2016 01 23 South Pennine 24 Marshals Walk

Glen, Andrew, Hazel, Val and Anne
Nineteen of us turned up to walk the route of our inaugural event which takes place in 5 weeks time. A glorious weather forecast for the time of year.
Glenn assumed the role of leader (or was it Ian & Ron?) and we set off at a cracking pace around Dovestone Res. Easy this we think.  One mile in and we suddenly get what can only be described as a brutal climb up to the Ashway Stone. The ascent allows for some spectacular views to open out behind us and we took the opportunity to stop and take in the scenery. Just below the Ashway stone the terrain levels off and we follow the edge of Chew valley for around 3 miles to reach Chew Reservoir, which until the building of Cow Green Reservoir in Teesdale in the 1970's, was the highest reservoir in England.
Now on bleak moorland, we follow the feeder stream from the far end of the reservoir to reach Laddow Rocks from where we can look down the valley as far as Crowden. Hazel was shown the location of the checkpoint she will be manning on the day. Even though we had not been dawdling we were only a few minutes in front of the checkpoint closure time, so some revision of checkpoint closing times may be needed for the event, both at Checkpoint 1 & 2.
The route now eased with some easy tracks along the Longdendale valley with an interesting journey up a cobbled tunnel. Thankfully we were going uphill and conditions were good. It could make for a fun day out going the other way in icy or wet conditions. We reached the site of the next checkpoint at Bottoms Res and the checkpoint closing times now seemed more realistic. A short interlude through a housing estate before a long gradual ascent up to Hobson Moor Quarry where lunch was taken. Onwards and upwards as we climbed to the trig point on Wild Bank Fell before a wonderful slow descent with views in every direction to Higher Swineshaw Res. A short pull over the tops to join the Pennine Bridleway into Carrbrook where we again had a short break by the duckpond.
Not far to go now and we rattled along at a good pace contouring the hillside back to the Sailing Club where Anne kindly arranged for coffee whilst a short meeting was held to finalise duties and responsibilities for the day of the event. Everyone agreed that Glenn had put together a cracking route and we all just hope that we get some good weather on the day of the event.
Photos by Julie (including main photo) - click here