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.
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.
Turning the other way, I wondered briefly as to my sanity, but the flowers were nice, and the plovers certainly noticed me.
‘Welcome to the High Peak’ muttered a runner as he breezed past. (Or was I imagining that?)
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Opposite Grindlesgrain Tor, our route switched to the heights of Westend Moor, climbing steeply but briefly beside Glethering Clough.
Andy was suffering…
Soon we were up at 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: