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Hill Explorer - UK Hiking Routes

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  • October 27, 2015 09:04:49 PM

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Walking, Hiking, and Scrambling route descriptions and reports, mainly focusing on Snowdonia and the Peak District, eg. the Snowdon Horseshoe, Tryfan, the Bochlwyd Horseshoe, and Kinder Scout. GPX files provided for all routes.

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Howden Edge and Near Cat Clough

South Nab, Lady Cross, and Round Hill This was the second walk of a very hot sunny spring day. I’d completed the previous walk up to Snailsden Edge and Dead Edge End at lunchtime and it would have been a shame not to put the remainder of the day to good use. This walk starts...

South Nab, Lady Cross, and Round Hill

This was the second walk of a very hot sunny spring day. I’d completed the previous walk up to Snailsden Edge and Dead Edge End at lunchtime and it would have been a shame not to put the remainder of the day to good use. This walk starts at the parking area on the A628, roughly opposite the Dog & Partridge pub. From the parking area, I followed a track to the west. This track runs roughly parallel to the A628 on its north side and eventually emerges back alongside the road higher up. After a short trek up the depressingly litter strewn and very busy road, I followed a stone wall 100 metres or so north. The trig pillar of South Nab lies just behind this at the top of the slope and offers some surprisingly decent views.

Moor track
Looking back to the parking area
Moor track
Walking along the moorland track
South Nab trig point
South Nab trig pillar

After returning back to the A628, I crossed over and followed a track south-east as far as the remains of the Lady Cross – a medieval wayside cross that includes the socket stone of the cross, a fragment of the cross shaft which lies partially embedded in the ground next to the socle, and a surveyor’s triangulation post which now occupies the socket hole in place of the cross shaft. In addition to serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain (Ref: historicengland.org.uk). From here I headed south south-west up Round Hill, keeping to the highest ground (the watershed). Plenty of coir rolls mark the way on the eroded terrain that is on the mend thanks to the work of the the Moors for the Future Partnership. Lockdown and the resulting reduced footfall has probably helped things along nicely too.

Track to Lady Cross
Heading towards Lady Cross
Boundary stone
An old boundary stone
Lady Cross
Lady Cross
Round Hill
On the way up Round Hill

Howden Edge, Near Cat Clough, and Upper Hordron

Eventually the plateau of Featherbed Moss is reached and this marks the point where the Etherow Wathershed meets the Derwent Watershed. I turned left here and began following the Derwent Watershed track east. The moor was looking a lot healthier than it was a few years ago. There were more pools, more moss and greenery, and less eroded bare peat than I remember – although the intense colour could have simply been an effect of the strong sunlight and blue sky. I’m sure there were more sheep up there than I remember too. I continued east onto Howden Edge and across Harden Moss, evading the ponds and bogs with ease. The landscape gradually changes from moss and grasses to the more familiar heather and eroded peat as the route ventures closer towards Outer Edge.

Derwent and Etherow watershed
Where the Derwent and Etherow watersheds meet
Howden Edge
On Howden Edge
Howden Edge
And again
Outer Edge and Crow Stones
Looking towards Outer Edge and Crow Stones

Just before the slope up to Outer Edge begins and the watershed path curves around to the right, I took a left and followed the course of Near Cat Clough via a track that runs along its right-hand side (if you find yourself on a track on the left-hand side of a deep clough then you’ve probably overshot the turning and are following Harden Clough instead). At this point, I was really beginning to struggle with the sun. I was down to my last bottle of water and regretted not bringing extra supplies. My left knee was also quite weak from the amount of twisting it had to cope with earlier in the day when I visited Dewhill Naze. I plodded on though (not like I had a choice!) and continued making my way past various grouse butts until I arrived at Hordron Clough and the small footbridge that crosses it.

Near Cat Clough
Path at the top of Near Cat Clough
Near Cat Clough grouse butts
One of the grouse butts by the clough

This really is quite a beautiful area – it was the first time I’d been here and I’ll be sure to include it in more routes in the future. Once over the bridge, I continued following the track to the top of Hordron Bank and then headed east along Hordron Road which skirted around Long Moor Edge. This took me all the way back to car on the A628 via Long Moor Clough. I appreciated this last stretch of easier walking. I was out of water and the fact my vision was starting to go a little weird made me believe I was probably bordering on sunstroke. I had been out in it since 7am after all!

Hordron Clough
Hordron Clough
Hordron Bank
Walking up Hordron Bank
Looking over Long Moor Clough
Looking over Long Moor Clough
Hordron Road
Hordron Road
A grouse on a wall
A grouse on a wall

Snailsden Edge and Dead Edge End

It’s not often I frequent the moors north of the A628 so I thought it would make a good location for my first Peak District walk since last summer. The weather forecasts were looking exceptionally good for the day, and so I decided to set off extremely early, arriving just after sunrise at 7am. The...

Withens Edge

It’s not often I frequent the moors north of the A628 so I thought it would make a good location for my first Peak District walk since last summer. The weather forecasts were looking exceptionally good for the day, and so I decided to set off extremely early, arriving just after sunrise at 7am. The destination was the car park at Winscar Reservoir – a good starting point as it meant I’d be initially walking with my back to the low early morning sun.

Winscar Reservoir and Snailsden Edge

Winscar reservoir is one of 25 dams along the course of the River Don and was the last to be built with work being completed in 1975. The catchment is low on supply, meaning that when the reservoir is fully drained, it takes an average of 2 years to refill again. The walk starts by heading over the reservoir’s lower dam and following the path north to the upper dam that separates Winscar Reservoir from Harden Reservoir. Cross the dam and continue following the path west, gradually rising to give good views across Harden Reservoir.

Winscar Reservoir
Winscar Reservoir
Harden Reservoir Dam
Crossing the Harden Reservoir Dam
Harden Reservoir
Harden Reservoir

Shortly after disused quarry workings become noticeable on the left, the path turns sharply south south-west. This path should be followed until it takes a bend to the left at a wall. At this point, another path branches off sharply to the right, heading up the slope to Snailsden Edge. Continue west along the edge for some distance. The trig point is not visible from the path so keep your eyes peeled for a faint track leading up to the trig (track starts at Gridref: SE 13224 03249, trig is at Gridref: SE 13198 03310). From the trig pillar, another track leads back down to the edge path. Continue to follow the track west. The track will evertually contour around Snailsden Pike End and head north north-east, gradually descending down to a footbridge that crosses Reaps Dike below. After crossing the bridge, head roughly north-west, following the line of grouse butts until the head of Ruddle Clough is reached.

Grouse Butts
Grouse butts on the way to Snailsden Edge
Snailsden Edge
On Snailsden Edge
Snalsden Edge trig point
The Snailsden edge trig pillar
Near Snailsden Pike End
Heading down to Reaps Dike
Ruddle Clough head
The head of Ruddle Clough

Ramsden Clough, Lightens Edge, and Dewhill Naze

The best views of the walk are to follow as we follow the northern edge to the summit of Woodhead Road. From the head of Ruddle Clough, turn left and follow the edge path around to the head of Ramsden Clough. The views looking down through the clough are fantastic, with Riding Wood Reservoir and Brownhill Reservoir visible in the distance. After crossing the head of Ramsden Clough, the path leaves the edge briefly as it heads west, then north-west across Herbage Hill, eventually bringing you back to the edge on the other side of the hill at the head of Little Twizle Clough. Continue west along the edge (known as Lightens Edge), crossing the head of Great Twizle Clough along the way. More great views are available down on the right, overlooking Yateholme Reservoir and Holme. Towards the end of the edge path, it veers uphill to the left and crosses a section of Holme Moss to arrive at the car park at the summit of Woodhead Road. If in doubt, aim for the Holme Moss transmitting station situated opposite the car park. On a clear day, it’s easily spotted in the distance.

Ramsden Clough
The view from Ramsden Clough
View from Lightens Edge
View from Lightens Edge
Lightens Edge
Approaching Woodhead Road
Holme Moss car park
Holme Moss car park
Holme Moss information boards
Holme Moss information boards

The next section of the walk takes us down to Dewhill Naze which makes a nice viewpoint looking out over Woodhead Reservoir. I wanted to minimise road walking and so attempted to contour around to it keeping to the moorland. This proved to be harder than I originally thought as the landscape appeared to be made up of endless giant tussocks that did a great job at twisting my knees and ankles in every direction. My left knee especially had a torrid time and didn’t really recover for the rest of the day. If you’re not interested in visiting Dewhill Naze then you could quite easily skip it by sticking to the high ground and following the fence towards Britland Edge Hill and Dead Edge End instead. This fence starts opposite the next parking area down from the summit car park. When Dewhill Naze’s most southern point is reached, continue around the edge for another couple of hundred yards then head directly north across the grassy moor. Aim to keep to the highest part of the moor until the head of West Withens Clough (to the right) is passed, then head diagonally north-east up the slope towards Bleakmires Moss and to the right of Britland Edge Hill, until a fence is reached at the top.

Dewhill Naze
Heading towards Dewhill Naze
Looking back towards Holme Moss
Looking back towards Holme Moss
Dewhill Naze
The view from Dewhill Naze
Dewhill Naze
Heading back across the grassy moor
Bleakmires Moss
The fence on Bleakmires Moss

Dead Edge End

From this point, navigation becomes a little easier. Follow the line of the fence for some time as it circles around Withens Brook Clough and along Withens Edge, ignoring any other fences that connect to it from the left, until eventually the trig point of Dead Edge End is reached. After the obligatory trig pillar photo’s, continue following the fence until it turns sharply south-west. At this point, head directly south-east across moorland, keeping to the highest point. A good track is eventually reached that runs above the disused Woodhead rail tunnels. Turn left onto this, heading roughly north-west. The track eventually bends sharply to the right and descends back down to the Windle Edge road. It’s now a simple short stretch north-east back to the Winscar car park.

Withens Edge
Looking back from Withens Edge
Dead Edge End trig point
Dead Edge End trig pillar
Above Woodhead tunnel
The track above the old Woodhead rail tunnel
Track to Winscar Reservoir
Heading back to Winscar Reservoir
View over Winscar Reservoir
The view over Winscar Reservoir

Crib Goch and Cwm Glas Ridge

I hadn’t been on a walk in Snowdonia since the summer before, where I failed the Welsh 3000s challenge. It was time to stop sulking about that and return. The plan was to obtain Crib Goch north ridge via Cwm Glas, continue along Crib Goch and Crib-y-Ddysgl as far as the Garnedd Ugain trig, then...

Crib Goch

I hadn’t been on a walk in Snowdonia since the summer before, where I failed the Welsh 3000s challenge. It was time to stop sulking about that and return. The plan was to obtain Crib Goch north ridge via Cwm Glas, continue along Crib Goch and Crib-y-Ddysgl as far as the Garnedd Ugain trig, then descend along the Cwm Glas ridge (something that I’ve never done before) back to the car.

I parked in one of the laybys in Llanberis Pass near Cwm Glas, and headed on down the track at Blaen-y-nant. After crossing the bridge, the track bends around to the right and, at that point, a track heads off to the left running parallel to the stream below and to the side of the Cwm Glas ridge on the right. The track continues following the stream through Cwm Glas Mawr and all the way to waterfall higher up. At this point we crossed the stream and headed up the steep zig-zagging path to the left of the waterfall. There is a more interesting grade 1 scramble to the right of the waterfall but as I had some company, I decided to keep it simple until we arrived at Crib Goch.

Cwm Glas Mawr
Cwm Glas Mawr
Ascending to Cwm Glas
The path up to Cwm Glas starts here
Ascending to Cwm Glas
Ascending the scree path

Once up, the sight of the spectacular Clogwyn y Person Arete greets you. To the right of this is Cwm Glas, with Crib-y-Ddysgl rising high above at the back. On the left of the arete is Cwm Uchaf and a magnificent view of Crib Goch. We navigated our way around Llyn Glas and slowly made our way towards the base of Crib Gochs north ridge. A word of warning – the ground around this area can get extremely saturated after a spell of wet weather. We slowly made our way up the horrible scree slopes at the foot of Crib Goch until we were on the crest, then headed on up the ridge.

Clogwyn y Person Arete
The Clogwyn y Person Arete
Llyn Glas
Looking over llyn Glas towards Elidir Fawr
The base of Crib Goch north ridge
The start of Crib Goch’s north ridge

Initially, the ridge is fairly easy to walk up. As it gets higher though, the ridge narrows and requires a hands-on appraoch in a few places. This was my walking buddys first time on Crib Goch and she found these initial scrambles quite difficult due to the height as much as the actual climbing. I attempted to motivate her by rolling my eyes and telling her it was easy and to hurry up. Unfortunately the motivational technique didn’t seem to really help much. Eventually we arrived at the end of the main Crib Goch ridge where the north and east ridges meet.

Crib Goch north ridge
Ascending Crib Goch north ridge
Crib Goch north ridge
Tackling the upper section of the north ridge

At this point, I promised her that it was easier from now on. She could just drop down the slope a couple of feet and walk along quite happily with little difficulty. Maybe I exaggerated the easiness of it as she slowly made her way along the ridge, one very careful step at a time. I waited very patiently, giving her occasional guidance whilst simultaneously playing online Monopoly on my phone. After completing my seventh game, I was suprised to find we’d made it to the halfway point of the ridge. A group walked by, and after mistaking me for a struggling inexperienced walker, asked if I was OK. I was fuming inside but managed to politely smile, point at my buddy, and blame her for everything. We were also left in the dust by another petrified bloke with shaky legs. It shouldn’t matter really but I have an unhealthy competitive streak in me and hate being overtaken! (I’ve had my fun, I’ll stop teasing her now).

Looking along the Crib Goch ridge
Looking along the Crib Goch ridge
Crib Goch
Tackling the ridge
Crib Goch
Keeping a few feet below the crest

Eventually we arrived at the main pinnacle – I suggested to my buddy that she dropped down a little and passed around the pinnacle on its left. She was only too happy to agree to this. I can’t blame her for that, the pinnacle does look rather imposing from a distance and its rather exposed (although you don’t really feel it once on it). As we were discussing this, a group of lads approached and asked which way to go from here. I told them that the traditional way was up and over the next pinnacle, but they could drop down a little as I had already advised to my buddy, and skirt around it. They sounded like they’d had enough and were eager to take the latter option. I watched as they descended down to the point where they should have began traversing around. They had a little discussion and then continued down, last seen heading towards the Pyg Track. A bit foolish of them considering they had no idea about their route but hopefully they managed OK.

Crib Goch pinnacle
Final pinnacle on Crib Goch

As I left my buddy to her bypass route, I continued up the pinnacle alone. A bit of care needs to be taken with the initial step up onto it but after that, it’s fairly easy scrambling – basically just moving up and right from rock step to rock step. It doesn’t feel like it as you’re climbing but the drop down is massive – and so, no matter how easy it feels, care should always be taken and handholds/footholds always tested. I met up with my buddy again up on top and we continued down the other side of the pinnacle which is a fairly straight-forward descent.

Crib Goch Pinnacle
Looking back at the Crib Goch pinnacle

More scrambling was to follow to get up onto the Crib-y-Ddysgl ridge, although this was fairly straight-forward and I think even my walking buddy was getting used to it now! Minor bits of scrambling followed along the ridge (much of which can be bypassed on paths) until we eventually landed on the summit plateau of Garnedd Ugain – one of the very few big summits around here that actually has a trig pillar.

Heading towards Crib-y-Ddysgl
Heading towards Crib-y-Ddysgl
Crib-y-Ddysgl scramble
Tackling the scramble up to the ridge
On Crib-y-Ddysgl
On Crib-y-Ddysgl
Moving along the ridge
Snowdon Horseshoe view
The view down below

From Garnedd Ugain summit, we headed north along the ridge line, gradually curving north-east as we descended the very scrappy Cwn Glas ridge. It was hard work on the tired knees and I imagine it must be quite a slog ascending this way. It’s actually listed in the Scrambles in Snowdonia guidebook but you won’t really find much in the way of scrambles on here. Maybe one or two minor bits that take up a couple of minutes of your time. It mainly consists of steep scree tracks and lots of grass.

Llanberis ridge
Looking down the Llanberis ridge
Heading down the Cwm Glas ridge
Heading down the Cwm Glas ridge
Looking back across Cwm Uchaf to Crib Goch
Looking back across Cwm Uchaf to Crib Goch

Eventually we arrived at a flatish section much lower down on the ridge and from there dropped down the slopes to the right to take us back into Cwm Glas Mawr. Once on the path, it was an easy walk back to the car. I had a great walk, and managed to actually get some decent photos of Crib Goch for once – and despite my teasing earlier, I have to say that my walking buddy did very well to tackle such unfamiliar and possibly scary terrain, especially considering the 35 – 40mph wind that I neglected to mention earlier!

The Great Ridge and Kinder Scout North Edge

Win Hill and the Great Ridge The first section of this walk, as far as Kinder Scout, is identical to the Edale Skyline route from Yorkshire Bridge. After crossing the River Derwent, head steeply up the notorious Parkin Clough. Follow this all the to Win Hill’s summit when you can stop and admire the incredible...

kinder scout north edge

Win Hill and the Great Ridge

The first section of this walk, as far as Kinder Scout, is identical to the Edale Skyline route from Yorkshire Bridge. After crossing the River Derwent, head steeply up the notorious Parkin Clough. Follow this all the to Win Hill’s summit when you can stop and admire the incredible views whilst also getting your breath back after the steep climb. Continue west off the rocky Win Hill summit (known as Win Hill Pike) and take the first path that appears on the left. This heads downhill towards Twitchill Farm, gradual at first and then very steeply to finish. Walk through the farm and holiday cottages, and carry on down the farm road to the end. The road curves sharply to the right at the bottom where a turning off on the left takes you under the railway bridge. Once through the bridge, continue along the road, over the River Noe, and to Edale Road.

Parkin Clough, Win Hill
Heading up Parkin Clough
Win Hill's summit
The summit of Win Hill
Twitchill Farm, Win Hill
Descending to Twitchill Farm

The path to Lose Hill begins directly on the opposite side of Edale Road. Follow this path for a short distance then take the first right turning. Continue following this track over a small railway bridge and then directly towards the summit of Lose Hill. The nearer to the summit you get, the steeper the path becomes. At this point, the two major ascents of the walk are already complete. On the summit of Lose Hill is a toposcope, and the views all around are quite fantastic. You may have noticed on an Ordnance Survey map that the hill is labelled ‘Lose Hill or Ward’s Piece’. This is due to the fact that local access activist G. H. B. Ward was given an area of Lose Hill by the Sheffield and District Federation of the Ramblers Association back in 1945. The area was named Ward’s Piece. Mr Ward subsequently presented this to the National Trust.

Path to Lose Hill
Following the path from Hope
Lose Hill
Ascending Lose Hill
Lose Hill toposcope
The toposcope on Lose Hill’s summit

Lose Hill sits at the eastern end of ‘The Great Ridge’. The next objective of the walk is to follow the crest of the ridge westwards towards Mam Tor. This is relatively easy compared to hikes up Win Hill and Lose Hill. The ridge first takes you over the rocky Back Tor which happens to make an excellent viewpoint for looking into Edale valley. From there, a crumbly track leads steeply down before the ridge starts to slowly rise again at Barker Bank. Between here and the ascent of Mam Tor, you’ll find a junction of footpaths known as Hollins Cross. This is the lowest point of the ridge. The paths that cross north and south are known as the ‘coffin road’. It was an old traditional route from Castleton to Edale which was used to transport coffins from Edale, over Hollins Cross, and down to Hope church. This occurred until a church was built in Edale (a quick bit of research tells me that this happened in 1633).

Edale from Back Tor
Barker Bank
Barker Bank from Back Tor
Mam Tor
Heading to Hollins Cross and Mam Tor

A steep but relatively short ascent up the remaining hill takes you to the summit of Mam Tor. The name Mam Tor means ‘mother hill’, named that way due to the collection of mini-hills beneath its east face. These mini-hills are a result of landslips; a result of unstable lower layers of shale. The landslips also give the hill its alternative name of ‘the shivering mountain’. The A625 road used to traverse the crumbling eastern side but the section of road was eventually closed in 1979 after a losing battle to maintain and repair it over the years. The layers of tarmac and gravel are up to 2 metres thick in places, demonstrating the numerous efforts to keep the road open.

Mam Tor
Looking back from Mam Tor
Mam Tor trig
Trig pillar on Mam Tor’s summit

Rushup Edge and Brown Knoll

From the summit of Mam Tor, descend the main path down to the road in the nick between Mam Tor and Rushup edge. There are a couple of ways up onto Rushup Edge now. Across the road and a few yards to the left, there’s a big easy path the gradually takes you up onto the ridge. I always prefer the other option though, which is the steeper path that starts a few yards down the road to the right. It gets you up on to the ridge quicker for a great viewpoint looking back at Mam Tor. The brief scramble up the loose path is worth it in my opinion. Continue along Rushup Edge, past its summit point – named Lord’s Seat – and take the first big turning on the right, which is the Chapel Gate track that leads back down towards Edale.

Mam Tor
Descending to Mam Nick
Rushup Edge
Walking along Rushup Edge

A short way down the Chapel Gate track, another path forks off to the left. Take this path and continue along it all the way to the Brown Knoll trig pillar. The path is now paved for most of the way, making the walk a lot quicker and easier than it used to be. Some would also say less fun. The paving slabs were a much needed addition though as there was a real problem with erosion across the moor. There’s been a lot of regrowth in recent years and things are looking much better – it’s just a shame that you end up with sore feet now as you stomp along the slabs.

Chapel Gate, Rushup Edge
The Chapel Gate path
Brown Knoll
The paved path to Brown Knoll
Brown Knoll
The Brown Knoll trig pillar

Kinder Scout West

Continue on from the Brown Knoll trig pillar and turn right when you arrive at a footpath junction. This path takes you down to the shoulder between Brown Knoll and Kinder Scout, where it meets the top of the well-known Jacobs Ladder track. Keep walking straight ahead and make your way up the slope towards the Kinder Scout Plateau, heading for the large, impressive looking gritstone formations up on Kinder Scouts edge. These formations are named Edale Rocks and will be the first landmark you’ll see once you’re up on the plateau. It’s a popular place to take a break and fuel up – there’s still a long way to go after this!

Heading to Edale Rocks
Heading to Edale Rocks
Edale Rocks
Edale Rocks

From Edale Rocks, follow the well trodden path (which also makes up part of the Pennine Way) north past the Kinder Low trig pillar. Once you arrive at the edge proper, continue following it north. The path takes you over the head of Red Brook before eventually arriving at the popular Kinder Downfall. The waterfall – which is the tallest in the Peak District at 30 metres – was formerly known as Kinder Scut, and it’s from this that the Kinder Scout plateau derives its name. The river that flows over it is the River Kinder. The river is only 3 miles long and ends up flowing into the Kinder Reservoir which can be seen down below.

Kinder Low trig pillar
Kinder Low trig point
Kinder Scout western edge
Heading north along the edge
Red Brook
The head of Red Brook
View to Kinder Reservoir
Looking towards Kinder Reservoir
Kinder Downfall
Kinder Downfall

From Kinder Downfall, the edge continues in a more westerly direction, past the area known as Sandy Heys, until the north-west corner of Kinder Scout is reached. The Pennine Way continues down to the dip that sits between William Clough and the River Ashop Valley before rising again to the summit of Mill Hill opposite. We don’t take this path, instead taking a sharp right and continuing along the Kinder Scout north edge.

Sandy Heys, Kinder Scout western edge
Looking back from Sandy Heys
Mill Hill
Looking towards Mill Hill

Kinder Scout North and Hope Cross

The north edge is less defined and rather more boggy than the stretch we’ve just walked on. It’s also a lot quieter and gives a feeling of remoteness that the south and west edges don’t offer. The initial section is simply labelled ‘The Edge’ on the Ordnance Survey map but is also known as ‘Black Ashop Edge’, and crosses Upper Red Brook and then Nether Red Brook before eventually arriving at the fantastic viewpoint of Fairbrook Naze. Down below is Fair Brook itself with it’s path running along to the left of it. From the corner of Fairbrook Naze, follow the edge south to the head of Fair Brook before continuing west again.

Kinder Scout north edge
Track to the north edge
The Edge (Black Ashop Edge)
Looking along Black Ashop Edge
Gritstone shaped like boxing gloves
The ‘boxing gloves’
The Edge (Black Ashop Edge)
Further along the edge
Fairbrook Naze
The view from Fairbrook Naze

The route now continues along Seal Edge before arriving at Seal Stones. The brook below is Blackden Brook and this needs to be navigated similarly to Fair Brook by heading south and around the clough’s head. The last stretch of edge is known as Blackden Edge and is less dramatic than both Seal Edge and Black Ashop Edge. Continue along here and eventually follow the main path around until its heading south. When a junction of footpaths at a large lump of gritstone is reached then turn left until another junction of footpaths is reached. From here, take the obvious descent path heading east down Crookstone Hill.

Seal Edge, Kinder Scout
Seal Edge
Blackden Brook, Kinder Scout
Blackden Brook
Kinder Scout, north-east
The north-eastern end of Kinder Scout
Crookstone Out Moor
Path across Crookstone Out Moor

This path will eventually take you the old Roman road which you’ll follow roughly south-east until you arrive at Hope Cross. Hope Cross is an ancient marker stone that marks the boundary of the villages of Hope and Peale. It’s topped with a capstone and thought to be around 270 years old. At Hope Cross, veer off to the left and follow the treeline for some distance, until directly north of Winhill Pike. At this point, a path heads north, descending through lush woodland, before eventually curving around to the east and emerging near Ladybower dam. Simply cross this and then turn right back to the car.

Hope Cross
Hope Cross
Winhill Woods treeline
Path following the treeline

Bleaklow and Westend Circuit

This route was designed not only as a way of exploring Bleaklow, but also for me to experience my first ever wild camp. It’s something I’ve thought about doing for some time and, back in June, I finally took the plunge and got myself a tent, inflatable mattress, and sleeping bag. I bought myself the...

Bleaklow North Edge

This route was designed not only as a way of exploring Bleaklow, but also for me to experience my first ever wild camp. It’s something I’ve thought about doing for some time and, back in June, I finally took the plunge and got myself a tent, inflatable mattress, and sleeping bag. I bought myself the most lightweight and compact options available on a tight budget which enabled me to fit them, along with food and water supplies, into my usual 25l rucksack. In the future, I’m likely going to want to be able to pack more and so I’m going to have to upgrade at some point to a bigger bag – maybe a 40 litre one.

Barrow Stones Wild Camp

I arrived at around 5.30pm and parked on the road at the end of the left-hand fork of Howden Reservoir (I believe that this road is not available to use at weekends) and set off along the path that runs alongside the River Westend. The path initially runs to the left of the river before eventually crossing to the right-hand side. Much of the slopes on the left have been deforested, leaving behind a mass of dead branches and stumps. I find this a little depressing as well as a bit of an eyesore. The path eventually gains height and veers away from the river before suddenly zig-zagging up the steep slope at the mouth of Grinah Grain. At this point, the sweat was already running off me due to the humidity, and possibly also because I’d not done a single bit of exercise for the previous few weeks. At roughly the highest point of the path, there’s a junction of paths. The main track continues ahead along a deep trench and eventually leads into Lower Small Clough, identifiable by the shooting cabins at its head. If you end up here then you’ve gone wrong! At the junction of paths, take a left along a much less defined track. If you see a pond to the left after a 100 yards then you know you’re on the right track. I continued along Ronksley Moor towards Round Hill in the distance, admiring the view of the Grinah Stones in the distance, slightly to the left. Word of warning: This stretch can get extremely saturated with surface water after rain. After the brief ascent of Round Hill, the path bends to the left and ascends up to the Barrow Stones which should now be clearly visible (unless of course, it’s a misty day!).

The River Westend
Following the River Westend
Westend Valley
Looking back down Westend Valley
Ronksley Moor
Turn left here
Ronksley Moor from Round Hill
Ronksley Moor from Round Hill

At the Barrow Stones, I headed out amongst the gritstone formations, looking for a suitable, discrete location to set up my tent away from the main paths. I found the perfect place and erected the tent. It’s an OEX Phoxx 1 and the tiniest tent you’ll ever see. There’s just enough room in it to lie down and it’s more like a coffin than a tent. That doesn’t particularly bother me though as I’m only looking to sleep in it and little else. After I’d put the tent up, I decided to have a stroll over to the edge to check out the view in the late evening sun. It was nice to be able to chill out and not worry about getting back to a car before darkness fell. As it turned out, I’d pitched the tent in slightly too discrete a location. Could I find it again? Could I bollocks! I spent a good half an hour wandering around the Barrow Stones area trying to find it again! It took me some time to fall asleep (I really need to get myself a simple camping pillow) but once I did I was out until my alarm woke me up at 6am. A quick swig of water and a biscuit bar later, I was ready to pack the tent up and continue along my route. The tent was fortunately extremely easy to take down and pack; the work of 10 minutes.

Barrow Stones
Ronksley Moor from Barrow Stones
Barrow Stones
Tent pitched!
Barrow Stones
Barrow Stones in the late evening sun

Near and Far Black Cloughs

From the Barrow Stones, I followed a track south-west as far as Grinah Stones (where, yet again, I failed to take a decent photo) before veering north-west and following the track around to Bleaklow Stones. It was here where the sun decided to come out, quite suddenly I thought. The transition from cloudy sky to blue sky seemed to happen in less than 10 minutes (as seen on the photos below). The next destination was Far Black Clough to the north-east. Instead of directly accessing it, I decided to follow the watershed route initially and then veer across to the clough a little further down, just before it starts to deepen. This was the first time I’d even been down this particular clough and the views were amazing, especially with all the heather in flower. I continued down to the very end and crossed at the bottom, where the three Black Cloughs merge into a single stream.

Bleaklow Stones
Bleaklow Stones
Bleaklow Stones
Bleaklow Stones – 10 minutes later!
Far Black Clough
Heading down Far Black Clough
Far Black Clough
Lower Far Black Clough
Far Black Clough
The bottom of the 3 Black Cloughs

The plan after this was to take the high level path back up alongside Near Black Clough but, unfortunately, I had a little issue with route finding. The route on the map at the foot of this post reflects the route I should have taken rather than the one I actually did take. I followed the obvious path for a short distance on the right-hand side of the stream before it steeply ascended up through the trees. The path then levelled out and, shortly after an apparently popular camping area (used by idiots judging from the trash left behind and burnt branches), the path seemed to just end. I couldn’t work out where I’d gone wrong as I was sure I’d have noticed other defined tracks if I’d have passed them. I backtracked a little and decided to cross the stream and instead, follow the clough along the bottom rather than above. In hindsight, I’m glad a chose this option as it meant seeing all the waterfalls on the way up. The atmosphere was lovely and very tranquil with all the greenery and the sound of rushing water. What passed for a path was a little iffy in places. I’ve never been a fan of edging along precarious heather ledges with big drops below – especially when the only thing you have to grab hold of are clumps of heather. It’s a matter of trust – I’d rather be 100 metres up on a rocky ledge than 10 metres up on a muddy heather ledge. In those lower sections, it was quite difficult to escape from so I persevered until higher up where the slopes were smaller and more manageable. Knowing that the waterfalls and lush greenery were at an end, I escaped up the right hand slope, bashing my way through the heather until I reached the well defined path at the top. I was almost tempted into following it back down so I could see where I went wrong, but instead continued along the path towards Bleaklows summit.

Near Black Clough
Waterfall on Near Black Clough
Near Black Clough
Another waterfall
Near Black Clough
…and another.
Near Black Clough
Higher up the clough
Near Black Clough
After escaping to the top path

Bleaklow North Edge

From here, a crossing of the Bleaklow moorland is necessary in order to obtain the far right corner of Bleaklows north edge. Navigation can be difficult but there’s a crafy way of making things much easier. Higher up on the Near Black Clough path, approximately at grid-ref SK 104 976, ATV tracks can clearly be seen on the right heading into the moorland. Follow these tracks west-north-west until a grough is crossed via a makeshift wooden bridge. Shortly after this, the tracks suddenly turn north and proceed on easy ground between two groughs. Continue north, following the tracks. The track briefly veers west across another bridge before continuing north past a line of grouse butts. At the point where the tracks suddenly curves to the right towards a big sandy vehicle track, continue north to the corner of Bleaklows north edge.

Following the ATV tracks
Crossing a makeshift bridge

I continued along the Bleaklow edge path past Dowstone Rocks and over the head of Shining Clough. The view from the edge is fantastic. The Woodhead and Torside reservoirs are down below in Longdendale. Across the valley lies the northern section of the Dark Peak including Dead Edge End, Westend Moss, Black Hill, and Bareholme Moss. After crossing Shining Clough, I encountered a chap sitting on the edge eating his lunch. “Have you come to see the vulture?”, he said to me. A vulture? In England? I wondered what he’d been smoking. Obviously I’d been a bit ignorant of the news in recent weeks and had no idea about the rare Bearded Vulture that had nested nearby. The chap soon put me right though when he saw the confusion on my face, and explained all about it. After that little education, I continued along the edge past Deer Knowl and towards Lawrence Edge where I actually saw it! The Bearded Vulture – circling high above me. It was an amazing sight. The thing was enormous! Far bigger than I’d imagined. I watched it awhile, unable to take my eyes of it. Admittedly, I did start to feel a little nervous that it seemed to be circling me in particular! Maybe I looked like I was about to drop in this blistering heat and relentless sunshine. It suddenly occurred to me that I should be taking a photograph of it but, sods law, that’s the moment it decided to glide across the valley towards Hey Moss. By the time I’d got my camera ready, it was too far away. I waited a short while in the hope it would return but no luck. I continued on my way, following the curve of the edge around into the head of Wildboar Clough. This marked the end of my edge walk and it was time to venture back into the moors, but not before I’d soaked my cap in the cool stream and stuck it back on my head. I was really starting to suffer in the heat and fatigue was setting in.

Bleaklow North Edge
Bleaklows north edge
Bleaklow North Edge
Passing Dowstone Rocks
Shining Clough
The head of Shining Clough
Bleaklow North Edge
Continuing along the edge
Bleaklow North Edge
Looking back

Bleaklow Head to Alport Castles

I followed the line of the clough south-east into the moor where it naturally transformed from clough to grough. At the point where it curved westwards, I crossed and took a fork that continued south, eventually curving to more of a south-south-east direction. I continued this way until eventually I met the main Pennine Way footpath which I turned left onto and followed easily all the way to Bleaklow Head. Not far to go thankfully… I was on my last 250ml of water. I headed back east towards Bleaklow Stones before dropping down onto The Ridge and following the visible track south-south-east down into the area above the head of River Westend and between the Ridge and Westend Moor. All I could think about at this point was getting back to the car and driving to the nearest shop for lots of cold drinks and maybe an ice cream!

Pennine Way, Bleaklow
Pennine Way to Bleaklow Head
Bleaklow Head
Bleaklow Head

The route continued south-east over the middle of Westend Moor. It can be a bog-fest after a lot of rain, but thankfully on this particular day it was largely dry. Easy walking was what I was looking for in this last stretch of the route as my knees and feet were no longer up to much. I took the obligatory photo of the trig point before continuing to the edge of Alport Valley and then on to Alport Castles. Once last photo of ‘The Tower’ basking in the late sun and then that was that. One final turn north-east, and one final descent back to the car at Howden Reservoir. In hindsight, a 20 mile trek in that blistering heat, carrying my camping gear from the night before, and armed with the minimum amount of fluids was perhaps a little over-ambitious. It was a great trek though and I’m definitely glad I did it (and survived to tell the tale).

The Ridge, Bleaklow
Heading down The Ridge
Westend Moor
Trig pillar on Westend Moor
Alport Castles
Alport Castles

Kinder Scout Walk : Ringing Roger to Grindslow Knoll

When the kids arrive, I usually try to find a route for them to do that involves plenty of rock interest. I decided that Ringing Roger on Kinder Scout was ideal. We could have done a bit more if I just had the older two, but I had Harry – my 5-year-old – with me...

When the kids arrive, I usually try to find a route for them to do that involves plenty of rock interest. I decided that Ringing Roger on Kinder Scout was ideal. We could have done a bit more if I just had the older two, but I had Harry – my 5-year-old – with me and his little legs will only take him so far. I’d already done Ringing Roger with him on a previous occasion where we descended via Golden Clough. This time, I tried to extend the route a bit so that he could get used to walking a bit further, and so I opted for a walk around the edge as far as Grindslow Knoll and then a simple descent down the hillside back to Edale.

Path on The Nab, leading to Ringing Roger
The initial path that leads to Ringing Roger

We arrived bright and early at 9.30 am and set off up the familiar path that zigzags up to Ringing Roger. There were a few early complaints from Harry as he hadn’t been up such a big hill for a long time, but those complaints were soon forgotten when we arrived at the base of the Ringing Roger ridge. The older two spent a bit of time exploring the harder sections whilst I supervised Harry with a few simpler sections. I managed to get him up one something a bit more difficult as he was insisting on following his older brothers. Having to shield him from the drop at the same time as assisting him up was a bit awkward but we managed, and he seemed pleased with himself when he arrived at the top of the gritstone formation.

Approaching the Ringing Roger ridge, Kinder Scout
Almost at the Ringing Roger ridge
Scrambling on Ringing Roger, Kinder Scout
Luke enjoying an initial scramble
Scrambling at Ringing Roger, Kinder Scout
Assisting Harry with a more difficult section
Ringing Roger ridge, Kinder Scout
Making our way up the ridge
Scrambling at Ringing Roger, Kinder Scout
More scrambling on the gritstone
Scrambling at Ringing Roger, Kinder Scout
Last section – almost there!

We stopped for a bite to eat on the plateau, and the older two practiced their parkour jumps between the scattered gritstone rocks. Once they were all finished and satisfied, we moved on and made our way around the edge path. It was fairly slow going as the kids insisted on stopping to play whenever we walked past a large bit of gritstone – which was often! Eventually, we arrived at the head of Grindsbrook where there seemed to be some kind of photoshoot going on.

Lunch at Ringing Roger, Kinder Scout
A spot of lunch for Harry
On the plateau atop Ringing Roger, Kinder Scout
On the plateau
Gritstone on Kinder Scout
Plenty of gritstone to play on
Southern edge, Kinder Scout
Sam and Luke enjoying a dramatic viewpoint
Southern edge, Kinder Scout
Making our way along Kinder Scouts south edge
Grindsbrook from Kinder Scout
Sam looking down on Grindsbrook
Southern edge, Kinder Scout
Between the Grindsbrook fork
Southern edge, Kinder Scout
Looking back at Kinder Scouts southern edge

After ascending the small hill at Grindslow Knoll, we made our way down the descent path towards Edale. Harry started complaining about his feet hurting around this point and he was finding it difficult keeping his balance on the steep slope. I helped him out for the last quarter of a mile by giving him a shoulder ride – he deserved it.

Southern edge, Kinder Scout
Harry posing for a photo
Gritstone, Kinder Scout
Sam manoeuvring over the gritstone
Grindsbrook, Kinder Scout
Another viewpoint over Grindsbrook
Grindslow Knoll, Kinder Scout
Heading to Grindslow Knoll
Grindslow Knoll, Kinder Scout
Descending towards Edale

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