Chipping 07-12-2016 – Leader Tom

Chipping 07-12-2016 – Leader Tom

When Tom sent me the details of this walk, he graded it M/H, based on the ascent and potentially muddy conditions.  With his agreement, I changed it to M/I, but I think he was prescient, as M/H would be a good grading, as it turned out; M for the mileage, but H for the conditions underfoot, of which more anon.  17 turned up today on an amazingly balmy morning for December – N Ireland was expected to hit 15ºC, which would be a record for December.  From the car park, Tom led us through the village and past an old corn mill, which later became a furniture factory – sadly now closed.  Then it was north past the mill lodge and up a track past a couple of farms, before we headed off over the fields, climbing steadily to Saddle End Farm.  On the way we saw some chickens that should have been penned today for fear of bird flu, and also some early lambs, of which I understand Gill took some photos on the recce!!  The weather was brighter than expected, and we had good views of Parlick, our target hill, in the distance.

We paused for refreshments near Wolfen Hall Farm, before tackling the rather gruelling direct ascent of Parlick – over 700 feet of climb, but well worth it because of the extensive and often dramatic views along the way.  At Fell Foot, the start of the ascent proper, we saw some stones in a shelter, one (in Gaelic) saying a’mhanachainn, which means beauty.  On the other side was another with a word, perhaps from Hindi or another Asian language, presumably saying the same – and very accurate they were, too.  From the summit, we continued north, climbing more steadily along Blindhurst Fell, taking our lunch against a wall en-route.  The wind was now sharp and cold, making  yours truly don another layer – unheard of!

Shortly after lunch, we could see that the summit of Fair Snape Fell was in the cloud to our left, so Tom changed his planned route to cut off the corner, as it were, so we all expected to be in the café by 2 o’clock.  Wrong, for Tom unfortunately missed a turn at the highest point of the walk (1700 feet) soon after.  The result was  that we spent the next hour slogging 200 feet down towards the aptly-named Fiendsdale Head and then back up again, through one and a half miles of long heather and very slippery peat hummocks to get back to the correct turn.  Along the way, Derek became detached, though we did make contact by phone, and he said he was going back to Chipping.

Thereafter, it was fairly plain sailing, though with some more heather and peat, before we turned south to head downward – with lovely views once again – to Saddle Fell and Saddle End Farm.  Along the way, we passed a notice warning us of possible unexploded shells on this ex-MoD land – that would have been all that we needed!  Then, lower down, Tom spotted an impressive murmuration of starlings, just before Laund Farm, at the edge of an old deer park.  Roy took the opportunity to buy some sheep’s cheese here, before we returned to Chipping as dark was thinking of falling.  The cafés were closed, so I think everyone headed home, for myself with aching thighs, but with a sense of achievement.  Looking back on my previous comments on walks in this area, they all say ‘lovely’ – true today – and most of them suggest a long and/or quite hard walk – again spot on today.  I know that Tom is annoyed with himself for missing the turn, but nobody got hurt, we didn’t get wet, and we all had a sense of achievement at the end, thanks to Tom.

PS One of our ladies left a pair of navy blue gloves in David’s car last week (Gargrave walk, not Garstang, as I originally wrote).  I have them safe.

(Pics & write up Arnold.  Appended here are the route stats and profile.)

Slideshow below, but if you wish to see a static view of the pics all in one go, then click here.

6 Comments

  1. Graeme ~ you will miss me when I am gone!

  2. Wish I had come now as I know the people at Saddle End Farm. Could have called for a brew.

  3. Graeme Adlum

    Thanks Tom for a memorable walk. I’d be surprised if there was any member of our group who hadn’t missed a turn off at some point so don’t be too down hearted. There will be some who’d think losing Derek was a bonus – just hoping he reappears to lead Friday’s walk!! and missing out on the end of walk cake must be good for the waistline.

    • Tomorrow’s walk will visit St Mary’s churchyard early on, where there are many unmarked graves. There could be another one tomorrow!!

  4. All’s well that ends well – we had a good walk.
    Another fine report from the master wordsmith!

  5. Tom Hughes

    A memorable walk for me, but for the wrong reasons – I got lost, I lost Derek, and couldn’t find a tea shop! My apologies – will try harder next time!

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