Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Gun - odd name, small hill, big views.

"An undistinguished hill at the southern end of the Peak District" is the rather sad Wikipedia description of Gun, a small, raised patch of heather moorland in north Staffordshire. And I suppose it does pale in comparison to the hills around it - The Cloud stands proud and distinct over the Cheshire plain to the west;  in the north, the rolling heights of Axe Edge Moor and and Shining Tor form a backdrop to Shutingsloe, the ambitiously-nicknamed "Cheshire Matterhorn" that looks every bit as pointy and properly hill-like as Gun signally fails to do; while to the east of our modest and flat-topped mound, Hen Cloud, Ramshaw Rocks and The Roaches provide a dramatic display of jagged rocks and ridges that draw walkers and climbers alike. On a clear day - and even through an evening haze such as on our visit yesterday - The Wrekin can be made out on the horizon, some forty miles away to the south east, its presence in Shropshire a thumbed-nose to Gun from afar, "See, this is what a real hill looks like!"

But it's exactly those vistas that make this quiet, oddly-named hill such a gem. If you live close enough or you're visiting the White Peak area, Gun makes for an ideal short stroll with rewards far in excess of the effort or time you put in to walk it. What's more, there's roadside parking on its south-western aspect and the farmland around it is criss-crossed with public footpaths, meaning you can also easily incorporate it into a longer day walk if you choose.

Saturday, 26 August 2017


I was in two minds for a while about whether or not to write up this walk as I'd never actually intended to climb Tryfan when I arrived in the Ogwen Valley in April of this year. I don't mean I set out to climb a different mountain and inadvertently found myself eye-to-eye with a seagull at "Adam and Eve" - I won't deny there's a reason why I call my blog "Occasionally Lost" but I've never quite gone that far astray. It was my first time at the top of the iconic Welsh mountain, though, and I suppose that should be marked with at least some sort of post, even if the weather didn't make for great pictures and my circuitous journey there isn't one I'd recommend or want to repeat.

Our overnight trip to Wales had been booked for several months, for non-walking purposes, and I'd optimistically plotted myself a walk in the Carneddau to do before we returned home. In the morning, however, as we left the Llandudno Travelodge it soon became clear that the day had no intention of being... well, clear. I was determined not to leave Wales without some sort of hike but I was forced to write off the one I'd planned when we arrived at Llyn Ogwen and saw the clag that shrouded the mountain tops to the north of us. The Carneddau traverse was a walk I'd wanted to do since last year and I had no intention of squandering all that effort to wander through the sort of mist that I'd grown used to seeing when I open the curtains at home in the Peak District.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Sulber, Moughton Scars and Moughton

People who know us - or people who've merely seen us plodding across a hillside in the distance - might be surprised to hear that we've done the Yorkshire Three Peaks. They might be less surprised to learn that we did each of the famous fells on a separate occasion, spread over a period of about five months. That was several years ago now, before I had the blog, but the memory of the breathtaking limestone pavements and escarpments we passed on our way down from Ingleborough was one that lingered in the mind.

We talked about returning to the area to explore several times but it wasn't until last December that we finally got our act together. The walk planned was a relatively short one so we made a leisurely journey up north, stopping off for a cooked breakfast at a picturesque cafe on the way - I won't mention where we ate but the portion-size was in inverse proportion to the eye-watering price. I suppose one consolation was that at least I wasn't left in a digestive stupor afterwards as I had been a week or so before when we walked Moel Eilio - but that only just occurred to me now and did nothing to smooth over my grumbling at the time.