The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group
It was some months ago that I first tentatively suggested it might be nice to do the Edale Skyline challenge walk. A 21 mile, 4100ft monster of a hike in the glorious Peak District. This was a sort of vague wish, like it would be nice to be a stone lighter or a bit fitter. But then Mike called my bluff by booking a Peak District hostel just a stone’s throw from the route. No excuses now.
We arrived at Hagg Farm with a reasonable weather forecast, but I wasn’t sure about the other portents. Judi and I were sleeping in ‘Irvine’ – a dorm named after the mountaineer who famously died attempting Everest. I was hoping the Skyline wasn’t about to be that challenging!
To stand a chance of completing the route in daylight, we needed an early start. Dave had pre-prepared some breakfast burritos, so these were heated up and what we couldn’t stuff down at breakfast, we packed up for a mid-morning snack. At 7:36 am we set off: Colin, Gavin, Nick, Judi, Dave and me.
It was a beautiful morning. As we climbed the first ridge we had a magnificent view of the clouds settled in the valley below. The early morning chill was easily burned off with a brisk walk up to the craggy outcrop of Ringing Roger. By this time the ‘A’ team were pulling away from Dave and Judi. We traded cheery waves as we passed them on the path back from the outcrop and forged on. Due to a small navigational deviation, the ‘A’ team accidentally bagged Grindslow Knoll – in my defence I’ll say that it was over the fold of the map and we hadn’t stopped long enough for me to re-jig it. As we returned to the true path we spied Dave and Judi resting on a rock ahead and having a chuckle at our expense.
From Grindslow the character of the path started to change as we drew closer to Jacobs Ladder and the boggy high plateau of Kinder Scout. Our route didn’t take in the summit, but scouted round the edge and on to the infamous Brown Knoll. I’ve been here before, ankle deep in dark brown slurry, but this time the summit had been transformed and it now resembles a sort of trig point patio. Instead of the slowest and hardest, this proved to be the fastest bit of the route. After lunch I really struggled to keep up with the guys as they galloped along the flagstones.
Half way along Rushup Edge we encountered a mountain rescue incident where a poor chap had chest pains and was looking severely unwell. As he was already with two doctors there was little we could add, other than for Colin to pass on the GPS coordinates to aid the rescue. Having started to feel a bit tired, there’s nothing like seeing someone really suffering to make you think you’re actually doing OK.
Climbing Mam Tor, the route got suddenly a lot busier as we bagged the summit and continued along the ridge to Hollins Cross, Back Tor and Lose Hill. By now, 15 miles in, it’s fair to say we were beginning to flag. The next bit of the route involved a descent down into the valley before climbing the last hill. This was a bit of a dark prospect, but after an extended snack break at Twitchill Farm we steeled ourselves for the final ‘up’ on to Win Hill. Gavin decided to save his knees for the rest of the week, so discretely contoured round the hill instead of going over the top. Colin was recovering from a heavy cold and was uncharacteristically quiet as he, Nick and I finally made it to the top. Now we just had to get back down. It was a long way and we were very tired, so I guess a second navigational deviation was to be expected. However we managed to make it back pretty much bang on time and Lorna was on the drive to greet us.
Dave and Judi were still on the hill, progress being monitored by exchange of text messages (see below). By now it was obvious that they were going to finish, but equally obvious that it would be in the dark and the rain that had been holding off all day. They staggered over the threshold an hour and a half later, just as we were finishing dinner. Success!
Now what challenge can I think up for next year….?
Brown knoll 1225. 4mins behind schedule!
Lords seat 1307.
Lords Seat 1333. Ahead of schedule! Stopping for lunch.
Mam tor 1333. 2nd lunch.
Hollins cross 14:02
Mam Tor 1432. Perhaps we spent too long lunching
Hmmmm. Lose Hill 1436. Will you be taking a short cut?
1457 Hollins cross. We've got torches.
1538 Lose Hill
Phew. 1632 at Win Hill.
Just past the Cheshire Cheese
Didn't stop. Bet you did.
Nope. We're just slow &
knackered. Had to feed Gavin to the wolves.
Win Hill 1735
Back at base 1825.
Busy photographing sunset. Might be late. Hope Cross 1902
Too bad. Dinner smells lovely😀
There'll be trouble if there's none left!!!
Annual General Meeting
Our AGM took place on 19th October. Thanks to everyone who came along to support us. Mike gave a summary of the year’s varied activities, Dave J. reported that membership numbers are stable, and Dave P. reported a healthy surplus in the accounts (and possibly less healthy sausage consumption statistics). The committee were all re-elected to their existing posts.
Full minutes of the meeting will be available from the secretary, Dave J.
Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer