Monday, 15 December 2008

Walk on the wild side

The view along most of the walk!

Yesterday members of Middleton CC decided we'd have a wintry walk on Blackstone Edge to make up for the lack of club ride at the end of November.

So, at 9:30am on a cold, frosty morning myself and Paul set out to collect Joe and begin the drive to the White House pub on the moors by the side of Blackstone Reservoir. Once there, boots, beanies and gloves went on as we set off into the dense mist with crisp cold air and patches of snow lying about looking like natural 'white horse' engravings on the hillsides below us.

The route follows the Pennine Way as it winds it's way across the moors to Stoodley Pike and beyond. Our aim was to get the majority of the way to Stoodley Pike, although this all depended on the state of the trails and how we felt as we walked.
The frozen Little Hazzles reservoir
The walk began alongside the very still Blackstone Edge reservoir before following the path round a grassy knoll known as Cow Head and heading past the very frozen Little Hazzles reservoir and the defrosted Warland reservoir. The tracks along here were in excellent condition with only small ice filled potholes and snow to contend with. We decided that Warland reservoir, and the drain that leads to it, was a perfect place to stop for coffee and lunch to defrost us slightly.

All along this far the mist was very dense with only the odd bit of clear sky as the sun tried its best to burn through.
Myself and Joe having our lunch break
Once lunch and vast amounts of coffee was consumed we set off again alongside Warland Drain and onto Higher Moor where we encountered what had become a rather large boggy section with no way through except for the stone edge of the drain - we walked along this for a further 15 minutes before deciding that the weather and surroundings had beaten us - even more so when the bog tried to eat my footwear and not give it back!

A fight ensued between myself and the moor before I gained the upper hand, stole my boots back and clambered onto the stonework to head back to the car.

As it was so misty and cold there were very few people out; those that were out were, like us, covered in mud up to the knees. All except for one chap, and a very odd chap he was too! In the conditions on that day everybody had several layers on, gloves, beanies, scarves, waterproofs etc; this chap had on white trainers, beige trousers, yellow t-shirt and nowt else! He didn't even have any mud splatters on him anywhere. How he managed that is beyond me.
We were even more surprised when he passed us on the way back to the car - he'd obviously gone as far as the boggy bit and turned back - he was running and still didn't have any mud splats!!
All in all, it was an excellent walk - stunning even in the dense mist.

Boring bits -
Temperature: approx 0 degrees
Distance: 6.88 miles
Climbed: 141ft
Altitude: 1293ft at highest point

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