Saturday, 26 May 2007

Girls in the mist

I'm not doing it!
We are doing it!

Wednesday 23 May Edale to Crowden – start of the Pennine Way

Carol and I (Jane) set off in leisurely fashion by taking the train to Edale. Despite being submerged by Northern Irish schoolchildren in the postoffice while buying emergency camera batteries, we were soon back under the start of the Pennine Way sign (symbol=acorn) where Emma and Carol had stood on Monday pm. Little did we know…
Weather forecast said ‘dry and sunny periods’ so obviously we hadn’t brought our waterproofs. As we climbed Jacobs’ Ladder (must have been 1 in 4), the mist started to swirl about our heads, and by the time we reached Swine’s Back and then Edale Rocks, visibility was down to 10 m (Information Centre man said we needed 200!).
But our luck held, and Carol’s impressive map-reading skills, honed to perfection on previous (lowland) Ways, now came to the fore. We didn’t get lost once (well only once) on the eroded peat-bogged mountain on our way over Kinder Scout, scene of the original mass trespass in April 1932. Carol carved For Sophie in the rock.

Various parts of the PW are now well-paved with giant limestone slabs; the effects of man and weathering having combined to make large areas of the peat bogs erode to such a degree that deep channels have sunk into the peat, with ground level above your head. It is a fascinating lunar landscape in places. We sat and ate our lunch at Kinder Force, such a dramatic waterfall which we could only hear but not see as the sheer drop prevented us from getting a view. Wildlife incident of the day now occurred with a very large sheep suddenly looming up on our shoulder from behind and then – horror of horrors! – performing a large wee while Carol quickly grabbed our sandwiches while simultaneously poking it with the useful walking pole. Another friendly walker observed that we’d been ‘having trouble with the sheep’ – they’re supposed to be timid not shameless! But other wonderful wildlife moments occurred with 2 sightings apiece of mountain hares (ginormous) and curlews, protecting their nests.

After lunch we crossed the Snake Pass road (to Glossop), and followed more PW signs over to Old Woman and Bleaklow Head. Far fewer walkers on this side of the Dark Peak. We stuck to the Way, paved or otherwise, just meeting one more hale and hearty walker – bivvying up on the Peak overnight and impressed with Carol’s LEJOG walking feat – before descending to Torside Reservoir (hardly any water) and gratefully meeting up with Beverley and Glenda who’d driven up from Surrey to walk with Carol the next 2 days.
Carol and I first met at South London NCT, 20 years ago, when we were expecting our first babies. We have kept in touch ever since. I was proud to be walking with her in memory of Sophie, and will be thinking of her and everyone walking with her all the way to John O'Groats.

1 comment:

Bernadette said...

Looking fabulous KBO
love Bernadette