Saturday, December 26, 2015

Destroy the Peak District, The Case for Fracking?

 England is packed and busy our society requires effective transportation systems, power generation plants, agricultural, housing  and a variety of industrial plants. These needs place huge demands on our land and the habitats it supports. The beautiful places are important for many reasons, nature reserves supporting wildlife and flora, used by farming communities, supporting a tourist industry,  they are the areas  that many of us use for sport and recreation, they are the great filter beds that clean our water. industry has worked alongside and evidence of this is abundant for example in the Peak District we are reminded of mining, mills, reservoirs and quarrying. It is important for us to recognise the importance of this initimate relationship  between land and industry.

We recently heard about relatively new method for exploiting resources from our land, the impact the required practices will have is of great concern to us all. BBC news reported on Fracking under national parks backed by MPs.
Hearing this news and realising that this will take place on our door step in a beautiful area already scarred by the ravages of limestone quarrying, I wanted to provide a list of papers reporting on the environmental safety of this process.

Comments on Oil Prices and Cost effectiveness of Fracking

Is Fracking Safe? The 10 Most Controversial Claims About Natural Gas Drilling

Scientific American: Fracking Can Be Done Safely, but Will It Be? (Fracking for natural gas doesn’t have to be an environmental disaster, says a new report)

Department of Energy study claims fracking is safe, contradicting previous findings 

 The following resources from the America environmental agency provide a lot of reports on hydraulic fracking. 

Given that the findings for many of these reports leads us to question the environmental safety. The crazy fact is that this is proposed at a time when the price of oil is at its lowest value for many years and we have an over supply of oil.
Recognising the squeeze on our land and the demand for resources it is important to consider and prioritise the sanctity of our special open spaces. For this reason much greater care must be taken to evaluate technologies which will have a significant environmental impact. It is very worrying when this has been approved with little public consultation. A favourite saying is "If it aint broken don't fix it"!

Petition To prevent all hydraulic fracturing from taking place within the Peak District.

In light to HM Government's recent decision to allow hydraulic fracturing via horizontal drilling, we state this decision should be repealed with an immediate effect.
Not only due to the UK's recent agreement to tackle climate change in Paris, also preserve the Peak District for future generations.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Icicle Hunt on Kinder Southern Edge

The last couple of weekends have been rather soggy. Whilst Keisha was practicing for her Cheer Leading Competition, Louis and myself headed out to Edale. It was a cold day crisp underfoot and a biting wind provided a wind chill giving an arctic chill. Louis armed with camera snapped enthusiastically for his photographer activity badge at Beavers. We headed out of Edale along the Grindsbrook path. We had great fun scrambling over the rocks as the alley slides closed in and contained us in the valley.
High up above Grindsbrook we spotted Parrot rock (or muppet rock compare the likeness at the muppet wiki)!

Following the fun of the scramble we had a fantastic view back down Grindsbrook and across to Grindslow knoll. In contrast to my recovery walk in March I found this much easier.
Someone was so enthralled with the view they needed a sleep!
 As we headed along the bed of the clough Louis seemed to enjoy the icy covering he was having fun sliding around. We finally arrived at the southern edge forming the side of Grindsbrook clough. We sat in the shelter tent ate our sandwiches and drank hot black currant. Some walkers came past and had a chat with the
As we walked along we played a game of cracking the ice with Louis leading the challenge. We had to step on all the ice patches, it was a slippy slidey walk. Lots of people were careering all over the place!
Wow.....   icicles!
The snow, ice and light of the day bring out some of the wierd and wonderful patterns in the rock sculptures.
Louis started exploring the peat groughs and liked the icicles and started collecting them. Although we'd moved on from the ice challenge he slipped over and the icicles broke. Disaster....  we were now in a critical situation and had to harvest more icicles!
Louis decided we needed to take a detour on some of the stream beds on our search for icicles. We found some but they just were not the right size.
Eventually,  we found a decent bunch, Louis kept them. As we headed down Golden Clough a group of people looked on admiring Louis fantastic collection of icicles.
This is a lovely walk and I always like the view back up Grindsbrook. Louis arrived at the bridge near Edale  still bearing icicles. He ceremoniously dropped them and enjoyed the shattering sound as they splintered on the ground. This was ann easy 6 mile walk and Louis found much fun along the way.

Previous walks along Grindsbrook.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Exploring Bonsall: Volcanoes, Caves and Witches.

We arrived in the village of Bonsall at the rather ornate fountain at the Via Gellia end of the village. We were ready for a search for Geocaches, Caves and a search for evidence of volcanoes.

At the village rockery on Yeoman street we searched for the microcache  named Rock Out in Bonsall (code: GC2BGQT). We spent a while looking around and eventually turned over a small stone at the base of the wall, revealing the cache.

We headed out of the village up the steps towards the church. K and L were immediately drawn to the outcrop of limestone, looking for shells and wondering about the origin of the rock.

We had to move quickly through the Churchyard with some ornate memorials. This did n't arouse interest in K and L they were keen to head up past the well, up Ember lane in search of volcanic rock!

Heading up ember lane  there was a certain amount of impatience, the name of the lane seems appropriate as quite high up the road there are dark chunks of rock (some of which can be found in the drystone wall). These chunks are hard ember like chunks spewn from volcanic activity 3.5 million years ago.

Carrying on through the woods at the top of the heights of Abraham we sang songs and found more chunks of volcanic rock.

The view over to High Tor and Riber Castle on our cloudy day.
We worked hard to convince ourselves that our chunk of rock was volcanic. Near the exit to the Masson Mine in the heights of Abraham there are some large chunks of limestone. The nature of the bubbly pockets in this boulder were very different from those rough bubbles  in the volcanic chunk.  The pockets in the limestone boulder were also larger and had the appearance of pockets which had dissolved out of the rock.

One of Louis discoveries, an old boiler.

A quick lunch stop!
We explored Jug Holes wood for the mine workings.

After the excitement of our quick look in the mine we had a spot of lunch. Following the main path back to the village we set off in search for our final hunt.


Situated above the village of Bonsall, the geocache called Bonsall View (codenamed: GC4ECDY) was a small tub encrusted in snails! It was not too difficult to find.

Keisha and Louis enjoyed street dancing when we returned back to the village, they were making up rapping tunes. We heard that somewhere in the village were the witches cottages, we had a good look through the streets, but nothing was found perhaps this was a relief after our adventure.


Information about our walk around Bonsall, there is an excellent route description here

Links on Peak district geology

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunny Stanage Sunday Climb

A posting at the CMC club indicated that there would be weekend celebrations for 30 years of lots of climbing and mountain sports. More importantly it was reported that bubbly would be flowing! We headed off to the Stanage popular end on a sunny sunday of climbing and to join the festivities.

Keisha practiced belaying as I padded up Grotto Slab (Keisha was assisted by Amanda). I took the rope to set up a belay to bring up Keisha and Louis.

Me, at the top of the slab and about to climb the wall at the end of the climb.

Louis was brilliant on Grotto slab, he came up second and gave the route a really good go. The final wall section was quite tricky.

Keisha thoroughly enjoyed her turn on Grotto slab, she practiced her stretching for a route she would climb a little later.
After wander to the Black Hawk area we met the Castle Mountaineering Club. Keisha and Louis were pleased to meet their best friend Scout (pictured above). Paul who was celebrating is smiling in the picture below.

We enjoyed some more routes Keisha did the Bishops stride with Paul and Vanda, it was just as well Keisha had stretched earlier as the stride is a good length, Keisha managed fine. I had a top rope on Black Hawk hell crack, a thoroughly enjoyable route.

We joined Paul in a toast of many happy years climbing, thanks for the bubbly!

I managed to lead a route near the leaning block, I'd hope to take Keisha up flying buttress, however it was rather busy. Leaning buttress was great fun. It was a good club turn out we met up with Charles who came out to join the festivities.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Nine Edges Endurance

The runnersworld beginners marathon training plan has worked out quite well. This weekend I ran the nine edges endurance event, this is a fund raising event organised by the Edale Mountain Rescue team. Starting from Fairholmes, near the Ladybower reservoir (Grid. Ref. SK173894) the route is a traverse of nine gritstone edges (Derwent, Stanage, Burbage North, Burbage South, Froggatt, Curbar, Baslow, Gardoms and Birchen edge). The event finishes at the Robin Hood Inn near Baslow.

A friend from the friends from Edale Mountain rescue team reminded me sometime ago that the weather is always excellent, oh dear...... There was lots of chatter at the start with fellow runners from the climbing club and of course my favourite supporters. Louis enjoyed chasing the ducks around they were hungry as we'd arrived quite early for the start of the running event.

Still chattering away in the drizzle at the start of the event we missed the start! Finally, we were off. Following the pack the route took us up towards Bradfield Gate and the top of Back Tor. I opted for a steady walk and chatted with fellow racers. As soon as we reached the top the pace picked up and we had soon traversed Derwent Edge and were heading down to Moscar House. This was good fun, very slippy and I was pleased to have worn my trail shoes as I raced a couple of the rocks and bumps.

I met a colleague from work at Moscar, yes this was one sociable event! I was pleased with the run from the Manchester Road up to High Neb on Stanage Edge this was comfortable. I was no longer with a pack of runners . Overtaking the occasional walker I was on my own in the mist and the siling rain which decided to start off. Yes this was one atmospheric event and as the pace picked up I was really starting to enjoy this.

I met Amanda and Louis at around 1200 it was great to see them, Louis wanted to race and we ran along the road together. The weather was starting to clear so I removed my waterproof, hurrah! One of the racers dropped a banana and we joked about Super Mario dirty tricks for tripping up the other runners. It was now time to cruise down the Green Drive. I saw lots of walkers and a few climbers. I didn't really envy the climbers on the event (climbing every edge) as the crags were clearly very greasey.

At the Haywood car park, it was great to meet a friend from the running club who is always excellent at encouraging racers. Amanda and Louis were there and I had another race with Louis. The pull to the top of Curbar was OK and we continued along Baslow edge to the Wellington monument and the next checkpoint. My two friends from the Edale MRT friends were marshalling and in our enthusiasm to say hello quickly forgot to check me off. I had to shout my number as I raced past.

I found the next section upto Birchens harder than normal but once at the top of the path the dash down to the edge was great fun.

This was a thouroughly enjoyable and well organised event, I particularly enjoyed the free pint in the Robin Hood. The run was particularly enjoyable as it reminded me of the 50 mile run from last year.
Next year, I hope to repeat the Edale Mountain Rescue team 9 edges spa day featuring soothing mud wrap and revitalising spray wash.

I completed the route in 3hr 21min full results are on the Edale MRT site.

The event starts at Fairholmes (SK173894).  It is a traverse from Fairholmes, over nine gritstone edges (Derwent, Stanage, Burbage North, Burbage South, Froggatt, Curbar, Baslow, Gardom’s and Birchen Edge) to The Robin Hood pub near Baslow. - See more at:
The event starts at Fairholmes (SK173894).  It is a traverse from Fairholmes, over nine gritstone edges (Derwent, Stanage, Burbage North, Burbage South, Froggatt, Curbar, Baslow, Gardom’s and Birchen Edge) to The Robin Hood pub near Baslow. - See more at:
The event starts at Fairholmes (SK173894).  It is a traverse from Fairholmes, over nine gritstone edges (Derwent, Stanage, Burbage North, Burbage South, Froggatt, Curbar, Baslow, Gardom’s and Birchen Edge) to The Robin Hood pub near Baslow. - See more at:
The event starts at Fairholmes (SK173894).  It is a traverse from Fairholmes, over nine gritstone edges (Derwent, Stanage, Burbage North, Burbage South, Froggatt, Curbar, Baslow, Gardom’s and Birchen Edge) to The Robin Hood pub near Baslow. - See more at:
The event starts at Fairholmes (SK173894).  It is a traverse from Fairholmes, over nine gritstone edges (Derwent, Stanage, Burbage North, Burbage South, Froggatt, Curbar, Baslow, Gardom’s and Birchen Edge) to The Robin Hood pub near Baslow. - See more at:

Friday, September 4, 2015

Jackdaw ridge, Scrambling at Shepherds Crag

We'd spent a couple of days visiting Keswick. Travelling to Keswick from our Cottage, we tried different routes including the beautiful route through Buttermere, over the Honister pass and along Borrowdale. This is a favourite route, it is an inspiration at all times of year. Our adrenalin junkies wanted to try the King Kong climbing wall. This was an excellent place to visit there are lots of walls for top roping, lead walls and a good bouldering area. The climbing wall has hidden away a collection of tunnels leading to the cafeteria area upstairs. K and L borrowed helmets with head torches to try this caving adventure.

 The final day of our holiday we drove around the via Cockermouth and Basenthwaite lake along the A66 this save a lot of time, today we were on a mission. We parked the car near to the High Lodore Hotel and had a cup of tea at the cafe at the foot of Shepherds crag. The scrambles in the Lake District book had suggested that Jackdaw ridge is good scramble and a good introductory route for youngsters.

We had great fun on this route we managed to break it into a few shorter pitches with L climbing second and K third. It worked really well K has become very competent not only at climbing fairly straightforward problems but also at managing the rope on a multi-pitch route. The views from the Belvedere at the top of the ridge were fantastic. This was a great final day for our holiday, we enjoyed eating our lunch in the sun at Shepherds crag with wonderful views of Derwent Water and Catbells.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Great Gable: Threading the Needle and Traversing Sphinx Ridge

We were dropped off at Wasdale head and our plan was to walk to Buttermere by scrambling over the great craggy side of Great Gable. We planned to scramble the well known routes called the needle traverse and the Sphinx ridge.

                                 This is a joker sheep it posed like it was a royal sheep.

The rock on this edge of the path were as sharp as shining swords.

                                  There were some scramblers threading the needle before us.

We were threading the needle and we had to climb up the slippery rocks while it was spitting a tiny bit. The rock was very polished this is where many climbers have climbed the same route making the route shiny and slippy!

A close up of the above picture.

 Coming down the last part of threading the pointy as a ice cream cone needle.

A brilliantly fantastic view/close up of the Napes needle.

A view of mystical sphinx ridge.
The last view of wast water!

Great Gable crag known as Westmorland Crag. The ridge which we stood on overlooked a huge area of scree known has hell gates. We were pleased not to be climbing up that scree.
Fell and rock club memorial at the top of Gt Gable.

Celebrating at the top.

The Black sail youth hostel.
Heading up to the scarth gap.

Approaching Buttermere and coming to the end of our adventurous day.