Ice Station Diggle

Photo by Oldham Mountain Rescue
Diggle – Photo by Oldham Mountain Rescue
There are various advantages to living in Saddleworth the great friendly people who still think its important to put something back into the community they live in, the beautiful countryside and on hot sunny days the quietness of the moorlands that give you a time to mentally recover from what life throws at you in this hectic 21st century way of life.

This time last year it was warm enough for our first BBQ of the summer, this year on the other hand It would take me twenty minutes to dig it out of the snowdrift it is lodged in.

Having said all that on Saturday evening we had tickets to see Jersey Nights at the Opera House in Manchester. We left Saddleworth around five looking like a pair of Arctic explorers prepared for every eventuality and set out by car.

By the time we had got down to Ashton there was little in the way of snow and by the time we reached Manchester there was non at all. Now this is good news in one way but the strange looks you get from people when you arrive in Manchester dressed like trainee mountaineers is a little disconcerting.

I can also say that the Opera House gets very warm when you are wearing thermals and several layers of clothing, I think I lost a stone in weight by the time the show ended. (which was very good considering I don’t do musical theatre).

When we came to return home the temperature in Manchester was two degrees. By the time we reached Ice Station Diggle it was minus two, that is some temperature drop in the space of ten miles.

The weather this weekend up here on the top of the world has been challenging to say the least. Snow has come down in bucket loads and what has made it worse is the wind has gathered it up and put it in places that are far better off without it.

So to the point I am trying to make. If you live in Saddleworth you dress according to the weather and you know when to try and travel and when not to. I have a stick in the front garden and if the snow covers it I know to get back in bed until the first bus passes through.

This comes from the collective experience that says trying with hundreds of other commuters to get over the hilltops that surround us is a fruitless exercise which prevents the snowploughs from clearing the roads in an efficient manner.

I suppose we all take for granted that someone will come and rescue us should we find ourselves in trouble. But I always think that if you do not put yourself in the position in the first place then the emergency services will be free to help people who really need help.

This weekend our intrepid Mountain Rescue Team have been incredibly busy working in conditions that would give every Health and Safety person palpitations.

What makes me appreciate these individuals is not the unquestioned bravery or the obvious expertise, it is that these dedicated professionals do it because they care about the environment they live in and they feel they make it safe for less experienced individuals to take advantage of our beautiful moorlands.

So I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the volunteers and fundraisers of the Mountain Rescue Team that help make Saddleworth a safer place to live in.

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