Sunday 25 January 2015

Walking weekend - home from New Mills

Now we've got the idea idea to walk El Camino on day some practice seemed like a good idea. It would also make the weekend more memorable. After work on friday we took the train to New Mills and walked up to the Pack Horse Inn. Our room was very comfortable and we had mixed vegetable risotto made for use. A decent sized portion too! The room was super snug and it was hard to commit to saturday's walk which took us over 'The Big Stones', on to Brown Knoll and down Jacob's ladder to Edale YHA.

Panorama assembled by camera looking towards Kinder
As might be expected at this time of year the approach to Brown Knoll was boggy and we were glad to reach the stone slabs on the National Trust land. In the past I've been rather disapproving of engineering the countryside but with a choice between bog and path I'd choose the path every time! The descent of Jacob's ladder was a bit scary as it was covered in packed ice and it was hard work weaving between areas that looked non-slippery. Two MTBers just went straight down.

Edale YHA greeted us with a vegan menu: tagine for main and either a soup or a dessert; we had to choose the chocolate cake with caramelised banana and walnut as it's so rare to be offered a proper cooked vegan dessert. The meal did not disappoint and was a credit to the chef.

I estimate that it's 30 years since I last stayed at this hostel and it has changed quite a lot: private rooms; alcohol permitted; food provided; plentiful showers; sheets provided. Actually it's now a lot closer to a budget hotel, perhaps the YHA have abandoned the pure approach but I was pleasantly surprised.

On Sunday we ascended via the 'Roman Road' to Win Hill. It's a great spot for panoramic photos and at this time the cloudbase hadn't lowered.

Hugin panorama looking back to Lose Hill
I'd planned to descend down the viciously steep Parkin Clough and we pushed on after a fell runner told us that it was ice-free. It was hard on my knees, especially the left and took quite a lot of energy, both physical and emotional out of us. We were very please to reach Yorkshire bridge for a spot of refreshment.

Simulated long exposure from 720p movie near Yorkshire Bridge
Although this was only the half-way point in a way it felt closer to home as I knew I could put the map away and guide us from memory. The ascent to Stanage has been made easier by the extensive smoothing of Long Causeway but I do miss the vehicular rights and am amazed that funds were found to do such extensive remodelling. Whilst we were on the edge the weather closed in a spot and with low cloud we were treated to light drizzle. Luckily it was on our backs and not so wet as to justify overtrousers.

At Burbage Bridge we were tired and decided to take the road all the way back home. In a way it was a little tedious but we'd done enough and as the routes are on home ground there was nothing to 'explore'. To speed us along we paused for refreshments in the Norfolk Arms; in my case a single malt to commemorate Burn's night.

After a bit of fiddling I managed to extract our track from the Holux and revealed that we'd walked 45km across the 2 days with a total of 1200m ascent. The distances are a little longer than those predicted, no doubt the roughness of our trek across bogs and between stones added to the length. I've decided to add half the distance to my run total and use that for my week summary, Even though I was carrying a small (7kg) pack there was a lot less impact than there would be on a similar run.

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