Friday, 5 July 2013

3 Peaks By Bike - Day 3: Scafell and on to Prestwick

A decent morning at Wasdale Head
A very early start to today but Wasdale was still fairly busy with fell runners (apparently some were up and down Scafell Pike around the 2 hour mark! Impressive) and marshalls for what appeared to be leg 2 for numerous Fire Service 3-peakers.

Thankfully the low pressure weather system and shifted eastwards and patchy high clouds allowed rare glimpses of the Scafell summits. The route up from Wasdale Head is fairly short but relentlessly steep. My legs felt a bit stiff for the first half of the climb and so I just settled in to a steady plod as far as Hollow Stones by which time I'd warmed up nicely and the legs began to feel good.
View up the Mickledore scar

Patchy sun
The summit was deserted save a couple of marshall's recording the Fire Service 3-peakers and a  Scandinavian lad trying to fit in as many Wainwrights as possible over a few days. Bruce's knee had started hurting (sounded like tendonitis to me) near the top and he was wincing in pain on the descent. Not fun. He wisely decided to knock the subsequent cycling on the head in order to protect his knee for Ben Nevis.
An unusually quiet summit cairn on Scafell Pike

A splash of colour on a drab grey summit ;-)

Traversing the boulder field to the top
My cycle to Prestwick was long and a bit of a blur really. Much of it was on main roads with surfaces as rough and pock marked as an acne-ridden teenagers face so my focus rarely got a chance to move towards enjoying the views. The A76 was particularly miserable!

Energy levels were dwindling around Thornhill and for the first time on the trip I resorted to a can of Relentless energy drink with about 35-40 miles to go. Boy, did it do the trick. My legs were GO, GO, GO after that!

My tired legs rolled in to Prestwick around 9.45pm at the wonderful Appletree Guesthouse. A friendlier B&B you would be hard pressed to find. They knew I'd be on the road by 6am the next day and so happily made a packed lunch for me to take along and told me to help myself to any breakfast before I set off. They also advised on routes towards the Erskine Bridge. I forgot about this the next day (I blame this on tiredness) and wished I had paid a bit more attention! We'll definitely stay there again should we visit the area.

3 Peaks By Bike - Day 2: The bastard wind day

The plan for day 2 was to set off early, cycle the 100+ miles to the Lake District and do Scafell Pike in the late afternoon/early evening. The weather put something of a damper on that. Forecast for Scafell Pike for later afternoon was heavy rain, 50mph winds with 65mph+ gusts. Not fun at the best of times but when tired after 100 miles of hard cycling it could be a tad dangerous.

With some regret I made the decision to postpone Scafell until early on day 3 with a view to revising if the weather abated and we made good time on cycling.

Rain and strong cross winds didn't help for the first 30 miles and it was slow going. Approaching Lancaster I phoned Cath to check see was OK and had managed to pack the tent away in the vile weather only to discover that her car wouldn't start (she'd managed the tent fine). Nightmare! All I could do was plod on and hope that the AA could fix it and see her on her way again. It was a worry.

Shortly after Lancaster - which, by the way, was a total bastard to navigate through - Bruce became a ghastly shade of grey and had to resort to the train. I decided to put the hammer down and try and make up time to see if I could make Wasdale for an evening ascent of Scafell Pike. The rain had stopped but the wind was now horrendous. A 25-30mph constant headwind that had me grovelling. I knew that I would struggle to get there by mid/late afternoon.  The roads also began to rise in the southern Lake District and some ascents were long and relatively steep.

Plenty of these!

I became inventive with my cursing of the wind which at times was slowing me to a crawl. On one descent of about 6% gradient I attempted to freewheel only to find that the wind simply brought me to a stop. Demoralising! The last 20 miles took me 2.5 hours! One hour longer than I'd expect it to have taken me!

I arrived at the B&B a broken man after 104 miles of hard slog. The weather had improved to the point where an ascent of Scafell Pike was easily possible (Jo and Rich had decided to go up earlier in the afternoon) but it was late and I was knackered. Food and sleep was the only thing on my agenda for that evening. Leave the climb til early morning ...

Thursday, 4 July 2013

3 Peaks By Bike - Day 1

Bruce, Jo, Rich and me ready for the off ...
The forecast was spot on. Rain. And wind. And plenty of it. Bugger.

I've been up Snowdon in worse conditions but this wasn't a nice way to start the challenge. Personally I found it quite exhilarating but Jo admitted to hating it. The rain was heavy and persistant and the wind was particularly strong near the summit. I'd estimate around 50+mph. Enough to make you really concentrate hard on your footing anyway! Suffice to say that views from the point at which the Miners track kicked up to join the Pyg track were non-existent.  The following pics from Bruce will give you an idea of that. When we got there the summit was deserted. Unusual!
Snowdon penny post
Lovely views!
Not a busy day at the summit of Snowdon
Getting wet on the way down
The weather eased on the way down and the last (flatter) part of the miners track was a gentle stroll back to Pen-y-pass in nothing more than a stiff breeze.

After a quick change and stuffing some food down we were on the bikes at shortly after mid-day. Slightly later than I'd hoped but hey-ho. I forgot my bike pump but only realised at the bottom of the Llanberris pass and couldn't be arsed to ride back up for it. I simply hoped that the p*nct*re fairy was on a day off.
Just 100 miles to go today
The ride itself was a doddle. Mostly tailwind and plenty of downhill/flat with no serious uphill gradients. I'd worried that the A5 would be busy but no, it was relatively quiet and a surface as smooth as glass. Lovely.

It got a bit interesting after crossing the river Dee at Queensferry and trying to work out how to avoid the busy A41 dual carriageway towards Birkenhead (you couldn't for much of it) and how best to cross the Mersey. Original plan was to enjoy the ferry but that would have entailed a 1-1.5 hr wait so we got the train from Hamilton Square.

Nice skyline but no ferry
It was quicker and MUCH cheaper anyway. Was a bit worried about navigating through Liverpool but Bruce did a top job of getting us through the with his Garmin gizmo. I know Liverpool has some impressive parts but we managed to miss those and pedalled through some depressingly, Godawful shit areas. All cities have them I suppose.

After the drudgery of Liverpool the roads became a bit more interesting (and hilly) as we progressed towards the campsite near Chorley.  And then, shortly before arrival, the rain came again. Very heavily! I was mightily impressed (and very grateful) that Cath, who is not a seasoned camper, had managed to singlehandedly erect our tent in such foul conditions. I suspect it involved some swearing.

Chilli and rice cooked on the stove, a beer and a tot (or 3) of whisky and it was soon gone 11pm and time to try and get some Z's. I didn't feel particularly tired, even though it had been a long day, but was soon asleep. It didn't last long. Rain and an increasingly strong NW wind woke me regularly as I worried about progress on the following day ...

Monday, 17 June 2013

Bike choice

I've been debating (in my head) which bike to use for the 3-peaks challenge, the cycling part of which comprises 500 miles in 4 days. When I did LEJOG in 2010 I used my Specialized Tricross and had no problems although I had some suspicions that the slightly too long cranks (who thought 2.5mm could make a difference???) contributed to knee pain. It's a comfortable bike with a fairly short reach that minimises neck and upper back pain over long distances. It also has the widest range of gears in my bike stable and so I was planning to use it for this tour.

However, on yesterday's long ride it became clear that the bottom bracket was on it's last legs. No serious play in the bearings but noisy and clunking like buggery. As a last resort to eliminate other factors I removed cranks and pedals, cleaned and greased everything and put it all back together today. Result: no change. The BB did feel rough when turning on its own and so I wasn't surprised. It might have lasted the trip but the noise would have driven me absolutely nuts even if it hadn't given up the ghost. No chance of getting a BB replaced before leaving for Wales tomorrow so it was clear that it wouldn't be coming with me!

So, step up to the plate, my Vernon Barker Audax :-)

I've actually been doing most of my recent riding on this bike anyway and I really do love it. It's probably the best quality bike that I own.  It has a compact double and so the gearing isn't quite as low as the Tricross but I don't anticipate any problems there. The only minor issue with it is that the riding position is a tiny bit stretched out and I can get some pain between my shoulder blades on really long rides as a result. No time to mess about changing the stem though. I'll be fine. It's (relatively) light and fast and will serve me well on the ride. I'm looking forward to it carrying me along.

A hilly 100

With the 3-peaks cycle challenge just one week away this was going to be the last serious training ride.  I only decided on a route taking in Holme Moss, Snake Pass and Fox House at about 8.45am while being slightly hungover and didn't get going til about 9.45am.

After an easy ride in to Sheffield the road started rising and falling through Worral, Bradfield and Midhopestones. Decided to stop for a tea break at Langsett (doesn't every cyclist in this part of the world?) and then on wards to Holmfirth and the classic climb of Holme Moss.  I didn't find it too strenuous thanks to the triple chainset and a lowest gear of 30x30. I was able to just spin up without any too much difficulty although my lower back was getting sore by the top.

A fast descent down to the Woodhead Pass and through to Glossop before another classic climb up Snake Pass. Again, not too bad apart from the lower back pain and motorcyclists passing far too close. More speed down to Ladybower, Bamford and Hathersage before the easier climb over Fox House. My legs were getting tired by this point and I needed much lower gears than usual on the short climbs between Sheffield and Worksop.

A good ride and now an easy week ahead before the start next Saturday.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Broken tent poles and England's highest point

A few days walking in the Lakes. Always sounds spiffing doesn't it? And indeed it is. Even when it rains (as it often does of course) and when you have to engineer some half-baked, Heath Robinson type repair as a result of a broken tent pole, in previously mentioned precipitation, for a crappy tent where the inner pitches first and ... oh well you get the picture.

And that is the point. In spite of suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (oh OK I know it's MY fault for continuing to use a crappy, albeit light, tent and, yes, I know it rains a LOT there) the Lake District is ALWAYS spectacularly rewarding for the walker and cyclist.

It's many, many years since I've climbed Scafell Pike and so I wanted to revisit it before next months 3-peaks cycling challenge along with @bruciestokes who is doing the challenge with me. Last time I did the full day route from Eskdale and so the route from Wasdale was unfamiliar and so it seemed a good excuse idea to check it out.  The original plan was to load up the bike, take it on the train and cycle to the campsite at Wasdale Head but I'd overlooked the fact that it would be half term and the trains would be packed! I was right and glad that I chose to go with rucksack only and camp on the western edges of the fells within walking distance of a train station.  I'll not dwell on the fact that I took a wrong turn and a 1 mile walk to the camp site turned in to a 4 mile walk!  I'll also skip over the whole tent pole episode that unfurled upon arrival other than to say that it involved a lot of swearing and then much appreciation to the camp site owners at Shepherds View who had some similar poles that I could fashion in to a useable repair.

The location of the campsite also gave us the opportunity to explore Muncaster Fell. This has to be one of Lakelands best 'little hills' although we didn't have much of a view given the persistent rain from low scudding clouds.

Our route up Scafell Pike the next day started in pleasant sunshine from The NT car park at Wasdale but the view of the peaks themselves was non-existent and so we knew it would be cold and cloudy at the tops.  We took the route up via Mickledore which involves a steep ascent up red scree about 2/3 of the way up the mountain. It's very hard work but affords you good views of Lords Rake and Scafell to the right. Well it would have done if we weren't in the clouds by that point. After following the cairn signed path to the summit and regretting not packing gloves we enjoyed the view (!) for a short while, forgot to drink the whisky from the hip flask, and imagined that, rather like the French, we were looking down on England.  We descended down the main path to avoid the tricky scree on the Mickledore scar. Using walking poles seemed to definitely help my knees on both ascent and descent and I was absolutely fine the day after too. I don't like using them but this serves to show that needs must when the Devil takes a small crap on your musculoskeletal system!

I'm sure my rucksack felt heavier on the way back to Sheffield but then everything in there was soaked anyway so I'm not surprised. Definitely a sign of a typical trip to the Lake District.

View over Eskdale from Muncaster Fell

View along Wast water to cloud covered Scafells

Most recognisable cairn in England?

What boots are for after a days walking!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Injury woes

Bit of a setback with a knee injury over the last 7-10 days has meant zero training rides/walks :-( Not brilliant timing when you consider it is now little more than 1 month until the 3 peaks challenge commences.

I've struggled with patellar bursitis for quite a while. It has been a transient problem and hardly bothers me save for trying to kneel down.  This time, for some unknown reason, it flared up badly, became very red and painful, with pain spreading down my tibia and infection leading to enlarged lymph nodes in my groin which were equally uncomfortable. 'Like having a 3rd bollock' was Cath's rather erudite observation!  Blood tests and some high strength antibiotics (on last day of course today) ensued and at last it is now on the mend with the swelling and discomfort on the wain.  I'm not sure the antibiotics actually helped to do anything other than give me a pounding headache. Normally you expect infection to clear up fairly quickly during a course of them but this time it is only on the last day of them that I'm seeing an improvement. Odd.

Anyway, I'm glad that this appears to be no more than a temporary setback. I was slightly worried that it might lead to postponement of the challenge but I'm not contemplating that now.  Will rest it for this week and get back on the bike/in to the hills again next week for some gentle recovery stuff to get back in to the groove.

Friday, 3 May 2013

A spring cycle camp and evening walk

Spring arrives at last! Sun is out, a bit of warmth and leaves on the trees finally making an appearance. In honour of this I decided to pack the panniers and venture out in to the Peak District for an overnight camping trip and a quick skip up and down Kinder Scout for good measure.

I love the Peak District but I don't really explore all of it that much. Most of my walks centre around Derwent, Kinder Scout (my very favourite place) and Bleaklow and so it was no surprise that I didn't spend long thinking about where to cycle out to. The very first thought that entered my head was 'ooh, cycle to Edale, pitch at Fieldhead campsite, walk up Kinder, pint at the Old Nags Head, cook my tea, drop of whisky, sleep, cycle to work in the morning and then onwards back home. Job's a good 'un! I'll try to be more creative next time.

s24o? I've seen the term s24o before. It stands for 'sub 24 hour overnight'. It doesn't seem to be a widely used term in the UK (it's more of a US thing I reckon) but it refers to cycling out somewhere reasonably close after work, camping overnight and then cycling back the next morning. It's a great idea. The general idea is that you don't need to pack much at all but I had to add a bit as I also planned to go for a walk. So I included a pair of trainers (walking boots on an evening like this would have been overkill) and a change of clothes. I knew the temperature would drop to 3 or 4 deg C at night so I also took my bulky 3-season sleeping bag instead of my mini, lightweight summer bag. I also decided to take my stove and some food too as I wanted to avoid spending on dinner and breakfast. Bottom line was that I ended up filling 2 large rear panniers! Oh and a hefty D-lock on top. So much for packing light!

An early work start meant I could finish mid afternoon and I cycled out in warm sunshine on the undulating roads from Worksop through Chesterfield, Newbold and Barlow towards Owler Bar. The climb up Horsleygate Road to Owler Bar had me sweating and grabbing low gears with the relatively heavy load but after Fox House I could enjoy the descent in to Hathersage and on to Hope.
Looking down towards Hathersage
Cyclists were 10-a-penny on the Hope road. All bombing out to do their Winnats/Mam Nick circuit. Needless to say they all passed me easily but did I care? Not one jot.

The Edale road was bathed in sunshine and I pushed along at a leisurely pace knowing that I was in no hurry and wanted to save my legs for the walk that followed.
Glorious spring late afternoon sunshine

Yes I know I'm carrying a lot for a 'one-nighter'!
After arriving in Edale at 5.40 (quite quick for the 35 miles) I had pitched my tent and got changed by 6.20. I had meant to bring a very small rucksack for the walk but had forgotten. No worries - all I had to do was carry a water bottle and stuff camera, wallet, phone and keys in my pocket. The walk was really the purpose of the journey and I was looking forward to it. There wasn't time to do a long trek as I needed to be back down and cook my tea before it got too dark. Plan was to ascend Grindsbrook, follow the edge to Crowden Tower and descend there to the Pennine Way and back in to Edale; something between 6 and 6.5 miles.

The walk was superb. Perfect light and not a soul around. Nothing but the calls of Curlews, Ring Ouzels, Grouse and Meadow Pipits to keep me company. Can't get better than that.  The descent along Crowden Clough is beautiful. I've never been this route before but it is definitely recommended. Steep in places but lots of fun. I was back at the Old Nags Head by 8.50 pm and after a swift couple of pints was cooking my tea (chilli and rice) by 9.20.
Looking back down Grindsbrook in gorgeous evening sun

Yes I'm sweating. I'd fairly sprinted up!
Here's a vid from the top of Grindsbrook. I'm sure you'll agree that it was a perfect evening up there:

The path towards Grindslow Knoll

Crowden Clough

Con trails over a Kinder Scout skyline

Well deserved!
After making a dent in the hip flask (Jura Elixir: very nice indeed) and deciding on a Stevie Ray Vaughan playlist on the iPod I was soon asleep. As is the norm, I woke a couple of times in the night, really wanting a pee but I couldn't be arsed to get out of my bag and decided that a full bladder was the lesser of two evils. The nearby rookery woke me properly at about 5am :-( Noisy buggers!

One thing that was definitely a blessing on this outing was my recently purchased Exped Air Pillow. It is super light, compact and very, very comfortable. It made a huge difference to my usual camping discomfort where I simply ram clothes into a stuffsack. Well worth it!

After a brew, a spot of breakfast and another doze I packed up and was on the road back to Sheffield via the great climb under Bamford Edge and Stanage. I thought I might see Ian Loasby on the road but he'd decided on a different route. Hey ho. After sitting at my desk for a few hours my legs had stiffened a little by the time I left for home but a nice tailwind pushed me back in the same sort of time I'd expect to commute anyway despite the full panniers!

So, a 75 mile round trip on the bike, a hill walk in glorious evening conditions, a lovely overnight camp and great training for the cycling the 3 peaks challenge next month. I'll definitely be doing that again soon.

Friday, 26 April 2013

A Peak District loop

A 40 mile round trip bike commute - even with a couple of decent hills to contend with each way - doesn't really cut it when it comes to:
  1. training for longer distance events
  2. get out and really enjoy the scenery
It all gets a bit, well, samey.

For the first time in ages, I managed to get out in to the Peak District for a longer and hillier ride. The route took in Baslow, Pilsley, Bakewell, Over Haddon, Youlgreave, Stanton-in-the-Peak, Birchover, Winster, Matlock, and back to Worksop via Clay Cross, Palterton, Nether Langwith and Cuckney.

It's a while since I've visited this part of the Peak District and I'd forgotten how steep a few of the inclines were (e.g. up to Stanton-in-the Peak) but I don't recall using my lowest gear on the compact double set-up so either my legs aren't in too bad a shape or I'm exaggerating the climbs. Anyway - here's the uppy-downy profile of the ride to give an idea.

It certainly wasn't a fast ride - 73 miles in just over 5 and a half hours riding (average speed 13.1 mph) - but with 4500 ft of ascent that isn't too bad for me.  As usual I forgot to eat during the ride (apart from a small packet of sweets in my pocket). I HAVE to sort that out.

Towards the end of the ride I got caught up in a 10 mile time trial on the Cuckney course. It's reasonably flat along the A60 here with just a few little undulations and so I was travelling along (on my Vernon Barker Audax bike complete with mudguards, rack and rackbag) at about 18mph. Some of the TT riders were absolutely flying as they passed me! Now I'm sure that most cyclists suffer from the affliction of always wanting to chase down/not get dropped by another cyclist on the road but at this point in the ride I was in no shape to even remotely try and keep up. Even if I'd wanted to there is no way I could maintain that sort of speed.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Training update

The 3 peaks challenge starts on 22nd June. That's just 2 months away and I'm not quite where I want to be in terms of fitness. Not far off but the next 7 weeks are going to have to be hard work to get me to a point where I'll feel comfortable embarking on it and not unduly worry about injury.

The cycling miles are definitely building up. Over 200 last week and am looking to maintain at least that sort of average.  They certainly add up with my lengthy commute but I need to add in a few long days in the saddle and begin to combine rides out in to the Peak District with some hillwalking. Scope to achieve that now that the weather is improving. In fact I really need to include much more hillwalking in the next few weeks. I haven't done enough. In addition to some planned trips in to The Peak District, the Yorkshire 3 peaks is on the cards as is a short jaunt to The Lakes and a recce of Scafell Pike. Both should help.

It's just difficult to fit it in with a busy work schedule!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Turbo trainers: Instruments of torture!

They really are horrid things. Forget waterboarding. After 45-60 minutes of mind-numbing, lactic acid building, sweat inducing (of apocalyptic proportions), heart-rate killing torture I'd admit to all sorts of crimes I haven't even considered, let alone commit! On the plus side, it's a great fat burning exercise.

I ALWAYS prefer to ride on the road (or trails) rather than on a turbo despite rain and wind but sometimes the freezing cold, ice or recent experience of high levels of muppetry displayed by car drivers persuades me to use this hateful device. I do also use it as a warm up for when I'm doing my weights circuit but I tend not to try and kill myself when doing that. Even then, a 30 minute session creates a health and safety hazard as I turn a garage floor in to a lake of sweat ...

Friday, 5 April 2013

A 2 day winter walk and wild camp

After an early Easter Monday pick up in Sheffield, 3 of us met at Birchin Clough car park on the Snake Pass (my favourite starting point for walks in the Dark Peak) with the plan of a 2 day loop of Bleaklow and Kinder.  The roads were clear but there was still plenty of snow around after the recent inclement weather and we knew that this would make for some testing walking conditions. At least the usual peat bog would be frozen so there was a silver lining of sorts.

We descended through the Pine Forest of Lady Clough and followed the path NW to the top of Doctors Gate, already building up a bit of a sweat and deciding to remove a layer of clothing despite the freezing conditions. After a short stretch on the old packhorse route we turned north on the  Pennine Way and started to really notice the strong, bitter easterly wind. Both Mark and Grahame are pilots and I thought it would be interesting for them to see the wreck of the B29 Superfortress 'Overexposed' on Higher Shelf Stones so we left the path and trekked across to the trig point and the nearby wreckage. It was bitterly cold by this point and I'd noticed that Grahame hadn't bothered with coat, hat or gloves. I thought he was just a 'hard as nails' ex-army officer but it transpired that he was just too lazy to get the stuff out of his pack!
The wind was biting on Higher Shelf Stones.
Wreckage of B29 Superfortress

Wain Stones, or 'Kissing Stones'
From the wreck site we took a bearing north to Wain Stones and began to notice that, while most deep snow drifts could be easily walked over, some swallowed your legs over knee deep. Funny but hard going. Stove out for a brew at Wain Stones while a bit of weather passed over us and then navigated to Bleaklow Stones and then followed the Alport Valley via Grains in the Water. The Alport Valley is beautiful and my favourite route in and out of Bleaklow but it was seriously hard going with frequent deep drifts and snow covered slopes that sapped energy and required careful crossing to avoid sliding in to the freezing river below.  The constant walking off-camber was also starting to play havoc with ankles and knees. We stopped for a rest and some lunch along here during which I managed to nudge my pack and saw it start to roll down the slope. Rather foolishly I instinctively hared after it and very nearly came a cropper! I resigned myself to retrieving it from the river :-( No real damage done though. The worst bit was climbing back up again.
Snow covered slopes in the Alport Valley
Ice curtain. River Alport
Alport Castles

One of the best aspects of this route on to/off Bleaklow is the splendour of the Alport Castles landslip and the lovely afternoon weather afforded us fine views of it.  Following the old roman road we returned via the Birchin Clough car park and then descended once again through Lady Clough towards Ashop Moor to find a decent place to camp. A sheltered spot near the river was clearly a spot that had been well used previously and we were a good way away from the road here.

Mark had managed to, ahem, purloin some MoD ration packs and I was impressed with how much they included and the quality of them. You can buy the equivalent of these for about £10 online which makes them FAR better value than the usual individual boil-in-the bag stuff costing up to a fiver in the outdoors shops.
My fave bit of outdoor kit. Primus Eta Packlite Stove
Some Jura Superstition single malt (lovely stuff) kept me warm before escaping the bitter cold and diving in to my sleeping bag. It must have been pretty cold during the night as the water in my bottle had frozen by the time I crawled out in the morning.

Day 2:
After breakfast, a brew and packing up we reclimbed the slope back up towards the Snake Pass and then joined the path through the pine forest to the bottom of Fairbrook. Although we encountered no other walkers, the climb up Kinder Scout wasn't as peaceful as usual as a helicopter made continuous trips over our heads carrying heavy loads (of what I'm not sure exactly) up on to the plateau.

At the top we  stopped for a brew and an early lunch before traversing across the plateau to Crowden Head and then Kinder Downfall. Once again the drifts often helped us by filling in the deep groughs but occasionally they managed to swallow legs up to waist deep.
Near top of Fairbrook, Kinder Scout

More drifts near top of Kinder Scout
From the downfall we headed west with the aim of descending at Mill Hill (Ashop Head) and on to the Snake Path. Inattention on my part meant we started descending near Sandy Heys and although we quickly realised we couldn't be bothered to climb back up so walked along the slope towards where we should have been. When we did get to the stake marking the crossroads of the Snake Path and Pennine Way we realised it would have perhaps been folly to descend where we intended as the snow and ice on the steep descent looked perilous. Certainly no-one was going up or down there anyway. From here we returned to Lady Clough and then the car park via the Snake Path. My right knee was starting to become quite painful along here and so it took a little longer than it should have.

Worryingly, my knee has worsened since the walk. I'm pretty sure it is tendonitis with tenosynivitis as I can feel grating in the tendon sheaths at the back of my knee. I was hoping to get out on the bike sometime during the Easter Break but rest and anti-inflammatories are the order of the day instead. Oh well.