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#108974 - 13/05/13 09:53 PM PW Current Conditions?
Alan F Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 66
Loc: Reading
Anyone done all or part of the PW so far this Spring,and can report on current ground conditions? I assume the snow melt left wet ground until at least mid-April.
After an illness aborted attempted 7 day southbound trip last July,which was more of a wading exercise in the British Monsoon season(summer 2012),I'm eager to give it another go early June this year if possible.Us southern nancies have got pretty dry,hard ground down here,but I keep seeing low pressure on the weather maps drifting across the north and borders,so any experiences yet this Spring?
Any reports of people passing through yet,Joyce?

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#108993 - 13/05/13 10:14 PM Re: PW Current Conditions? [Re: Alan F]
Stottie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 21/02/07
Posts: 568
Loc: Derbyshire, England
Hi Alan

I walked south-north between 13th and 28th April.

I came across a few snow patches on Bleaklow, Fountains Fell, Cross Fell and Cairn Hill. They had filled in the hollows and in some cases had originally filled in entire stream beds. Falling through would have been undesirable, but all were easily bypassed. By now, most will have disappeared.

Since paving tamed the peat bogs there's no huge problem with wet ground. You get the odd hole that's deeper than it looks, of course. The worst spots were north of Hadrian's Wall, particularly through the forests en route to Bellingham.

Also, having spoken with a southbound walker between Bellingham and Byrness, I opted for the Gib Shiel route rather than the infamous traverse of Padon Hill and the wretched climb that follows. Since so much of the PW has been paved, it seems bizarre to go through 2 or 3 miles of mud and water when there's an almost parallel route of similar distance and elevation. Joyce and Colin said that almost everyone did that last summer, and on my first PW in 1963 the route took us past Gib Shiel anyway.
_________________________
Pete

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#111510 - 15/05/13 04:49 PM Re: PW Current Conditions? [Re: Alan F]
Black Sailor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 14/05/05
Posts: 184
We did Greenhead to Kirk Yetholm between 29 April and 3 May, as the last stage in our PW-in-six-stages.

It's been a dry spring oop north too, until the last week or so, and by PW standards it was not excessively boggy, on the whole. As Stottie says, there's a bad bit in the forest between Hadrian's Wall and Bellingham - we turned back trying to take the Way across Haughton Common, and stuck to the forest track instead. And I wish we'd done what Stottie did after Whitley Pike. Along the west flank of Padon Hill was fine, but after Brownrigg Head it was hard going.

After Byrness there's a boggy stretch around Houx Hill, but Joyce's advice to hop over the fence on to the Scottish side here is good! And you need to know that around West Cairn Hill and Auchope Cairn on the Cheviot, Northumberland Council are currently replacing the long stretches of boards with slabs. So there could be some awkward bits around there too, especially if there's more rain and the work itself churns up the ground.

Have fun!

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#111580 - 15/05/13 05:58 PM Re: PW Current Conditions? [Re: Black Sailor]
Stottie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 21/02/07
Posts: 568
Loc: Derbyshire, England
As Black Sailor says, the bog near the fence at Houx Hill is bad. Going north, I detoured with the bog on my left - heading towards the firing range. Would advise you to detour one way or t'other - it's not one for ploughing through.
_________________________
Pete

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#111846 - 15/05/13 10:25 PM Re: PW Current Conditions? [Re: Alan F]
Alan F Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 66
Loc: Reading
Thanks for your useful info,chaps.
Houx Hill was dreadful last summer,as one lady walker got trapped in it waist deep.
The swamp in the forest just north of Hadrian's Wall I know, and will avoid this time by sticking on the forest gravel track just to the west.I'll also make sure I miss the 45 degree angled bog on the south side of Brownrigg Head.
First PW 1963 - Wow! Your 50th Anniversary walk then this year.Congratulations!
I thought I was doing well at 35 years (1st PW 1978).My 50th may depend on the invention of an all terrain electric mobility scooter!

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#112545 - 16/05/13 10:33 AM Re: PW Current Conditions? [Re: Alan F]
Black Sailor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 14/05/05
Posts: 184
Looking further south, OP, by common consent the worst stretches are generally agreed to be Sleightholme Moor (north of Tan Hill) and Blenkinsopp Common (south of Greenhead). Although we did these stretches last year, I'm sure they won't be any less boggy now!

Both of these are avoidable. The first by heading down the road east from the Tan Hill Inn, and then by a good farm track to rejoin the Way before Sleightholme Farm. Blenkinsopp is easily (and very pleasantly) avoided by taking the South Tyne Trail from somewhere around Slaggyford. It's easy walking along a disused railway, and it's worth doing just to cross the wonderful old viaduct at Lambley. Not for purists, perhaps, but it beats the Blenkinsopp Bog any day!

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#114852 - 17/05/13 10:47 PM Re: PW Current Conditions? [Re: Alan F]
joyce taylor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 31/01/07
Posts: 317
Loc: byrness village
Hi All yes there are plenty of people coming through,there are 15 Pennine wayers booked in with us tommorrow night and conditions are already better than they have been for a couple of years,it depends on wether this deluge comes tommorrow or not if the ground stays good. Joyce
_________________________
http://www.forestviewbyrness.co.uk
#1 place to stay in Byrness (tripadvisor)

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#124908 - 24/05/13 12:57 PM Re: PW Current Conditions? [Re: Alan F]
Alan F Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 66
Loc: Reading
OK Sounds good enough to give it a go early June.
East Coast advance train tickets booked there and back, stopping off in Northallerton on Saturday, then heading south from Kirk Yetholm Sunday afternoon 9th June.There's no bus Kelso to Yetholm Sunday lunchtime, so I'll probably have to minicab it.Luckily the Berwick-Kelso bus does run Sundays,so 12.10 off Berwick.Return booked home on Monday 17th June,so now praying for fine weather!
I'm a bit short on training after missing running London in April with a cracked back rib,so just back now doing some longer runs at last,and will do a couple of long day walks in the next two weeks.

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#125197 - 24/05/13 05:34 PM Re: PW Current Conditions? [Re: Alan F]
Slogger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 2892
Loc: West Lancs.
Going for 7 days again Alan?
Well within your capabilities I would think.
We would have finished the Spine well inside of 7 days in January if the storm hadn't prevented us. A lot of it is about how little sleep you can get away with. I had a total of 14.5 hours during that race, no wonder I was halucinating and out on my feet at times.
Good luck.
Dave.

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#129393 - 26/05/13 08:38 PM Re: PW Current Conditions? [Re: Alan F]
Alan F Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 66
Loc: Reading
I'll certainly aim for a sub-7 day trip,dependant on weather,ground conditions and body holding together!
So,will aim to finish on the Sunday,with the Monday available as a contingency if I get behind.I definately intend to get a full 7 hours sleep every night,and get to a few new pubs!
Have reproofed the tent groundsheet for this year, although camping 2 nights last year in paddy fields,there was no chance of staying dry. I've got rid of the bubble wrap to sleep on as it was too subject to condensation, and gone back to a strip of Karrimat.
If it goes well,I may well consider a go at the Spine Challenger event next January.

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#131228 - 27/05/13 11:25 AM Re: PW Current Conditions? [Re: Alan F]
Slogger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 2892
Loc: West Lancs.
Alan,
Forgot to add that during the Spine, we did off course get a meal at every CP and a drop bag was carried forward, so we didn't carry everything that we needed for the week. Although the compulsary kit we had to carry came in at around 9 - 10 Kg.
The Spine and Spine Challenger races for 2014 have been full for several weeks now, although you can be placed on a waiting list in case of withdrawals.
Dave.

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#405641 - 17/06/13 09:45 PM Re: PW Current Conditions? [Re: Slogger]
Alan F Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 66
Loc: Reading
Well,I managed to fail again on trying for a sub-7 day PW.This time my feet gave in- feet balls red raw and partially lacerated,and heels not much better.
I was still on schedule to Tan Hill Inn,but just walked dead slow to Hawes not Horton the next day.
Sunday 9th Yetholm-Blakehopeburnhaugh 29 miles
Monday 10th Blakehope-Greenhead 37 miles
Tuesday 11th Greenhead-Dufton 38 miles
Wednesday 12th Dufton-Tan Hill 39 miles
Thursday 13th Tan Hill-Hawes 18 miles
This was uncharted territory for me,having never done 4 x 36 milers back to back.Looking at the Compeed technical info in Hawes chemists,I guess I need to moisturise morning,noon and night when in transit.

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#405642 - 17/06/13 10:07 PM Re: PW Current Conditions? [Re: Alan F]
Alan F Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 66
Loc: Reading
Seem to be having trouble trying to make a long text post.
Path conditions were excellent last week,and I had dry feet every day.However,the gales,driving rain and high level hailstorms last Friday and Saturday may have caused some deterioration.Had I still been walking, they may well have finished me off!Thursday afternoon I got blown over twice on Gt Shunner Fell.
There is still some snow in the Cheviots gullies.
Sorry,I did'nt stay with you,Joyce,only left Yetholm at 2.20pm,so it was far too late at 10.30pm into Byrness.
Dufton pub does'nt do food on Tuesdays (maybe other nights as well),so had to get a YHA breakfast,which gave a very late 8.30am start,and a 10.50pm finish into Tan Hill.As it was misty and raining,it was up the Old Coal Road,rather than Sleightholme Moor, which really finished my feet off!

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