Sunday, 9 October 2011

Bog bashing to Hope

The morning saw Lynne and I over at Chew Valley hiding in holes in bivvy bags waiting for SARDA (search and rescue dog association) dogs to find us. All part of a training session for handlers and their dogs from various Mountain Rescue Teams from around the country. I sat there in my Lamina 35 and a Rab Storm Bivvy Bag and stayed dry and warm for a good few hours with 3 lots of dogs finding me.
The Storm bivvy beaded well- as you would expect for something just out of the bag on its first use, though the top of the Lamina got a bit damp around the top- mostly from moisture from my respiration in the Bivi bag.
Glad I had a synthetic bag not a down one that would have lost a lot of insulation almost immediately.

So we stayed there for a few hours, helping them out by lying in holes and, in my case, having a bit of a kip.

The afternoon needed a bit more of an active tilt, and as we were due over in Hope for the evening, and I have kind of volunteered my services for a High Peak Marathon bid, I thought it might be nice to have a look at a bit of the route I don't know- which goes from the trig at Brown Knoll in a South Easterly direction to Rushup edge and along to Hollins Cross. I decided to head up over from Hayfield rather than from Glossop, as I really didn't fancy the trog along the side of Kinder which I know pretty well anyway, and the clag was really down, so there was little chance of seeing anything up there apart from cloud.

Cloudbase was somewhere around 430m or so- the vast majority of the hill was totally obscured, and it was heavy fog (known by less optimistic people by drizzle), as I don't yet own any of the lightweight waterproof jackets which are on my list, I put on my Dragon Jacket- with windstopper membrane- not waterproof, but very windproof and certainly enough for the weather.
The first part of the run just went up into the cloud base, but its a route that I've done before, so all I needed to really worry about was temperature regulation. Feet were wet within seconds, but were kept warm with the somewhat thick Teko Wool socks that I had on.
I had a bit of a dilemma with the shoe choice, yes, it was going to be muddy and slippy, but there were also parts of the run that went along bridle ways as well. Baregrips would have been an ideal choice, but I'm just not comfortable enough running along hard ground in them, so Roclites it was instead. Grippy to a point, but more comfortable along harder ground.

I was certainly happy I had the Roclites on as I toiled my way up the bridleway to Edale Cross, rocky and gnarly, basically looking like the bottom of a river bed. At times I was ankle deep in water, but thats all part of the fun.
Passing Edale Cross, I hit the path crossing the bridleway and went south, with the wind hitting me from the west. Underfoot changed to flat paving slabs across the moor, just like the rest of the bridleway over across Bleaklow. I followed this for a while again being glad of the Roclites, and then I had to turn off the slabs and onto bog proper in order to get to the Trig point. I took a bearing and followed that, though to be honest, all I really needed to do was follow the muddy boggy trail of footprints in the vaguely correct direction. There was a little bit of confusion as I got to a place that was basically a massive grough, but thankfully, I had gone this way before, on the 15 trigs, and was able to pick my way directly to the Trig point.

The Trig point was ankle deep in water, so I stood there, took another bearing, sighted through the mist and cloud, and worked out what kind of direction I was going in. Also- time for a quick snack. I bought some Torq bars the other day, there are 4 flavours, apparently divided into 1, 2, 3 and 4. I broke out the 1- which is Tangy Apricot. The website says that its a "moist and chewy energy bar // with TORQ ribose. Made with Fairly Traded fruit. Very low in fat. Easy to eat."

Well, I broke it in half and stored some for later, and yes, its moist and chewy, but I would certainly not call it easy to eat, especially on the move- but a little more on that later as I have more problems with it later in the run as I was trying to eat it while running. 

Off I trotted, away from the trig point into the cloud, following a very well defined path along the moor. This was perfect territory for Baregrips, but unfortunately, as previously mentioned, I wasn't wearing them. So I pounded through some rather bog-tastic terrain, mostly with decent grip, but also slipping and sliding a fair amount. The worst bit was keeping running momentum going as I disappeared shin deep into sucking mud. It was like trying to run with my legs half bent instead of straight, which was fairly amusing, and quite tiring. I only nearly twisted my ankle once, and got out of it by going with the fall and rolling into a pile of muddy peat. Up again, and on and on. With the cloud down as it was, it was almost like running forever in a landscape where time had no meaning, but eventually, my bearing following got me to exactly where I wanted to be. Hang a right and a left, and I was on the bridleway over Rushup edge.
Once more, now off the bog, I was happy with the shoe choice, and that pretty much continued all the way to the end. Up over Lords seat I picked up the pace a bit and had a glorious run through the rain with an ocean of cloud around me. I thrashed over to the road into Edale, crossed it, seeing a party of somewhat bedraggled and not entirely happy "youths" being led by an equally bedraggled leader up to the top of Mam tor. 
I thought about going that way as well but being on a recce, I figure that following the plan was the best idea, so off contouring around the hill on the Bridleway and down the hill to Hollins cross. All good fun, but again, partially on flagstones, not my favourite thing to have underfoot. 

From Hollins Cross I went along the ridge, and on my way up to Lose hill I thought I'd have the rest of the Torq bar. Used to being able to eat and run at the same time I started to tuck in. And succeeded in nearly choking myself to death. The amount of chewing you need to do to make the food into manageable pieces to swallow, even from a bite sized piece is unbelievable. By the time I finally managed to finish it I was so out of breath from trying to eat the damn thing I was nearly stopped. Not the greatest advert for an energy food. I wonder what numbers 2,3 and 4 are going to be like? Probably the same. It was just too chewy for its own good, and I certainly didn't feel any better than had I had a Geobar.

Up and over Lose hill, had a couple of route finding issues coming off the hill as I wanted to end up in Hope. Having gone up the hill a number of times, I can do that, but coming down in the mist was a little more amusing. I think I shall do a few more runs around there to make sure I know quite what I'm doing. 

I ended up in Hope pretty much bang on 2 hours after I left Hayfield. A tad muddy, a little tired, but with my need for exercise a bit sated. 

Today is a rest, recuperation and washing day. 

Sorry about the lack of pictures, I didn't have a camera, and to be honest, it was a bit nasty up there and I didn't have time to take any. As a consolation, I do have a garmin track for it. I've taken to putting it in the back of the rucksac and hoping it does its thing, as wearing it on the wrist is a complete waste of time. (see my recent garmin blog). Here is the track

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