Sun 19th Aug, 2007
Five Trigs Walk
Members present: Roger Dyke, Lester Paine, Iain McCallum, Lorna Marsland, Phil Ramsbottom, Peter Walker, Keith Williams (Leader), Dave Wylie.
As expected, the blazing sun of the previous week made way for a slow-moving front which produced six hours of heavy rain out of nine making this one of the wettest meets for some time. Not only that: since the saturated bracken and heather was at its mid-summer lushest, lower (and upper) leg wetness syndromes were inevitable on the steep pull up to Alphin to start the day. The Ramsbottom/Walker flanking manoeuvre to the west perhaps paid off in this respect though both sections arrived at the 1st trig more or less together. The monotony of the next leg along the northern edge of Wimberry Moss in rain and mist was relieved only by a 10 minute break at Chew Reservoir and the decision as to where exactly to break SE for the next trig. With Phil already striding out with the air of a man who knows, the rest of us quickly fell in behind with Peter and Roger saying that they would probably stay behind and do their own thing from there on. They were never seen again.
Happily, the rain eased up and mist cleared during the yomp over to Laddow so when Dave suggested that we shelter in the cave there were no takers. Unbeknown to us, I MacC was already cowering there having - again unbeknown to us - started the walk 30 mins. ahead of the main party.
This led to another characteristic of this meet - namely ignorance, or perhaps unbeknowingness.
Yomping continued along Gt. Crowden Brook so, after a mile or so, Lorna decided that - again unbeknown to most of the remaining party - she would turn round and affect a secret tryst with I MacC who was by this time uncowered from his bower and moving boldly in the direction of the lovely Lorna at a closing velocity of ca. 5mph. Thereafter, they went off, to use one of Iain's favourite legal phrases, "on a frolic of their own". They said that they visited all but the West Nab trig. point but with unknowingness all around, who knows? They were never seen again. Perhaps they lived happily ever after. Meanwhile, the remaining four members of the party pressed on to slay the dragon of Black Hill. Since the mist was once again swirling miasmically among the peat hags and no dragon was offering itself to be slayed, they ate their butties instead. The burnished flags of Gregson Super Highway 1 were covered at high speed towards Wessenden Head, and West Nab was taken almost unawares after a mug of tea at the 'Bogtrotters De-lite' wayside café. The bearing was now west which meant that we were on our way home. 'Oh happy day . . .' Which discerning readers will recognise as the most apt three consecutive words in the complete oevre of Keats when facing west in the rain at West Nab with only nine miles to go.
But this is where the story really begins? No sooner had our intrepid heroes crossed the thundering Wessenden (with a hop, skip and a jump) than the rain started with renewed vigour. The mist thickened, the heather got deeper, turks heads were all around them and to all these woes were added the unmistakable sound of high velocity rifles discharging. This was turning nasty: what if some crazy terrorist (he'd have to be crazy) had managed to evade the inspection of his 100ml bottles (max) at Ringway and decided to pick off some innocent nutters out for a day flailing the flesh? Dave decided that the best tactic would be to hide further into the mist so he moved - unbeknown of course - to a higher line. Phil meanwhile, sought refuge in high velocity walking, Lester giggled (or was it Diggled?) in a quite disarming way while the meet leader cried, 'Wait for me'. That had them fair flummoxed and soon the sound of gun shots being aimed at tin cans was all that could be heard. Walking on them moors in t' wet and that can fair do yer 'ead in sometimes?
Right, so where was I? We'd now reached the last trig point chastened and moist but unholed. Technically the meet was over so it was just a matter of individual tactics for getting back to the car park. Phil decided to have another butty - he'd been reading the USAF Officers Survival Manual v. 17.0.12a which says eat all your grub at one go thereby maximising the chances of a quiet death if you fail to get picked up. Dave lit up some device for turning rain water into rocket fuel and was next seen in his car waving bye-bye. Lester kept giggling and the meet leader kept alternately walking and swimming. Somehow or other we all managed to cross the A635 without being killed which was quite an accomplishment since the terrorists had sneakily driven round from Diggle in their Nissan 4x4 pickup and in trying to take us out while we trooped down the road in an orderly fashion, took out 50yards of the wall instead. It just shows what can happen when you go for a walk in the rain.
This is the definitive Pennine bog trot: high, wet and glorious if the weather is kind. Just wet and full of interesting navigation if not. For me, this area will always be associated with a nonchalant Len Stubbs in black plimsolls.
The five tops are as follows:
|Unnamed top (541m)
|Black Hill (582m)
|West Nab (500m)
|Broadstone Hill (454m)
So long as you start and finish at the Alderman's Hill car park (SE 017.045 - off the A635) and convince the meet leader that you've visited all 5 tops, you'll get a tick. Do them in any order that takes your fancy . . . Meet at 9.00am for 9.15 departure.
The 1:25K OS map 'The Dark Peak' has been known to be a useful guide over the 18-odd miles which it can be reduced to with careful navigation.