The Vault Regulars

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas Day 2016

Our Christmas day this year was spent in South Lakes, Cumbria. Broughton In Furness to be more precise.
It's a place that we know well, it's not too big or too small and has a vibrant community spirit, a good pub, cafe, butchers, bakers but no candlestick maker as far as i know.
It's also well positioned if the seasons weather turns very wintery.

Our arrival was a bit of a shock to some as we had kept the visit a bit of a secret. It was good to see the smiling faces of friends.

We were immediately invited to  join in with the village on it's Christmas Day walk or run depending on which one you wanted to do. This is fell running country and Mountain Rescue country so there are a lot of fit people around here.

At 10.30 the crowd congregated at the small car park in Broughton Mills and 34 folk and 4 dogs, mainly local, greeted each other.
Spot us if you can.
At the off i think it was a ratio of 60% running 40% walking (or there about)on what was a mild dry day but breezy with the area falling on the edge of Storm Connor. Scotland was having a rough time according to the weather man.

Sheila and i were walking of course, my fell running days in this sort of company are well over. The route differed depending on which exercise you were doing but the meeting point would be the trig point on Great Stickle.
Here are the 2 routes. The walking route is accurate but the running route may differ slightly from actual.
 Walkers route
Runners route
As you can see neither route is lengthy or difficult. This is about getting out, meeting and chatting and then returning to the Square Cafe in Broughton In Furness for a Whisky, provided by the locals along with Mince Pies and other savouries. 

Our route is a kind gradual rise and heads first to Green Bank where the views of the Duddon Estuary start to make an appearance. At a nicely positioned picnic table some outer layers are removed by many. Although the breeze is picking up in force the temperature is around 4-5 degrees C.
We follow Red Moss Beck which has a path adjacent to it, this path has probably been created by years of farming and sheep and is not marked on the os map. It's boggy in parts but it's good walking with fine views both North to the fine triangular shaped top of Stickle Pike and Caw and South over the estuary.

Instead of reaching the watershed between the 2 Stickles we decide to take the straight up approach which was more to test my knee out on some steep stuff than anything else and as it happened most of the others followed suit. Maybe they were suffering bad knees too.

Reaching the northern shoulder of Great Stickle the wind was ferocious, blowing me straight over at one point. We sat down and scoured the fell sides for any sign of the running section. Shouting became the order now as we couldn't hear above the wind noise.

Getting to the trig point was fun, the wind seriously pushing me into a run at times. I was glad to get the usual photographs taken at the summit done and quickly find a sheltered spot on the leeward side.
At this point one of the dogs decided it was time to undo my rucksack, pull the toggle and release the drybag to find the pork pies lurking inside. Luckily i manage to wrestle the bag away from him before  he prised the lid of the tupperware container. Clever these collies.

The hound never left our side as it became clear we were the only folk at the top who had food. We also had coffee and not enough to go round.

The first runners appeared on the right side of Stickle Pike, the bright colours of the running gear standing out against the grass and dead fern. Minutes later the front runners were with us followed quickly by the rest. They were not out of breath, baa humbug.

Some brave souls, traditionally stood atop the trig point, and today despite the fierce wind was no different. Three adults did it including a very lightweight 14 year old whippersnapper who i thought would be blown straight off. The wind must have been gusting around 40 -50 mph.

Tradition completed we all set off back, the runners away like a wisp. The walkers gingerly picking their way down between the crags and mud slides to the car park.

Back at Square Cafe, bottles were appearing and the volume of laughter and conversation increasing. Will Jane ever get this lot to leave i thought. We made our escape, dinner was calling.

Thanks to everyone who made this a walk to remember.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Christmas to Everyone.

Well this year has been a really odd year without going into to much detail. Injured knees, and Flu to mention two reasons why posts have been a bit too infrequent for my liking.
The good side is i have managed to keep up with folks blogs although numerous regular bloggers seem to be winding down using blogs. I think this is a shame as i for one have learnt so much from blogs and have met some super people which i wouldn't have done if it wasn't for blogging.
So i hope in 2017 that blogging has a bit of a revival.

I now have my Apple imac desktop back after a months fraught repair with it being older than 6 years. The cut off period that Apple support repairs.
No new graphics cards were available so at first a card repair was tried, although i knew that this was a pretty certain failure then a replacement refurbed card was located and fitted.
Its now all working and thankfully all my files were backed up apart from a few albums of music.

I really missed it being in PC hospital and looking at the empty space in the office.

There is a good chance that i will not purchase another Apple desktop in the future. The Champagne costs of Apple gear just doesn't cut it with my beer budget. When you buy a Rolls Royce you don't expect a Lada.

Anyways we, thats Sheila, Dorothy and I are off to the Lakes for a weeks RNR. So it only leaves me to wish everyone especially my regular readers and commenters a fantastic Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Lets hope the world improves in 2017.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Is it that time again!

Well it certainly is. Martin's Christmas walk. An annual event for some reason.

Here's Martins route. On this walk i used both my iphone map and my Satmap active 10, both decided to play up and loose the route. So it just goes to prove that a paper map should always be in your kit.
Sheila and I had a good journey down to Tideswell and were first in the car park where we had the privilege of paying £4.50 to park for the day. I'm sure this car park used to be free, but no more. Maybe its as a result of Brexit, well everything else is so this might as well be too.

23 folk eventually set off north heading for Litton on a breezy day but a dry one. At numerous points, marshals in hi vis gear stood ready to open gates, it turned out that there was at least one fell race taking place on part of our route but it could  well have been two races.
Tansley Dale was slippery in places but i managed to stay on my feet. It is quite a lovely Dale as many of the White Peak Dales are. Crossing over into Cressbrook Dale we stopped for a quick coffee and a chat with Graham Brookes about his TGO Challenge route which will be terrific crossing. I don't think he will meet too many other challengers, but you never know.
Heading up Litton Dale
 The lovely Tansley Dale
Upwards to the meander in Cressbrook Dale
Setting off from our brew stop we had a short but muddy "UP" and at this point met with our first fell runners coming the opposite way. Collisions were somehow, luckily, averted but it was pure luck. Onwards and upwards we went avoiding many more opportunities to trip runners up when Martin realised that we were "meandering". So the good Duke marched his 10,000 men, (well 22) back down the hill to where we should have taken the path to Wardlow.
 Cressbrook Dale

It was a good path to Wardlow, where after a short section of road walk we picked up the excellent path across to Crossdale Head Mine workings which led us down to the village of Great Longstone and the Crispin Inn.
Having never been in this establishment before we didn't know what to expect and i have to say that the place and the menu is very nice. We had a room to ourselves and looked after very well by the staff. The food was excellent and filled ravenous walkers no problem.
The usual quiz turned out to be a surprise as our table of 4 came in second place with a huge 13 1/2 points out of a possible 50! What, how did we manage that i ask.
View south from path at Crossdale Head
The Crispin
We could have stayed in the Crispin all afternoon, in fact we nearly did but we had a 5 mile walk back to the car, which meant we had to get a move on.
Once out of Great Longstone passing Thornbridge Hall, our route was easy and flat and followed the Monsal trail, the old railway line. It was quite busy with runners (not part of the race) and numerous cyclists. The lights were on as we entered the first of three tunnels on our route. These lights are switched off at dusk for some reason which in my mind makes little sense. Dusk was creeping up on us fast.

Across the viaduct at Monsal Head, the second tunnel's lights were off. The third tunnels lights were on until we got half way through then it was pitch black. These tunnels are quite long and the light at the end cannot be seen until you are close to the end. The group had become quite spread out by now so before dropping off the old trackway we had a wait for everyone to catch up.

Monsal Tunnel
By now the light was going quickly, we only had a mile to go, across the River Wye and then into Tideswell Dale and the car park. The last of our coffee was had before saying our farewells.

Thanks Martin and everyone who attended.

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