View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label Tally-Ho. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tally-Ho. Show all posts

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Saturday 17th October, Tockholes – The Real Thing

Further to my little recce t’other day it was now time for The Real Thing, laying trail for the Club run.

Laying a trail on your own isn’t the easiest of tasks: there isn’t anyone else around to compare notes with, carry extra sawdust, whinge at, help with navigation etc. It’s down to the trail-layer, and if it all goes horribly wrong there’s nobody else to blame.

I left the car park of the very splendid Royal Arms at Ryal Fold, Tockholes at 11.15am. I was loaded down with a trail bag full of sawdust, a rucksack with more sawdust, a map and a bottle of water. The first part of the route was through woodland. I left great clumps of sawdust on the paths - an easy trail to follow. I thought. Nobody could POSSIBLY lose such a heavily laid trail. Of course they couldn’t.

Pendle Forest Orienteering Club were also out in the woodland, enjoying (enduring?) one of their Autumn Series events.


Orienteering kites were spread throughout the woodland

According to their website Tockholes was voted best area in Lancashire in the recent best 100 areas in the UK listing. I can believe it.

So busy had I been on my recce that I completely missed the charcoal burners deep inside the wood:


My route up to Great Hill more-or-less followed my recced route but somehow I managed to get my feet even muddier. 24 hours, a hot bath and two showers later my toe nails were still stained brown from the peat. Oh well.

Visibility was marginally better than on the recce, it was possible to pick out Blackpool Tower on the horizon.

image That really is Blackpool Tower in the murk

There were more folk out today, it being a Saturday and all that. You don’t half get some funny looks when you’re charging around the countryside leaving piles of sawdust all over the show.

Leaving my recce route by Slipper Low car park I started the climb up to Darwen Moor. Really good tracks were dead easy to navigate, it was just a matter of keeping an eye on the map so as not to go (too far) wrong. On the climb I stopped a few times for a breather to look back towards Great Hill to see if there were any runners in view – not a one. I just hoped they’d not lost the trail.

A most odd-looking contraption caught my eye as I flew <ahem> up the side of the hill. I had to stop (again) just to take the photograph. It took ages to compose.

image Any ideas folks? A look-out tower? An instrument of torture & torment?

Once high on the moor there were a goodly number of opportunities for rest – although I resisted temptation….of course.

imageGed’s Bench – had me thinking of my mate Ged who’s a bit poorly

imageThe view east from Darwen Moor – looking towards Ramsbottom.

Peel Tower is just visible to the left of the windfarm. Windfarms like these are cropping up wherever there’s a need for an EU grant.

imageThen there was this great big bird y’see, just hovering there. I’ve no idea what it was, not being very good with birds, but I’m sure that the ornitho… twitchers out there will come to my rescue. 

Still no sign of any runners so I plodded on, now towards Darwen Tower – or more correctly Jubilee Tower. The tower was completed in 1898 and was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. A few years ago, in high winds, the top blew off. Locals rescued the top and later replaced it with a fibre glass one instead. That one blew off in 2010 and has since been replaced with a new one made of stainless steel. It’s supposed to be getting windy tonight…I wonder?

image Jubilee Tower

A jolly bunch of ladies (a bunch of jolly ladies?) were finishing their jolly lunches at the tower. They recognised my Tally-Ho! kit, admitting to knowing some Club members. That’s a rarity in itself, hardly anyone I know would admit to knowing anyone in our club. :-)

image The jolly ladies with jolly Darwen in the background

5-600 metres of flat running on the NW edge of Darwen Hill offered great views over Lancashire and as far as Cumbria. Closer views were of the empty Sunnyhurst Hey and Earnsdale Reservoirs:


Still no sign of any runners. They’d either got completely lost, fallen into one of the fetid and man-consuming bogs that Lancashire is justifiably famous for…..or nobody had turned up. Oh well.

It was a steep descent from Darwen Hill back to the boozah which was now in view. Even so, the sawdust trail had to continue to the bitter end.

The orienteers were still out and about, their competition almost finished. I had a chat with a couple of the officials about the long lost 2 Day Capricorn event. Happy days, probably not to be repeated.  

Back at the pub for a very welcome and warming coffee. Although it wasn’t a particularly cold day I’d started to chill soon after I stopped running.

It was around 4pm when the first runner came in, Hon Prez Park – quickly followed by Hon Sec Shipley and Ding Dong. They seemed to have enjoyed themselves, not losing the trail much at all. Or perhaps they were just being polite.

The tin bath was put to good use. Being the trail-layer and therefore the first man back, I got the clean water. Perhaps I should try to run faster so I could finish earlier and get cleaner water on future runs……..nah!

By 5pm only half of the runners had returned, the fast pack were still out. They’d somehow got lost. That’s what happens when you run too fast. The early finishers were hungry so we sat down to a good dinner of Cumbrian Hotpot followed by Apple Pie & Custard – just what the doctor ordered. Halfway through our meal the fast pack rolled up, fortunately there was plenty of dinner left for them.

imageThe fast pack polishing off their dinner

Only 12 runners attended, a very poor turnout indeed – especially for this excellent venue, one of the very best.

Where we went:

Tally-Ho! Tockholes 2015

9 miles with 1500’ of downhill.

That’s a lot of downhill, what’s to complain about?

The lost boys covered around 10.5 miles and  heavens knows, they must have done some serious uphill stuff.

Next time: Longnor in two weeks. I can’t wait!

What the prez said:


The Royal Arms, Ryal Fold, Tockholes, 17th October 2015

Overcast ( later sunny ), 10 Deg, little wind.

The route started across the road from the pub down through Plantation No 2 and crossed the dam separating the Roddlesworth reservoirs. The trail turned south through Plantation No3 and crossed Belmont Road onto Wheelton Moor.

There was a large number of Pendle Forest OC scuttling from control to control. They were celebrating their 50th anniversary.

The first part of the moor was difficult with rushes, bog and Turk’s Heads but eventually high ground was reached and Great Hill came into view. Over the hill we headed for White Coppice familiar as the turning point of the Steeplechase.

We soon turned sharply back towards the bog and Belmont Road. The trail chicaned around Piccadilly into the woods passing Hollinshead Hall ( ruin) , across Tockholes Road and round the shoulder of Cartridge Hill. The last climb took us up Darwin Hill to the Jubilee Tower (372) before dropping down to RyaL Fold.

We came across an old squeeze box player surrounded by saw dust in the car park. We congratulated him on the excellent trail and queried the uncharted rush bog, he retorted that there was a dotted line on his map and carried on playing.

A disappointing 12 eventually sat down to hot pot and apple pie after five headless chickens arrived having been up to the tower several times and covering extra distance. We all cried into our beer.

Jocys did an excellent job laying a nine mile trail on his own.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

3rd October 2015, Tally-Ho! from Sparrowpit

Those fine fellows of the Cheshire Hare & Hounds Tally-Ho! decreed that today’s run would be from the Wanted Inn, Sparrowpit.

The pub has had a chequered history in recent years, it’s been closed a few times – that’s hardly unusual these days. Some years ago it was called the Devonshire Arms, this must have been confusing as there’s a Devonshire Arms just down the road in Peak Forest. The pub’s owners put the place up for sale but there were no takers – it became known locally as the ‘Unwanted Inn’. When it eventually sold it was renamed the ‘Wanted Inn’. Obviously.

Anyroadup, between 1pm and 2.30pm groups of runners of a variety of abilities (and disabilities) set off running from the pub following a sawdust trail left by Mssrs Potter & Stanton, trail-layers to the nobility. Or something like that.

The weather was really good for running, dry and chillier than of late, although plenty warm enough to be running in shorts. It was a bit misty which didn’t do a lot for the views, but what we had was good.

I ran with Whitworth, neither of had done much running of late so we were well matched. As ever we chatted loads and consequently lost trail a few times. No problems with the general quality of the trail, it was well laid and generally easy to follow….although there were a couple of occasions when I thought the trail-layers were running low on sawdust – a couple of times the trail became decidedly thin.

P1050649Whitworth of the poorly knee, and equally poorly heel

The anti-clockwise route headed south from the pub before turning east to Peak Forest, covering some of the ground used by the Club’s annual Steeplechase. The terrain was typically limestone: well drained and easy on the eye.

The word on the street is that quite a lot of the route will be used for next year’s Point-to-Point.

P1050651Wilson leading the Medium Pack   

From Peak Forest the route turned north, passing to the east of Eldon Hill and then on to Windy Knoll where Rushup Edge came into view – in spite of the murk and mist.

P1050653McHarry leading the Fast Pack




Because of the poor visibility the views into the Vale of Edale weren’t brilliant, although looking back towards the east was clearer:


Eastwood had caught us up earlier and we trotted along together for a couple of miles until around Lord’s Seat on Rushup Edge when he pulled away.

P1050662Whitworth chasing Eastwood along the ridge

P1050664Rushup Edge is used as a launch site for people intent on hurling themselves into oblivion

P1050668The stony track along the top played merry-hell with Whitworth’s poorly heel.

    P1050669At the Pennine Bridleway the trail turned south for the last mile or so back to Sparrowpit.

P1050671  Part of The Pennine Bridleway

P1050673The route suffered from an excess of stiles, some were seriously broken, like this one just to the north of Sparrowpit, others were really on passable by those with very long legs. Like Whitworth.

P1050675The Wanted Inn, Sparrowpit 

Thanks to Potter and Stanton for laying such a good trail, they should be allowed out more often. Even more thanks to Brian for agreeing to run round with me, providing excellent conversation….and, er, buying me a pint at the end :-)

Shame about the food at the pub: a single course consisting of a small portion of stew with hardly any vegetables but bulked out with bread and not very good dumplings. It really wasn’t up to much – not when the club was charged £10 a head. If the Club runs from there next year I’ll duck out of the ‘meal’.

Bathing & changing facilities at the pub were pretty dreadful too: the tin bath was outside the back of the pub. I’m just glad it wasn’t cold & rainy. On the plus side the sight of 15 – 18 hairy-arsed runners stripping off probably gave the local ladies something to laugh at.

The beer was good though.

Where we went:


9.4 miles with around 1400’ of ascent.

Viewranger stuff here – although it shows the route as just short of 9 miles it’s actually 9.4 miles. I think it’s down to the way Viewranger uses waypoints to calculate distance.

More photographs here.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Saturday 11th April, The Hartley Folly

A White Peak 15 miler

The Cheshire Hare & Hounds Tally-Ho! runs are always circular in nature, ie they start and finish at the same point. Except sometimes.

Tally Ho logo

One of these ‘sometimes’ is the Club’s end of season run, the Point-to-Point – also known as Hartley’s Folly, so named because someone called Hartley dreamt up the idea although the rest of the club thought it was barmy. That was a long time ago, and the Hartley Folly goes from strength to strength as the seasons go by.

This year’s run was from Foolow to Tideswell, the long way. Fifteen miles of long way.

My day started with a train ride to Buxton and a bus ride to Foolow, getting me to the start at around 11.45am. I deliberately set off alone, I knew I’d meet up with other runners as the day progressed.

Some runners had started before me, the majority were to start around 12 o’clock – at least 15 minutes after me – in fact I spotted the largest group of runners lurking in Tideswell as I passed them on the bus. It was me on the bus, not them.

imageThe spring, almost summer-like temperatures of the previous few days had vanished. It was dry and bright, but cold and quite windy. Running in shorts wasn’t my best decision of the day… also wasn’t my worst.

The route headed east out of Foolow, following easy footpaths to the plague village of Eyam.

image One of Eyam’s Plague Cottages

The sun was shining brightly but the cold wind was really biting, hat, gloves and a pertex shell helped keep the worst of the cold away.


I won’t say I was feeling lonely. Okay, I WILL say I was feeling lonely – but at 5 miles I really thought the faster runners would have caught up with me. I kept looking back along the route but there was no sign of anyone. I was making good time with the easy downhill running through Stoney Middleton to the western banks of the River Derwent and on to Froggatt. At Froggatt the route doubled back, crossing the bridge over the River Derwent and running south along the eastern banks of the river by Curbar.

Still no other runners.

P1040181 Turning to head west meant a climb up to Calver. I was having such a lovely time in the dry and sunny conditions that I took a wrong turning, adding around half a mile and a stiff climb to my run. It was such a lovely day that I didn’t mind. Surely this extra distance and climb would be where the other runners would take the lead.

The first runners I came across, Brian & Marilyn, were early starters – they’d kicked off from Foolow at 10am. They weren’t exactly lost, but an error on the route description meant they were struggling to ascertain their exact location. Although I’d gone wrong earlier, I’d soon realised that I was off route and I knew where I was. Sort of.


Brian & Marilyn

A couple of miles later we spotted a couple of fast runners coming up behind:

P1040184 Ding Dong and Hon Sec Ships

Ding Dong and Hon Sec Ships had both struggled with the same route description error but after half an hour of scratching heads and other bits they took a calculated risk and continued on what they correctly guessed was the right route.

A mile or so later, on the outskirts of Little Longstone, came the very welcome tea stop:

P1040185We were plied with tea & biscuits before continuing on our merry way through Little Longstone……

P1040191 Little Longstone Church

…..and then to Monsal Head. That’s where it all went horribly wrong.

The indicated route followed a more or less straight line from Monsal Head to Litton Mill. I was a bit puzzled that the track was so straight, particularly with it being over hilly ground. But this is the Cheshire Tally-Ho! and we do this sort of thing.


But not today. Although I did.

What I was SUPPOSED to do was to run through the railway tunnels that, er, follow a more or less straight line from Monsal Head to Litton Mill. Instead I set my compass and religiously followed what I thought was the correct track.

In my defence, m’lud, my map didn’t show the tunnels. Even more recent maps are misleading, they show what appears to be a Land Rover Track OVER this hilly bits. Normally such features are identified as ‘Tunnel’ on the map. Not this one.

P1040194I later found out that it was when I was battling up hill and down dale that the bulk of the runners had taken the lead, speeding along the flat ground through the tunnels.


The rest of the route was pleasant, fairly flat and quite uneventful – I’d had enough excitement for one day.

The route continued to Litton Mill where the River Wye was crossed. Some tarmac running took me to the southern end of Tideswell Dale. It was then just a gentle 2 mile trot into the village of Tideswell and the very excellent Horse & Jockey, where a nice hot shower, a very refreshing couple of beers and a good meal fixed all that had gone wrong with my day.

P1040197This hadn’t been the most well attended of Tally-Ho! Point-to-Point runs of recent years, with around 40 people in all sitting down to dinner. In spite of the low numbers it was a huge amount of fun….even if I did screw up the route. The event was organised (wot?) and planned (eh?) by Fast Taylor and Doggy Burston – thanks must go to them for all the hard work they put in to making it happen.  

16.5 miles with 2300ft of ascent.

P2P 2015

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

13th December, The Championship


Tally-Ho! are not a competitive club although they do run two ‘races’ a year: The Championship and The Steeplechase. Today’s race was the former. It’s been at the same venue, the Boars Head in Poynton, and is roughly the same route each year – around 6 miles, for as long as I’ve been a member.

At approximately 2.15pm the 16 rufty-tufty runner set-off up a stiff uphill pull into Lyme Park in cold but bright conditions – good for cross-country running. Although the route is nearly always nearly the same each year, a sawdust trail is still laid – we’re old a and prone to forgetfulness…..and one year the route just may change a bit too much.


I chose to run with Terribly Fast Whitworth, we had things to chat about whilst we tore round the trail and he’s very good company. We take this sort of running (almost) seriously.

image After what seemed an age, discussing and comparing our various aches, pains and other problems, we were surprised – nay, SHOCKED, to see Stanton running back towards us – an expression of grim determination writ all over his face. It was clearly his turn to win today’s race. I wasn’t fast enough to photograph the leader, in fact I only just managed to take a photo of No2, as he sped past in a blur.



McHarry, holding on to 3rd place 


Fast Taylor being chased by Eastwood and (I think) Young Ruddock

The running surface is best described as ‘variable’: everything from tarmac (lethal when icy, as this route often is) to boggy and squelchy.

The winner, Stanton the musical, came in at around 43 minutes (I think), the rest of the field were nicely spread out. Terribly Fast Whitworth and I were rather grateful to have the benefit of a reasonable handicap. I’ll say no more.

Nice hot showers are an attraction of this run, we have the use of the local football team’s changing rooms. The other attraction is that it’s the Club’s Christmas dinner, turkey with all the frilly bits, followed by Christmas pudding. Very nice too.

The various prizes are presented after dinner and the Hon Pres has to deliver his Christmas Speech – think of the Queen’s Christmas Speech. Well it’s nothing like that.

Pleasantries dealt with, we all left the venue tired and very full. That’s the runners who were tired and very full,  not the venue. Although it might have been. It’s nearly Christmas after all.

The route


Around 5.5 miles with a couple of nasty little uphill pulls.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

22nd November, Black Sail Hut

The Tally-Ho! collective thought that hiring the YHA’s Black Sail Hut for a weekend at the end of November would be a bit of a wheeze. After all, the hut is advertised as being the YHA’s most remote hostel and it’s situated in a stunningly beautiful area. We’d have short days, almost guaranteed poor weather, I’d be assured of sharing a cramped dormitory with a bunch of smelly, sweaty, burping, farting fell-runners…...what’s not to like?

Perhaps foolishly, I rejoined the YHA. My original idea was to travel by train to St Bees, walk to Gillerthwaite YHA, and then walk up to Black Sail the next day. Except Gillerthwaite YHA was closed.

Not to worry, I’d instigate Plan B: travel to Whitehaven and walk to Buttermere YHA, spending the night there instead. It would be a lovely walk to Black Sail Hut from there – through Scarth Gap and all that. Buttermere YHA was closed too.

Plan C then came about. At the last minute the group had decided to meet up at Braithwaite for breakfast at the Coledale Inn on the Friday morning. Being as wot Braithwaite is close to Keswick I decided to spend the Thursday night at the (open) Keswick YHA. Unfortunately this meant that I’d need to drive, something I was hoping to avoid.

imageA not very flattering photograph of Keswick’s new Wetherspoon’s pub - ‘The Chief Justice of the Common Pleas’, Keswick’s old Police Station.

Anyroadup, Plan C worked out quite well in the end: I needed to call in to see Beryl who lives near Preston at some point to deliver her new Scarp 1, and I was keen to check out the new Wetherspoon’s pub in Keswick – it all went swimmingly.  Wetherspoon’s much lowerer beer prices have had quite an effect on the beer prices at Keswick’s other pubs. And Beryl’s very happy with her new tent.

image Breakfast in Braithwaite – and Cheshire’s leanest, fittest runners. Hmmm. 

Arrangements had been made for the Warden of Black Sail to meet us at the Bowness Knott car park in order to transport essential supplies (beer, food, more beer, wine, even more beer, objects of musical torture etc) to the hut in his Land Rover. We arrived at the car park at the appointed meeting time: 10.30am. It was over two hours later when the Warden eventually appeared – Walter (pr: ‘Volter’….he’s from Abroad) wasn’t popular.

Our Plan (Ho-ho!) was to get up to Great Borne and then follow the ridgy-thing to Seat, taking in Starling Dodd, Little Dodd, Red Pike, High Stile and High Crag and then to drop down to the hut by Scarth Gap.

It was getting on for 1pm when we managed to get away, our enforced late start meant we had to dramatically alter our planned walk for the day. Given the weather this perhaps wasn’t such a bad thing. We followed the LRT to just beyond Gillerthwaite YHA and then headed straight up to the top of Red Pike and on to High Stile…and a very quick lunch.

image Up to High Stile

The weather was deteriorating and hanging around wasn’t considered A Good Thing.

Visibility wasn’t brilliant and although it was still quite light we got a shift on – nobody fancied the idea of walking in the dark. By the time we were descending off Seat the light had gone and head torches were needed.

We arrived at the hostel around 6.00pm. It was lovely and warm – central heating and electric lighting had been installed since my last visit. Nice.

Bunks were bagged, the woodburning stove fired-up and essential rehydration (tea…what else?) operations commenced.


We had booked a hostel meal for the first night, Volter Walter rolled up with a huge bowl of hot-pot…he then promptly disappeared. The group then performed a vanishing trick on the hot-pot. Very clever.


A very pleasant evening followed, the beer supply took a severe bashing – more beer was clearly needed. This was where Volter Walter actually performed: he went off to a distant supermarket, in a land far, far away, and returned with bottles and cans. Unfortunately he didn’t return with kindling for the fire or more fuel for the hostel’s diesel generator. Oh well.

imageFast Taylor’s guitar being eyed-up as a source of kindling 

I’d like to report that I slept very well in the dorm. I’d like to….

Where we eventually went on the Friday:


 7.5 miles with around 2900’ of up. 


Saturday morning dawned, after a fashion. The Tally-Ho! Catering and Washing-up Corps did a splendid job of doing the decent thing of providing excellent breakfasts and packed lunches…

image…and doing the washing up 

Plans had been drawn up for a couple of walks for the day, I chose to do Haystacks, Innominate Tarn and Brandreth. Not a  long walk by any means, but given the mizzle, poor visibility etc it seemed to be favourite.


Cheshire’s finest….er, runners

The alternative walk was to the south, over Great Gable, Kirk Fell and Pillar. Although a number set out on the walk, poor weather had them shortening their route – although when the cloud allowed they had some great views.

image Black Sail Hut from the west

imageThis is a popular route for walkers – cyclists too!

Mapless Taylor, Old Markham and I set off up Scarth Gap as the B Team headed south up Black Sail Pass to climb Kirk Fell. As they disappeared into the cloud I couldn’t help thinking we’d got the better deal with our lower route – we avoided most of the low cloud. 

imageOld Markham and Mapless 


Buttermere and Crummock Water

We decided not to bother with Brandreth, the weather was worsening and the ground was a gloopy, boggy mess of bog and gloop. The top of Brandreth, which isn’t THAT much of a top had become shrouded in cloud – norralot of point going up there. So we beat a retreat to the hut.

imageBlack Sail Hut in the wet

The B Team arrived back soon after us, they had decided to give Kirk Fell a miss, it was just too murky and grim up there – although when they got breaks in the cloud the views were good.

Where the A Team went:


5 miles / 2000’ of ascent

A pleasant evening followed: good food and good beer – the Catering Crew did us proud. The high class (?) entertainment was, er, entertaining too:


Val Doonican eat your heart out!

The excellent Dick Turpin Ale lasted until mid evening, after which the back-up supplies were called into service.

Next morning, after a good breakfast, we gave the hut a good clean before heading back down the track to pick up our cars from the Bowness Knott car park. We’d had a brilliant weekend – so much so that we’re looking to do it all over again next year.