Social Events Calendar until mid 2019

Thanks to all those involved in organising these events. Any ideas for the next programme then contact me as soon as possible. Updates have been added in blue. Jane Gay

Thursday 6th December Mid week Christmas Lunch at the Church House organised by Andy preceded by a walk organised by David G. The closing date is 29th November. For more information contact me jane.gay@icloud.com

Saturday 15th December Week End Christmas Lunch organised by Teresa preceded by a walk organised by Jane and Frank G. Information on the website and it has been e mailed out. There is only one place available but Teresa is prepared to start a waiting list.

Saturday 15th December Christmas walk and meal organised by Georgie and Peter.

Tuesday 1st January Keith’s Sherry walk organised by Melanie and Lorraine.

Friday 1st February Quiz night organised by Peter and Georgie at Macclesfield Tennis Club. Tickets will be on sale at the Christmas Meals

February Meal out organised by Andy. Maybe in Macclesfield!!

Friday 8th March Talk by Duncan L “Canals our watery footpaths” at Macclesfield Tennis Club. Organised by Maggie S

Friday 12Th April Start of Strollers’ walking programme. This has been expanded so keep your eyes on the website for details

Saturday/Sunday 13/14 April General Council in Manchester

26/28 April Long Walkers Weekend away Thirsk. Organised by Colin P. Information has been emailed out to members. Please let me know if you have not received it.jane.gay@icloud.com

Thursday 9th May Provisional start of evening walks organised by Steve H

Saturday 8th June Coach trip to Arnside area organised by Steve H

15/16 June weekend away Ilkley organised by Melanie. Information has been emailed out to members.

Thursday 20th June walk and meal in Monyash organised by Ann T

Saturday 29 June Ramble with a Ranger organised by Jane G

2/4 August Long walkers weekend Kirby Stephen organised by Georgie and Peter and Steve.

Saturday 28th September Coach trip to Conway organised by Annette H, Maggie S and Gina T. A new team!!

18/20 October Weekend away to Pickering organised by Ann T. Initial details have been circulated to members.

Several of these events have already had initial information sent out.
Please just ask if you haven’t received the emails and I will forward them to you. jane.gay@icloud.com

Thanks to all involved in putting together this amazing programme. Jane

Weekend Christmas Lunch 2018

This year’s weekend Christmas lunch will be held on Saturday 15th December at 1.00 pm at The Windmill, Holehouse Lane, Whiteley Green, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 5SJ

There will be an optional, approximately 5 mile, walk beforehand details of which will be on the website nearer the time.

The menu is shown below and costs £23 for 3 courses and includes a tip for the staff.

To book a place please email me at teresahewitt@hotmail.com with your menu choices and preferably make your payment by bank transfer to:

Unity Trust Bank
Sort code: 60-83-01
Account number: 20129929
Please quote reference TMX.

Alternatively you can pay by cheque. If you want to pay by that method please send an email for further information to: Teresa Marshall at teresahewitt@hotmail.com

Please add your email address (and menu choices) so I can confirm your booking.

Please note the closing date for bookings is the 30th November but there is a limit on numbers so book early to avoid disappointment

The Windmill Christmas Fayre Menu 15th December 2018
Starters

Rich French Onion Soup, Warm Brie Scone

Chicken, Pancetta & Apricot Terrine, Pomegranate & Shallot Salad, Oat & Beer Cracker

Warm Smoked Mackerel, Pickled Golden Beetroot & Fennel

Chilled Mushroom Parfait, Apple Chutney & Seed Cracker (Vegan)

Mains

Roast Turkey With All The Traditional Trimmings

Braised Flat Iron Steak, Black Garlic & Truffle Mashed Potato, Bourguignon Sauce

Pan Fried Red Snapper, Potato Rosti & French Style Peas

Confit Aubergine Steak , Thick Cut Chips, Slow Cooked Tomato & Mushroom, Peppercorn Sauce (Vegan)

Sweets

Traditional Christmas Pudding & Brandy Sauce (Gluten Free Option Available)

Flourless Chocolate Torte, Candied Pecans & Poached Winter Fruits (Gluten Free)

Mulled Wine Cheesecake, Oreo Crumb, Orange & Brandy Curd

Seasonal Cheese, Figs, Chutney & Biscuits

East Cheshire Ramblers Weekend Away to Coniston

The group of long walkers at Wetherlam having completed the Coniston Horseshoe

One of the many highlights of the East Cheshire Ramblers’ programme is their regular weekends away. This year the group went to Coniston for the weekend. It is a fascinating area with old copper mines and slate quarries. The majority stayed at the excellent Waterhead Hotel with beautiful views of the lake and a few others found their own accommodation. Three walks were organised on both Saturday and Sunday of varying lengths and difficulty to cater for everyone’s requirements. Much to everyone’s delight and relief, the weather was absolutely wonderful all weekend.

On the Saturday, 16 intrepid walkers set off to climb the Old Man of Coniston. Rather having an immediate ascent they walked along an old railway line above the Lake before walking gently upwards through fields of pasture and eventually meeting the Walna Scar Road. There are several routes to walk up Coniston Old Man (803m) and they choose a path leading us to Low Water a glacial basin, before completing the final ascent. They enjoyed stunning views, stopping for lunch above Levers Water with distant views of the Fairfield Horseshoe, the coast and estuaries. Taking an easy path along the top they reached Swirl How with more views of the mountain tops of Bowfell and Scarfel, from here they started their descent using a rocky path before reaching Wetherlam and walking down a long grassy slope back to the Miners Bridge and Coniston.

Twelve walkers set off up Walna Scar road, which climbs steeply to a remote car park used by walkers wanting to climb the Old Man, but without the initial slog! They then had a beautifully scenic walk back down to Coniston via Torver Beck, Torver Village (with its bizarre phone box converted into a fish tank) and along the lake. The final 10 caught an early bus to Blawith, and ascended via Beacon Tarn to Blawith Fell (820ft) and then descended and walked the path along the whole length of Coniston. They too had panoramic views and finished their walk following the lakeshore path into Coniston where they stopped for tea at the Bluebird Café by the lake.

On the way up the Old Man of Coniston near Low Water. View of the town of Coniston and Lake

Descending from Blawith Fell on the short walk on Saturday.

As well as being exhilarated by the panoramic views the long walk participants were able to inspect evidence of the area’s industrial past and discover a link with our home town of Macclesfield. In the 18th century there were three areas of copper mining which employed 600 men, women and children. The ore was transported to smelters In St Helens and Swansea by horse and cart and boat and finally rail. In 18th century Charles Roe formed the Macclesfield Copper Company and worked on the rich ‘Bonsor’ vein in Red Dell above Levers Water taking it below 150ft of the previous German workings. Gunpowder was used for blasting and by 1795 the workings were more than 330ft deep. The company also managed other mines at Parys Mountain in Anglesey and Charles Roe built a copper smelter on Macclesfield Common.

The view of Tarn Hows from the east side of the Tarn taken during the short walk on Sunday

On Sunday, 12 walkers took advantage of the spectacular weather to walk through Coppermines valley and then climb up to Swirl Hawse, Swirl How, Great Carrs and the Wet Side Edge, returning to Coniston via Little Langdale and Higher Tilberthwaite. They covered 13 miles and 2800 ft of ascent. The remaining walkers set off from the main car park at Tarn Hows. Eight walkers did the 8 mile “Fell Sandwich” walk ascending Holme Fell and Black Crag with Tarn Hows sandwiched in-between and 18 walkers did a gentler 6 mile circular walk from Tarn Hows via Low Yewdale Farm, Harry Guards Wood and High Oxen Fell and back to Tarn Hows, where 3 people ascended Tom Heights for the amazing 360o views. Much to everyone’s delight, on returning to the car park, the ice cream van had arrived. Flavour of the day was “Thunder and Lightning”! Couldn’t be further from the weather. What a perfect end to a perfect weekend!

Melanie Davy & Sue Munslow

Lunch stop at Torver jetty on the Saturday medium walk

Social Events Programme July – December 2018

Here is a list of East Cheshire Ramblers’ social events in the second half of this year. Thanks to everyone involved in organising these events. If you have any ideas for future events please contact me as soon as possible. Jane Gay

Saturday 14th July

Coach trip to Malham organised by Brian Griffiths. There are still a few places left. Contact jane.gay@icloud to receive more information about the trip.

Saturday & Sunday 4th & 5th August

Long walkers week end Porthmadog organised by Steve Hull and Georgie and Peter Everson

Thursday 16th August

Final evening walk followed by supper organised by Nick Wild

Thursday 6th September

Coach trip to the Forest of Bowland organised by Ann Thompson

22-30th September.

Bollington Walking Festival

Friday 28th September

End of Walking for Health programme

Mid to late October

Indian meal organised by Andy Davies

Saturday 17th November

The long awaited Hoedown at Victory Hall Mobberley.

Friday 16th November

Area AGM (all invited to attend)

Saturday 24th November

ECR AGM

Thursday 6th December

Mid week Christmas Lunch at the Church House organised by Andy Davies preceded by a walk organised by David Gylee

Saturday 15th December

Week End Christmas Lunch organised by Teresa Marshall preceded by a walk organised by Jane and Frank Gay

Saturday 15th December

Christmas walk and meal organised by Georgie and Peter Everson

Macclesfield Forest Paths Closed

United Utilities, the owners of Macclesfield Forest, have closed the forest to visitors while their staff make safe the large number of trees which were blown over by the recent high winds.  More information can be found at https://www.unitedutilities.com/help-and-support/about-us/recreation-sites/

A week in Devon 3-8th September

This five day break was very different to the Ramblers’ normal trip away and thus I was concerned as to whether it would work well or be fraught with difficulties. I can say that it worked well and everybody seemed to enjoy it. Can I just say that this was the nicest group I have ever had the pleasure of being involved with.

Six of us went down a day early to reccie our walks and did eventually manage to stay in the Manor House, no mean feat. On the Sunday the weather was atrocious and did not bode well for the rest of the week. John Handley had to buy an extra layer before he even set off!! I have to say there is no way, under normal circumstances, I would have gone out in that weather. We returned with everything soaked and we hadn’t even started the trip. We did have a good evening meal and chat which made it all worthwhile.

We walked on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday with Wednesday off to either visit the area or take part in the wide variety of activities. Golf and tennis were taken up by a number of the group.

Evening activities hey, when I discussed this idea with Frank we decided that nobody would be interested but we booked 10 pin bowling on the first night, just in case. Almost everybody turned up and really enjoyed themselves with Dave Gibson being the winner. The second night Ruth organised a fun table tennis tournament and again it was a great success. Frank being the winner, perhaps due to many years being spent in the youth club. The third night we were tutored in short mat bowling by Chris and Sue Munslow and again had a fun evening. The final evening there were several things on offer, including a 60/70 night which several people took part in. So not your normal ECR trip!!

Frank and I led the Meldon Quarry circuit on the Monday described as “a stunning walk, taking in fantastic moorland fringe scenery with views of the high moors and passing under the striking Meldon Viaduct”.

Monday’s other walk was led by Martin who is a walk leader at the hotel, and we started our walk from ‘The Warren’ pub close to Postbridge .  Martin was a mine of information (pun not intended) as he told us about the history of mining in the area and of medieval and earlier remains.  We looked at areas where miners would stay over the summer and saw where they would have grown vegetables and where they would have had rabbit warrens (hence the name of the pub) to supply meat on site.  The moor was beautiful providing a splendid air of isolation and moody rolling views.

A short walk was also led with by a leader from the centre. The weather was kind to us and everybody seemed to have had a good day when we met for dinner.

Tuesday’s long walk was led by Lyn, another walk leader from the hotel, and we started from Belstone.  We did an 11 mile tour of the Tors (pun intended) including Hounds Tor, connected to the famous Sherlock Holmes mystery ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’.  There was lots of climbing and we had constant rain in the morning, adding up to a tough walk.  However, we did not let it dampen our spirits and really enjoyed the 7 tors we climbed, and the views of Dartmoor when we did finally get them in the afternoon.

Laura Hall

Epiphytes in Wistmans Wood

On Tuesday John Handley led a walk to Wistmans wood. What an experience; see his description below. A short walk was also led from the hotel.

This ‘ecological ramble’ began beside a quarry which revealed the granite architecture of Dartmoor. From here we walked along a rough track into the moor. Beside the track gorse had been burnt to provide a flush of mineral nutrients for the sheep. We reflected on a Welsh saying – ‘Bronze under heather, silver under gorse and gold under bracken’.

Next came Crockern Tor, the open-air meeting place of the Stannary Parliament where Devonshire tin mining was adjudicated from the 14th to the 18th century, and where Sir Walter Raleigh himself presided on October 27th, 1600.

From here we followed a ridge, each tor more impressive than the last. Less impressive for the sheep. Up here, where the rainfall exceeds 2,000 mm, the growing season for grass is only 175 days compared to 300 days on Devon’s south coast.

Hence the tree line in western Britain is depressed and Wistman’s Wood at around 400m is one of the highest oak woods in England. It is a vestige of the wildwood that clothed Britain in early prehistoric times. The ancient gnarled oak trees have survived because the granite boulders between which they grow, known as ‘clatter’, are impenetrable to grazing animals – and not much better for ramblers! They are festooned with lichens and ferns and this is a truly atmospheric place.

After lunch we followed the Cowslic River to join the Devonport Leat. This beautifully engineered channel was constructed in the 1790s to carry drinking water to the expanding Plymouth dockyards. The leat brought us to the edge of the West Dart valley from where we looked down on Crockern farm. The landscape was grey and drab except for a bright green field beside the farm where animals had been regularly folded. We then looked at the grass beneath our feet and saw that it too was a healthy green and full of herbs. We were standing in a medieval enclosure where the ecological memory went back at least 500 years. Dartmoor may be a forbidding place but its landscape history is something to behold.

John Handley

On Thursday 7th September the walk started in the village of Gidleigh. The focal point of the village is the Holy Trinity Church which dates from the late 15th century and nearby are the remains of Gidleigh Castle which is a much earlier building.

From the village the route took us southwards through the densely forested area of Gidleigh Tor to cross the cascading Teign River. The path joined the Two Moors Way leading us through flowering pasture meadows of the lower slopes of Dartmoor.

At French Beer we left the path walking up on the moorlands and shortly reached the remains of Bronze Age hut circles.

Crossing the valley we climbed the slopes up to Thornworthy Tor. Dartmoor is covered with numerous Tors which are the remains of the granite plugs from volcanic activity nearly 30 million years ago. This high point gave us views of the moors and low lying land all round with Thornworthy Reservoir below.

Lunch was at another Tor, Kestor Rock. We sheltered from the prevailing wind surrounded by unconcerned Dartmoor ponies and their foals.

We headed again for distant slopes towards the ‘Long Stone’, three metres tall with initials carved into one face having a more modern use as a boundary stone.

We were now on Shovel Down which has an impressive range of remains dating from the Bronze Age including field systems, stone rows, stone huts, a cairn and the standing stone.

We hadn’t seen stone rows before so they were of special interest to us, being made up of stones which run about a metre apart roughly in a north south direction for a length of up to 180 metres including a Y shape where two rows meet. These may have had a ceremonial purpose.

We continued to walk along the stone rows towards an ancient Clapper Bridge then climbing to a higher point where we came across the impressive Scorhill Circle, before returning to Gidleigh.

Sue Munslow

And the rest of our time????

Diana Beech, in writing about the activities available, said:

The activities enjoyed by the “Gay” group included: archery, tennis (indoor and outdoor), long and short mat bowling, ten-pin bowling, table tennis, swimming, golf, adventure golf, dancing at a 60s/70s night and relaxing in the hydro spa.

Table tennis and bowling brought out the competitive side of many ramblers, creating much amusement for all. The swimming pools and hydro spa provided welcome relaxation after the walks.

Two members of the group didn’t walk but took part in crafts during the day. They sampled enamelling, patchwork and creative embroidery and really enjoyed them, paying about £3 each session for materials used. Pauline tried jewellery making and now is the proud owner of a necklace.

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This just leaves me to thank Sue and Chris Munslow and John Handley for leading walks as well as Martin and Lynn from the centre. Frank for his support throughout the planning stage and during the week. Also thanks to Louise for the amazing cream tea. Most of all thanks to all who attended for making it such a pleasurable experience.

Jane Gay

Reconstruction of Footpath 22 at Bollington by ECR Volunteers

Before we started

Before we started

After we finished

After we finished

Sometime before October 2015 Evan Pedley of PROW, Crewe, asked me if our project team would repair a flight of wooden steps on Bollington FP22, which climbs from Ingersley Road up to Shrigley Rise. This seemed feasible at the time, because we could collect new wood for the steps as a contribution by PROW Department from its depot at Winsford; and Bollington Town Council would contribute up to £500 (plus VAT) towards materials.

The path climbed over fourteen metres in height over a length of 69 metres from its start in the field below a bottom kissing gate. The path was a surface drain for regular rain run-off from the impermeable surfacing of Shrigley Fold, and even off the main Shrigley Road in heavy rains, at the top of the path. It formed a deep gulch (a word chosen conservatively) and walkers were required to straddle the hollow and walk the haunches when the surface was wet and slippery. It held twenty-four rotting wooden steps.

Evan requested that precast concrete (p.c.) highway kerbs are deployed to resist the waters and to provide more durability than wood on this frequently used urban path. The prospect of me asking a voluntary project team of predominantly senior citizens who, with respect, are past their prime, to manoeuvre 70+ kg kerbs for 60 metres along the path, and up to 14 metres down the steps, was daunting. So, despite spending time on several occasions surveying the existing eroded wooden steps with my family’s help, I deferred the work to a future suitable period. Gradually, a sense of obligation took control and triggered me to allocate June through August this year, pending team support, to ‘fit’ the steps into the diary.

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Ken in an overgrown section of the path before work started

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Rainwater run off had undermined the path

Shrigley Rise neighbours have been very accepting of our disruption, allowing me to park as many as four bulk bags of gravel and two pallets of kerbstones on their private driveways on several deliveries, and special thanks go to Siobhan and Max for allowing us to store large tools and two wheelbarrows in their rear garden, Sarah for passing Ice cold drinks through the hedge and Rob for his oil for the wheelbarrows! Additionally, the team was given enthusiastic encouragement by path users.

To create a safe and durable working/walking space, we started by clearing vegetation, predominantly of naturally established, but badly located, trees and branches. We next repaired two wooden steps and added a third step in the field approach from Ingersley Road, below a bottom kissing gate. Higher up, two existing p.c. highway kerb steps were relocated, and the 24 existing wood steps were replaced by 47 new p.c. bull-nosed (rounded top corner) highway kerbs. Some steps were constructed full width of the space between walls to reduce erosion. We have placed twice as many steps (52 instead of 28) and a more even gradient between step rises in our construction. There are important benefits in that both of the latter measures dissipate the energy in rainwater flows down the path and steps and minimise erosion; and the threshold of difficulty for locals in scaling the steps has been considerably reduced,

We commenced step building, by progressively removing old steps, excavating for the new ones, placing them to line and level, and constraining their facing lower edge by steel pins. For safe working we spread ourselves in pairs up the path, but inevitably found coordination and cooperation between the teams was essential to enable materials to be moved across each of the work fronts. As the workdays passed, the shape of the stairflights crystalised, and a bulge in the slope was reduced by excavating for, and lowering, some steps. The bulk of our fill material is 40mm sized limestone aggregate, which allows water to pass in a restrained manner, but is firmly positioned. A surface skim of 14mm limestone chips is gentle underfoot and knits the surface together.

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Ian tipping a barrow load of limestone chippings as Nick is poised to spread them out

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Mike and Alan at work. Kerbs ready to be laid on the right

Several thoughts disturbed my sleep prior to starting on site: I dreaded finding we could not drive 16mm dia. steel pins 400mm into the underlying ground, to hold the kerbs in place, due to being rebutted by solid rock here and there. Such rebuttals occurred only once or twice. I was majorly concerned about moving the 70+ kg kerb units along the path and down the steps. I purchased a two-wheeled bag trolley to park them next to their final resting place, and two proprietary lifting tongs for multiple lifting to place them on a trolley and at each temporary and final accurately allocated placement. My overall concern, of course, was whether sufficient team support members would declare themselves willing to carry out this very heavy labour. But, as always, a team performed on each day.

We completed the project on 9th August. On which occasion two walking groups of eight and twelve persons coincidentally chose to pass respectively up and down the path!

Between two and six team members have attended on seventeen occasions between 26th June and 9th August, (generating 62 volunteer-attendance days) and served 296 man-hours of labour (excluding lunch breaks). During this project, 13.5 tonnes of limestone have been shovelled, and accepting that each pc concrete kerbstone has been lifted and transported twice, 8 tonnes of pc concrete has been lifted and placed. Also, a large amount of soil has been dug, moved and reprofiled during the scheme.

ECR Group have purchased £1792 (Vat Incl.) of materials, and Bollington Town Council have contributed £558 (Vat incl.) of that total.

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The bottom end of the path as completed

For the success of this project, my thanks go to Janet Allen, David Bates, Helen Battilana, Ian Black, Nick Brearley, Mike Collins, Roger Fielding, Adrian Flinn, Barbara Hare, Ken Hobbs, Philip Hodgkinson, David James, Roger Jubb, Gillian and Tom North, Ian Wasson, Nick Wild, Alan Wilson, my wife Helen and son Damian (as surveying assistants).

Brian Richardson

Some of the team

Some of the team – Adrian, Mike, Ken and Roger

A Gorgeous Week In Crete

Descending to Sweetwater Beach on the E4

Last Saturday eighteen long walkers returned safely from Crete on the annual continental walking holiday.

Based in Loutro on the south coast, we set off westwards on the 1st day to Marmara Bay from where we commenced the 800m ascent of Aradena Gorge.This entailed plenty of scrambling over pretty rough terrain.If people were expecting easier days to come they were somewhat disappointed, as all the walks were what could be described as challenging . Still, all survived ,with only a few tumbles and grazes.

The following day we descended the Imbros Gorge, following the route of the British Army retreat to the waiting warships in 1941.The 1st World War slogan “Lions led by Donkeys” could equally have applied to the campaign on Crete. In fact I’m sure I heard muttering to that effect over the week as I led the group over the difficult terrain.From the bottom of the gorge we walked westwards on the E4 back to Loutro via Sweetwater Beach.Instead of completing the walk with the rest of us Graham Bothwell chickened out at Sweetwater Beach, and caught a boat back. His lame excuse was that we weren’t going fast enough for him.What he failed to mention was that Sweetwater Beach is a nudist beach !

The 3rd day proved pretty gruelling ,involving a water taxi,a 3 hour coach journey,a 5 hour/1200m descent of the spectacular Samaria Gorge,followed by a 1 hour ferry journey back to base.

A shock to the system for some! Westwards on the E4

The following day we took a water taxi back to the base of the Samaria Gorge , and walked back along the E4 ,trudging through soft sand 20/60m above the shoreline for the first few miles.We enjoyed beautiful views of the coast and clear blue sea.

Graham was delighted to be given the opportunity of returning to Sweetwater Beach for a bit of rest and recuperation on the 5th day.

The steep 600m ascent behind Loutro on the final day in mid/high 20 degree temperatures was perhaps the most gruelling of the week, but rewarded with spectacular views of Loutro.It was worth the effort though to descend the narrow ravine that took us down into Chora Sfakion and a well earned lunch (and cold Beer!) in a waterside tavern.

Brian Griffiths

The alternative,and slightly easier way up the Aradena Gorge

Six go snowshoeing in the Dolomites

A couple of weeks ago six long walkers enjoyed a week away with Ramblers Worldwide Holidays ,snowshoeing in the Dolomites.
It was surprisingly easy for those of us who had never done it before to adapt to snowshoeing.That said, it was pretty strenuous going at times.
Based in the hamlet of St Zyprian we enjoyed spectacular views from the hotel of the Rosengarten limestone peaks.

Negotiating The Labyrinth

A relatively gentle 1st day was followed by a walk through The Labyrinth,a boulder field of thousands of snow covered rocks.Those at the front were amazed that our local guide managed to navigate his way through.Several days involved journeys by bus and skilifts to get above the snowline to enjoy spectacular scenery,and some of the best walking any of us have experienced.

Last day ,and down to a mountain hut for a hot meal followed by a sledge ride back down to the cable car.

The final day culminated in sledging 3 kms with a descent of 400 meters:exhilarating !
Brian Griffiths