harder than on the first Sunday of the TGO Challenge.  It was certainly more wetting, perhaps because I’d deployed an old set of waterproofs for this day walk.

Cameras were stashed before they drowned, and we made our way along to Alport Castles where a left turn took us down the excellent path to reach Andy’s car at the hairpin bend near Fox’s Piece.

The Ladybower Inn then provided real ale and a large plate of chips, which went down very well.  In the next alcove a group of farmers had assembled to listen to a fascinating presentation on management of the Peak District moorland.  It seems that much good is being done, with new techniques revitalising the land.  We left feeling that there is much hope for the future wellbeing of the magnificent landscape and the flora and fauna, not to mention the crops and livestock, that are being helped to flourish in their moorland habitat.  One slide showed an area where there had previously been hardly any skylarks changing to the extent that their numbers are now uncountable!

Thanks for your company, and to Andy for the lift back up to Polly, and Gareth for the loan of Obi 1P, and if you want a bit of a laugh you can chuckle at my wanderings, as recorded by the Garmin gadget:

9 comments:

afootinthehills said...

I read that a body had been found but it hadn't been identified yet. I assumed it was that of Grant's. Very sad.

We've delayed our trip to Torridon having extended our Knoydart holiday,so have things to do here for the next few days at least. Have a enjoyable time.

Phreerunner said...

Thanks Gibson
Sounds like you are enjoying life. If you do get to Torridon do call in to see us at Kinlochewe Lodge, or make contact by phone (07968122170) for a beer at the hotel.
I doubt there will be Wifi so my huge pile on Google Reader will simply grow. Sorry (everyone) not to be commenting at present, I'm extremely behind with the reading due to doing stuff. TGOC photos are nearly done though - they'll go up when the rush has subsided.

John J said...

A bit of a bad do about Grant, but hardly unexpected.

Your walk looked like soggy fun!

JJ

Phreerunner said...

Great fun, JJ, especially all the walking in circles despite compass and GPS.
Got back to another, much easier (famous last words!) tap problem!.....
Have fun in Timperley.
M + S

afootinthehills said...

Sorry Martin. My comment read like we were still in Knoydart - if only. We are at home cutting grass etc(our lawn mower packed in just before we left for Knoydart)so we have a jungle. I'll be very jealous if the weather is good in Torridon but hope it is for your sake.

G said...

Great write up Martin, I'm surprised at the quality of the photos considering how soggy the day was!

I've taken a look at my Social hiking for the day and thankfully as the beacons were only uploaded every 5 minutes it misses a lot of the back and forth for the 45 minutes we tried to find you. It really was a day to remind yourself how conditions can get in the Dark Peak.

All in all though a lovely day with good folks which was still great despite the weather. That route really picks up the scale of Bleaklow.

Likewise I found the overheard talk on moorland upkeep fascinating - I never realised that midges pollinated heather. I've got a little more respect and time for them now.

Hope you have a fab time in Scotland and get to test the Obi 1P in better conditions than we had last week.

Trekking Britain said...

Lo ve the wandering! ;-)

Bleaklow Stones were the thing that got me lost up there eight years ago. I got confused in the same place then came off the wrong way and ended up in dark cloudy conditions and came down to Fairholmes eventually in the dark when I should have been at Old Glossop. A nice NT Ranger took me back there.

What on earth is that on the Pennine Way path, surely that isn't permanent?

Phreerunner said...

Thanks for all the comments.
Jamie, I think the Pennine Way surface must have been 'plated' on the Bleaklow side of the A57 road to enable Mountain Rescue teams and others to gain access. It wouldn't work very well as a car park!

G said...

Finally got my trip report up here Martin, sadly no photos of you, I think the camera spent most of the day in the bag!