Do you go walking on your own or with friends? If you go walking on your own, how many people do you take with you? I ask the question because I sense a feeling of being alone in spending time on the hills with people who aren’t actually there. Never have a conversation with someone who is not in the room, goes the old maxim. Well by that standard a good proportion of my walking day would be spent in absolute silence. Am I mad, do you think? Or, and this is where I ask you to be courageous, do you, like me rant and rave at people who you probably haven’t seen for a decade or more, with me it can be up to five decades, that’s how long back my resentments can go. I only ask, that’s all. You don’t have to fess up, although if this were to become a platform for long held resentments being outed then I am happy to provide the service. Call it Resentments Inc.
Surprisingly there were very few time wasters on the latest trig walk. It wasn’t a walk I was particularly looking forward too to be honest. Natural beauty would not be a phrase you could connect with the landscape. It was within the National Park boundary, towards the northern tip of the park. The setting off point was the cross Pennine route of the Woodhead Road. A thundering line of heavy goods vehicles transporting wonderful things made by the clever people of Yorkshire to be sold to the not so clever people of Lancashire and Greater Manchester, told you old rivalries run deep.
I set of along the old original cross Pennine route, the packhorse track of Salters Brook. It was used to transport goods to and from the east coast to the west and vice versa. Near where I joined the route are the remains of an old public house and lodgings for the Jaggers and drovers, you can still enter the cellar, but be careful. On a high point of the route heading east is another old cross. Lady’s Cross still has part of the column intact, it must have been a welcome sight after the pull up from either valley each side of the summit.
Back across the Woodhead to my first trig South Nab, sounds like a whaling station in the Antarctic. A sign told me I could not use the bridle way due to severe flooding, no surprise really, and no problem. My route lay north east of the trig, with Emley Moor transmitter as the aiming point. Lots of windmills on the hills to the east, which to my mind look quite nice. There is a great debate going on at the moment re wind turbines. The fors and agins both have valid arguments and I for one would not want to see great plantations of the things, what’s wrong with out at sea anyway. But the odd cluster I do not mind and if it helps make us cleaner then all to the good.
I headed across moorland, past grouse butts and dropped down to the Trans Pennine Trail. On my way down I could be heard, if you had been there, arguing with someone I haven’t seen for more than a decade. They probably have forgotten all about me, but I am made of much sterner stuff. It’s not that they did anything to me, it’s that I didn’t win, or they didn’t do what I thought they should have done.
Skirting round a couple of reservoirs I made my way to Snailsden trig. The track winds round the hillside of out of sight of the trig, so I took the opportunity to do a little pacing exercise. When I reached my estimated number I climbed up the hill to find nothing. Not a sausage, never mind a trig. I can’t have been that far out I thought as I scanned the land in front of me. Turning round the other way, there it was less than a few metres away. What a pillock. Just remember to turn round next time.
Had my lunch here with fine views across the Peak District and on up to the Dales and North Yks Moors. I’m trying out some new lunch time tactics. Soup in a soup Thermos, with small sandwiches to dunk.. Today it was Mulligatawny and cheese with Branston. Very nice it was too. Monty and Ollie munched away on some twig sticks they seem to enjoy and then sat staring me out, willing me to give over the sandwich or anything else I had going. Not a chance.
Whilst doing all this I plotted the route to my final trig. Stay high I decided, lets not lose height just to gain it again. Remember last week all that ascent and descent and the cost on energy levels. At the end I had almost nothing left, in conditions that were pretty atrocious. Lesson learnt there.
I decided to use a shooting track to get me up on to the saddle over looking Longdendale. This did mean a descent at first, but avoided bog trotting and working my way through thick heather whilst ascending the other side of the valley I was looking down on from Snailsden, that was the direct route, but not necessarily the quickest. This proved the correct plan, and although the line was longer it was easier going and saved hugely on time and energy levels.
The route to Dead Edge End, where do they get these names from, followed a fence marking the line of several parish come county boundaries. Naturally I tried to remain on the Yorkshire side for as long as possible and only had to hop across to Derbyshire once I reached the trig. There were wonderful views from the trig, Kinder, Bleaklow, Black Hill, some great walking country and with plenty of Trigs some great walks to come.
Back to base now following the last leg of the triangle, heading for South Nab. I passed over the Woodhead tunnel and saw that there was smoke coming out of the air vents. Apparently this is condensation evaporating and not ghost steam trains, personally I prefer the latter.
I enjoyed this walk, even though the landscape was not picture book. After the previous walk, I took more care about route and timing and energy levels and that made a huge difference to the enjoyment. Have you noticed I left all those people in my head behind some while ago, well before Snailsden trig. That’s the beauty of walking in to a landscape, the land itself becomes my companion.