Dale and Gordon arrive at Crowther Towers for lunch and, once our bellies are filled, we set off laden with camping gear for a night on Kinder in search of the Kinder Boggart, a black dog said to terrify walkers and give fore warning of death or disaster. But we're made of stern stuff and have Pebbles and Islay to protect us.
It's late afternoon as we plod up through farmland to hit open country under Kinderlow End. Dale's doing duty as Pebbles' minder to give Chrissie's recovering foot an easier time. Bless 'im.
We strike up the Three Knolls Path towards a location we reccied a coupla weeks ago, where there's plenty of space for our three tents.
There's an even better supply of water in the thin stream we found, thanks to all the snow melt. We faff with our backpacking palace as the dogs chomp happily on hide chews brought expressly to divert their attention whilst tethered to our rucsacs. It's breezy, though not unduly so.
In no time at all, the pups are snuggled in the warmth of their Noble Campers.
When cold, we try to get the dogs settled as soon as the tent's up. They're very good now at recognising their beds and are happy to come in and curl up while I get our stuff; mats, sleeping bags etc, sorted. They're warm, comfy and cause no problem inside the tent.
I produce warm drinks and snacks. We're cosy too. It's around 2C outside.
Darkness falls. The lights of the Manchester conurbation fill the distant, western horizon.
Photo by Dale
We busy ourselves with feeding dogs and boiling water for dehydrated grub. Bla Band meals never fail to please the taste buds.
As Chrissie reads, I'm absorbed with a couple of episodes of the pre-apocalyptic drama, Hard Sun.
Dale, meanwhile, is troubled by all manner of strange goings on.
He's obviously a paranormal conduit...or something...
Our finely tuned, paranormal-activity-sensor-system never stirs though...
...and we pass a warm, peaceful night.
So much so, that we don't fully emerge until well after 8am. We both sleep well these days when wild camping, as do the dogs. Gordon's been up for a while though and, being of an athletic bent, is raring to go, so bids farewell to the rest of us lazy stayabeds as we munch on breakfast porage, and quaff multiple cups of tea and coffee.
As forecast, it's snowing heavily outside but hardly any settles on the ground. By the time we're packed it's stopped.
It's after 10 before we leave.
We follow the Three Knolls path before dropping down into the jumbled, ancient, landslip of Cluther Rocks, passing discarded millstones along the way, relics of the 18th Century quarrying hereabouts.
We pause to show Dale the mysterious Dog Stone. The origins of this cryptic, coded inscription is unclear, but the carver may well have been a stonemason.
Then it's downhill, past the woodland of Park Hall and back into Hayfield...
...with little evidence of boggarts or any other paranormal activity, save for Dale's endlessly overactive imagination.
But we did have fun!