Just a quick ‘kit test’ in that I think I’ve mentioned the water bowl I have for the dog before but I think it merits a proper mention because it’s so handy.
The one we (well, Brodie Dog) uses is the Mountain Paws bowl. It’s collapsible and with two handles, I can secure it easily to my backpack.
And whilst she favours stream water (or puddle water, weird dog) I always take extra fresh water for her. The walk we did this weekend (end of July) was about 5 hours and the sun was out for most of it, so she was getting pretty hot. Having a water bowl with me made all the difference, there are lots of streams on the moors but not always where you want them, as it were.
Here she is with it, accessories are model’s own.
I set off on a newly planned out a walk a week ago and had to abandon it. And I did the same today – but clocked up about 9 miles of snow fest fun in the attempt.
Along the way we flushed out about 30 Grouse (they didn’t half grumble about it), 1 beautiful winter-coated Hare and lost the route under 3 inches of snow. And scored free sausages for the dog from the very welcome snack van (and very kind lady) on the home straight.
(local people – the snack van is the one on the A635 .. I didn’t really want to use the road but it was the shortest way from White Moss to an exit point and back down from the moors via Wessenden Valley.. and free sausages for the dog.. can’t be bad)
The route I wanted to take was from Marsden across the moors to Black Hill (in neighbouring Peak District. It’s about a 12 mike round trip with some great views (when the cloud doest descend like it did today).
What I actually did was about 9 miles given that the low cloud, sleet, hail and snow mixed flurries made it slow going in places. And I lost the path and had to peat bog scramble for a bit – but didn’t lose my total bearings (thanks to GPS ).
And Brodie Dog still needs to be given some recuperation time (see last post) so I didn’t want to over do it. It was a great hike though and walking on virgin snow for about 3 hours was great.. I only saw one other set of boot prints the whole time.
Anyway – the weather was challenging .. I think it stayed quite nice down in the valley but up on ‘the tops’ it was, err, pretty grim.
But the silence you get with snow and no traffic for miles is truly lovely. And whan the Hare broke cover about 5 yards from us and bounded away like a furry firecracker it was a true ‘wow’ moment. My arm has just about recovered from the dog forgetting she was on the retractable lead and wanting to chasing after it. ouch.
Finally , I’ve been growing a winter beard – kind of as part of the ’decembeard’ charity movement (a bit like Movember but with about 5% of the participants I think). Every day I keep hold off it , I donate some money to a regional homeless charity I support. It kind of looks the part up in the snowy wilds .
In my head I was chasing down deer with my wolf companion.. or somesuch.
But Wolfy got sausages not deer and I think even they were pork not even venison.. didn’t have the heart to tell her
- I can use my phone / GPS thing in bad weather! The Hiking Geek post (halfwayhike.wordpress.com)
- The Pennine Way: Edale to Marsden (jonmaiden.wordpress.com)
- Britain hit by snow and sleet (telegraph.co.uk)
- Postcard from a walk not taken (halfwayhike.wordpress.com)
I planned a walk on Saturday to get vaguely in the zone for a hike up Scafell Pike on 26th Nov (vaguely, as in one walk won’t get me as fit as the other guys doing the walk!).
And it turned out to be the best day of the weekend with blue skies all the way.
My sketch of a route, planned a couple of days before, was one I’ve done before .. up along the old packhorse trail out of the village , up on to the moors and then doing a circular trail which takes in part of the Pennine Way. For part of it I would be walking along ancient lagoon beds (now sandstone cliffs) before turning down through the Standedge cut that divides Yorkshire and Lancashire and then winding my way back down to the village.
But one of the hills in the distance when I got to high ground on the trail caught my eye . I’ve seen it before obviously but never mooched over to it, so this time I did a detour. As seen by the sticky-outy part of my track on the map below.
If you go out an about in the Marsden area , more info on the fuller walk is on my viewranger page :
March Haigh Hill is above March Haigh Reservoir (built to feed the new canal back in the 1790′s I think?) – there was a bit of a boggy route to get to it but the path that was discernible and although dog and I got muddied up, it as worth it for the views at the top.
This stitched together phone photo shows you the sweep .. with the old pub at Buckstones on the left then panning right (Emley Moor mast way off in the distance) and then across to Pule Hill. You can’t really make it out but there’s a hanglider in operation from off those cliffs to the right.
Where I stood to take the photo is a Mesolithic hunter-gatherers hot spot. Obviously not now, they’re long gone. Hangliders scared them away maybe. But yes there was a thriving early-man tool making scene here, from what I’ve read – there have been small stone tools / blades found at the spot over the years. I didn’t go looking as I think you would need to dig and its also something that is probably best done by people who know what they’re looking for. And I also don’t want to disturb stuff that’s maybe of scientific interest for others. And the dog would have been bored.
March Haigh Hill also seems to be a popular geocaching location. I think due to the views and it is close to the A640 with parking nearby for those geocaching folk who head out around the countryside each weekend.
As mentioned, there were a couple of hangliders launching of the Buckstones cliffs as I stood and took in the scenery , it’s a popular spot for that and the acoustics of the cliffs meant it sounded like the small dots of people I could see down on the ground were only feet away.
The walk itself:
This is a 4 to 5 hour walk depending on weather and if you have a camera with you (there are lots of great views along parts of the walk).
It can get a bit boggy underfoot in parts if it has been raining but for a mid range walk its a good one and probably the best views for this part of the world.
Some moody shots (as in I used the black and white mode on my Vignette phone app) of the sandstone cliffs and boulder fields:
I had a shortish walk today up the Wessenden Valley in my home town of Marsden to keep my legs moving a bit before next Saturday’s Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge. It only took about 3 hours and I thought it might be a bit boring as I’ve done this walk quite a lot – but there was lots to see. And I had a nice chat with a guy doing part of the Pennine Way.
Quick Ad break : I know , you started reading but if you want to sponsor me on the Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge , my Just Giving page is here: http://www.justgiving.com/markkelly333
First off : Black Rabbits. There’s a field near the start of the walk that is full of black rabbits (and a few brown ones too). They seem to be confined to that one area and I haven’t seen them in any number elsewhere on the hills. Maybe some domesticated bunnies that escaped and bred? Whatever their origin, the colouring isn’t exactly camouflage and the dog is transfixed by them.
As she is by every sheep we go past. Which is kind of tiresome when you walk past dozens of these semi intelligent wool manufacturing units. I think sheep were introduced in number around 1700 or so in Marsden (yes, that long ago). Before that, I’m guessing there, were far more trees on the moors, certainly on the valley sides.
The angry birds reference : lots of little black and white-tailed birds (I really do need to check what they are but I know they weren’t skylarks) did lots of high-pitched yelling at us today. More than usual, I think it’s either a distraction tactic to get us (the dog mainly) away from any ground nests or they were just feeling shouty (non-scientifc viewpoint).
Product of the week (just pretending I have blog features like the bigger blogs do..) : I bought the dog a portable water bowl this week and it worked well, giving her some water out of my backpack was really easy. The one I got was from Mountain Paws (http://www.mountainpaws.co.uk/hot-dog.htm) . If you have a dog and are out on long walks I think they’re a good idea especially when there aren’t lots of stream around in drier times (dry times are sadly rare in Marsden). I didn’t get sponsored by them to mention the product by the way, clearly not enough traffic to my site for me to be getting spontaneous product trial requests from manufacturers or advertisers
I met a nice guy on this morning’s walk who was walking part of the Pennines Way from Hawes down to Edale – about a week or so of walking. He was from East Kilbride and had been made redundant last year so was doing stuff to make a change and get out of the house. Nice fella, I didn’t get hs name but wish him well.
Icky fact of the week : I’ve been putting surgical spirit on my feet to harden them up. I read that this was a good thing to do. Do any seasoned hikers agree with that? Actually, if you are seasoned I guess you don’t need to harden your feet?