Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Cracker of a fell - Cracoe fell

Start - Park Top - SE 03777 55576
So, just like a week ago, I have repeated a hill in the environs of Skipton. Who needs to travel long distances to find new hills in northern Scotland or on the European mainland when Skipton has so much to offer?
My occasional walking companion, Cliff, still has Marilyns to do in Yorkshire - so today's mission was to add another tick to his list.
We started at Park Top and followed a drivable track past lower Barden reservoir and then another track up on to the grouse moors of Barden Moor.

Trig point - Thorpe Fell

We made an unorthodox tramp across unpathed moor to the original Marilyn/Dewey trig summit of Thorpe Fell (506m).
When the Marilyn was revised to be the rock on which the Cracoe war memorial obelisk (507.8m P310) stands I recall a number of people grumbling about having to revisit. What I fail to undrestand is why anyone who visited the trig was not curious enough about the obelisk to pay it a visit anyway - especially as it is better served with a path, than is the trig.

Old and new
War memorial on Cracoe Fell

Admittedly there is not much of a path from the trig across the disused Threapland peat pits down to the dip between the two tops. Once we got to the path by the wall it was a muddy mess.
Cliff got his list tick by standing on the summit rock and then we headed back to the wall and followed it for a while northwards, before turning left at an arbitrary point to walk across grouse moors to pick up another track on Yethersgill Head. This track took us past the Upper Barden Reservoir, over Lump Gill Head and neatly back to the start point. A good 18km circular on a reasonable day.

Rylstone fell
Distant view of Cracoe fell across typical grouse moor

Monday, 5 November 2012

Skipped on more


Remember, remember the 5th of November - the day that Peter Collins bagged his 2000th Hump - Skipton Moor (373m P137) -  in the company of Gordon Adshead, Bill, Jon Foote, Douglas Law, Pete Ridges, Chris Watson and myself.
I decided that with my bus-pass and senior railcard I could get there a lot cheaper and not much slower by train.

That's Skipton Moor in the background
We rendezvoused at the start of the track and, eventually, in a rather straggled line set off up the hill. Despite the fact that several of us had previously bagged this one, we managed to ascend by a less commonly used route.

Somehow the majority of us made it to the top. The usual disputes broke out about which particular rock was the true summit and whether any of them were higher than the trig. Despite the presence of the HumpHOFmeister, Chris, none of us knew the Hump chant - so Peter was saved from that embarassment. There was the usual ritual of  photos - for example, see below. If you want to see more pics try looking at Doug's at:

Peter Collins
Doug somebody
 Afterwards we had a celebratory drink here:
Congratulations, Peter.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Arctic to Adriatic - a summary


Date/Mountain name/ Country/ Height (m)/ Prominence (m)/ Status, if any/Ascent (m) /Distance (km)
01-07-12 Ejer Bavnehoj Denmark 170.35 Country top (historic) 100 2
01-07-12 Møllehøj Denmark 170.86 Country top(DK) (alternative)
01-07-12 Yding Skovhoj Denmark 173 Country top (human-made?) 20 0.5
06-07-12 Stiganosi Norway 1761 680 Major 1550 16
08-07-12 Kyrkja Norway 2037 277 ‘Marilyn’ 1000 13
10-07-12 Galdhøppigen Norway 2469 2372 Country top (N) + Ultra 1550 14
12-07-12 Snøhetta Norway 2286 1675 Ultra 850 13
17-07-12 Branntuva Norway 702 120 ‘Hump’ 1200 16
18-07-12 Helvetestinden Norway 602 160 ‘Marilyn’ 800 10
19-07-12 Hermansdaltinden Norway 1029 1029 Island top + Major 2100 23
21-07-12 Snøtinden Norway 637 200 ‘Marilyn’ 1100 17
26-07-12 Hamperokken Norway 1404 Major 1450 15
27-07-12 Karltinden Norway 1206 316 ‘Marilyn’ 1150 12
28-07-12 Store Lenangstinden Norway 1625 Ultra 1650 21
02-08-12 Skuleberget Sweden 300 2
03-08-12 Slattdalsberget Sweden 300 8
03-08-12 Hogklinten Sweden 281 150 ‘Marilyn’ 250 4
09-08-12 Sněžka Czech R/Poland 1602 1202 Country top (CZ) +Major 900 12
10-08-12 Wielk Szyszak Czech R/Poland 1509 331 ‘Marilyn’ 800 12
14-08-12 Králický Sněžník /Gora Śnieźnik Czech R/Poland 1425 657 Major 850 16
15-08-12 Pilsko Poland/Slovakia 1557 752 Major 1000 16
16-08-12 Babia Gora/Diablak Poland/Slovakia 1725 1075 Major 1250 17
18-08-12 Krzesanica Poland/Slovakia 2122 323 ‘Marilyn’ 1800 37
19-08-12 Svinica Poland/Slovakia 2301 351 ‘Marilyn’ 1900 25
20-08-12 Giewont Poland 1895 170 ‘Marilyn’ 1150 18
22-08-12 Rysy Poland/Slovakia 2503 163 Country top (PL) + ‘Marilyn’ 1450 26
23-08-12 Kriváň Slovakia 2494 400 ‘Marilyn’ + Country national 1450 24
25-08-12 Gerlach(ovsky Stit) Slovakia 2624 2355 Country top (SK) + Ultra 1800 20
26-08-12 Vel’ka Svist’ovka Slovakia 2038 25 P25 1350 20
29-08-12 Kral'ová hol'a Slovakia 1946 756 Major 1100 13
30-08-12 Ďumbier Slovakia 2043 1143 Major 1300 22
31-08-12 Pol’ana Slovakia 1463 732 Major 300 6
31-08-12 Kékes Hungary 1014 774 Country top (H) + Major 50 1
05-09-12 Hochtor Austria 2369 1520 Ultra 2000 17
07-09-12 Grosser Buchstein Austria 2224 1363 Major 1900 24
08-09-12 Grosser Pyhrgas Austria 2244 1250 Major 1300 14
09-09-12 Zirbitzkogel Austria 2396 1502 Ultra 1050 18
09-09-12 Fuchskogel Austria 2214 151 ‘Marilyn’ 1050 18
10-09-12 Grintovec Slovenia 2558 1706 Ultra 1800 16
11-09-12 Màngart/Mangrt Slovenia/Italy 2679 1067 Major 750 6
15-09-12 Triglav Slovenia 2864 2052 Country top (SLO) + Ultra 2150 18
19-09-12 Snežnik Slovenia 1797 1124 Major 500 8
20-09-12 Matajur Slovenia/Italy 1642 1392 Major 1000 14
21-09-12 Krn Slovenia 2244 605 P600 1300 13
22-09-12 Kanin/Canin Slovenia/Italy 2587 1403 Major 750 10
25-09-12 Stol/Hochstuhl Slovenia/Austria 2237 1021 Major 1550 10
02-10-12 Monte Altissimo di Nago Italy 2079 653 Major 550 9
03-10-12 Cima Valdritta Italy 2218 1950 Ultra 1000 12
04-10-12 Cornetto Italy 2180 1685 Ultra 900 12
05-10-12 Cima Dodici o Ferrozo Italy 2336 1874 Ultra 1300 25
06-10-12 Monte Grappa Italy 1775 1456 Major 150 5
07-10-12 Col Nudo Italy 2471 1644 Ultra 1600 12
08-10-12 Civetta Italy 3220 1454 Major 1650 12
11-10-12 Polinik Austria 2784 1580 Ultra 1550 16
13-10-12 Raucheck Austria 2430 1463 Major 1900 17
14-10-12 Hochkönig Austria 2941 2181 Ultra 2100 24
18-10-12 Birnhorn Austria 2634 1665 Ultra 2000 18
20-10-12 Ellmauer Halt/Wilder Kaiser Austria 2344 1552 Ultra 1300 13
21-10-12 Rotwand Germany 1884 741 Major 900 18
22-10-12 Grosser Traithen Germany 1852 1007 Major 1050 13
25-10-12 Königstuhl Germany 572 296 ‘Marilyn’ 35 2
26-10-12 Grosser Feldberg Germany 879.5 666 Major 10 0.5
26-10-12 Loreley rock Germany 194 200 5
27-10-12 Hohe Acht Germany 747 536 ‘Marilyn’ 180 4
27-10-12 Signal de Botrange Belgium 694 Country top/Belgian region high point- Walloon 6 0.2
27-10-12 Baraque Michel Belgium 674 0 0.2
27-10-12 Sint-Pietersberg Netherlands 107 250 10
28-10-12 Brussels HP Belgium 127 Belgian region high point - Brussels 40 4
28-10-12 Kemmelberg Belgium 152 Belgian region high point - Flanders 10 0.5

Some totals:

Total metres ascent: 69601
Total kms walked: 890
Equivalent 'Everests' ascended: 7.87

Prominence criteria:

P150+ (‘Marilyn’)        57
P600+                        42
P610+ (Major)             41
P1000+                     32
P1500+ (Ultra)            16
P2000+                       4

Absolute criteria:

 500+m                     59
1000+m                    51
1500+m                    45
2000+m                    32
2500+m                    10
3000+m                      1

Country tops:                  8  – Denmark, Norway, Czech R, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Belgium

Distance driven from Esjberg, Denmark – Calais, France  13390km

Hitchhikers picked up – by their nationality:

Czech Republic: 2
France: 4
Slovenia: 1
Poland: 3
Estonia: 2
Total: 12 (8 male;  4 female)
Only one was picked up in his own country – i.e. one from Poland

Countries visited:

Country/ Nights slept there/ Towns visited*/National Parks visited/UNESCO World Heritage Sites visited
Denmark/Danske (inc. 1 on Baltic sea) 3 Skagen
Norway/Norge 27 Trondheim, Tromso Jotunheim, Dovrefjell, Nærøyfjord
Finland/Suomi 0 Sweden/Sverige 7 Stockholm (C), Karlskrona Muddus Laponia, Höga Kusten, Karlskrona naval docks
Poland/Polske 10 Wroclaw, Zakopane
Czech Republic/Ceske Republik 5 Spindleruv Myln
Slovakia/Slovenske Republik 12 Strbske Pleso, Bratislava (C)
Hungary/Magyarorszag 1
Austria/Osterreich Republik 19 Wien/Vienna (C), St Johann im Tirol Gesause Hohe Tauern Historic centre of Vienna
Slovenia/Slovenija 15 Kranjska Gora, Bovec, Ljubljana (C), Bled, Kobarid Triglav Triglav national park
Italy/Italia 13 Venezia/Venice, Padova/Padua, Verona, Alleghe Venice and its lagoon, City of Verona, Dolomiti
Great Britain 2 London (C)
Germany/Bundes Republik Deutschland 6 Munchen/Munich Upper Middle Rhine Valley
Netherlands/Nederland 0 Maastricht
Belgium/Belgique/Belgien/Belgie 1 Brussels (C) Grand Place, Brussels
France 1

*By visited, I mean walked/cycled around for at least an hour– not just stopped to shop, get diesel or to catch plane ferry, bus, tram or train
C = National capital city


Country top – the highest point within a sovereign state, excluding any of its dependencies
Country national – a hill officially recognised within that country as the national hill – often represented on the country flag
Hump  – a hill with prominence of 100m or more in Gt. Britain and Ireland
Island top – the highest point on an island
Major – a hill with prominence of 610m (2000ft) or more
Marilyn – a hill with prominence of 150m or more in Gt. Britain and Ireland
Prominence - the height of a hill’s summit above the lowest contour line surrounding it and no higher summit
Ultra  – a hill with prominence of 1500m or more
Via ferrata/Kleittersteig/Voie equipee – steep sections of tracks fitted with (usually) metal fixings including chains, cables, ladders, steps and pitons.




Oh, to be back in England. However, there was someting in Wales that I need to clear up. Earlier in the year one of the Tamperers had laboured through the nights and days to identify new Humps in Wales. As someone who has made a previous claim to having completed all the Humps in Wales, England and the Isle of Man I was duty bound to do the four new Welsh ones. It made sense, to me anyway, to get them on the way home.

Path to Hascombe hill
This meant that from Dover I set off more westerly than northerly. On the way I passed the sub-Hump Hascombe hill (195m P95).
Hey, there are no paint marks - how am I supposed to know which way to go? And there isn't a cross - where is the summit?

Hascombe hill summit
After an overnight stop on Swansea docks I went to free the first of the Myrddin Welsh Humps Four.
Because I was so used to starting off from huttes I decided to start from the Masons Arms for Mynydd Gelliwastad (213m P100). From there was a good view of Swansea, Port Talbot and the Severn estuary.

Mynydd Gelliwastad summit
Not quite Wilder Kaiser -  the Y Glog range
Then it was northwards for the next one in mid Wales - Y Glog or Draws Drum (574 P106) - which is also a Dewey and hence a bit higher. It is on a ridge(?) that includes some other tops so I made this one into a bigger walk and also bagged the sub-Dewey Y Glog SW top (574m P20) and the Dewey Pen Dihewyd (513m P36).

Pen Dihewyd
Next day I tackled the last two in north Wales. Firstly there was Llechwedd Melyn (196m P100) just inside the Snowdonia National Park, near Tywyn. It is possible to park within 400 metres of the summit, but by time I had wandered around looking for ways through the trees and brambles I managed to walk three kilometres. And enjoyed every moment.
Llechwedd Melyn summit
When I reached the final Welsh Hump (again) it was late afternoon and it had been raining heavily. Luckily the rain sort of stopped whilst I bagged this one. Cefn Yr Ogof (204m P101) is that hill with a castle on you drive by on the A55 near Colwyn Bay. I have often looked at it and wondered whether it was worth exploring.

I parked in a side road in Terfyn and, not sure why, tackled the hill by a direct assault by the edge of an old quarry. There were a few desperate sections but it wasn't too difficult really. This meant I was soon on the top plateau. From there it was a wander through scrubland to the summit trig point. Just beyond the summit there were several large fairy rings of  mushrooms.
I didn't fancy sliding back down the quarry and although I did not have a map with me I was fairly confident that if I kept going I would find an alternative way down and be able to circle round to the start. Somehow, in the dusklight,  I lost the faint path and ended up climbing over barbed wire fences, creeping around ploughed fields, right next to a farmhouse and then came out on the road at Rhyd-y-Foel.
I celebrated with a veggie burger and chips from a chippie in Abergele - where the owner made a special point of cooking the burger in oil that had not been contaminated by fish or meat products.
My last Welsh Hump - ever?

Brussels' little sprout


Back in Belgium, I set out to complete one of the lists that appear on Peakbagger, namely the Belgian Province high points. I considered carefully what kit I should take and what provisions I would need. And, then put an apple and camera in my pocket and set off.

The first goal was the highest point in Brussels. This turned out to be in a wood next to the ring road. I set off from Welriekendedreef, down the Willeriekendedreef path, turned left on Hendricksdreef and then a sharp left on Damesrustdreef to the summit - which could have been marked by any one of a number of trees. I continued down Damesrustdreef until it met Willeriekendedreef, which inexorably took me back to the start. And, yes, all the paths in this wood really do have their own names.
Brussels HP
UNESCO World Heritage site - Grand Place, Brussels
VF kit on ready
Having never been to Brussels before, I decided to have a quick wander around the centre and have a look at the Grand Place - yet another UNESCO World Heritage site.
Brussels Grand Place was, deservedly, voted the most beautiful square in Europe in 2010. See: 

Note, San Marcos Piazza is not even in the top ten.

Micturating minor
It's all a facade

You don't need to go to Nepal to get your souvenirs
Kemmelberg summit
Signal de Botrange is the highest point in Walloon, so all I needed to do was to bag the Flemish high point to complete the list and become the first person registered on Peakbagger to do so.
This meant driving out into the West Flanders fields and back into WW1 history again to a village called Kemmel.
 Nearby is the Kemmelberg (165m), also known as Mont Kemmel. Kemmelberg was captured by the Germans in April 1918 and recaptured in late September 1918. The trees have grown back since.

From there it was a matter of driving into the French Flanders and heading for Calais and the DFDS ferry to Dover.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Maastricht treat


The Eifel mountains extend into Belgium and so, in sunshine, I drove into that country.
As it happens, my Satnav took me past the Signal de Botrange (694m), the highest point in Belgium, located in the Hautes Fagnes. I have been there before, but I could not resist bagging it again.  

Via ferrata descent route from tower

In 1923, the Belgians built a six-metre-high tower on the summit to round off the altitude to 700m.

Not true
 Just down the road is another 'summit' listed on the Peakbagger website, the Baraque Michel (674m). Apparently, before the annexation of the Eastern Cantons by Belgium in 1919, it was the highest point of Belgium.
I think this cow was at the highest point.

Chapel at Baraque Michel
Another hill listed on Peakbagger is Sint Pietersberg, near Maastricht, Nederland. It forms a ridge between Nederland and Belgium.
You'd think that, because they have so few hills, the Dutch would leave this hill alone. Far from it, it has been mined and quarried since Paleolithic times. Even now, there is a huge limestone quarry in the middle.

Even so, there is still a pleasant walk through woodland on the outer edges. I managed to get in a ten kilometre walk as dusk descended. And to make sure I bagged it, I visited all the tops.

I had planned to stop the night in the carpark, but I was moved on by the police and therefore headed back into Belgium.

Quarrying on Sint-Pietersberg

Is this the summit?
Or is this it? More likely, the other one