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In Search of the Elusive Blind Stones – Sat 18/12/21

Looking to enjoy a window of opportunity in the middle of organising the schools cross country events, alongside my friend and training partner (Ian Fraser), we took the opportunity to take part in Pennine Fell Runners Xmas Handicap event.

During the early Covid lockdown of 2021 we had joined Pennine as second claim members, after a lifetime of competing for ECH, largely as a consequence of turning out at their events as guests through extended friends.

Throughout the spring period we were well and truly beasted up hill and down dale over Kinder Scout and the Kinder plateau in a series of orienteering events which tested our metal to the full, and let us know well and truly who were the kings of their own domain.

So to their winter series and the opportunity to turn the tables, as the largely Hayfield based contingent were invited to the Tintwistle/ Dovestones valleys. Start and finish Bulls Head/ Tintwistle grid ref 023973-visit three check points in any order, stake and punch at each one, punch your map at each pointOne- The Dish Stone SE03101Two-Blind Stones SE037013Three-Sugar Cube SE019028

Looking to ensure that we did not disgrace ourselves as this was what we would regard as on our patch we sought to recce part of the course on Wednesday, seeking out the Blind Stones. Full on drifting mist and a full hour running around in a circle did not bode well though they were eventually located.

The first time I had visited that point in 40 years of exploring the area, and boy did they live up to their name, situated in a hidden hollow. Well practice paid off coupled with local knowledge and we stuck to our guns with route choice against the wave of choice of the remainder.

On a perfect day of visibility and conditions we hit the Blind Stones bang on and never looked back leading the Pennine contingent home. Ian was first home round the 10 mile course in 1hr 50, and I followed him in at 1hr 59. Pleasingly we were dried and changed before the Pennine contingent started to head in and the dignity of the East Cheshire Road Runners, as they refer to us was preserved.

A cracking day out, check out the grid references / course but pick your weather window.

Saul Gallagher

Photo – Saul Gallagher (left) and Ian Fraser (right)