Day 31

on Jun 13, 2010 | 6 comments

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Crowden to Bleak Hey Nook

Shock and horror…I actually managed to get seven hours sleep last night! Clearly the walk from Edale took quite a lot out of me, but then that’s not surprising considering the terrain.

Unlike yesterday morning I was sat and having breakfast at 8am, much better. Even though today’s route was shorter than yesterday’s I knew there were some tough bits to come so the earlier I could get on the path the better.

Breakfast was good and for £5 they provided me a lunch for the day, which I have to say was enough for today and tomorrow, so well worth the money.

Like the tips they gave me yesterday for the walk they showed me a short cut to get back to the Pennine Way without having to walk down the road. This involved walking across a couple of fields, over a style, along a path and through an underpass under the road. Simple. Well, not quite.

As I approached the underpass I could see that, although easily big enough to go through it was actually a means for the water running off the fields to go through, and as it’d been raining over night it was rather wet in there. Knowing that the curved stone floor would be slippery I took great care – or so I thought – entering using my walking poles to balance me…oops! Straight over onto my side, landing on my elbow, swearing loudly. Not the greatest start to the day. Add that to my suffering left knee and right foot and you’ve got a somewhat less than 100% Darren!

Picking myself up and realising I was now rather muddy I managed to make it through without slipping again and finally picked up the Pennine Way.

To be honest I was suffering this morning, and that was before the fall. Yesterday had really taken a toll on my knees and ankles and I was exhausted before I even headed off this morning. I wasn’t hopeful for a good walk that’s for sure, expecting to suffer every single step.

The path almost immediately started to head in an upward direction but I knew this was just a tease as very shortly the real test would be upon me, namely Laddow Rocks. I’d been warned about these and as I made my way towards them I could see why, they were almost as bad as Jacob’s Ladder from yesterday, this time only going up to 1500ft. Not good.

It was a bit of a slog but I made it to the top, even more exhausted. This wasn’t going well and I hoped that things would get better.

The path ahead was another one of those you wouldn’t walk if you were afraid of heights. The path was just about two boots wide and other than about three inches of grass (sometimes none) on your right there was nothing, well other than a very long sheer drop that is. I’m happy to admit that there were a couple of points along this path that I was a little concerned when the wind was blowing across me, i.e. towards the drop.

As I made my way along the top I walked past an old boy standing there admiring the view. I said hello and we started to chat for a bit. He told me how he used to climb up the crags when he first visited the Peaks back in 1949, and commented on the amount of vegetation on them now and how that must mean not many people climbed them any more.

A few miles down the track and the terrain started to change. Instead of the sheer drops and thin path I found myself walking through more boggy moorland. Not a problem as the path seemed to be pretty good, so I thought. That was until I had to try and make my way through some really boggy bits and I was a little concerned that, with the extra weight on my back, I might not get my foot out of the bog. Yes, I did seem to sink a little further than the other footprints but I’m pleased to say that I didn’t lose any boots in the process.

The path over the moors took me up Black Hill, another climb to almost 2000ft and feeling a bit hungry and tired by that point I found a suitable place to park my backside for a bit and had some lunch. It was a bit bleak up there and the wind was whipping across, but there was nobody around but me and it was great to be sat down for a bit.

Lunch eaten and feeling a bit better I made my way down the other side of Black Hill and headed towards the A635, which was quite torturous as the road was clearly visible but the path meandered this way and that way, and up and down, making the task a lot longer than it could possibly have been. To make matters worse I’d spotted that there was a food van just up the road from where the path was going to take me and I was seriously craving a sweet, cold, fizzy drink.

It took a while but I eventually made it to the food van and ordered a can of Coke. It was delicious and I sat on the wall enjoying every last little drop of it.

Sat there enjoying my refreshing drink two guys who were also sitting there commented on my pack and asked where I was walking to. We got chatting about my walk and bless them they both put their hands in the pockets and donated some cash. Jordan got someone to take our photo together which he said he’d post on Facebook with a link to my site. Great guys and it was really nice to sit and have a good chat with someone. Thanks Stephen and Jordan.

It was starting to rain by now so I made tracks to try and get to Bleak Hook Ney sooner rather than later.

The route now took me down past Wessenden reservoir which actually had a half-decent path so I was hopeful of making some time up from the slower start this morning. I was going pretty well, enjoying the scenery, until I realised looking at my map that I was about to be hit with yet another tough climb.

The nice path I’d been enjoying for the last couple of miles was soon to be no more, for me anyway. The nice path carried on ok but the Pennine Way took a turn for the worse, down a steep slope to a river and then right back up again. Brilliant! This would be ridiculous climb number three for the day. Oh how happy I was about that…not!

Again I struggled down and back up again and continued along my way across yet more moor land. I was really beginning to struggle by this point but I still had at least three miles to go. This walk just seemed to be taking forever to complete.

With only a mile and half to go the heavens opened, making an already difficult walk even harder. This really wasn’t turning out to be my day at all. That last mile and a half seemed to take forever but I finally made it to Wellcroft House B & B.

Eric and Susan were great when I got there, wet and exhausted. They gave me some cake and a drink and we sat there for a good hour chatting while I caught up with myself. I then went and sorted myself out and managed to have a Skype chat with the girls as the B & B had wifi I could use – hurrah! That was just what I needed after a very tough day and they really helped to put a smile on my face. Love you girls.

Eric and Susan offered to drive me to a pub in Diggle, the next village down the road, so that I could get a drink and have some dinner, which was lovely of them and very much appreciated. I must admit though, a belly full of food and a nice pint of Copper Dragon made me very sleepy indeed and it was all I could to keep myself awake before Eric and Susan came and picked me up. Really really lovely people.

One thing I did find out this morning over breakfast that I thought you might like to know: the world record for walking the Pennine Way is just over 3 days, compared to the typical 22 days to walk the 257 miles! That is just insane.

Photos and Route Details

If you want to find out more about this day you can see the photos I took or view the route details.

6 Comments

  1. Treacle

    June 14, 2010

    Not that I’ve walked the entire Pennine Way, I’ve been out there many times for some short walks and have to agree it is a stunning place (Jo’s nan used to live in Ashton-under-Lyne, just west of where you have walked, no idea how many times I drove along the A628!!). Obviously I’ve not been that way for some years now but I can see from your photos it’s not changed a bit … not that I thought it would have.

    Keep it up mate, you’re doing a grand job!

    • Darren

      June 14, 2010

      The Peaks have taken their toll on my body and I ache in places and hurt in places I never realised I had places!

      It’s been well worth it though as the views and scenery have been absolutely out of this world. Words and photos just don’t do the places I’ve walked justice that’s for sure. To really appreciate it you have to be there!

  2. Russ

    June 14, 2010

    How do you walk 257 miles in 3 days?!

    • Darren

      June 14, 2010

      Talking to the guy at a food van on today’s route, he said they run it! Now that truly is insane!!

  3. Ian

    June 14, 2010

    That sounded tough cuz. You’ll be an ironman by the time you finish. Excellent going, not sure I’d have coped with narrow paths and big drops myself ….vertigo nightmare.

    • Darren

      June 14, 2010

      Don’t know about me being an ironman – these last few days have all but beaten me. I’m so proud that I made it carrying the weight I am but it’s certainly been tough.

      I was pretty worried at times about the paths and the drops, especially with the wind but fortunately the weather was on my side. Good job it wasn’t like it was today.

      Next time I walk the Peaks it’ll be with a nice, small, light day pack 🙂