Monday, 20 April 2009

How to beat M62 traffic

Back in the old days, no the really old days before Newcastle's last trophy, getting from Leeds to Manchester or indeed the other way around was a touch arduous. I'd been reading some bizarre old stuff about the original way over the Pennines and how there we many routes across but only one safe one. I'd like to think they built the M62 in parallel to this route deliberately as a nod to the old days. I suspect it had more to do with avoiding the posh bits on either side where the local MP's and their mates lived.

So I had a spare Sunday and I thought I'd investigate, I'd also been partying again so needed the exercise. 

Start by Hollingworth Lake just off junction 21 and walk up to the old Roman Road which crosses the Pennines. Hang a right at the top onto the pennine way across Blackstone Edge ( you'll see this bit in September Craig), over the M62 hang a right over Windy Hill and then nip back under the M62.

Only the last bit is tricky where you have to nip through someones garden without them catching you . Anyway the route in pictures

Up the old road until  you reach the Aiggin Stone which was the Packhorse route equivalent of the big blue motorway signs, not to be mixed up with the more modern and funky lighty up signs for numpties.

Take a break if you are tired.......

Don't drink and drive..........

Bad weather drive slowly.........

Traffic jam 4  different motorways ahead.....

Fire-breathing Dragons beware.....OK not yet but it's a timing issue

So that's the stone, no wonder they needed better signposts

And that's a signpost which can be identified easily by the massive cairn right next to it.

I'm not sure a road could look any less Roman

The top of Blackstone Edge - you can see this from the motorway, travelling eastbound is best as its a bit of a serious rubberneck the other way. Just for reference and safety if given the option to drive a car or be a passenger with Craig driving then unless you are blind of limbless always take the driving option. Actually I'm not sure blind should stop you. Its not the inability to drive that's the problem it's just when he's looking out of the side windows for 5 minutes at a time that's disconcerting. In fact being driven by the girl from The Exorcist that spins her head round and chucks up would be less disconcerting. You could put that down to travel sickness.

This is Floody Road just off Windy Hill

That bridge on the M62 from a different angle

and a funky picture to finish with.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Shads Pet Lip

You can't get much better than climbing Grindsbrook out of Edale, honestly it's a perfect day out, you could take your gran or nana or some other word for you mam or dads mum. I'll accept that this January had been a little on the chilly side, but..........its hardly been arctic circle lets watch our fingers turn blue and drop off in the cold stuff. Mind you it was hardly Captain Oates bravery either.........more later.

It's always a bonus when a new/ old pal joins in on a walk, not just because of the extra pressies (take note any newcomers) but mainly because the conversations take new twists. I've know Tim a year or two now and I think its fair to say he's a bit left of Marx and a bit dryer than a Saudi Chablis so both fair and funny.

As i get to throw in old stories, the only time I've ever seen Tim embarrassed was when he was having a secret tryst (are there any other types) with a girl from the offices where I used to work. Well it was secret till I popped my head through the open window of his house
' hi Tim, oh hi Ang what you doing here?' Yeah I knew what she was doing there, it was just good to ask the question, she so should have said 'oh just nipped round for a shag', that would have stopped me in my tracks. (I'm so dead if Ang reads this). It turned out well though, still together after at least 15 years and with a lovely daughter.

So, fair, funny and at over 50 he's fitter than both me and Shad. Well there's only one thing to do if they are going to outfit you...........scare the living daylights out of them. Hope your taking notes Mr Reddy.

It had been a touch on the frosty side for about a week, but the thaw had now set in. The plan was to climb out of Grindsbrook onto Kinder Scout, have a look at the waterfall and then back round via the Ridge to Mam Tor and then drop back down into Edale. A perfect horseshoe and a reasonable distance for a dog walker like Tim and a triathlete like Shad. All three of us in the car park on time, so something was bound to go wrong. Just in case you've never done this route, you should at least once before you get too old as its really great fun.

As we headed up the valley the wind strengthened considerably and the ice became more prevalent. We were overtaken by a group of fell runners in very shiny clothes. Top Tip - don't ever take up fell running unless you want your bottom to fall off (its the only explanation as they never have arses) and then start to think luminous yellow is a good look. Anyway they headed on the easy path up the ridge while we headed off searching for icicles like real adventurers.
I'm not sure what it is I like about icicles dangerous looking, temporary, transformational maybe? or just plain pretty, but as far back as I can remember (winter 1965) I've always quite liked them. There were some belters up this valley.

Three quarters of the way up Grindsbrook you can in layman's terms, 'hang a right' and then do a slightly trickier climb out and..... oh well despite the ice and because of Tim's pace I figured we'd be ok. Yeah I know 'it'll be alright'.
Well Tim's as fit as a flea and Shad's going to bounce off most things. OK it was a little bit icier than expected and a few gulps and grunts were heard, but after a fair amount of huffing and puffing (think big bad wolf levels) 45 minutes later we emerged onto Kinder Plateau into a wind chill of minus quite a lot...still, we were warm as toast.

After crossing a few spectacular ice flows very carefully and then having an impromptu round of 'Gladiators' on the top of a billion year old rock (you have to show respect), we found a brilliant spot for lunch sheltered between more rocks and crucially out of the wind. The very original plan was to head across the plateau to Kinder Scout waterfall at this point, however due to a tiny misjudgement ( about 110 degrees wrong) we cut a corner here. Hey it leaves the best bit for next time (sorry Tim) and it did turn out to be a very good thing.

We'd been walking about 5 minutes after lunch when Shad was suddenly nowhere to be seen, a couple of minutes later he appeared around a rock chatting to some women from a conservationist group. It was unbelievable what he claimed to know about peat preservation techniques and erosion protection plants. It wasn't the hog wort you were interested in mate.

Everything Changed - Part 2

Then, I had my first real walking disaster and anyone with a small child may empathise with this, imagine taking aforementioned child to someones house where they don't really want to go about 3 miles away.
After 200yards you're carrying the scooter and after 500 yards the bottom lip is out. 800 yards it's 'I'm not happy' and from there its a trudge and a moan all the way home....Welcome to Shadland!!

First it's 'I've got cold fingers', then sulky quiet, then 'is there a shortcut'? He wasn't even distracted by the mad as mongoose toy aircraft or the old bloke with the ambulance that had slipped off the hill. It got so bad i had to offer him the last of my fruit pastilles...........that's a shocker for an only child. We missed out the peak of Mam Tor (already ticked this one) such was the wailing by now and headed back into Edale. By the time we reached the pub for a well deserved pint and a warm up Mr Sulky decided ' I'm not happy' and trudged off home with his wickets.

Still its a brilliant climb and the frozen ground made the walk over the peat bogs miles easier oh and the bottom lip has made a path so deep we'll all be able to follow it for years.
And the promised review of the Morrissey album - it's shite