31 January 2016

Dedication

It was perishing in Bury yesterday. I had driven across the Pennine hills to the northern Manchester area to watch my beloved Hull City put our Lancashire hosts to the sword with a hat-trick from Arsenal loanee Chuba Akpom. It was bitterly cold at the historic Gigg Lane Stadium with hail and snow amidst spells of sunshine. Thankfully, I had had the foresight to purchase a woolly hat from Bury Market. A snip at £2 and red for visibility when out walking.

I had arrived in Bury for the very first time at 10,30am, after a journey from home that took exactly one hour and fifteen minutes. Logically, my expectation was that the journey home would take roughly the same amount of time. 

Sheffield and Manchester are only thirty five miles apart but the most direct roads over the wild hills between these important northern cities are windy, double track routes - The Snake Pass and The Woodhead Pass. We tend to use The Snake Pass as it brings us into our city's south western suburbs whereas The Woodhead Pass brings you first to Stocksbridge and then Hillsborough to the north of the city.

From the M60 Manchester ring road I took the M67 to Mottram and thence to Glossop. All was fine but given the cold and wintry showers, I had a nagging feeling that getting across The Snake Pass beyond Glossop could be problematic. However, I reached the moorland summit without incident or significant concern and that's when I wished I had used a different route.
A57 Snake Pass summit on a pleasant day in June
There was a police vehicle up ahead with blue lights flashing in the blackness as a blizzard blustered around. A few other cars were turning around and heading back to Glossop. I noticed a BMW slipping and sliding about and realised that the road over the summit had not been salted. It was treacherous and the snow was now beginning to settle. 

As I reached the police vehicle, my headlights illuminated two cars that had flipped over having left the road and another was down in the ditch at a forty five degree angle. A bobby made hand gestures that told me I had to turn back. Just turning around in those conditions wasn't easy with dropping verges at both sides of the tarmac but I made it and carefully returned to Glossop with hazard lights flashing. On the eastern edge of Glossop there was now a police road block and a sign saying "Road Closed" for would-be Snake Pass travellers. Marvellous!

Then on to Mottram where I proceeded to The Woodhead Pass, hoping that it would be passable with care and so it was. Home called. Onwards to Langsett and Stocksbridge, then along to Deepcar and Middlewood and back into the city. I crossed our threshold at 8.15pm - three hours after jumping in the car at Bury and one hour and forty five minutes longer than the journey over had taken. Such is the dedication (or craziness) of staunch Hull City fans.

16 comments:

  1. Well, I am glad you made it in once piece, and I hope whoever was in the flipped over cars and the one in the ditch wasn't too badly hurt.

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    1. It was such a foul night up there. I don't think the police would have appreciated me going over to the cars to check out the occupants but like you I hope they're okay. It won't have been like a high speed motorway accident.

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  2. Glad you made it home safely. Did you remember to buy one or two of Bury's famous black puddings at the market? They would make the journey worthwhile!

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    1. I went to the black pudding stall in the market and copied the example of the people in front of me in the queue - "One lean please!" The vulgar item is now throbbing in our fridge.

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  3. The weary traveler heaved his tired body from the car, the greasy brown bag clenched tightly in his hand. No one to greet him at the door, he paused briefly in the kitchen to deposit the despicable item in the icebox before succumbing to the overwhelming need for sleep. In his exhausted slumber, he was unaware of the creaking sound, the icebox door swinging open, the strange odor......

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    1. Stop! Stop Hilly! You are frightening me!

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  4. I was initially confused by that photo. "It doesn't look so bad!" I thought.

    What would you have done if the second pass were closed too? Does that ever happen?

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    1. Yes it does happen Steve. Then I would have had to drive up to the M62 and cross over to Leeds but even the M62 can occasionally be closed in wintertime.

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  5. What a journey YP - dedication indeed.

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    1. ...a nd obviously 100% concentration is needed on nights like that one. I was knackered when I finally got home.

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  6. Weather controls us even at football games! Then when it comes to roads we are really hostages. Good that you got safely home.

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    1. I guess that you Canadians know a lot about wintry weather. It would be so easy to make a wrong move.

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  7. You must be a very keen football fan. If I don't have to go out anywhere when the weather is bad, then I don't.

    We've had storms here of a different kind over the past couple of days...severe summer storms. A couple of people have lost their lives. Even if I had reason to go out, I would cancel that reason and venture forth when the conditions improved; unless of course I had no other recourse. It'd have to be a very good reason!

    I'm glad you got back home safe and sound. Next time in such conditions watch the game on TV!! :)

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    1. The weather forecast was wrong for Saturday evening but in any case I had bought my match ticket a week in advance of the game which was not live on television. To support Hull City it helps if you are slightly mad... like me!

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  8. All's well that ends well - football and travelling in hazardous conditions.

    Ms Soup

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    1. "All's well that ends well" would have been a good title for this post but I only ever use one sword titles.

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