The Vault Regulars

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Top of Leach in a Gale.

Having parked up at SD 871-158 and just managed to hang onto the door as we got out, we headed off on a windswept day heading for Top of Leach  at SD859 - 178.
There was plenty of blue sky around and thankfully the views excellent.
It was quite a biting wind and it was straight in our faces as we made our way up Rooley Moor Road.
Height is quickly gained and turning around out of the wind we managed to keep the camera steady for some photo’s.

The track we are on has lots of history attached to it and the more that you search the more interesting the story becomes.
The route was built for the cotton industry and the old original cart tracks can still be found in a number of places. An example of which is below. This dates to pre 1860 and is known as “The Cotton Famine Road".
 During the times of the American Civil war when the Union blocked the Confederate ports, cutting off cotton shipments to this area, it obviously caused great hardship and was called a famine. This may have had something to do with the many Irish folk that had come over to find work during there own “Potato Famine" a generation earlier.
 Some work had to be found for these poor souls and an enhanced road was built using quarried sets and again is still clear today and in good condition.
Even through the hard times the people here backed the Union and the abolishion of slavery and when that event happened a letter was sent to President Abraham Lincoln and which was given such significance that he replied within 2 weeks.

A much better account of events can be found here.
During a period of quarrying and also for the land owners, a pub was established called the MoorCock Inn. Unfortunately only the basic footings of the building and the gate posts remain today.

The MoorCock Inn gate posts.

Keeping on track we came to the Trig point which is Top Of Leach where today we could make out Whernside, Penyghent and Pendle Hill.
It was bitterly cold now and fortunately for us there was a wind break in just the right place.
Lunch was taken fairly sharpish if a bit late and off we went back.

  We headed south towards a (BS) boundary stone marked on the map. (Sorry no map as the printer has decided to take a short break).  We were not watching where our feet were going because next thing Sheila slipped, but she held onto my hand firmly and with the momentum of the slide threw me bodily over her shoulder just like a professional wrestler. We lay in a puddle for what seemed like 1 minute but was probably no more than 20 seconds. Bruised but not broken thankfully.

  The sun had moved further round towards the west and gave us less hazy views south where we could make out Manchester City Centre and the Beetham Tower. Unfortunately the photo was not good enough to print. So here are some sheep and cows instead. Much better we think.

It was just over 6 1/2  miles and a pleasant afternoon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sleeping mat.

L - R  Std Therm-A-rest. Getting on a bit now but still a likeable mat. Weight with sac 460gr.
           TrangoWorld Skin Micro lite foam filled. Very comfy. weight with sac. 375gr.
            Big Agnes Mummy Weight incl bag 560gr.
            Therm-A-rest Neo Air. Weight incl sac 265gr.

   Like a lot of people we plunged into the market before the initial dust had settled and bought the Neo Air.
There were quite a few rave reviews and so this was the original stimulus to buy.
Within a short period of time, probably around about 7 nights use, Sheila decided that it was uncomfortable and she went back to using the Std Therm-A-Rest. Then a while later we found the TrangoWorld mat and now this is Sheila’s and possibly my favourite.

   I, on the other hand stuck with the Neo Air, not so much to do with comfort but just purely weight.
However i found so much wrong with the NeoAir in my opinion, that i wanted to find something else.
This is very unlike me as i hate spending money twice.

 What did i find wrong with the Neo Air you might ask.
Well, i keep falling off it. I turn over and away it goes. I put beads of silicon on the underside but it didn’t stop the problem.
It deflates quite considerably overnight too and i have never slept well on it.
Apart from the pack size and weight there is not much i like about it to be honest.
 I decided to buy a cheap longitudinal tube mat, something of the Multimat Adventure type. Not too expensive if i didn’t like it and at 440gr not excessively heavy either just to do a comparison test.

  But just as i was about to order it, i had been internet speaking with Maz, who’s excellent blog The Journeyman Traveller is here.
He very kindly offered to loan me his Big Agnes Mummy Mat for appraisal of the opposing tube direction to the Neo-Air. How brilliant and trusting is that. I had never met Maz and we did not know each other apart from reading each others blog.

  Having now slept on it a few times i have come to the conclusion that the vertical tubes of the Big Agnes suit me far better than the horizontal tubes of the Neo Air. I find it suits my body shape better. The air movement is better within the vertical tubes and therefore the mat rises and falls in the right places supporting me and providing a comfortable sleep.
  This Big Agnes is a mummy shaped mat tapering off quite a bit at the foot. I would not go for this style by choice, as i found my feet were on the floor quite a bit.  But i must say what a quality mat this is.

  I am now considering my options. 
Currently i fancy the Vaude Norssken which also has larger diameter tubes on the outside which, in theory should keep you on the mat better. But it is a touch on the heavy side.
Decisions, decisions.
Thanks ever so much Maz for your assistance.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lost Suunto Vector black watch.

On the way down from Greendale Tarn  (Near Nether Wasdale)  on Saturday 29th October 2011 i inadvertently lost my Vector watch.
It was lost roughly at the point where the Greendale Tarn path joins the fell road at Greendale Farm.

I post this just on the off chance that somebody has found it and happens to read blogs.

Well, here's hoping. Cheers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Whoosh - Coming to a hill near you!

  I was keen to get out today so, i checked the weather forecast last night and it was good.
Today I drove up the A680 Edenfield Road and parked up in the lay-by close to Ashworth reservoir.
I had no grand route planned, i just wanted to be out  and wherever the legs took me well that’s where i went. Well it would be difficult not to wouldn’t it.

  The last time i was up in this neck of the woods it was cold, misty, some ice and not much of a view. Although today the visibility was good it wasn’t as clear as a bell and the low watery sun was not an ideal partner for photographs.

  When i left home there was still a redness to the edges of the cloud and i was hoping for something better from higher up. I had taken the tripod so that i could take longer exposure shots. if i got the chance.

  Unfortunately the sun had climbed a little too high and it was right in my face as i made my way up to Knowl Hill.

Knowl Hill and Scout Moor Turbines in the shadow.

 Looking back to Ashworth Reservoir from the Approach to Knowl Hill.

  The turbine site has gouged this landscape and cut 10 metre wide gravel tracks through it’s heart.  Today there was little wind and the continuous noise of the extractor fans amplified by the 60 metre wind pipes, could be heard even louder than the intermittent whoosh of the triple 40 metre blades.
There are 26 turbines in all but it looked like 3 of them were not working.

  The path had quite a few boggy sections and i had to make a couple of detours to avoid wet feet.  At one point i thought i had come across a builders tarpaulin but it turned out to be quite a large tent that some poor souls had taken a battering in. They had obviously had enough and made a quick escape and left the bedraggled gear to fend for itself. There wasn’t much left.

  Once at the top of the hill i was bathed in sun. Bright but not that warm enough for sun bathing. After all it is mid November. It was still delightful and i decided it was a good place to have a cup of tea.
I donned my outer jacket which up to this point had remained in the rucksack.
Tea time. (Jasmine Green tea)
 I set the camera for a timed shot and only just got into the frame as the shutter operated.
 If i had only waited a minute or two maybe the chap in the background would have taken a photo for me.
  I sat in the windbreak for about 10 minutes just appreciating my surroundings. Also within the windbreak was empty bottles, crisp packets, tea bags, remains of somebodies lunch. Why do people leave litter. It beats me what kind of a brain they have.

  I touched the trig point as i always do to prove to myself that i have actually been to the top and surveyed the panorama.

Views to the North and North West from Knowl Hill.
  Brew over, 3 running types came up from the east side and went to the trig point for a 10 second stop and pointing session before carrying on in a South West direction with a “Good Morning” as they past me yawning.

  I also headed east and headed for Dixons Brow. It was quite a drop off here which i didn’t particularly want to do, so i decided to contour round to pick up the gravel track near the mast. Looking at the map there is also a mast at Higher Hill off in a North Westerly direction which looked ideal for what i wanted to do. So off i went with the sun behind me. It was so bright at times the blades stood out like stars.
  Not far along the track i got fed up of it and wanted to get off road. I could just make out the mast on Higher Hill in the distance and just went for it. A straight line job. 
Well this proved not such a good idea as it was 1 step forward and 2 steps back. Bogey being an understatement. The map shows a ditch running NNE and i thought i could follow it as it went in my direction. Retracing my steps i again ended up on the gravel track more or less where i had started.
 Oh well at least it wasn’t raining.

  One thing for sure is that you can certainly pick up speed on these tracks and in no time at all the mast was in sight ahead.
 Higher Hill Mast.
  Another 15 minutes and i was there. I sat down on a raised bank and had my lunch of Cheese and Onion on Brown Bread and another brew. A group of 3 others passed me looking as though they were heading for Whittle hill. They didn’t see me at all and i was no further than 30ft away.
  Checking the map i wondered about going over to Cowpe Low but decided it had been a good test for the calf muscle and not to push my luck. I decided to call it an afternoon.
 Towards Whittle Hill
 View back to Knowl Hill from near Cheesden Edge.
  It had been a pleasant walk even though the turbines blight the view. 
  I got back to the car and heard this screeching, bird screeching. Then i saw this chap with a hawk at the back of his car. Approaching with caution i eventually got within a few feet and had a chat with the owner of what turned out to be a Harris Hawk. It’s name was Skye and was 4 years old.
By all accounts it doesn’t like cars or people and the owner brings it out here to hunt. 

It kept looking at me all beadily like so i took a few pictures and then retreated to a safer distance.

  7.3 miles in total.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

A short walk along the Oldham Way.

  Today the light was a bit special, the clear skies and the sun being low and bright. We headed off towards Royton and picked up the Oldham Way which we followed for most of our 6 mile walk.
The colours of the Autumn foliage is amazing and this is without doubt my favourite time of year. 
  I spent most of the walk faffing around with my camera settings and thankfully it was a warm day so Sheila and Dorothy didn’t get to chilled whilst i pretended to know what i was doing and taking shot after shot of trees, fungi, shadows and of course the odd sheep.
  I am going to let the photographs do the talking here so i hope you enjoy the journey through the lens.

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