Sunday, December 18, 2011

Winter Contrasts

The 'Cat and Fiddle' pub sits on a precarious bend on the 'Cat and Fiddle' road that connects Macclesfield and Buxton. The webcam looks out along the road and across the moors. I have been itching to see if it is possible to ski from the pub to the summit of the nearby Shining Tor.

As soon as Kirstine and I had finished our hot chocolate pre-ski warm up. The weather began to close in.

Un-detterred, we carried on through the wild, wintry blizzard and snowdrifts in search of the junction in the paths where we could head for the (as yet unseen) summit.

When we reached the summit, we headed back down as quickly as possible to escape the fierce wind. Having been skiing in a blizzard for over two hours, I was beginning to worry if the car would be buried and indeed if the road would still be open. We had no shovel!

Back at the pub, our car was fine (if a little camouflaged) and the road was still passable.

On the next day, the weather was much nicer with golden winter sunshine. This looked like a perfect opportunity to visit the Manchester Canoe Club slalom course for some gentle river paddling.

I have borrowed a Pyranha Z One to try out with a view to buying one. The boat is everything I would hope for. It is reasonably forgiving whilst being sporty enough to remind me that river paddling requires some degree of skill.

Landlocked no.2

As strong winds begin to blow winter to the UK shores, I find myself hiding further inland for my paddling. On Saturday I headed for the nearby Bridgwater Canal. I set off early and made it to the 'Barn Owl Inn' just before it opened up. Having battled into a cruel and cold breeze, I settled for a quick cup of tea and an energy bar before heading back.

I was amazed at how easy the return journey was. The ever changing skies were caught between Autumn and Winter. This would be the last of the golden colours for this year.

Sunday brought me to meet up with some of the folk from Liverpool Canoe Club for their pre-Christmas get together. Some went for a trashing in the gale-driven surf at Llandudno. I settled for a quick tour of the lower River Dee, just upstream of Chester.

The river is surprisingly lively with a variety of paddlers, rowers and walker. The pleasure boat trips are still running too.