DATE                                        07.03.13

DISTANCE                               12.6 MILES

WEATHER                               COLD, DAMP AND GREY

START / FINISH                     OFF ROAD PARKING AT CLENNELL

Wether cairn

I knew that I should have waited to do this walk as soon as my nose touched the bedroom window, dull grey and very misty, but for some strange reason I had got round to thinking let’s get this walk over and done before the weather changes and the farmer lets his blood thirsty, blood drinking cattle out into the pastures which I might have walk through to get there. I have had several run ins with these cattle before and they are mean.

And like most things once I get something in my head I just have to act upon it.

Arty of course was up for it and was busy bouncing around yelling at me to hurry up and get my arse in gear, so that was it, naturally I totally ignored the low cloud, poor visibility on the drive up to Clennell Hall, even when I had to put the wipers on I still ignored the weather such was my mind set for the day, this proved to be one of the many mistakes that I made today.

First of all why Wether Cairn? it’s been bugging me since last year , I was planning to bag it and St David’s Cairn on my next walk but as you may or may not know I buggered myself up and have been struggling to regain my fitness and walking ability ever since , my walking still isn’t right but in my arrogance I considered myself good enough to have a go at it , even though I know that there are no paths or even sheep trails up that way , it’s a nightmare and makes Bloodybuse edge seem  like a stroll in the park. Lesson’s where learnt today and I now know that I will have to approach this hill from a different direction, in fact if the truth was known I already knew that but …hey I’m stupid at times ok!

Once parked up at the roadside (or should I say track) coffee was made, gear was sorted and yet another mistake was made when sorting out the gear, I took my micro spikes out of the rucksack thinking that I wouldn’t need them, why I did that I haven’t got a clue it wasn’t like I could see the hill tops as everything was covered in a very low cloud and it’s not like they take up a lot of space or even weigh much. Anyway coffee was drunk and off I went, straight away I realised that once I started to gain a bit of height I wouldn’t be able to see anything so I made the decision to walk my route in reverse thinking that the sun might burn through the cloud or even the rain might “wash” it away (sometimes I am very optimistic)

It might clear up a bit ?

Walking through the forest at Kidland again lured me into a false sense that all was well, and even when I started to gain a bit of height and came across ice covered tracks the warning bells didn’t kick in, as I got higher the clag slowly closed in robbing me on any views that I might have got, somewhere in my brain I was kidding myself once I left the forest the ice would disappear and the wind would blow the clag away. I mean the only reason the ice was still about was because the sun couldn’t melt it …………………………..Right?

Wrong , as I got higher the ice got deeper and where the rain had been falling on causing it to form an almost polished effect that made it as slippery as well …………..slippery ice which wouldn’t have been a problem if I had my spikes with me ………………….duh lesson learnt .

The point where the track turned icy.

Eventually I came to where it’s time to leave the forest track and get out onto the hill, once I left the shelter of the trees , the wind hit me big time , fortunately I had packed some more layers away in my rucksack and soon was wrapped up toasty warm. (I’m stupid to not take micro spikes but not that stupid not to pack extra layers)

At this point I couldn’t see more than 20 meters, the trig point was only ¼ mile away and with my trusty GPS I had no doubt that I could find it, the only problem was 2 to 3 foot snow / ice drifts that were scattered about all covered with a very smooth sheen that made walking on it almost impossible. The rest of the ground was covered in overgrown heather, grasses and every other boggy loving plant that you can think of. This area isn’t managed on this side and even on a good day it’s a nightmare to get across, as an amputee it’s almost impossible, however I had spent serious amount of time training and practising on this sort of stuff and knew what to expect. (What do they say about pride and fall?) what I hadn’t banked on was the icy drifts and the strong wind .

After ten minutes of trying to head in the right direction I had to call it a day and retrace my steps I just couldn’t find any sort of path /route and returned back to the shelter of the trees , I set off again on this time a bit further along only to get stuck in an icy drift that I went through up to mid leg and took me a good five minutes to clamber out of , back to the forest again and had one more try to get to the trig point , once again I came across an icy drift and no amount of going back and forwards was going to bypass it , finally I decided to climb up on it and slowly ever so slowly walk across it half way across and I went through again , this time it proved impossible to climb out and I had to slid out on my tummy and stayed in that position till I belly slid to the edge .

By this time Arty leg was starting to get seriously pissed at me and let me know he wasn’t happy with the way he was being treated and was starting to bite my arse. Time to call it a day, I staggered back to the forest, found a sheltered spot and sorted arty leg out before any damage was done to my stump.

Time for a think , the one thing that has changed with me is that I no longer HAD to this just  to prove to myself that I was as good as a normal two legged . I know that I will never be as good a person with two legs it’s taken me a few years to find this out and I am no longer bitter and twisted about it, and rather than feel pissed at myself I felt pleased I had given it my best and I decided to call it a day.

 Maybe I have finally grown up and I have to say NO I DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS. I DON’T HAVE TO PROVE ANYTHING TO ANYONE not now not ever. I’m mick and there are things I can’t do today so deal with it.

After a sit down and scoff of the last of the Christmas cake (need to remind my better half to make another cake) I decided to start back down, but rather than retrace my steps I would link up with another forest track and do a bit more walking around something that arty approved of because he seemed to step up to the mark and gave me no more trouble for the rest of the walk , unfortunately the views didn’t get any better even when we dropped down into the valleys , all in all about 12.6 miles with 2565 ft. of the ups and downs so nothing to be ashamed about .

As normal a few photos, not partially good because of the weather and I know that I missed some belta views so I will be back ……………………………and I will get to the trig point on Wether cairn sometime later this year.

Enjoy .

Looking up towards the hill top and of course the know it all sheep.

Looking along the river Alwin and the misty valley.

A bit further along the valley I was going to start cutting uphill at this point but thought that the weather might improve as the day wore on.

A bit further along the valley, still no sign of the clag lifting.

About to enter Kidland forest.

The river Alwin.

Starting to head up along the forest track , looking back.

A few photos taken at various places as I head up the track (mostly when there is a break in the clouds)

Looks like it’s coming in again.

Looking across towards outdoor centre at milkhope.

 

Then I hit the frozen snow or should I say ice, (if only I had my micrspikes)

And I entered the cloud.

Things could have got a bit scary (good job I am very brave) J

At one point I could just about make out the tree tops.

Still heading up ………..hoping things will get better.

Then for a briefest moment at one of the clearings you get a quick glimpse down in some steep gully.

 

About to leave the shelter of Kidland forest , what the photos dont show was the strong wind that sprung up.

A few photos of nothing really as I tried and failed to get to the trig point.

Time to head back to the shelter of the forest.

No I defiantly don’t want to go that way.

 

Yeah I have found the track again .

Catching the quickest of glimpses of what might have been a small waterfall, I think a trip up this way sometime in the summer is on the cards , that way I might get to see something.

Then the clag closes in again.

A tantalising glimpse of the valley floor?

To get down I have got to cross these icy sections first.

Another clearing and ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,nothing to see.

 

However as I drop down lower I can start to see things.

A few photos as I make my way back to the car.

A very welcome sight .............my car (with the jet boil for coffee)

day after thoughts

Much to my surprise I didn’t have any aches or pains this morning, but I will admit to being totally knackered when I got back to the car. And I slept like a baby right through the night.

I am a little bit disappointed that I didn’t make the trig point but only in the fact that it will bug me till I get up there and bag it, and I will I just have to pick a better day and a different route, I already have one planned out so it’s just a case of watch this space.

 

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