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Nominations for the Hall of Shame continue to proliferate, with the Get Off My Land and Excess Tree Density categories again receiving most comment. Airds Hill (see page 9) should perhaps be added to the latter, while Myarth has managed to score in both these categories. Updates and new entries from 2000...
Jon Metcalf: Kinder Scout style bog, but on a gradient! A good place to test out your xmas present if you were lucky enough to get a hovercraft.
Jon Metcalf: The complete item. No parking, then a track which vanishes into deep slutch. Barbed wire to add challenge to breaking out onto the hillside, which is garnished with several rotting sheep carcasses and leads to an ambiguous summit area. Not very 'Great' at all, really.
Mark Trengove: On the way back home from Huddersfield I took a run up Black Hill in the Peak District. A rather boring name for this large lump of peat hag on the Pennine Way, but appropriate all the same. When you are in running shorts and not bothered about black mud all over you, you can enjoy the experience in a masochistic, rugby scrum sort of way. The trig point, which is marked at 582m on Sheet 110, sits in a sloppy mass of semi-liquid peat hag, high on a man-made concrete base (possibly originally below ground). Being on the Pennine Way it is eroded all round. In the clear conditions it looked to me as if the highest point now (always?) lies some 100m off SW of the trig point at a ring feature marked Soldier's Lump on the map (SE078046). This spot had a few stones on the top and appeared a foot or two higher than the top of the trig point. It's also a better place for the summit. It's nearer the edge of the plateau, with better views south over Bleaklow Head and Kinder Scout. It would be interesting (do I really mean that?) to see if anyone else has reached the same conclusion.
Bill Fairmaner: Big and boggy but not boring. There's the Laddow Rocks and, if you come from the west, Winberry and assorted other edges overlooking Dove Stone reservoir. Ascending from here, a popular spot in summer, you get a dramatic contrast to the wild moorland above. A clear day helps though, big time. I went up one evening from Crowden -and the big wide views seen in the fading light were superb (last visit in April 1996).
Chris Pearson: Another small fry failure. I was kind of passing on the way to the Mullardoch giants and based my assault on the road atlas map, which easily led me to the mast in the forest at the summit. I walked around in the trees satisfying myself that the ground fell away on all sides, only to see on the OS map later that a trig pillar lurks in the foliage 100 metres or so away. The height difference is no doubt negligible, but that's not the point, is it? You either get to the accepted top or you don't.
Paul Richardson: We had such a dire and desperate time on White Top of Culreoch that I began to imagine we were making the first ascent since coniferisation. Until, of course, we bashed a way along a jungle firebreak (soaking wet, of course), then over, under and through fallen xmas trees to a tiny cairn of shaley stones. If this hill is unticked on your list, on no account tackle it from its col with Ewe Hill via the firebreak on the north side of the ridge (unless you wish to atone for some unspeakably heinous act). The firebreak at 290m on the south side of the ridge is the way to go in relative ease.
Ann Bowker: This is probably the most baffling RHB of all. Here is our experience on 25/5/96 which may be totally useless now, as trees have a nasty habit of growing thicker or being felled, which is often worse. We cycled in from the east (a 16m trig on Kildonald Pt). We found no chink in the massed conifers until the pipeline at NR730273 where some felling was taking place, and vehicle track marks led upwards, to leave only a short amount of excess density before reaching the eerie 'island' of moorland at the top. Fortunately we realised that on the way back we should be faced with millions of identical looking sitkas and had the foresight to tie a plastic bag to the crucial one which marked the line of weakness. I recollect sunshine and a comfortable couch for a leisurely lunch at the top, enjoyed with a satisfaction akin to that on reaching the top of the In Pinn. I also remember thinking that this was the most unlikely spot in Britain to encounter another walker, but perhaps now that Marilyns are becoming popular it could get crowded up there?
Tony Payne: From recollection I parked at NR706283, crossed the outflow of Lussa Loch and followed the east side of the loch for 1.5 km to the Clachfin Glen burn, which I followed all the way to the top. Memory fading but I don't recall any particular problems with trees.
Peter Collins: No problem finding path. Now a signposted cycle way and plastic ties in the final bit of forest. Fallen trees across the fence made small gate at SE corner irrelevant.
Bill Fairmaner: If you're looking for the trig point, this hill falls into the 'Excess Tree Density' category. The ramparts of the old hill fort are quite possibly of at least equal height and boast decent views to the north and west.
Chris Crocker: May I propose Myarth for the 'Excess Tree Density' category. The 1999 newsletter put it in 'Get Off My Land', but while the access tracks on the south side of the hill are liberally adorned with 'Private Land' notices (and the estate house is rather close for comfort), an alternative ascent is fairly easily made from the lay-by on the north side, initially through fields which are out of sight of the farm. The only difficulty is fighting through the last 50 metres of thick undergrowth. The approximate position of the highest point is not really in doubt; I approached the OS spot height from three different directions and reached the identical point each time, then had a good tramp around for safety. It was difficult to do this without getting scratched to bits, hence my suggestion. I reckon this is the only crappy Marilyn in the Brecon Beacons national park -most of them are good hills, even the low ones.
Bill Fairmaner: Agree there are too many trees, but the trig was easy to find; locate the burnt-out car c100m south of the main track through the forest, and the trig is a couple of metres away.
Bill Fairmaner: A fine summit, with a cwm/corrie in miniature. Don't try taking short-cuts through the forest, they're painful. Bilberry-fest on the steep, final slopes.
Charles Knowles: Much of the gorse surrounding the trig has been burnt off, and for the time being there is reasonably easy access from the bridleway near the house at SW418357. However, removal of the gorse has exposed another possible hazard; depressions in the ground which are likely to be old mine shafts. Some larger shafts close to the bridleway have been enclosed by new substantial stone walls to prevent people and animals falling down them.
James Gordon: From Divach. Needless to say, I didn't get off.
Peter Collins: Prevented from using farm access track from A7 by a young English-sounding woman.
Peter Collins: Met Welsh young lady -'this is private land, who do you think owns the land? You English are all the same, etc etc'.
Bill Fairmaner: Approached from the north on a forestry road. The right of way shown on the OS map, climbing from the road through the trees, does exist but only in the form of a firebreak. Large quantities of very deep heather make the firebreak unsuitable for pedestrians, or for stopping a fire.
Chris Pearson: The twin top of Brandy Hill is surrounded by farms. Trying to avoid human contact backfired when we climbed into a field to find the farmer (and his dogs) in the same field. We played the role of avid fort visitors (for the map marks the remains). We were told to leave. We found another farmer whom we asked and he took great pleasure in escorting us through his fields (to avoid the cow shit). This route took us past an isolated house where a 94-year old retired colonel lived, who would no doubt have seen us off if we didn't have our friendly escort.
James Gordon: Direct assault from the south, with a quad bike in pursuit.
Jon Metcalf: Curse unto the seventh generation all Sleddale-ites and their false doctrine of Get-orf-my-land. Attempts to bypass this stupid farm at either end ran into extensive bogs, with added poisonous reptiles at the eastern end. Badly pulled my back which took weeks to recover. Two rights of way are joined by 100m or so through this farm which the public are prevented from using. Exasperatingly illogical.
Bill Fairmaner: I'd hoped to follow the whole ridge line from N to S but the signs at the entrance to the wood are wholly unfriendly. I diverted and came up a track from Stoke Edith... no problem, but there was a caravan at the crossroads on the ridge top which looked occupied. If it hadn't been an early Sunday morning there could have been trouble. The map marks a path (not a right of way) along the length of the summit ridge which turned out to be good and secretive. I made the mistake of descending down the path to Woolhope Cockshoot, and got spotted. The guy though was driving up the road and I was running the other way, having suddenly found a burst of speed, so no nasty confrontation to report.
Charles Knowles: The gate to the track which leads directly to the summit has a home-made 'Private Road. No Public Access' sign, and the local authority sign for the nearby public footpath has mysteriously disappeared. Instead I walked up the track to the farm at SW692365, branching left just before the buildings. There is a faint path through small gorse and heather right up to the trig point. Returning the same way, I encountered neither man nor beast and got my tick relatively easily.
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