After the last scheduled team wander, cancelled by ‘Noah’ who I believe had a new ark to ‘test drive’, we finally managed to pull the team together to venture into Staffordshire and have our jolly!
This outing may well have changed to ‘the desert rats’ re-grouped, as it was a hot as you can conceivably imagine, but the prospect of abandoning the event based on the weather was not an option!
At 9:00 am we gathered at the Trig Southwest of Hollinsclough Moor for the start. The team comprising of Paul (mountain goat), Stuart (Townsend Thoreson), Adie(Mr sensible) and yours truly , The daft one!
First point to note, despite our fabulous navigational prowess, our first challenge was to locate the somewhat indistinct track heading for Hill top farm. It is understood there are groups of Silver DoE students still thrashing around in there somewhere from two years ago, the grass is that long!
We contoured around Willshaw hill and located our East bound track from Willshaw to stream in the lower valley. Its at this point its handy to have a ‘Townsend Thoreson’ in your team, Stuart with his size 14 feet/boats, led the way with the rest of us casually observing, if he goes in the drink the rest of us have no chance!
River crossing sorted we crossed the minor road and headed on to Moorside and onwards to our first break on Hollins hill, by which time the sun was ‘scorchio’. I’m not too sure how effective the sunscreen was up to now as the sweat was dripping off my head and inside my sunglasses (fine image)!!
First hill done, we dropped onto the minor road for 50 metres and took the footpath towards our second objective, Chrome Hill, much to the amusement of the many sheep we encountered along the route. Halfway along, Paul decided he thought it was time to educate us on ‘string theory’???, all I could focus on was the beads of sweat running off my head, and how nice it would be if we could locate a little shade!!!
Chrome hill came and went in a bit of a blur if I am honest, and we chose not to hang around on the summit for too long as it was a full-on midge fest, delightful! However, from this summit Parkhouse Hill looked both interesting and a bit of a breeze, how wrong was I?
The decent from Chrome hill was manageable even if it was a little steep and loose in places, but soon we faced up to the neb of Parkhouse hill, and the closeness of the contours quickly attracted some degree of focus.
I’m not going to lie, after two previous hills in the scorching heat, getting up this little rascal was a stretch. Paul was off like a mountain goat, closely followed by Adie beating a path skyward on his walking poles.
Stuart and I took a more leisurely approach to this one, IE I was Knackered and Stuart, bless him (and unbeknown to the team) had a rucksack packed with six of the finest session beers known to man (I wondered why he was not bouncing up hill in his usual style)!
We dropped off this small but challenging hill and contoured West locating the small ford and footbridge where some welcome shade was available. Stuart proceeded to impress beyond our wildest dreams as the six-pack emerged, in a cool bag along with bar snacks and bottle opener…TOP Bloke!
Beer suitably demolished, we headed towards our RV point, capturing Pauls Birthday signpost along the way, who knew?
We passed through Hollinsclough, on to Coatestown to locate our final path taking us Southwest to the Trig point at our starting location.
In summary, it was great to be out with the lads, perhaps on reflection a bit too warm (see temperatures), 11.5kms under our belts, complimented by the laughs, beer, and some fantastic scenery along the way.
Time to find the Gregory Ale house…..cheers!