Sunday, 19 February 2012

Stand and stare?

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
Leisure by WH Davies

The sunshine beckoned me outside today. A friend recently placed a geocache not far above Old Glossop so I used that as inspiration for navigation practice, seeking out a few other caches and joining them up with a run.

My route took me over to Old Glossop via the Sunday football players on Pye Grove field, up past Shirebrook hospital and up the farm track for my first geocache. Muggles on the track around and above the farm so skipped this one and headed up the muddy trod and round the south west side of Swineshaw Reservoir which is shown in the photo above.

Looking up to Peak Naze from the South
Easy find for cache #2. I knew where this one was, having walked/run this way before, but have never signed the log. No muggles around, unusual for this popular dog walkers path. I faffed a bit here reading the map, choosing my route. I'd not really planned the finer details at home and eventually settled on getting the cache on Peak Naze next.

Disused quarry at the bottom of Blackshaw Clough, the ends of Blakemoor Plantation visible in the distance
Round the disused quarry at the bottom of Blackshaw Clough and into open country. Sheep in that field were clearly not used to seeing people....they stood and stared, in a big huddle! My climb to the top of Peak Naze was rewarded by fabulous views over to Black Hill and back to Glossop. Cache #3 found very easily after putting on my windproof top - quite a wind blowing up there.

Tintwistle Quarry seen from Peak Naze

Having spent a bit of time walking and caching I needed more running, so picking up feet over the grass tufts I headed over to Glossop Low. 
Frozen in places, wet and boggy in others

The helicopters who are lifting bags of heather and seeds for Moors for Future were out and collecting bags from that location. Could be interesting I thought!

I kept up a steady pace on the gentle incline, reaching the guys roping up bags just as a heli came in. I'd fully expected to be asked to stand back or move on, but nope, I just stayed right where I was (about 5 foot from the bags) munching on a chocolate bar as the heli hovered, loaded and flew off. Then in came the Huey. OMG, now that's a loud bird! I couldn't resist taking a video. Sorry if it's poor quality, especially the sound - only had my phone with me.

The bit where it goes a bit wobbly is the downdraft hitting me!!

I hung around for the heli's to come back once more for more bags, it's about a 7 or 8 minute turn round, and while I'd loved to have stayed longer my damp feet were feeling the cold. Not wanting to get chilled I said my goodbyes to the 2 bag loading guys and headed down to Cock Hill trig. I had 3 caches left on my list. Next one just below Cock Hill. Feet cold and starting to feel hungry I almost just ran home. But no. It's a good test of endurance to keep going that bit longer so I check the map and start searching under stones. There are quite a few thousand of them in this disused quarry, but my nav is spot on and I come across cache #4 quite soon. I'm almost muggled by 2 walkers having a picnic at the foot of the slope in front of me. Managing to duck back out of sight just in time I sign the log and I'm off down the slope to cache #5.

This cache is back over towards the disused quarry, but on the south side of Blackshaw Clough. After 10 minutes searching I'm unsuccessful - not surprising as several other cache-seekers have reported a non-finds. Back up the hill and through into the gap between the two patches of trees making up Blakemoor Plantation.

Here I find a small pond in between the two patches of trees.....with 2 fake ducks!!!

The final cache I head for is the one which inspired today's run. I knew it would be an easy find and it was. Thanks to the cache owner for inspiring my run today.

Just the last push back home to do and I'm 11km or so into my 13. My feet are leading the way and before I know it I'm dropping back down the south side of Shire Hill. I feel strong, yet tired at the same time. I've been out about 2hrs20, but was only moving 1hr43. I really did take time to stand and stare today, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Here's the garmin track for you to look at.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


Recently I've been thinking more about the coming year and what races I might pull on fell shoes and my Glossopdale Harriers vest.  I really enjoyed running the Peak 'O' Trial and the Kinder Trial - even though the latter was exhausting I did have fun. So here are some of the contenders for my 2012 racing:

Date Race Distance Ascent
18 March Dark & White Mini Mountain Marathon Series (1/3) 3hr orienteering event variable
15 April Dark & White Mini Mountain Marathon Series (2/3) 3hr orienteering eventvariable
18 April Herod Farm 4.8km 335m
22 April Kinder Downfall 15.5km 600m
27 April Chunal 4.8km 305m
8 May Burbage Skyline 9.3km 366m
13 May Dark & White Mini Mountain Marathon Series (3/3) 3hr orienteering event variable
3 June Wormstones 6.4km 411m

I'd really like to do the D&W series but will take a view on entering all of them after the first one - who knows, I might not like them. I am however intrigued to give another longer race a go to see how I can push myself. I'm not really one for big organised events, preferring the low-key local feeling. But who knows until you try one eh!?

Burbage Fell Race 2012 - taken from my position as a marshall just after the first river crossing
I've not looked at the race calendar in detail beyond early June...I'll review how I'm feeling after a few months. There's a few other races I do need to consider if I want to take part in the Glossopdale Harriers fell championship (Charlesworth Carnival, Coomes Tor, Lantern Pike, Famous Grouse, Round the Ressers to start with, oh, and Stockport 10 (that's miles not km) and a ParkRun). Watch this space!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


Got my act together finally today (had planned to run in the Hope Valley but forgot some essential kit...leggings!) and headed out into the hills on a Glossopdale Harriers club night run...joined by one other lady which was lovely, otherwise it'd just have been me plodding up into the starry night. 3 guys were out but run much faster than me, they ventured up Wormstones and the Nab.

Our route took us 9km up to Shelf Benches and back in just over an hour 10, nice. A delightful run plus scramble up the steep grassy slope in between the crag faces. Ended with a good pace on the downhill. Was most thankful the majority of the ice has melted. 

No photos...just memories of the stars twinkling above us, thankful for pulling on the running shoes and getting outside in the fresh air.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Birthday Bimble

Celebrating a friends birthday today found us joining her an annual bimble, this year around the frozen and snowy western edge of Bleaklow. On the walk over to Hadfield we passed a small reservoir which was almost frozen over....there were some interesting patterns on the surface.

Even though we were only out for a short walk I was prepared for the conditions....hence a rather large rucksack.

We climbed higher and managed to leave the rain and clag behind in the valley. The ground under foot was mostly solid and frozen, with a few decent patches of snow that still remain even though the snow fell over a week ago. Delicious homemade cake and hot drinks were scoffed at the summit of Cock Hill while we admired the view and rolling fog beneath us.

Dropping back into Hadfield the sun had set and we re-entered the claggy fog in the valley bottom....that sort of visibility (or lack of) could be quite disorientating if you don't know exactly where you are. 

Fortunately we we're only about 1km from the pub where a decent few beers and some food was obtained. Good times.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Snow Shelters

On Bleaklow yesterday Tim built us a snow hole - see my White Out post for a couple of photos on that one. Back at home we decided to use the snow on our drive and build an igloo....much to the amusement and curiosity of the local kids!

make a massive pile of snow

excavate the entrance

dig out the inside

view looking out part way through excavations

using a mat helped to drag out snow and keep us warm

air can just see out, and the air circulated wonderfully with just two of these
built by day, enjoyed at night. both our legs just fit inside the entrance tunnel

the inside lit with just a head torch - sufficient lighting whilst inside

and with a flash to show the space inside

I'll be doing some research into how to build snow holes safely and correctly was fun to do on the drive but the thought of it collapsing wasn't far from my mind. Even so, the igloo felt strong and stable and it is still standing and usable this morning. Knowing that one could save your life if caught out on the hill I believe it's vital to know the basics to make it as safe as possible.

White Out

Excited by Saturday's snowfall in Glossop we headed up Bleaklow yesterday morning...

Heading up Doctor's Gate

The weather was kind to us, with little wind until we reached the tops. Full clag cover made photographing difficult. It was obvious which way the wind had blown over the past 24 hours - south facing slopes were quite scoured of snow with snow settled much more on the northern aspects.

Iced rocks

Almost at High Shelf trig point, battling with thigh deep drifts in places
High Shelf trig point with the sun teasingly refusing to make a full appearance

More iced rocks at the top with snow drift beyond

There were some impressive snow drifts. Sadly with full cloud cover and lots of clag the light wasn't great for taking photos of the snow sculptured formations that were created.

Beautiful snow sculptured drifts, hard to capture in the dull light

In one particularly deep drift behind Higher Shelf trig Tim built us a snow hole to enjoy a warming brew...

We were properly sheltered from the bitter wind in here, with plenty of space to lay down

We wandered over to the plane wreck of Overexposed then returned to the trig and were impressed by the ease in which you can lose your bearings in the claggy conditions. Thankfully it wasn't a full on white out, and were were confident in knowing our location having been on this part of the hill quite a few times. We made our way back down to Glossop via James Thorn, the frozen pond and a few wonderful sledging sections.

there were actually footprints over the pond...just visible appearing on the far left

Tim enjoying a slide down on the bum bit of kit for descents!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Robin Hood's Picking Rods

A leisurely stroll in the bitter cold air took us along the bridleway to Robin Hood's Picking Rods.

Coombes Edge - where I ran on the Peak O Trial fell race

Having read reports that the top of Hope Cross had been stolen I felt compelled to visit a local stone statue while it is still around. Thankfully the capstone for Hope Cross has now been found, and having now see the Picking Rods it would take very determined and resourceful thieves to steal these...

I've not done a lot of research into the history of this feature. What I have found out doesn't give me any conclusive evidence of why these stone pillars are here or who put them here. If anyone has details I'd be interested to know a bit more.

Some of the puddles had interesting patterns

Hare footprints?

facing East with Kinder rising above Hollingworth Clough

the green-ness of the grass amused me; given it was totally iced in next to this rock it looked very much alive


It's a new month and as promised I'm reviewing my Aspirations for the year.

Weekly - final week of Jan only as goals in my Excellence blog were only set on 25th Jan.

3 runs: complete: 7.21km on 24th, 19.25km on 28th and 5.5km on 31st. The week was slightly skewed from my usual routine because of the Kinder Trial on 28th.

2 low-carb eating days: this was a tough one to fit in because of the Kinder Trial, no way was I going to be lacking energy from carbohydrates for that one. I did manage one really clean eating day - Monday - where I pretty much devoured a whole chicken and drank lots of water (I ate other stuff too). 

1 new recipe: I didn't exactly do a new recipe but I did vary what went in a beef stew the other day. Not very exciting I know, but it was a rather tasty sweet potato and beef stew seasoned with paprika and cayenne.


2 Glossopdale Harriers club runs: complete - 11km on 10th and 11.63km on 17th. Both were night runs out of Glossop. I didn't run with the club on 24th as I wanted an easier run prior to Kinder Trial and on 31st I was just too tired to run at all....the KT has dominated the last few weeks of the month for me. Something to bear in mind for the time around future races.

2 full days on the hill: on 13th we did a night nav walk Into the Darkness lasting about 5.5hrs. I didn't manage another full day.

2 half days on the hill: did 4 short nav walks plus one at nearly 4hrs around Kinder's western flanks.

1 weekend away: not managed, goals only set on 25th and was racing on 28th.

1 bivvy night on the hill: this was almost managed, with goals set on 25th the only date we could have managed was Sunday 29th...the coldest night of the winter pretty much with snow laying on the ground and a weather warning out for siberian temperatures....we gave it a miss unsurprisingly. I'd like our first bivvy to be one we complete, rather than bailing at 2am because we're getting hypothermic.

Progress on 2012 Aspirations
#1 - 24 GDH runs: 2 complete, on target.
#2 - run 3 fell races: 1 complete, on target.
#3 - cover 25km in one go: max distance 19.25km. Very pleased I could run that far, in fact beyond happy so easily on target for this one in a few months I think.
#4 - 10 body weight chin ups: on Monday I did 12 chin ups over 4 sets: 3, 3, 2+1, 2+1. Good progress. Would like to be doing 4 sets of 4 by the end of this 4 week training programme which I started on Monday.

Overall I've had a really good month. I pushed myself in the race, got a really decent night on the hill, been out with the club twice (at night) and feel really positive. This quote has been popping up on the status of a few of my friend's social network "Obsessed is a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated". I like it.