8 July 2021

Thursday

The window of Oyster Clough Cabin

Today's walk was on  moorland east of The Snake Pass, before the road turns up onto Snake Pass Summit. I had parked Clint by ten fifteen. Soon I was ready to climb the long steep path northwards out of Birchin Clough through a pine plantation.

Twenty minutes later I was up in the light again clasping a detailed map of the area and ready to complete a long circular route that did not involve any proscribed public footpaths until I met Doctor's Gate south of Cowms Rocks near the old sheepfold.

You have to watch every step when walking in such terrain. Moorland vegetation can hide deep holes filled with water and there's squelchy peat and bogland to negotiate. I plod along slowly and carefully because one thing is for sure - if you have an  injurious accident out  there, there will be no good Samaritans passing by. You are as skiing aficionados might say  - off piste.

I circled the head of Birchin Clough and schlepped* over to the next major clough or valley - Oyster Clough. Previously I had noted that there's a shooting cabin near the top of Oyster Clough. I have visited  a good number of such cabins and they are normally locked up securely but this was unlocked so I went inside.

There was no evidence of grouse shooters using it but the roof and walls were well-maintained. It was very basic and there were log books dating back to 2017. I flicked through them, surprised by how many visitors there had been before me. Naturally, I left my own entry before enjoying a brief sit-down with my flask of water and three shortbread biscuits. The log books revealed that a number of visitors have slept in the cabin or sheltered from wild weather there. 

Grouse butt on Alport Moor - shooters crouch here as grouse are "beaten" towards them

I had forgotten to bring my compass but had little trouble finding my way to Cowms Rocks before descending to the old Roman track that is, as I said earlier,  known for some strange reason as Doctor's Gate. Nearly two thousand years ago Roman soldiers walked that way linking Ardotalia Roman fort near Glossop with Navio fortress at Brough in The Hope Valley.

The walk took me longer than anticipated - just over four hours . Clint admitted that he had scared off a sleek black Audi A5 who had pulled up next to him. "She said there was no way she would go out with a Hyundai i20!" he grumbled but then with a glint in his eye added, "You should have seen her bodywork!"

East of those lost hills, Sheffield was calling.

View to the old sheepfold near Cowms Rocks

* thanks to Steve Reed for this word

30 comments:

  1. No compass! You were lucky to get away with that, even on a clear day. Up there is one of my favourite places.

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    1. I had studied the map carefully and of course the shape of the Kinder Plateau was always looming to give me my bearings.

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  2. Although they really look nothing at all alike, your photograph of Oyster Clough Window made me think of Andrew Wyeth’s 1947 painting “Wind from the Sea”….

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    1. I just went off to Google that lovely, wistful picture. Thanks for the connection Bob.

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  3. You could fall asleep on Alport Moor and wake up in the world of the Faerie.
    Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff belong in the Faerie.
    So do King Arthur and his knights: the Matter of Britain, as it is called, is predicated on Celtic mythology and the Faerie.

    As for Oyster Clough Cabin, there are places where one should be alone.
    It must have been agreeable to try the door handle and find it unlocked.
    Imagine if the Log Book contained all the visions and fears of those who have ever sheltered there?
    What would Wordsworth or Coleridge have written about the view from Oyster Clough Cabin?
    The Romantics did not invent the Sublime but they ran with it.
    Haggerty

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    1. I wish I had longer to thumb through those logs. There may have been some noteworthy entries but what I happened to read was mostly superficial. However, I spotted one entry where the lone visitor had arrived during a blizzard and stayed there for two nights getting water from the snow. There was of course no heating.

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  4. That must be a very humid place to walk, Mr. pudding. What with all the water that is stored in the peatt and other vegetation. I love the picture at the Grouse Bute. Another new and different walk.

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    1. Hello Big Sis. Thanks for continuing to show keen interest in my walks. The weather was pleasant during the walk - low humidity.

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  5. Great hiking routes with lots of history.

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    1. I thought about the Roman soldiers who walked on Docor's Gate.

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  6. The walls of the cabin are amazingly thick.

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    1. They need to be in that exposed location Andrew.

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  7. That window picture is one of the most beautiful pictures I have seen in a while, it really speaks to me. Did you put the flowers there?
    I am thinking of a Hannah Hauxwell type of life in such a remote, basic place, and I know I'd miss my hot showers and central heating greatly!

    Cowms is a very unusual place name. Do you know what it means?

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    1. Cowms is indeed an unusual name and though I have tried to found out its derivation Google has not led me to the answer. Glad the window picture moved you.

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    2. Maybe 'cowms' is linked to 'combes', a narrow valley or hillside?

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    3. That makes sense Sue. Thank you.

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  8. I wonder who left the flowers in the window at the cabin? A Faerie perhaps, or was it a signal from Heathcliff to Cathy that the coast was clear? Haggerty will know.

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    1. Mr Haggerty knows a lot but I do not think he will know that. There was still plenty of water in the old champagne bottle.

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  9. Hah! Librarian asked the very same question that I was going to ask! And I also agree that it was a lovely picture.

    Someone stayed there for two days with no heat in a blizzard? My gosh. It sounds like a treacherous walk without snow on the ground. I would never want to try it in winter.

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    1. It's a very lonely place. If properly equipped I would not mind staying there on my own in wintertime. I bet it is a good place to write poetry.

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  10. As always, wonderful photography. The window photo reminds me of an Andrew Wyeth painting.

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    1. Thanks Mary. Rhymes With Plague (Bob) said the same (above).

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  11. Super photos. Especially the flowers in the window picture.

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    1. That photo has attracted more thumbs up than I expected.

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  12. I have been to that hut I'm sure - some years ago now. I love bothies and their like - some great little known ones in Wales, especially in mid Wales. You'd like em too I'm sure.

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    1. I must get over to Wales some time to do a couple of walks.

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  13. That really is a striking photo of the window and view. That said, what different people like in a photo can vary widely. This one seems to resonate with a high percentage of your readers, though.

    Clint is a bit of a rascal, like his driver.

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    1. Rascal is a good word you rascal!

      That photograph does appear to have touched a few people. I never expected that response when I put it at the top of this blogpost.

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  14. Nice employment of the Yiddish! It's interesting that the cabin was left open and untended. In London it would have automatically become a drug den!

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    1. Surprisingly, I noticed that a few of the log book entries referred to "Weed" and "dope". It was great to see unbroken window panes.

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