Looks like every UK SOTA expedition that embarked today ended up in an abandonment! To be fair to Richard, he was eager to press on further than Oakenbank Clough (where we turned around), but I managed to persuade him with the following observations:
- I had fallen over five times in the last ten minutes.
- We (I) weren’t going very fast, and certainly wouldn’t be in the AZ by our agreed ‘turn-around’ deadline of 1pm.
- We had lost the path (the Pennine Way) and were going the wrong way.
- The snow was coming down quickly and covering evidence of our outward tracks.
- The wind was blowing hard and creating some rather nice snow drifts.
- The Stalybridge Station buffet bar offered a much more pleasant afternoon ahead than anything on Black Hill (which was actually white) ahead.
So to Stalybridge it was, where we found the station bar packed, but still enjoyed excellent service as well as good beer and food. On the motorway later we spotted the matrix signs advising of the closure of the A628 (Woodhead), so it was probably a good job we got out of there when we did. We had gone for the ambitious long southern walk-in from there after learning that the A635 (Wessenden) road was closed first thing.
It all seemed so much easier when I did that approach as part of the Pennine Way in August 2006! Compare these photos with Richard’s above!
BTW, Crowden YHA has indeed moved to new premises.