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)
On saturday I headed off across to New Lancashire for a circular walk that was about 10 miles in total.
New Lancashire is that part of Saddleworth that used to be Old Yorkshire before some chaps in brown suits commandeered it as part of a metropolitan area shake up, back in the 1970s. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddleworth)
Anyway, they annexed off as many villages starting with a ‘D” as they could for Lancashire, before people on “t’other side of the hills” noticed.
These comprised of Diggle – where I walked to, Delph, Dobcross and Uppermill. I know Uppermill doesn’t start with a ‘D’ but they turned a blind eye to that.
I’m pretty neutral about the whole village-rustling thing, in that whilst I was born in Yorkshire, I spent the majority of my life (just about) in the south. But the Old Stock of those villages still fly the Yorkshire flag, metaphorically and literally in some cases.
Tech Alert :
Another quick plug for ViewRanger (the web service and the App on my phone) : I picked the route from this site (http://www.gps-routes.co.uk/routes/home.nsf/RoutesLinksWalks/standedge-trail-walking-route) , downloaded the GPX file and imported to ViewRanger, that I followed on the day. All really quick and amazingly easy to decide on a route , set it up and head off.
So, enough of the history and technology – the walk itself:
It was about a four and half hour walk across the moors, through farm lanes as I dropped down into Diggle and then back over the moors again. The views from above Diggle and then from above Denshaw (ish) were really clear. Here are a couple of photos from the walk – the first one is a bit of a badly stitched panorama but you can see the sweep of the valley below.
There was a bit too much road walking for me on this trip and the dog gets bored when she’s on a short lead. I can’t let her off the lead even on the open moors because of the sheep but its nice to let her roam a bit ahead of me when we’re out in the open. Except for when she lunges into peat gulleys when she thinks she smells a sheep. I’ve nearly landed face down in sodden 5000 year old tree remains a few times.
Near the end of the walk (fess up time : the bit just before I had a pint of Speckled Hen in the Great Western Inn ) I was walking on top of the longest and deepest canal in Britain ( built in 1811 and a few hundred feet below me). And just beside me was the route of the old (very old) Roman road between Chester and York. The Romans built the road around 80AD and it was about 20 foot wide (long since eroded or covered over. But that’s a big road and I guess it was the trans-Pennine (the hills round here) motorway of its day.
Which is kind of cool when you walk on it now.
Overall, this isn’t a walk I would do again soon due to the amount of road navigation but it was still a nice set of views and good to see some of New Lancashire.
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