Delightful morning out on the hills looking for the Roving Calendar box. I'm not going to reveal the exact location of the box with photos or a GPS track, because that would spoil the fun.
Also, its pretty easy to find this month, if a little more out of the way than in June, it is a truely spectacular area.
After a walk in, with Lynne testing out her new Mountain Equipment Diamir Jacket (I'm sure that I can sit down and write a review of it at some point soon), as the rain came in. The forecast had predicted 70-80% chance of rain, heavy rain, all the way through the day. This turned out to be pretty much untrue and we only had 2 squally showers as we went out onto the hill.
The midges were everywhere near the car, so a fast escape had to be made, but once away from the woods, and as the rain came down, thankfully they died away.
I was testing out an oft held theory that if you have a jacket which is losing its water repellancy, or at least, is losing the beading effect as the rain hits it, don't spend money on re-proofing it right away- heat it. The classic thing is to put the jacket in a tumble drier on low to get heat going right the way through, redistributing the DWR. I had 2 minor problems with this. The first being I don't own a tumble drier, the second being I was doing this to a Mountain Hardwear Dragon Jacket. Not all of the seams on this jacket are stitched, the hood is heat sealed, for example. Put one of those garments in a tumble drier and all of a sudden you have component parts of the jacket instead of a single item...
Always check if you can tumble dry your stuff BEFORE you put it in there.
If, like me, you are restricted one way or the other, the second avenue of re-DWR-ing your garment is to use your trusty hairdrier. (or your girlfriends). Turn it on, and use it as if you were using it to dry the fabric- like you were drying your hair.
I was once asked what setting you should use on the hairdrier- and to be honest, I had no idea they HAD settings, so, not too hot, and not too cold.
During the process, make sure you do not heat the item up so much that you melt it, burn it or otherwise damage it. If you do, its your own stupid fault. Take care. Chances are its an expensive bit of kit (the garment, not the hairdrier) so take care and be mindful when you are doing it.
Anyhow, where was I.
Yes, I was testing this out. I heated up the jacket yesterday, and I have to say that the process seems to have restored the DWR quite effectively. The Dragon Jacket isn't meant to be Water proof- its got Windstopper in it and has a couple of bits of point taping in it, but after the treatment, the rain was beading off the skin of the jacket rather admirably. I'm very happy with the result and will have to suggest it to other people even more emphatically than before!
So we went on up over the moor, a bit of heather bashing, bouncing over the peat, and looking at some rather intriguing rock formations. When we got to the Calendar box location it was pretty easy to find. There were a couple of Custard Cremes in there, so we swapped 2 of them for a geobar, wrote in the book and left it in the same condition as we had found it. I think we were about the 3rd or 4th people to find it this month.
We then took a little detour on the way back to the car, heading up the high point behind the location, and although the cloud base was low, there was a fantastic view right the way across Dark Peak, so far that I don't actually know what I was seeing- probably right down over White Peak as well.
On the way down we also saw a raptor of some sort- low over the bog- it certainly wasn't a Buzzard, it wasn't a Kestrel- and it wasn't a Sparrowhawk. It was Brown-ish with wings shorter than a Buzzard.
My immediate thought was Marsh Harrier, but on closer inspection, they tend to nest down South nearer Norfolk way. I wonder if it was a Hen Harrier, but I thought they were much more Grey/white.
If you're about over Bleaklow, keep a look out, as they may well be around.