The River Dee by The Groves, Chester.
“We’re going round and round (Yeah, me and my babe),
Going round and round (Yeah, me and my babe),
Round and round, round and round,
Me and my sure ‘nough baby going round and round”
(Panama Limited Jug Band, Harvest Records 1969)
Given the appalling weather forecast H & I decided to play safe and take to the sheltered haven of Delamere Forest, Cheshire.
We had both entered the upcoming Resolution Run in March and will do 2 and 3 laps respectively of the Red Route, so that is what we did this afternoon.
In the end we timed it perfectly as the heavy rain had passed by and the afternoon and fair and mild.
As usual, the food at the Delamere Forest Cafe was excellent and a real reward for a good hard run.
(10.5 miles, 500 ft, 1hr 45mins)
(Work in progress)
Like many hill people I like to tick off lists; The Nuttalls, The Wainwrights etc.
Quite often these tops are little more than hills which are luckily over 2000ft and have no other redeeming features yet are listed in books that declare them to be “mountains”.
But if altitude does not define a mountain, what does?
“A mountain is a large landform that stretches above the surrounding land in a limited area”, claims Wikipedia. No mention of height. Wainwright, as usual, had a sensible approach… “The difference between a hill and a mountain depends on appearance, not on altitude (whatever learned authorities may say to the contrary) and is thus arbitary and a matter of personal opinion. Grass predominates on a hill, rock on a mountain. A hill is smooth, a mountain rough. Roughness and ruggedness are the necessary attributes …”
So, how do we categorise Moel Famau, the highest peak in the Clwydian range, standing at 1818ft, or 554m? Wikipedia claims it is a hill, but I personally class it a mountain, and a fine one at that. In this blog I will try to support that justification.
The event that sparked this debate in my mind was a run I did in January 2014, in which I approached Moel Famau from the West, after a circumnavigation of much the mountain’s mass. The popular approach is from Bwlch Penbarras, a generally easy walk with a short steep section to reach the summit. With just 600ft of ascent this does not really classify as an ascent.
More demanding are the routes from Loggerheads Country Park, or from Cilcain, both starting at roughly 200m, and having long and steep final sections. Both have their merits and I am happy on either route, though the direct descent to Loggerheads, due East from the summit, becomes a challenge in poor weather.
Almost unnoticed on the 1:25k map amongst the myriad of footpaths and national trails is the path coming in from the Nant-y-Ne cwm due west from the summit. A closer look at the map reveals that this side is very much steeper than any of the others. I decided to give this route a try.
Ah, yes, the Anglezarke Amble is coming soon – best test my foot-snorkeling gear! And what better place than beside the swollen River Dee, slowly lowering itself after having broken its banks spectacularly in recent weeks. I am almost recovered from a cold so I sacrificed a day on Kinder Scout to mark assignments, watch Hull City v Chelsea and take myself for a run on a glorious afternoon.
As expected the path that runs around The Meadows was muddy in places though quite acceptable, but as the run lengthened the ground became gooier and started to eat into progress. Still, I made it to Ecclestone Ferry and beyond to the start of the Eaton woods.
Up until recently the path beyond this point had been closed due to it having subsided into the river at one point, but a notice said that this had been repaired and so I headed off towards Iron Bridge.
However it was not long before the flooding completely barred the way and made further progress impossible without wading dangerously close to the (submerged) river’s edge. The Crook of Dee was still completely under water, so I turned around and left the river at Ecclestone to use my normal route back via Chester Approach.
To compensate for the lack of pace in the mire I pushed myself on the firmer surfaces and had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon despite the conditions.