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February 2002


2 February

Saturday morning should have been part of our planning session for work but it had to be abandoned because a number of people wanted to go a memorial service. This left Bob and I at a loose end and in Shrewsbury. To show our capacity for planning we had both taken our walking kit and we had a pleasant 3 hours on the Long Mynd. We dropped off one car at the bottom of Carding Mill Valley and then took the other to Little Stretton and walked from there.

As ever it was a steep old pull up the side of Callow and up to the Round Hill. I got totally disorientated going up because when we hit the ridge we were facing the opposite way to what I was expecting Ė my navigation seems to go to pot when I walk with Bob (possibly too much talking). We had to skirt round steep, heather-clad slopes to reach the proper path again which was fun (you do recognise irony, donít you). From there it was easy walking, admittedly slightly uphill to the hut below Pole Bank.

We stopped for coffee there. Now this wasnít ordinary coffee; it was Nescafe, canned coffee; Bob had been buying this as an experiment. Iíd not heard of this although it is widely advertised apparently. You push in the bottom, this sets off a chemical reaction which gives out heat and that warms up the liquid. We waited the 3 minutes, as per instructions, and then tried it. Outcome: tepid coffee (not even lukewarm) Bob admitted then that heíd had much the same result the previous week. However as we kept sampling it , the coffee continued to get warmer so that in the end it was almost drinkable. We warded off boredom waiting for it to heat up by discussing our objections to Nestles (rhymes with wrestles, nothing more pretentious than that); Bob went on about the Third World- baby milk debate whereas I havenít forgiven them, for their hostile take-over of the fine Yorkshire company, Rowntrees'.

Incidentally I took the can home and inspected it. There is a central contained in which the reaction takes place. Itís so big that there isnít much room left for the coffee. Iíll stick to the flask, I think.

We had a pleasant walk along the top until the turn-off for Carding Mill Valley. It must be 25 years since I walked there. I have avoided it as the tourist honey-pot but it was pretty quiet today. It is a lovely walk down with an interesting little bit of scrambling by the waterfall. Back to the car just as the rain set in so a good bit of timing there.


3 Feb

I went out with the Ramblers, largely for the exercise. Beryl passed as she thought the weather would be miserable but she was wrong there.

We walked from Uttoxeter to Rocester, mainly out along the road and back along the Staffordshire Way.

10 Feb

First the good points; my first new Marilyn of the year and, much to my surprise, it also turned out to be a County top, the Black Hill.

The bad points;

         I got lost on the way there (from my dadís)

         it poured down for the last two hours of the walk so that we were soaked at the end

         I took the wrong route on the way back (my first ever dive over the Snake Pass)

Actually I quite enjoyed the walk. We parked at Crowden. There are two paths up from there; we took the one that isnít the Pennine Way (up Little Crowdon, over White Low and Tooleyshaw Moor)  Itís fairly squelchy in places but has good views and the track is clear for most of the way (we missed an indistinct turn off but it wasnít much of a problem. The rain started just before we reached the summit which limited the views. The summit lacks interest in itself. It reminded me of Waun Fach; the trig station is surrounded by goop and you donít really want to go to it. Then you realise that it has sunk so much that the surrounding land is now higher so you claim that as the summit and tick it off on your list.

I was going to return on the Pennine Way but it wasnít much in evidence so we came on the route up in the interests of safety.

20020210a blackhill.jpg (148987 bytes)

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Looking up Little Crowdon Brook to White Low

Laddow Rocks

Holme Moss transmitter

Black Hill from White Low


10 February

As it is half term, I had the day off work and Beryl and I went out with Stone Ramblers; Stuart and Maggie were leading the walk so we knew that there would be familiar faces there. Actually it proved to be a really good decision; the weather had taken a real term for the better and it showed off the scenery in the Manifold and Dove valleys. A nice relaxed day out. 

We parked at Ilam and walked up the valley to the west of Bunster Hill. We then climbed out at the and and went via Air Cottage into Dovedale Wood; good views of Thorpe Cloud from here but unfortunately for the photos the sun was behind it and so it appeared in shadow. We dropped down into Dovedale briefly before leaving up Halldale and then went via Stanshope to Alstonefield; Stanshope was awash with snowdrops. We had lunch on the green in Alstonefield.

The return journey started down the road to Hope and the top end of Milldale before a long section of fields to Castern Hall and down into the Manifold Valley. We finished with a circuit around Ilam Hall

Map                Photos

16 February

I had a pass out for the day but had to be back reasonably early as we were going out in the evening. This called for not such a long walk. So I did my final Hewitt in the Snowdon area, Mynydd Mawr.

I parked at Rhyd Ddu and walked back into the village and on to the Forestry track towards the mountain. You leave that my a signed path and climb up to the stile leading to more open country. The views at this point at largely of the Nantlle Ridge across the pass and of yr Aran in the middle distance. The path climbs on grass; this was really dry after most of the paths in Staffordshire. It climbs gently along the edge of the woodland but, when the wood runs out, the climb becomes quite savage up to Foel Rudd. This grassy climb is the one break in the cliffs which circle Mynydd Mawr.

On reaching Foel Rudd you get your first view of the summit but you cannot attack directly as there is a valley in the way. Instead you take the ridge around the valley along the top of Craig y Bera, This rises at a pleasant angle and as you rise you see more and more of the hills around Snowdon. By the time you get to the summit you can see the lot; the Carneddau, the Glyders and Tryfan, the rearside of Snowdon, Cnicht and the Moelwyns, Hebog and Nantlle. To say nothing of Anglesey and the Lleyn peninsula. The summit also has interesting shelters and cairns and I has it all to myself - I hadn't seen anyone on the way up.

There is another way off but it involves a dull-sounding walk by the lake. So I returned the way I'd come and a pleasant descent it was too.

Map                Photos 

 17 February

Out on the Ramblers walk from Copmere to Bishopís Wood.

Park at the Star and go round the lake. Take the new concessionary path to the south end of Sugnall. Then some complicated paths to emerge near Bishopís Wood. Do a circuit of the wood and stop for lunch. Return on a more southerly line with the final section down the Sow valley past other lakes (with a fair bit on minor road) before lapping the Copmere again.

Pretty muddy but most of this was new walking for me

 24 February

Just a short walk with the Ramblers just outside Gnosall. We parked by the side of the road at Befcote and did a figure of eight. The first section went around Broadhill and into Coton. Iíd done sections of that before. Then another loop around Bromstead Common. Pretty muddy and it was raining heavily by the end. I had planned to do another walk in the afternoon but thought better of it.



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