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11 into 3 does go - Northern Pennines

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 4:43 pm
by stig_nest
A free long weekend!
No company but my own and a plan to get out and clean up a few of those awkward hewitts which didn't really lend theselves to long walks. It's a fair drive up to Northumberland from North Shropshire - but that's only part of the story.

So having worked out a strategy I headed first for Bink Moss. on the edge of the Warcop range. Upon arrival around 1pm the cloud was pretty low and sure enough I could hear shooting. I know that Bink Moss is outside of the range, but you know when you just get that feeling that it doesn't feel right..It was probably pheasant shooting but I decided leave it for another day. Re-evaluating, I headed off to Flinty Fell. passing through some of the densest fog I've ever driven in.

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Flinty Fell could be the easiest Hewitt on the list. The road passing practically over the summit. Yes, a better walk could be made of it and yes I do feel a bit sheepish having taken the easy option, but this weekend was about tidying up a few loose ends so I've only got proper walks left... at least, that's the theory.

Returning to the car I headed up the otherside of the valley for a 2 in 1.

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Perched on the border of Cumbria and Northumberland I looked across the heathery peaty ground between me and my next hill The Dodd, ''really?'' I asked myself.. I had visions of me disappearing up to the waist in the mire and not being found for weeks. having to eat my own hands to survive. As it was the going underfoot wasn't all that bad. It's fair to say it could have been a whole lot softer had the weather not have been so dry of late. A few hops skips and jumps and the Dodd summit was reached, peat hags. Everywhere peat hags.
I looked over the valley back to where I was parked. The route led me back this way before then heading over to Killhope Law.. It looked an awful long way from here, especially if the ground was as heathery as it was on The Dodd.
Pausing at the car to top up on fluids I then headed on up the fenceline on a reasonable path. It was at this point I made my only real error of the weekend. Whether it was through not paying attention or simply not seeing it, the path that others have described as fairly decent was missed- off on my merry way I went until having crested the ridge the ground started to descend. hmmm.
Only one thing for it - cross country!
I could see Killhopes summit dome way over there and for the next half hour or so I just tried to maintain a relatively straight path through a maze of peat hags, some more than 3m deep. Coming out the other side I then found a semblance of a path and trudged up to the summit area.

Whats with the big pole?

The return was far more simple, Having had most of my enthusiasm leeched out of me (it should be named crushedhope law) I descended directly to the Coalcleugh road and followed this back up to the car.

Considering the weather at the start of the day the early evening was better than I could have hoped for and having travelled the relatively short distance to the summit of the B6295 I had another short squelch to the next summit.

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Middlehope Moor is another one of those tops which is made easily accessible by the numerous high passes in the area. It seemed very popular with cyclists for sure, I lost count how many I saw but I think by now most of them were in the pub.
A thin grassy path followed a solid drystone wall which further up decreased in stature to little more than a foot tall. The path became less distinct too and more heathery. About halfway up a particularly boggy section warranted crossing over a short fenced section. To be honest I'm not sure how much better it was on the other side because this too became a 'dare you to tread here fest'. but this section was mercifully short and having passed through a gate I headed through the heather to a tumbledown wall running at right angles to my direction. Just beyond a small cairn marked the summit.

The trig point is another half a kilometer further along. I do make a habit of visiting trigs whenever I can but with time now starting to press on I neglected this one. Returning by much the same route I grabbed a couple of old fence posts at the gate to improve my chances of crossing the swamp without drowning and was soon back at the car. Four summits down today. Target achieved.

Having scouted my potential camping spot online the week before I now headed for the top of the pass on Langdon Common. There's a cracking flat area by the cattle grid atop the pass and with the sun yet to set I surveyed the peat bog between me and Chappelfell Top.... "one more top wont hurt, I've got 2 hours before it's dark" I thought. So leaving the tent in the car I gritted teeth and headed into the hags once more.

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I needn't have feared though, The peat was nowhere near as soggy as I'd imagined and progress was quick. Following the fence primarily, height was soon gained and the summit cairns reached within 25 minutes of setting off. The temptation to head directly across the peat had been resisted and this paid off massively as from the right angle in the fence where it heads off to the Nuttall top of Fendrith Hill there was a wide stony path which led almost all the way to the high point.

The return pretty much by the same route was thoroughly enjoyable as by now the sun was very low in the sky and setting behind the silhouetted outline of the Cross Fell group.

I don't think this sort of camping can really be described as wild camping. Having the car within 20ft of your tent does enable a more comfortable night though and it's something I'm not averse to doing.
Aside from the very occasional car coming over the pass I had a good nights sleep and woke to a lovely morning.

Sundays plan was a bit of a mad 'un.
The first bit was straightforward enough - A quick drive over to Cow Green Reservoir and up the old mine track to visit the summit of Viewing Hill.

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Arriving at the car park to find only two campervans, I headed up the track in warm sunny conditions.
At the point I felt I was closest to a direct line to the summit I left the track and climbed up through rough grass and heather wet from the morning dew and arrived at the summit 50 mins after leaving the car. Another wild spot I'd not fancy trying to find in misty conditions.
I rebuilt the cairn a bit so it looked a bit more interesting in the pictures and returned to the track back to the car. A quick cuppa and an instant porridge and I was all set for the daft bit.
I spent the next 3 or so hours driving over to the Peak District!
Arriving at the top of the Snake Pass at half past one gave me sufficient time to get up Bleaklow and back before half past four. See, I'm a bit of a plane enthusiast and around that time there was to be a flyover the Derwent and Ladybower Reservoirs by two Lancasters. This sort of thing just doesn't happen every day. Indeed I don't think two Lancasters have flown over here since the filming of the Dambusters film in 1955. Given that as I write this the Canadian Lanc is flying home it's a fair bet it may never happen again. There is talk of a third plane being restored to flight but these things often take longer than planned. As it is The two that flew over are currently the only ones flying in the world today.
I only shot video, so no pics sorry.. plenty online elsewhere though.

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The march along the Pennine Way up to Bleaklow Head was quick and uneventful. My first visit and I don't really feel I did the hill Justice. The route up from Howden certain looks more interesting and surely quieter too.

The area around the reservoirs was unbelievably congested. I'd planned to position myself in a particular spot but as it was I ended up in the standstill traffic with a superb view up from the Ladybower dam . The traffic by 4pm was literally at a standstill and remained like that for the three flypasts.
Worth every minute.
The next step in my adventure was to now travel back up to the Yorkshire Dales for a few further "moptops" on Monday - another 2 hour drive!
Because of the congestion I arrived after dark above Oughtershaw in Langstrothdale and found a flattish spot to lob the tent up again.

So my final day and hopefully another 3 or 4 tops.
The two Hewitts of Dodd Fell Hill and Drumaldrace were certainties but no real plans beyond that.

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Down the dead end road towards Cam House I parked by the wall at the point where the Pennine Way meets the road and followed the wall up the hill before then across rough grass and heather to the trig point. A bit of a nondescript hill brightened up by the view across the dales westwards.
I dropped down onto the Pennine Way and returned back to my start point.

Another easy walk followed up Drumaldrace.

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Plenty of room for parking at the point where the bridleway starts. I followed the track to a closed gate at which point there only remained a 5 minute stroll up to the cairn on short grass.

The summit is a lovely spot and I sat there for a good fifteen minutes weighing what to do next. "Great knoutberry Hill just over there.. Then Fountains Fell and Darnbrook Fell?" - After weighing up what doing all three would mean to the drive home I elected to just do the latter two. No need to be greedy.

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Driving over to Littondale I kicked off my final walk of the weekend from where the Pennine Way meets the road. Last time I was here in June the weather was less than kind to put it mildly. We climbed Penyghent in okay conditions but walking out to Plover Hill the heavens opened, the cloud came down and we unwisely elected to descend direct to Dawson Close, rather than returning the way we came. I cannot emphasize enough how poor the terrain is. Just avoid it okay!
The climb up the Pennine Way is quick and easy on a superb contouring path.
Arriving at the shoulder I was greeted with the view over to Darnbrook Fell. It looked a heck of a way from here..I had flashbacks of the other day on crushedhope law but as it turned out as is often the case it was nowhere near as bad as it looked. Following walls all the way to the summit area.
The trig point sits atop a concrete plinth. Presumably this was below the peat on its construction but now stands proud. The top of the trig being nearly 8ft above the surrounding peat hags.
Returning to the shoulder of Fountains fell I then headed for the summit. It's worth mentioning that there has been a lot of mining activity up here. Some of the mine shafts are now fenced off but others are open and dropping a stone in revealed a 2 second drop. So not somewhere you want find yourself wandering into.

Having left the sizeable cairn I crossed the wall and descended directly back to the Pennine Way. Easy enough, though a little steep in places. Penyghent looking superb across the dale.

So that was that. A mad three days completed I changed into my non hill clothes and had a coffee on the side of the road before heading home. 11 hills in 3 days.

Re: 11 into 3 does go - Northern Pennines

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:17 pm
by Phil the Hill
Now that's what I call bagging! :clap:

I particularly liked the drive south to bag Bleaklow plus the Lancasters. There are a number of good routes up Bleaklow. I plan to go up from King's Tree via Bleaklow Stones next time.

Re: 11 into 3 does go - Northern Pennines

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:27 pm
by nigheandonn
Some very artistic cairns there!

Re: 11 into 3 does go - Northern Pennines

PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:28 pm
by poppiesrara
Interesting - if not always enticing - stuff, Stig, and quite some bagging adventure: you must surely have broken a Walkhighlands record for number of route maps in one report! You make some of the N Pennine summits look quite grassy and approachable, but that's only the summits and it may be a deception... :?

Bleaklow from Old Glossop to the west was a good walk, and if you go back it's probably worth the little detour to Higher Shelf Stones and the air crash site there, interesting stuff.