Friday, 21 November 2008

Kinder Scout, Mam Tor, South Head & Mount Famine

At LAST, we got a really good forecast for our Tuesday walk, and so decided to do a big-ish one. It started out as a nine-miler, but due to Sue's excitement and; 'lets do THAT as well' mentality, it turned into just over ten miles and just over 2,000 feet of ascent!
This is the view we got as we topped Winnats pass. Rushup edge was to our right and we were hopeful that this type of 'clearing cloud' would be the order of the day.
Looking back was better, this is the view along the Mam Tor ridge to Lose hill.
However, we also saw this HUGE bank of clouds, just rolling across the hills.

The forecast was for a cloudy start, improving as the day went on. The trouble with Kinder Scout, where we were heading, was it didn't often pay attention to the weather man, and sort of just did what it wanted.
We reached Bowden Bridge, and looked forward and up to Kinder. Oh dear, COVERED in heavy cloud and mist, This did NOT bode well.

Those skies look a bit black too. Would we get a soaking? It looked that way.

Ever the optimists, Sue, Tom and I set off for the wild, grey yonder, hoping it would turn into the wild BLUE yonder.
Looking ahead, we didn't think there was much chance of THAT!

Well, well, what do you know? As we climbed, the sun grappled it's way through and started to burn off the mist, leaving us warm, and with the sort of views we'd hoped for. The stiff climb up William clough had us sweating, and soon we were down to tee shirts - in late NOVEMBER.
The recent rains made for some nice little waterfalls.
Here's Sue & Tom, pressing onward and upward.

Due to erosion, as on so may paths in the Peak district, the final few metres are slabbed. It's not the prettiest of things, but I agree with it as something is needed, and this seems one of the most sympathetic ways to tackle the problem.

This was the view North to Saddleworth moor.
Kinder reservoir.
Here I am, having topped out. The view back is STILL a bit angry looking, but so far NO rain.......YET.
The path around Kinder edge.

The sheep seemed totally unconcerned with it all.

The cliffs around the edge make a great viewpoint back.
After a walk around the edge of Kinder Scout, we approached the downfall (a waterfall). This place used to attract ice climbers in winter when it froze as a solid wall of ice. We seldom get those sort of winters now, and I have yet to see this 'wall of ice' I've heard about and seen pictures of. There had been a lot of rain recently, and we expected a bigger flow, but this is about par for this waterfall, and I've seen it in this state many times.

Rocks on the edge, and view back to Kinder reservoir
Looking over the lip of Kinder Downfall.
How WILL we cross this 'raging torrent'? :-)

The water from the moor is VERY brown and 'peaty' (surprise, surprise).
This is the view looking back to Kinder downfall from Sandy Heys.
The falls are in the nick to the right, so you can't see them.

Looking South.
The wind does strange things to the rocks up on Kinder, this one looked at though it was balanced on three points.

Some wind sculptures.
Who does this rock look like when turned on its side?
We eventually reached the trig' point at Kinder Low ('low' meaning 'high' in Derbyshire), and set the timer for the 'team picture'. The cool wind had made us put our coats back on.

We could see Mam Tor in the distance now, and very nice it looked too.

This is where Sue had her; 'lets do THAT', moment. This is South head, and Mount Famine in the blue (yes, it had turned) yonder. Our path lay to the right here, past Edale cross, but Sue had other plans. Although it was getting a little late, we figured we'd got time to take them both in, and still have time to get back before dark.
So, off we set.
We hadn't really figured on the extremely boggy conditions, and spent a lot of time trying to negotiate the thick, oozing peat.
It slowed us down for a while, but things improved when we got onto the hills.
A look to our right revealed this horrendous sky over Kinder, where we'd just come from. How on EARTH were we to stay dry with THAT lot looming???
Only one thing to do - press on, and we reached the summit of South head in no time at all.
This is the summit cairn of rocks.
South head - done! All that was left was to walk over Mount Famine.
What a lovely end to the day. As we did the final climb over Mount Famine, we were treated to a lovely sunset.

We reached the valley floor again, and in the dying light of the day, I took this picture of a weir.
We all went for a well-earned pint in the 'Sportsman' pub and congratulated ourselves on a terrific walk (and not ONE spot of rain all day).

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Surprise weather on Longstone moor, and Geoff Fuller, the potter!

This week we planned to go up onto Kinder Scout with a couple of friends ( )
but the forecast was really dire, so we decided to put it off. Sue & I decided to do a more local walk, over Longstone moor because, when we woke up, the sky was incredibly blue and clear!!! We cursed the weather man, and got ready to go. Following the pattern of the last week or two, by the time we'd got ready, it had started to cloud over and as we drove up to Monsal head, where we started the walk, the skies darkened and it started to rain. The sun was trying to get through, as you can see, but the rain made us jump back in the car to see if it would pass.
Incredibly, after one or two more false starts, it DID pass, and we set off in hope.
Now that Autumn is well over and we're into winter, there are very few leaves left, so wood walking is far more drab.
Still some nice fungi to 'spot' though.
These are birch brackets, or 'razor strop' fungi, so called as they say you can sharpen a cut-throat razor on it by 'stropping' it on the rough surface of the fungi.

As we gained height onto the beginning of Longstone moor, we looked back to Monsal Head.

This is the view as you top out on the moor. The sky still looks black, and we had our waterproof coats on but, touch wood, it hadn't rained again since we left the car. The wind was a cold & cutting westerly though, but the coats kept it at bay.

Again the sun tried and tried to pierce the heavy cloud, here it is picking out a farm in the distance.
Our first goal today was the Three Stags inn at Wardlow mires. One of our favourite pubs, it is PACKED with character. The main one is Geoff Fuller, the landlord. Although the pub is now only open at weekend, we decided to just take a look - and we were lucky! Geoff's other passion is pots and his work sells for quite respectable prices. Geoff saw us, and came to the door and invited us in. We felt really honoured, as he can be quite a private person. He showed us all around the old cow shed , which is now the pottery, and allowed me to take pictures.

Also, he went into the pub and brought us a pint of beer! This is Geoff with one of his bespoke beer mugs. You KNOW you're special if he makes one of these for you.

A close study of Geoff applying colouring 'slip' to the pot.

These are the various brushes he uses to get different effects with the slip.

A 'Three Stags' beer mug, ready to be fired.

One of his square plates, ready for the kiln. He says he loses about one in three of these when they are fired.

Pat is also a potter. Where Geoff has his own electric fired kiln, complete with a door. Poor old Pat has to make do with a home-made version!
It really looks unsafe to me, but what do I know? We were amazed to learn that Pat has to brick up the front every time she does a kiln of pots! It DID strike me there was no door to this Heath Robinson affair, but to have to go to all THAT trouble, it MUST be love!!

FIRE in the hole!
Thar she blows.
After the lovely tour, we took our glasses back into the closed bar. It gave me chance to take a couple of pictures. This is the bar, nothing fancy at all, dogs rule here.

The 'house beer' - deadly in pints at 8% gravity!!!
(Sorry the picture is a bit blurred - it wasn't the beer - honest!)

DON'T ask for lager in the Three Stags!

And here is the 'piece de resistance', this is a PETRIFIED CAT, which was found down an old mine shaft. If you look on top of the case, you can also see a petrified RAT.

All too soon, we had to leave to continue the walk. We crossed the road and entered Cressbrook dale.
A short way along the dale is this lump of limestone called 'Peter Stone'.
The dale was VERY flooded from recent rains, but passable.

Looking back along the dale, you can see how much water was in it.
The weather was still holding out for us though, and a glance up the steep dale side showed blue sky.

....but a look back showed the threat of rain.

"I know, let's sit and eat our lunch before we get to the top - we'll be more sheltered".
This was what Sue said, so we sat in a force ten westerly and ate our home made spicy pumpkin soup, caraway seed bread and Emmental cheese.
The views weren't bad though.

We continued, through the now leafless scrub, to the bottom of the dale.
We passed this amazing tree trunk, which had fallen across the path.
Look at the twists in the trunk. How did that happen?
We next reached Ravenstor cottages, usually inhabited by climbers for the crags opposite.
I am told that only one is permanently lived in, the rest are all holiday cottages.
Finally, we got to Water cum Jolly dale, where I KNEW the mill race would be in spate, and therefore good for pictures.
After this, it did start to spot with rain, but only a little, and we arrived back at the car reasonably dry, and VERY happy with our day.

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