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Dec 01 2012

Walk 57 – Been There, Dun That!

Been There Dun That

route: south nab from dunford bridge
Date: 1st december 2012
distance: 7.9 miles
ascent: 737 feet
time: 4 hrs 05 mins
walkers: dave, jane, joseph, lucy, marc, roger, ryan, sandra & simon

This was going to be the last walk of 2012 due to various reasons, including the busy festive period, but personally the most important of which was the ever nearing arrival of Sir Edmund junior, and I didn’t want to be caught half way up a hill somewhere if Wu Tang called. Knowing it may well be the last walk for a little while meant I was looking forward to it that little bit more than I normally would and once again we had a decent turn out. Beaky parked the car in the car park in Dunford Bridge but there was no sign of the others. We got ready but still no sign of anyone else so I text Roger and Jane and asked if they were struggling to find us, only for them to come walking over to us. It turns out they were there before us and had parked just over the road.

 

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With a team of nine all prepped and ready we followed the road as it climbed gradually away from our start point. Away to our right we had a clear view of the overflow from Winscar Reservoir. There had been a decent amount of rain in the preceding weeks and it was no surprise to find a steady stream of water flowing down into the beck below.

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After ten minutes or so the road began to level out slightly but we still continued to climb and the mood was a good one. Conversations were all light hearted, and the sound of laughter could be heard almost continuously as people chatted in their own little groups. By now Winscar Reservoir was clearly visible behind us and we commented on the fact that at this rate the walk wouldn’t take very long if it was all this easy. We spoke too soon…

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A quick map check suggested the footpath over to South Nab trig point would be coming up shortly and a quick check with my GPS confirmed this. Ahead of us we spotted the finger post, and crossed the road ready for the next stretch of our adventure, only to be confronted with a sign…

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We had never seen anything like this on any of our previous walks and at first we were unsure what to do. The plan was to use this footpath to drop down to the edge of Upper Windleden Reservoir, skirt around it before climbing up to the trig point which we could just about make out on the high point of the ridge. We checked the map and it was clear we could avoid this path but it meant a little more walking on the quiet road, followed by a stretch on the busy A628 which wasn’t exactly appealing. As ever it went to a vote with the two options being the longer road route, or we could take the “sign?!, what sign?! Sorry we didn’t realise the path was closed” option. In the end we agreed that the path was shut for a reason and rather than damage the it more we would sacrifice our pleasure and plod along the road.

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I reached the junction of Windle Edge Road and the A628 with Beaky and Ramblo and we waited for the others, before heading off towards the trig. As far as pleasant walks go, this wasn’t high on the list, especially not with a constant stream of speeding cars and waggons thundering by. This section did give us chance to witness for ourselves the amount of junk that ends up on the side of our roads. We spotted about a dozen CD’s, numerous cans of beer and other alcoholic beverages, untold amounts of general litter and enough car parts to make our own car.

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Spotting the junk didn’t in any way help us to forget we were alongside a busy road so it was with great delight we reached the gate leading us towards the trig point. Once again we were confronted by a sign saying the footpath was closed, but as we weren’t really using the path for more than 20 yards we went through, before turning right and heading up to the trig point.

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From the trig we had a decent view of the surrounding area including numerous reservoirs and in the opposite direction we could see Bleaklow under a big grey cloud. The weather didn’t look too promising and it was fairly cold, especially now we were fully exposed to the wind, but the forecast was for sunshine so we kept our fingers crossed as we munched on our sandwiches. It still makes us chuckle that we tuck in at a trig point no matter what the time, and today it was 10am. With it being the last stroll before Christmas we had decided to enter the festive spirit and Ramblo began to offer her hipflask of sweet sherry, only to be gazumped by Roger, who had brought a full bottle of JD with him. Jane provided the chocolates and we had everything we needed to celebrate our final walk of the year.

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I am not a massive fan of JD but thought it would be rude of me not to have a cap full, then another just to check I didn’t really like the first one. A third one confirmed I am not that keen (even though it was quite nice in a weird way) but it certainly warmed my cockles! I dealt with the aftertaste by having a couple of swigs of sherry and all was good with the world once again, especially after a couple of chunks of chocolate. I was enjoying the experience but didn’t want to get too cosy, so I suggested we move on as it was getting nippy, even after my alcohol intake, and we headed off around a dry-stone wall. We soon came across a wooden fence which seemed to be a bit flawed in that there was a two foot gap at the bottom for things to go under, which we did, some more easily than others.

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It seems this was the Barnsley boundary and we followed it for quite a while, stopping from time to time to play chicken on frozen puddles.

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The ground was just about frozen and it did help in places as it would have been quite muddy and slippery under foot in places if not. Eventually we reached a gap in the fence and the path cut between it and headed gradually downwards which should have been an easy section. It turns out that was to be a bit misleading as Ramblo slipped over and initially thought she had hurt her knee, before walking it off. As we reached a gate myself, beaky and Ramblo waited as we were joined by Jane, Lucy, Roger and Ryan. Some way back we saw Marc and Joseph moving towards us slowly and it turns out that Joseph had fallen twice and was a little upset. He wasn’t badly hurt though and soon had a smile back on his face as re-joined the A628 for a short section and walked out of the Peak District National Park.

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Less than a quarter of a mile later we crossed the busy road, cut through some lovely houses, and headed off down a farm track that would lead us towards the Trans Pennine Trail. We were now at the furthest point from the car and as it was all nice and flat for remainder of the walk, we didn’t anticipate it taking us very long to complete. The day was a cold one and there were plenty of frozen puddles about, including a massive one complete with frozen tufts of grass and god knows what else was trapped underneath.

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By now we were quite strung out and I followed Beaky and Ramblo from one side of the path to the other in order to avoid ice, puddles and other none too treacherous hazards. Eventually we turned to find we couldn’t see anyone else behind us and stopped to wait, using our time wisely by having a quick sarnie, and other refreshments. I also uploaded a picture to our Facebook page to enable our few followers to have an update of how we were getting on. It was probably nearly ten minute before the others caught up and we gave them time to feed and water themselves before we set off as a group once more.

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A short distance further on we reached a small bridge that was totally covered with ice. It was sloping slightly away from us and was pretty treacherous to cross. Everybody took their own time and people helped each other where they could and we were across in no time. In fact it probably only took us a minute or so for us all to cross, but at the time we had to be very precise and deliberate with our footsteps otherwise we could have hurt ourselves. Almost immediately afterwards we reached a junction and paused for a little while to check the map. It was decided we needed to drop down some steps to the path running below the bridge, which made sense as we would follow an old railway line now known as the Trans Pennine Trail, all the way to the car.

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As with the section just before the bridge, the frozen puddles were giving the younger Badgers (and Marc) something to play around with and it seems the game was to see who could hold up the largest piece of ice. Myself, Beaky, Ramblo, Jane and Roger had been talking about various walks and future walking ambitions, without paying any attention behind us and we had created a large gap in no time. We realised at a convenient point and made good use of the little bench at the side of the trail as we waited, and waited, and waited, until, finally they came into view.

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The game continued once they had reached us and it was another 15 minutes or so before we set off on the final mile of our journey.

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The gentle stroll back was the perfect ending to another enjoyable walk. It was spoilt a little bit by the stretch along the busy road, but that was so long ago it almost felt like a different outing. We changed and headed for the pub to discuss another successful year of rambling. A year that had been full of highs and had a few lows too, but the overall feeling was that of success and well-being and that has to be a good thing. Next year will offer new challenges but I am sure the Rambling Badgers will continue to go from strength to strength. Let’s hope so, I’ve just bought some new boots!

Sir Edmund

 

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