Night nav on Blackstone Edge 07/05/10

This one is specially for Peter M!
This was a welcome relief from the real nastiness that’s been exposed because of the E word. I was in good company and we didn’t even touch on it.
BB met me and CD at the biker pub in Littleborough. BB assured me that the bikers were mature and quite nice really. Sadly just these ones were not very handsome, well there was one who I wouldn’t have pushed out.
After a quick meal and change of clothes, CD and I drove up to Blackstone Edge and parked up in the layby at 8.30. It was very cold and windy so we headed off first south along a good path and then east along a less good one, all in daylight. We had to go fast just to keep warm, and this was with both of us wearing 4 layers. As we approached the road, we could see the moor was on fire but we worked out it wasn’t blazing just where we were going and also that the wind would be taking it away from us.
By the time we got to where we had to cross the road, the light was going and here we made our first mistake, by thinking we were further down than we were. This meant we were not the side of the gully that we thought so we did a quick change of plan to follow the gully. We stood under the pylons in the dark trying to take a bearing, Cath convinced the electricity was affecting her compass but actually it was her phone. Basically we stomped around in the clumps and dips for a while  and eventually reached the top of the gully.
We had decided to aim for a spot height, however both forgetting or not seeing that there was a water way to cross! Another change of plan, to handrail along the drain which we did, using timing and pacing. And then lo and behold, in the middle of all this nothingness, was a little footbridge and post to cross the drain. So we did, then more pacing to find the spot height. This was harder to locate as the local map is marked in 5m contour intervals and so a spot height would be hard to find in daylight let alone at night.
We next headed due West for another drain with a name like Cold and Windy Drain which we found although it was about 20-30m beyond our estimation. We followed this drain to the fence whereupon Cath said “what’s that white line?” “it’s the road!” At this point, she decided to roll around on the tussocks. First Aid was not needed. I dazzled some cars with my beacon headlight and soon got back to our cars. It was nearly 11.30 by then!
When I got home I was so cold I had to put the heating on, make a hot water bottle and drink whisky. I didn’t really warm up properly until lunchtime today!

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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Author: Jak

Mountain Leader.

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