Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Monday 11 March 2013

Saturday 9 March 2013 – TGO Challengers’ Reunion at the Snake Inn


A near record turnout of over 40 Challengers convened at The Snake for their annual weekend reunion.  Living close by, and with a busy weekend, Sue and I just turned up for the day.

The ‘wild camping’ next to the pub looked as enticing as ever.  Gayle and Mick, in Colin the campervan, seemed to have made the best call!

Soon after 10am, Intrepid Alan led a motley group of about 34 people (he never seemed quite sure how many) over the stile across the busy A57 road.  It took a while for them to negotiate this obstacle, and there was an even longer delay at Fair Brook (pictured above), which unlike many of the Scottish river crossings has some easily negotiated stepping stones.

More practice needed, perhaps.

Then Alan led us gently up into the mist.  Frequent stops were needed to wait for backmarkers.  We hoped they realise the Scottish hills are longer, rougher and steeper than this path up to Seal Stones.

More practice needed, perhaps.

Another stile took a while to negotiate.


Elevenses and cake provided a minor distraction whilst we waited, but Gayle was getting cold, so we re-formed an ‘A-team’ and took our leave of the main group, some of whom had still not arrived on The Edge.


By and by we stopped for lunch some way along The Edge, beyond Fairbrook Naze.  Here we were joined by stragglers from the main group, which bizarrely seemed to have passed us (I still can’t believe that), abandoning ‘Science’ Dave and ‘Karrimor’ Chris to the elements.  They were happy to join us for the rest of the walk.


After sinking deep into numerous snow gullies along The Edge, the team assembled to record their experience at the head of William Clough.  The snow turned to sleet.


Here we joined the Pennine Way path, with its slippery slabs, nearly losing Dave, who took an unseen tumble and was almost abandoned.  Mick’s cracking pace facilitated ‘warming up’ after the slow and cold progress along The Edge.


Over the Snake Pass road, the remains of a Vango tent fluttered from a fence, a relic from a DofE award trip perhaps.  I wondered how my daughter was coping with her DofE children on the Oldham moors nearby…

As we descended Doctor’s Gate and joined the lovely path through Lady Clough, the sleet turned to rain and provided a meaningful test for our old waterproofs.  They passed.


Backmarkers from the main group were overhauled as the Snake Inn came into our sights.  They had apparently taken a short cut down Ashop Clough.  Alan informed us that nearly everyone was accounted for.  Or so he thought.


Tea and cake in Colin were most welcome, then we adjourned to the pub, where Sue attempted to set fire to her clothing in front of the roaring fire.

It was good to pass the day, and the evening, with this jolly group of Challengers, though we were sorry to miss Tim.

Here’s our route – approx 20km, 500 metres ascent, 6-6.5 hours.


There’s an annotated slideshow here.  Taken furtively with my waterproof camera; feel free to ‘borrow’ them.  Gayle’s report is here.  Alistair’s is here.

I have also reported on earlier Snake Reunions, in case anyone wondered how we’ve all aged…


Louise said...

Looks quite similar to Challenge conditions really.

Tony Bennett said...

Tsk. I go away for the weekend and come back to find my hills covered in snow. I suppose that's what happens when the Challenge comes to town!

AlanR said...

Hi Martin,
Nothing wrong with the new camera. Good pics. Seems Kinder was tougher than Bleaklow looking at the snow. Maybe the northern sides copped it worse.

Q. What do the numbers signify on the map btw.

Phreerunner said...

Ah, I was waiting for someone to ask...
Leadership duties: 1>2 = Alan Hardy, 2>3 = Graham, 3>4 = Mick, 4>5 = Gayle, 5>6 = Dave, 6>1 = Sue, Chris or Graham - and they all went differently...
Mostly they weren't even aware of their duties - that's the 'A' team for you...

AlanR said...

I like 3>4. A real toughy that section. Ha

Phreerunner said...

'Fast Mick' would have disappeared into the sunset had he been allocated a longer section!

Gayle said...

Thank you for the photos. I've copied the ones I've wanted and will craft my masterpiece tomorrow.

We only seem to have one major variance of recollection (except for the leadership duties!), that being that Mick and I spent a while talking about and looking at how pretty the falling snow was as we walked alongside the river through Lady Clough. It was definitely snowing rather than raining at that particular point - although maybe it had been raining as we entered the woods.

Hope your journey home was uneventful. We were surprised at how much snow there was when we came to journey south (snow ploughs a-go-go, but not on our side of the road). Perhaps I would have been less surprised if I'd even glanced at a weather forecast last week...

Gayle said...

Oooh, sorry - bit of an epic comment there!

Phreerunner said...

Ok, it was snow, as verified by the white stuff on our car that didn't melt until we got home!
We await your masterpiece!

Sir Hugh said...

That first pic looks like the Beginners' Geocaching Class.

Phreerunner said...

Haha, yes!

I bet there is a geocache somewhere close by!