Monday, 19 March 2012

Famous Grouse

Not the whisky.....but where does this refer to...??

Being in Sheffield over the weekend I couldn't resist the temptation to squeeze in an early morning run prior to my friends waking up following our night out...

Thankfully no one stirred as I grabbed for my alarm at 6am (bearing in mind the last ones only hit the sack a few hours prior to which I was oblivious).

Clearly too early for many, all was quiet, all was still. Leaving Sheffield via Ringalow Road I only passed one MTBer 'plodding' it out towards Stanage.

My arrival at Stanage's Burbage parking was marred by a thick blanket of mist, making me reconsider my options and sanity, especially as my car was the only car in the car park..... thankfully I kept to my original plan. 

Without a map the plan was to run along the edges as far as time would permit to enable me to get back at a decent time to see my friends prior to heading down South for lunch with my family in Birmingham.

With poor visibility, only about 30-50m (see insert) and with uncertainty over the exact route I set off. The track was initially dry mud composite, making an easy running track making it easy to gain pace slowly.

Arriving at the top of Stanage Popular the 'track' had changed considerably. It was now the more familiar inter-dispersed small to medium boulder 'tops' that some of you will be familiar as used for your climbing anchor points. (Does anyone else always seem to find themselves doing a combo of having to use a shortened cordlette and crawling under them to thread it through?)

It was not before too long the boulderers became more interspersed by a wet mud path, though some might have said bath! Initially avoidable by choosing an offset line. Naturally I avoided the mud at all costs as one never wants to get their foot 'wet' prior to 'needing' to! This encourage me to play leapfrog between the boulders, later providing to not to be so wise!

After a while of hugging to the top of the Edge, I dropped down to make by return leg, hoping it would prove a little easier below the crag. This didn't prove to the be case...

Despite a clear path 'off'' the edge, this turned into a myraid of trails interwoved amongst the low-lying bracken. Conscious of the time, I picked up pace having the confidence of firm ground under foot, however this mean I wasn't quite so good at avoiding snagging my Helly (trouser) 'bottoms' every few meters.

As I approached the beginning of the rock-edge the bracken wasn't giving way the the trails became 'rougher' under foot. This is a photo when I arrived back on the edge, as you can see 'Full' daylight was not realised by this point despite the visibility much improving. The reverse route it seemed a slog as I was trying to maintain speed, and as previously described the path was not really suited to such intentions. An example being where my 'mudclaws' lost their traction as I was bouncing between boulders and took a slip crashing onto my knee... a stark reminder that the playground (how I love to call the Peaks) doesn't come with crash mats! 

As I left Stanage Popular I could make out two people leaving the car park, these were the first people I had seen! Were these walkers, or climbers. No knows, but it was good that others too would get to enjoy the pleasures of natures playground.

Thoroughly enjoyable, despite nursing my knee over one week on!

See my route...