Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Wednesday 7 June 2017 – An Evening Walk to Mellor Cross

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Shaun was raring to go. “Rain is forecast at 9 pm” he announced, “so we are leaving at exactly 7.30.”

I don’t know how many people got left behind; there were certainly some in the Norfolk Arms afterwards, but I fear they were simply ‘crocked.

So 27 SWOG members set off very punctually on a gloomy evening brightened by some red and blue anoraks.

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The walk was through scenic farmland on the edge of the Peak District.

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This semi collapsed building appears to be the subject of a major restoration project. (Mental note to take another picture in a year’s time.)

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I wonder whether they will tarmac this track.

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There were views to Kinder Scout, but these diminished as the drizzle arrived.

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Not 9 pm, but the rain had arrived. Early.

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After a while, and after some gentle ascents, we arrived at a trig point on the 327 metre summit of Mellor Moor. This is an important top for Hill Baggers, being recorded as:

Tump (300-399m), Current County/UA Top
(Tu,3,CoU)

Don’t ask me to interpret that, but I have logged the visit of 27 SWOG members on the Hill Bagging website.

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Can you spot the trig point in the above picture? It’s a bit harder to see than Mellor Cross, seen below from close to the trig point.

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The wooden cross has a plaque:

Erected by the Marple and District Council of Churches
27th March 1970

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With the rain now set in, views were limited, and even out of focus beyond this Umbelliferae – possibly Hedge Parsley.

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There was also a selection of Umbrelliferae.

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Whetmorhurst horses clearly don’t like eating buttercups!

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Continuing on downhill to the newly refurbished Devonshire Arms, we decided it was too posh for our group, so we finished by going uphill to Mellor Church (pictured below, on the horizon), then adjourning in steadily heavier rain to the Norfolk Arms.

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Here’s our route - 6.5 km, with 150 metres ascent, taking 1.5 hours. Thanks to Shaun for leading us all around such a pleasant circuit. Mellor Cross is marked by the red and white marker.

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Friday, 9 June 2017

Monday 5 June 2017 – Around Grasmere

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“What shall we do today?” asked Andrew, “I’m happy to lead a walk.”

The replies:

David: “I think I’m having a heart attack, I must go to the doctor.”
Gaynor: “I have a serious case of Chef’s Lassitude and I can’t move…”
[To be fair, she had excelled the previous evening in the stress of an unfamiliar kitchen.]
Sue B: “I can’t move. I think I’ve broken my coccyx.”
Jacqui: “The elves kept me awake all night, I haven’t slept a wink, not even one wink, I can’t go on, today the world will end, there’s no point in going out, I’ll be hit by a dog…etc, etc.”
Sue E: “I can’t find my umbrella. I must have left it in the lavatory.”

It was p*****g down outside. Cats and dogs and red squirrels.

So the whole team lingered in the luxurious living room of Glen View, smelling just a little from yesterday’s exertions, as the shower didn’t work.

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The view was admired through the stair rods.

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Eventually David despatched himself off to the doctor and Andrew whipped the rest of his team into action. They stumbled off in full waterproofs to the fleshpots of Grasmere. Well, a veranda in Grasmere.

From left to right, under this shallow awning:

Sue E: “David, come immediately, I need my umbrella and I think I may have left it in a lavatory, and I need you to protect me.”
Gaynor: “Where are we? I’m feeling faint. I can’t go on…Help!”
Jacqui: “Open up, I need a lie down with coffee.” [It was a furniture shop.]
Andrew: “Get a grip, you lazy layabouts!”
Sue B: “I’m stuck in this position. My back has completely locked up. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…”

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Anyway, eventually Andrew managed to regain control. Gaynor and Jacqui took turns to be piggy backed up the hill to Town End, Sue E received her umbrella by email, and Sue B travelled using a strange kangaroo like gait with a very straight back. The motley crew is pictured below, with Gaynor on cat/dog/red squirrel duty.

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Eventually Rydal was reached, where Sue E supplemented her plastic bag and umbrella rain deflection system with the canopy of a large beech tree.

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The rest of the group found a café, but Jacqui got stranded on the wrong side of a rivulet, and Gaynor got distracted by a notice board that refused to tell her the name for a baby red squirrel.

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Thirsts for coffee duly satiated [and the Guinness chocolate cake was to die for], Andrew led his bedraggled charges back into the mire. By now they were in the splendid gardens that are attached to Rydal Hall.

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Fashioned from an old bit of limestone that was propping up York Minster, ‘The Angel’ is a masterpiece created by origami graduate Shawn Williamson. It took him three years (2007 – 2009) to make and is a tribute to the late Josephina de Vasconcellos, a renowned sculpt with whom he worked nearby.

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A tunnel in the garden led to a shed that overlooks Rydal Beck. More of a torrent today!

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After dicing with death on the A591 motorway, Andrew calmly negotiated his team to a path on the south side of Rydal Water, which was just about visible through the rain. It was raining ducks at this point. They looked shocked.

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There was no tea room.

But there was a cave in which to shelter. Andrew and Co rushed in – pictured top – creating a frenzied blur that overcame the normal sensitivity of the official photographer’s camera. Here’s are some views from inside the cave, which according to the map is an old slate quarry.

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Sue E had been busy chuntering for a lull in the rain during the entire course of the walk. Her chunters eventually bore fruit as the group left the cave and strolled back to Grasmere along Loughrigg Terrace (a well constructed path). Gaynor’s ears were cold, so Andrew lent her one of his rather fine knitted skullcaps. [Andrew’s knitting skills are legendary.]

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A short pause enabled those present to observe the quickly unravelling fronds of bracken, and foxgloves that actually grew into this picture of Grasmere and Helm Crag as it was being taken.

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Everything was exceedingly green.

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Back at Glen View, tea was served. David looked very dry. His heart attack had mysteriously cured itself. He had cheated. Elizabeth and Paul, said to be walking the Coast to Coast route, but actually travelling in a luggage van, were also there. They were very dry.

I’m told that the route - 12 km with some 400 metres ascent, took about 4 hours.

It’s shown below (click on the map to enlarge it).

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I believe a jolly time was had by all, and the shower might even have been mended so Glen View may by now be less smelly. But who knows? The lavatory is probably still full of umbrellas and components of Sue E’s hypnotising kit.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Sunday 4 June 2017 – A Circuit from Grasmere

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After our overcast and slightly chilly walk on Scout Scar, Sue and I moved on to Grasmere, setting off around noon after a leisurely pause for coffee and cake. The sun was trying hard as we headed out towards Kelbarrow and Silver How, our first objective.

We were soon in t-shirt weather on the gently rising path pictured above.

At a minor col with a division of paths, a right turn pointed us up this neatly paved staircase that leads nearly to the summit of Silver How after the steepest climb of the day.

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It was a lush green view down to Grasmere and Rydal Water from Silver How.

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There's a cairn on the summit of Silver How. This is the first of eight Birketts, including four Wainwrights, visited on this walk. A 'Birkett' is one of the 541 hills included in Bill Birkett's book 'Complete Lakeland Fells'.

From Silver How there are fine views towards Helm Crag and Helvellyn, and a good path to Lang How, with the Langdale Pikes coming into view.

Here’s Sue on our second summit - Lang How, with the Helvellyn range behind.

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The highest point of Lang How is a few stones some way from the cairn at which Sue was pictured above.

Continuing along the broad ridge, this cairn marks the true summit of Swinescar Pike. It was now cool enough for a fleece.

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Looking back, Lang How's summit is on the left of a broad hill in the middle distance.

The summit of Swinescar Pike may be marked by the cairn shown above, but Bill Birkett's 'summit' is 200m NW at NY 31365 07178. We went to it.

"I'll ignore the niceties of peak bagging and simply enjoy the view" this lady told us.

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We came across what appeared to be a dead body. But it wasn't. It was just 'resting'.

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Written on his sleeve:

‘If I collapse leave me where I have dropped.
Do NOT touch me or speak to me.
Move away 30 metres and keep totally silent.
If I get any sensory input for the first 3 minutes I will get worse.
If after 3 minutes I am not improving then call for medical help.’

He was actually quite chatty, asserting that he had been so badly brain damaged at birth he should be spending his life as a vegetable – but is actually a bit better than that. He stumbled off down the hill shortly after we left him.

Castle How has three summits. We went to the equal highest that is the 'Birkett' summit, with good views back down the broad backed Langdale Edge that we had slowly ascended.

We continued upwards, with Crinkle Crags looming high in the distance across the valley, before reaching the fifth and highest summit on Langdale Edge, Blea Rigg.

A little further on, Codale Tarn came into view, with our descent route beyond it.

Pavey Ark and the Langdale Pikes were quite close by; they are quite easily gained from our next objective, Sergeant Man.

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We met various folk at the head of Easedale, virtually the only people seen all day (on a ‘busy’ Sunday in the Lake District). They were trying to work out the route down to Stickle Tarn from the Easedale Tarn path. It's not that obvious

We rose gently up to our high point of the day, Sergeant Man (736 metres), from where we could look back down Langdale Edge, with Loughrigg Fell at the end before the descent to Windermere.

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Sergeant Man is very close to our seventh summit, Codale Head. By now it was a lovely afternoon for our descent past wheatears and meadow pipits to our final summit, Tarn Crag, where we lazed for some time.

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From here, we descended into Far Easedale on a faint path on our way to Grasmere.

After meeting nobody on the descent from Codale Head, we came across a family enjoying the sunny afternoon in Far Easedale just near where this final picture was taken.

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Our walk ended at Glen View, where we were staying. Here's the 16 km route, with about 900 metres ascent, for which you should allow 5-6 hours. A shorter alternative would be to miss the final three summits and descend via Easedale Tarn. Click on the map for a larger version.

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This walk proved to be an excellent choice for a busy Sunday afternoon in the Lake District, on relatively easy ground with great views.

Here’s a slideshow (40 images)

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Sunday 4 June 2017 – Dave’s Big Birthday (Part 4 – Scout Scar)

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After last night’s revelry, the turn out for the final instalment of Dave’s birthday celebrations was understandably small, especially given the 8.30 am start.

This spot, just a five minute drive from the centre of Kendal, is clearly one of Dave’s favourite places. There are great views over Kendal and the Lyth Valley.

Sue and I managed to park in the wrong place. but we soon joined Dave, Emma and William at the Mushroom viewpoint.

It was cloudy and atmospheric, much more attractive in Dave’s view than a ‘blue sky’ day. This is how he likes it. The views are great.

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After admiring those views we returned the way we’d come – just a few hundred metres back to the car park, glancing back to the Mushroom as we went.

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A great way to start the day. Thanks for planning this, Dave.

Longer routes are available from the car park at SD 488 924.