Peak Rambler’s Ramblings; another year ends and time to reflect

Peak Rambler’s Ramblings.... marks another year of blogging and walking, with some camping. It seems an age since I wrote and published my first blog, and how things have changed.

I’ve moved this from the annual anniversary in February to look back of the calendar year.

At times during 2014, it was very tight to even squeeze a day’s walk in, due to various commitments, which a working family man has. I’m sure many of you can relate to that, in more ways than one.

We all moan about work, but without it, we wouldn’t have the money to spend on the many different wonderful hobbies we all have, let alone keep the roof over our heads and food on the table.

Yes, I’m still going through that mid-life crisis, I can’t get out enough, revisiting many places I used to visit in my younger days, along with visiting places new, and my tick list still getting longer!

What’s changed?

My son, almost eighteen, passed his driving test last year and now has a car. Now you would think that would give me more time?

Well, I did, and how wrong I was, I still provide Dad’s taxi service, at some obnoxious hours!

But to be fair, my son avoids drinking and driving, hence why I still provide a taxi service.

It’s scary to think, he was once a helpless new born baby and now he’s almost as independent as I am today!

Peak Rambler now has a Facebook page, this was initially started to accommodate a couple of old friends who only used Facebook. Sadly one has moved on to higher and hopefully greener pastures, while the other has joined Twitter.

But Peak Rambler is still on Facebook and the following is growing. So I try to visit Facebook as often as possible.

I have to humbly apologise, for there is also a Peak Rambler Google Plus page. But all too often, time gets the better of me and I really don’t visit it as much as I should. So a big apology and also a big thank you to those who follow me there.

Before I look back at 2014, something I’d like to share with you all.

At the end of every year, we tend to reflect time to reflect on the events, good and bad, experiences and lessons learnt.

My early walking days, not something to be proud of, but neither am I ashamed, for things were not like they are today were equal to what many of us today, condemn when we see inadequately skilled and kitted folk on the hills and moors.

Back then, I didn’t have the knowledge or skills I have today, but to the best of my ability and skills at the time, I got out and enjoyed the outdoors.

There was a wild camp on Kinder, in the late seventies, with friends, using old ex-army heavy canvas ridge tents, no real map skills, no real appreciation for clothing, not that clothing was very technical back then and pure guess work.

Ok, we never really hit the plateau, even though we thought we had, but it was still fraught with issues, that we were totally ignorant of.
Kinder Plateau, September 2009
But we were out in the wilds, really enjoying the life!

As time went on, I started to accrue the knowledge and basic skills, but nothing to what I have today. There were no obvious courses, some books and magazines, but I was a bad book reader back then…..

So, what am I saying?

Many of us have been there, poorly kitted out, little or no knowledge, out in the hills or on the moors etc., but subsequently we’ve gained the skills to a reasonable level and upgraded our kit accordingly, budgets permitting.

Perhaps many of the folk we see out in the wilds, on the hills and moors, inadequately kitted out, poor or no navigation skills and outdoor knowledge, are just that, innocently out there, enjoying what we enjoy.

I enjoy chatting to folk when I’m out walking, whether in my group, or not, and also when I’m solo walking, I’ll stop and chat with passers-by, sharing briefly their days experiences and wish them a safe and enjoyable day.

At times, I’ve offered advice, even though not asked for it, some hadn’t even thought of the consequences, but all, have been grateful.

On one occasion, one young couple on Kinder changed their route, avoiding the plateau and were extremely grateful, for they never envisaged Kinder plateau being so wild!

It’s not always easy to tell who is innocently ignorant, and those who are blatantly arrogant.

But there are those blatantly arrogant and push their luck!

Not even all the kit and skills can make you totally safe!

I took a tumble atop Alport Dale back in October. An ML I know took a very nasty tumble off a mountain while solo winter walking. The local mountain rescue team rescued him and he required a hospital stay, in a local hospital before being transferred to a hospital near his home.

His embarrassment, one of his rescuers was on the same Glenmore Lodge Winter course as him!

We’ve heard of mountain rescue team members falling to their deaths on home ground!

Kit and skills are not guaranteed to stop the inevitable happening, merely reduce the chances and improve our chance of survival should things go wrong.

To finish this, I know many of you are like me and will stop and share the day’s experiences, so what I’m going to say, you will most likely do. But those who don’t, perhaps a little time tactfully taken to get to know inadequately kitted folk might save a life and put them on the right road to safety!

I’ve waffled on. Let’s look at 2014 and the walks I’ve done.

So, how did 2014 go?

I’m still on L Plates with the GoPro. It’s a good job that I don’t have to take a test in a specified period, or I’ll be scuppered!

The pressure was on, to get at least one good walk in per month. But, there have been a few very pleasant surprises, particularly later in 2014.

I’ve enjoyed my favourite haunt, the Peaks along Snowdonia, on the Carneddau, but also managed a trip to the Scottish Highlands this year, and enjoyed a fabulous walk on the Monadhliath.

The snow was a bit thin on the ground for me this last twelve months, but I’ve made up for it in my final walk of the year on Axe Edge Moor.

Bamford, Hope and Win Hill

The year started of with a walk where I joined a small group of walkers from the Walkers Forum, for a wander from Bamford, through Hope on to Win Hill and back to Bamford via Thornhill.
Trig Point, atop Win Hill
Mill Hill, Kinder and Kinder Downfall

The third year started off with a visit to Kinder, backtracking from the Snake Pass, along the Pennine Way to Mill Hill, with a detour to the Liberator crash site, before going on to Kinder and Kinder Downfall. For me, that was a visit of a lifetime, to see Kinder Downfall in its element on a windy day, with the water being blown back up!

I’ve seen endless YouTube videos, heard the stories, but had yet to witness a spectacular sight, of water being blown back up a waterfall.

For Kinder Downfall, that is not an unusual sight, when the wind is in the right direction and at the right speed.
Kinder Downfall
Long Mynd, Pole Bank and a nice cuppa in Carding Mill

This was a walk to retrace a walk I’ve done a few times, though more recently was a wander with my son, and this particular walk, was to be able to write about the area and the day.
Pole Bank summit, Long Mynd

Boy, this was one hell of a windy day, on Mam Tor!

But the Great Ridge still inspires and was also the subject of one of my very early blogs! 
it was a bit windy on Mam Tor, gusting almost up to 60mph!
Bells Palsy, The Flu and Lymes Disease

Those of you who know me, will be aware I have Bells Palsy, which basically is facial paralysis. I strongly suspect this is a result of a tick bite I obtained back in October 1988.

This was originally written to tie annual tick awareness week, but the organisation who was going to use it, BADA-UK; Borreliosis and Associated Diseases Awareness UK closed down February 2014.

What an odd title?

There is good reason for that title, for we are coming in to the tick season once again, though ticks can still be active in temperatures as low as 3.5ºC!

What is the combination of the three, Bells Palsy, the flu and Lymes Disease?

Well, for that last line, you’ll just have to read my story.
That fateful day a tick decided to attach itself to me!

This walk, also involved a weekends camping too, was a close copy to one I did last summer, but with a change to the route avoiding the boggy patch before.

It was a golden opportunity to meet up with some old friends from a meet organised for August Bank Holiday 2011 by Terry Abraham, to celebrate the Peak Districts Sixtieth Anniversary.

It was till as enjoyable as the previous occasion and just as hot!
Big Moor near Curbar Edge
Creag Dhubh and a walk on the wild side

Now if like me, your Gaelic isn’t very good, fear not. Creag Dhubh is pronounced Craig Doo!

That was a really enjoyable walk and one where once again, I was well and truly away from civilisation, very quickly and easily, but rewarded with fantastic jaw dropping views!
Creag Dhubh summit

I love them, trekking poles. But guilty as charged, I don’t use mine as much as I probably should do.

To me, trekking poles are a valuable part of my first aid kit, as well and a valuable walking aid, and I would not intentionally be without them.

Sadly, the ones used for this blog, met their demise atop Alport Dale. 
The Liebster Award

This was a blog for a bit of fun. I along with a few others had been nominated for this fictitious award. Initially I was sceptical, but after a quick bit of research, I joined in with the fun.

Bera Mawr, and the Northern Carneddau

Things at work were getting constructively busy, leaving no time for walking. One night I had been reminiscing over some old walks, and had an idea to recreate one via my blog.

Without any further thought, this was one walk I randomly picked on, and hopefully described it exactly the way it was.
My lunchtime view across to Puffin Island

A long overdue walk, and camp.

A hot late July weekend, I was on summer holiday from work, I had a strong an pressing need to get out, and this was the walk.
Magpie Mine

Yes, that mountain actually is called that!

From a distance, it does look almost like a witch’s hat, as you will see when reading the blog.

A great day out and I broke just about every rule in the hill walkers book!

But it was worth it…..

Pen Llithrig y Wrach, the peak to the right of the centre horizon
could look like a witch's hat from afar in certain conditions
Classic Kinder walk, and some Gritstone formations

This walk was to cover a classic route, which I last walked one snowy February day.

The day was just superb, with many memories from previous walks along that very same path.
Approaching the Woolpacks, Kinder

A fateful day!

You know when you just think you shouldn’t go somewhere or do something?

That was just that sort of day. I took a tumble down in to Alport Dale, after a catalogue of things not quite going to plan.
Alport Castles, a landslip, not a historical monument

This was a walk with a difference. A night hike around Birchover, on to Stanton Moor and back for a post walk drink, and bowl of chips, in the Druid Inn, Birchover.
Leaving the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, Stanton Moor

BMC Hill Walking: The Journey Begins

Back in April 2013, on the back of a survey the BMCUnder took with its membership, the BMC appointed it’s very first ever Hill Walking Officer, Carey Davis. The idea is for Carey, with support from the BMC and its membership, to promote hill walking and be the voice for Hill Walkers, within the BMC.

Like a good many of its membership, I felt that there was too much emphasis on rock climbing. Don’t get me wrong, I think it great we have some fabulous climbers out there, supported by the BMC, but there are others out there, who the BMC do support, only too quietly so and Hill Walkers, like me, are one of those many groups.

Since his appointment, Carey has been working hard to put together a plan, with the support of the BMC.

To help Carey implement his plan, the support of the BMC Hill Walking members has been sought, the first meeting taking place back in February 2014, with the second at the end of November 2014.

I wasn’t able to make the February meeting, but I did manage to make the November one, and I’m more than pleased to have done so.

Bowden Bridge, our meeting point, was where the Kinder Mass Trespass started from back on April 24th 1932, led by Benny Rothman, saw many trespassers get arrested for trying to regain the right to walk on Kinder.

If it wasn’t for the Mass Trespass on Kinder, we might not be enjoying our hobby of hill walking in the way that we are lucky to do today.

However, all is not that rosy today; there are still threats to our freedom to roam responsibly today! This is where organisations, like the BMC, the Ramblers, and many more.

However, this is about the BMC new Hill Walking Officer and a change to its policies to reflect its membership.

As we gained height, the cloud wasn’t really lifting sufficiently to consider Kinder Low, especially as we had to be at the Royal Hotel, Hayfield for the meeting for 13:00, so once we reached Edale Cross, we then returned back to Bowden Bridge.

Walking to Edale Cross, on Kinder

Carey outlined the plan of what he, with the support of the BMC were proposing to do, and this was followed up by Brian Smith, the BMC Independent Director, with his support to this initiative.

How do I feel about the future?

Positive, it will happen, but it will take time and it needs the positive support of the BMC and its membership to make it happen.

We all have different requirements from our organisation, the BMC, but all have the same aim.

My personal ideal would be to see the BMC

embrace all sections equally, for they all do a lot of very good work, quietly and behind the scenes, this is one is a big step forward

The results of the survey can be seen here in Hill walkers have spoken and Carey's write up can be read here in Can the BMC become the natural home for hill walkers?

The journey begins….

Axe Edge Moor Winter Walk and I’m a BIG kid at heart

Yes, I’m a big kid at heart, but then many of us really are, if we care to admit it.

The snow had fallen on much of the north of Britain giving rise to some cracking winter conditions.

Though I had walked on Axe Edge Moor twice before, first in the snow, second in the rain, it ticked every box. The sun was out in a blue cloudless sky, with lots of snow to walk in.

What more could a true hill walker ask for?
Snow, and lots of it, on Axe Edge Moor.
What a fantastic end to 2014
Thank you (no link in this heading)

To end, my blog is done purely for pleasure and to share with you my walking experiences along with tips and advice for those who are just starting out in our wonderful hobby of walking the hills and moors. 

I would like to say a big thank you to you all for reading my blogs, adding comments either to the blog or via Twitter and Facebook. Also thank you for sharing the blog links with your friends and followers.

Further, it has been a great pleasure walking with many of you, not just this last twelve months, but in years gone by, and I sincerely hope we will meet again.

Here’s to 2015, a new year, some new walks, new and old friends.

Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,
Peak Rambler
Twitter            @PeakRambler
Photo Album Peak Rambler Flickr Photo Album  
YouTube        Peak Rambler on YouTube
Links to some of the items I’ve mentioned and written about here:

Walkers Forum,
Mill Hill, Kinder and Kinder Downfall
Long Mynd, Pole Bank and a nice cuppa in Carding Mill
A windy wander on Mam Tor and along Castleton’s Great Ridge
Bells Palsy, The Flu and Lymes Disease
Walking Big Moor, White Edge Moor and Barbrook Reservoir with friends
Creag Dhubh and a walk on the wild side
Trekking Poles, love ‘em or hate ‘em?
The Liebster Award
Bera Mawr, and the Northern Carneddau
A wander from Monyash to Magpie Mine via Flagg and Taddington
Pen Llithrig y Wrach: “The Slippery Hill of the Witch”
Classic Kinder walk, and some Gritstone formations
Alport Castles Alport Dale and River Alport
Stanton Moor Night Hike, and a drink in the Druid Inn
Axe Edge Moor Winter Walk and I’m a BIG kid at heart
Hill walkers have spoken
Can the BMC become the natural home for hill walkers?
Royal Hotel, Hayfield


  1. You've had some great walks this year and it was was brilliant to end the year with the snow! It was strangely waking up a green landscape again today! Hope 2015 brings lots more outdoor adventures your way!

    1. It's been another good year, though tight at times juggling work, family and walking.

      Yes, I noticed from one of the webcams earlier the snow had gone, but a fantastic end to the year and letting us know, the snow could return again.