The nine standards Rigg are nine cairns on the summit of Hartley Fell at a height of 2132 feet in the Pennine hills and are on the line of the coast to coast walk between Kirkby Stephen and Keld.
Legend Has it that the cairns were built by the Romans to ward off the incoming enemy. The idea is suggested that the enemy would approach Hartly fell and be greeted by the site of nine giant centurions guarding the camp and striking fear into the hearts of even the bravest of men. To be honest no one knows who built them or why they were erected. One possibility is they mark the boundary between Westmoreland and Swaledale.
I and a friend “Rob Jacquies” decided to do a winter camp on the summit of the nine standards. The weather was forecast to be bad with snow blizzards through the night. I met up with Rob in Kirkby Stephen where we parked the cars. There was no snow in the village but looking up into the hills we could see a good amount of snow was down on the hills.
We started our walk and passed the hartley quarry where we could hear explosions going on. They were extracting materials from the quarry used for road resurfacing and building materials. Further up the track, we started to get to the snow line and the temps started to drop. We started to see amazing views of the hills and could see that the snow was getting deeper.
On the way up we met another walker coming down from the top and had a bit of a chat. He said “I presume your camping by the looks of your packs… where are you spending the night” he asked. We told him hopefully at the top………….lol. The look on his face when we said that ha ha ha …..he looked horrified. We got further up and the fog came in so we stuck close together till we got to the top. We had plans of spending the night right at the side of the cairns but the wind was bad and a snowstorm was coming our way so we scoured the area for a place to settle down for the night. There were not many places we could find especially on top so we had to drop down out of the wind on the east side of the fell and we pitched just in time as the vertical snow came in from the west.
The wind howled all night and we had vertical snow coming in under our tents in a spindrift. I got a set of delta pegs from my mate Trev for Xmas. All I can say is thanks Trev…..they saved my tent lol.
Please come along and join us in this adventure by watching the video below.
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