Trip Reports

A Pan-American Adventure; Part 2.2 – The Trek

For many reasons it’s been some time since I posted on this blog, though it’s predominantly because I’ve been concentrating on both my PhD and on film photography, the latter of which I’ve been posting about here. Nevertheless, once I get a new flash I do intend to start posting some reviews on here as I’ve still been getting out and have been using plenty of new kit. Anyhow, in the mean time, here’s a cross-posted entry from over on my other blog, which outlines our trek in the Peruvian Andes from our holiday last summer. Enjoy, if you haven’t already done so of course!

As alluded to in the previous instal ments of this series, the primary objective of this trip was to embark upon a high-altitude, multi-day trek in the Peruvian Andes. We had organised this a few months in advance through KE Adventure; a Lake District-based adventure holiday company who come with a great track record of fairness towards their employees/affiliates, along with being known for providing varied and quality adventure holiday products.

From our starting point at Tinqui, our route was to circumnavigate the 6372 m Ausangate mountain of the Peruvian Cordillera Vilcanota mountain range. Along the route we would come to traverse high mountain passes, visit small, remote settlements and finally diverge from the typical Ausangate Circuit trail to take in some remote lagoons. Resulting from the latter extension, the trek was to last for nine days as opposed to the traditional five.


Basic route map annotated with camp altitudes.



Castleton to Edale; via The Roych, South Head, Mount Famine & Edale Cross.

On my last trip I came across a potential route extension to the west of Edale, that would include an elevated ridge-type walk, ultimately dropping down towards Hayfield. This week I thought I might take this route, heading out to Castleton to give myself a different starting point.

I just about caught the 09:00 bus, (272), from Ecclesall Road/Hunters Bar, after leaving 45 minutes to get down there from home. Definitely going to make it an hour next time. The sun was out, though when shaded or in the wind, the temperature dropped considerably. The forecast was given as being changeable, a statement whose manifestation was one of the defining features of the day.


Route map courtesy of Viewranger.

After alighting from the bus, and taking a few minutes to sort myself out, I set off down the main road out of Castleton proper, heading towards Treak Cliff. I took the path up and contoured around to the shop at the Blue John Cavern where the south-west face of Mam Tor shined in the sunlight. A couple of groups of guided climbers were aligned along the bottom of the scree-strewn face, oblivious to the weather system that was quite obviously coming in from the north-west, (the first picture doesn’t quite do it justice).


To Edale and Back; via Chapel Gate, The Roych, South Head & Edale Cross.

Clear but cold the forecast promised, a good day to test out my new Buffalo perhaps? What with this potentially being the last of our winter weather I gave it a go anyway.

I arrived just in time at the station and took the usual train out from Sheffield to Edale, (09:14). It wasn’t as busy as I’d have thought it would be, what with the forecast being what it was.

Route map courtesy of Viewranger.

Route map courtesy of Viewranger.

I’d made rudimentary plans to do this route a few weeks ago, but work and other engagements had me put it off. However now there’s an extended version of this route here. From Edale station I would take a path heading to Barber Booth, from out of the back of platform 1. The path crosses the railway line twice, once heading north’ish when reaching Shaw Wood Farm, and once heading south just as you reach Barber Booth. The connecting path and stile/gate between the bridge and the path at Shaw Wood Farm is annoyingly concealed. It exists in a little driveway that otherwise says ‘No Entry’ on a gate at it’s end and should you not notice it, you will have to walk the long way round as I did.


Winter Wild Camping; Thrust from Threlkeld to Thirlspot, (via several revisions).

At last, our weekend away finally arrived! One that was originally meant for Scotland, and for 6 of us, but none of that was to be. Instead, Sarah and I headed for the Lake District to take on the Helvellyn range from north to south via two wild camps, Scales Tarn and Grizedale Tarn.

Not much of what was originally planned actually panned out; one-by-one our compatriots dropped out for various reasons, complacency had us alter our first wild camp spot, and that damned south-westerly wind that has plagued our winter, tried to blow us off the ridge. Plus my Buffalo still hadn’t arrived so to remedy this, I popped into The Climbers Shop in Ambleside where, after weighing up it’s benefits over the Arc’Teryx Atom SV, I purchased a Mountain Equipment Fitzroy as a replacement insulating overlayer, but more on that later.

We made a super-early start on the Friday, (05:11 train from Sheffield), so as to make it to Ambleside in time for it’s awakening. We changed only once, in Manchester, and had reached Windermere just before 08:00. After purchasing a 3-day bus pass we set off for Ambleside, where we arrived after around 15-20 mins. We arrived well before anywhere was open and all this early morning travel had left me gasping for a coffee, so we replenished our spirits at Esquires, (some decent coffee there methinks), opposite the cinema.

We had ordered some New-Matic Grivel G12’s from Adventure Peaks, but upon arrival they had not them in stock, so G10 New-Matics had to suffice. We weren’t planning on doing anything so technical anyway. By the time we were sorted it was pushing 10:00, so being on ‘holiday’ we decided that another refreshment stop was in order, cue the pints of Hoegaarden! The lateral thinking afforded by such nutritious beverages had us check Sarah’s crampons, which turned out to have an extender bar fitted thus didn’t fit Sarah’s boots at all! We finished our sustenance and made haste, back in the direction of the Adventure Peaks store. Conveniently, it was shut for 5 mins, at least 10 in actuality but we were eventually sorted out. Anyhow, this kerfuffle was followed by a humid bus ride to Keswick, some sandwiches and another beer, before grabbing the bus out to the White Horse Inn at Scales.

We had intended to have a decent meal here before heading out early to our intended camp site at Scales Tarn. It turns out they stop serving food at 14:00! We’d arrived at ca. 14:15. Foiled, so another beer it was then, and not a very good one either. Balls!!!

The next day's initial waypoint; Clough Head.

The next day’s initial waypoint; Clough Head.

Now for our next change of plan, for the sake of time and effort, we decided it would be best to camp on the other side of the main road. Leaving the pub, we walked back along the A66 until we could pick up the relevant path on the opposite side of the road.


A High’ish Route; Hope to Edale via Win Hill, Roman Road & Ringing Roger

Last weekend, (18th), I was back in the Peak, making my way from Hope to Edale. I decided on taking a high, (624m of elevation gain), but round-about route, (just over 9 miles in total),  via the eastern side of Win Hill, Roman Road and Crookstone Knoll. A lone walker again this week, but to be fair the weather was a bit demoralising given the time of year.

Route map courtesy of Viewranger.

Route map courtesy of Viewranger.



A Short, (& almost wintry), Bimble Along The Great Ridge

With time as a PhD student pressing on, this weekend’s walk was a necessarily short and almost solitary one. I headed out alone, aiming for Hope on the 09:14 train. I say alone, both carriages were quite full, something I don’t remember seeing that often during the winter months, (not that it’s been much of a winter so far around these parts!). The first thing I noticed, as the train exited the Totley tunnel at Grindleford and the hills of the Peak begin to come into view, was the significant low cloud. We pulled into Hathersage, and a temporary lifting of the fog revealed just a hint of a smattering of snow on the highest reaches of Stanage Edge. I smiled as the latter sunk in, and my brain began to consider if I might detour up to Win Hill, or whether I should continue into Edale so as to maximise my exposure to this elusive but significant slushy blanket. Despite these internal time-wastings, the arrival of the train at Hope put paid to any further consideration of this kind.

A Short, (& almost wintry), Bimble Along The Great Ridge


Edale Undulations; via Nether Booth, Jagger’s Clough & Grindslow Knoll

This weekend’s walk was actually my second outing this side of 2014, the first being an attempted walk out to Stanage Edge on new year’s day. I say ‘attempted’ as Sarah and I only made it to Lady Canning’s Plantation then turned back for want of light, perhaps due to a late start, (surely forgivable on new year’s day?), but also possibly something to do with an unintended, mid-route mulled wine stop at the Norfolk Arms.

Like that walk this one turned out to be a late starter, we missed the train by about 1 minute and the next train, (an hour later), was delayed by some mystery problem(s) on the track close to Dore.

Once we did get going, this week I was joined by James & Christine. both of whom are fellow PhD students and with whom I live along with my better half Sarah. Looking skywards, here the winter weather this year has been disappointing, though for those elsewhere in the country struck by catastrophic winds and floods, my best wishes are with you.

Route map courtesy of Viewranger.

Route map courtesy of Viewranger.