A Walk in the Peak District Millstone edge – Burbage rocks

We all love a mid week walk in the beautiful countryside, i’m sure you’ll all agree with me. Its always a lot easier to park and you are much more likely to have the hills to yourself…… selfish i know ūüėČ

So this is exactly what i did mid June, with a rough route planned the night before, i made my way to the Peak District the next morning. My walk would start from the National trust car park next to Millstone edge. True to form, the car park was all but empty, i picked a space and made my way to the pay and display machine. It was upon reaching the machine, i realised the mistake i had made. The pay machine way a card only, and i had left mine at home…..Doh! ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† I decided to head for one of the lay-bys around the corner instead, so i got back in my car and started to make my way out. As i got to the entrance, there was a woman returning to her car, i decided on the off chance, to ask her if she would get me a ticket if i gave her the change……. she agreed, so i made my way back into a space. I met the woman at the machine, who very kindly got me a all day parking ticket, and i handed over the ¬£4.50 in change. It turned out, she had come back to the car park, as she was unsure where the gap in fence was to get to the rocks at Owler Tor. I happily led the way to show her where the footpath entered into that area. At the gate i decided to visit the rocks at Owler Tor myself, taking care not to get in her way as she was taking Photographs using the rocks as the foreground. IMG_7636[1]¬† After a quick wander around the rocks, i made my way to where i was going to start my walk. Cutting back through the car park on my way, i entered the moor land via the gate nearest the road. From there it was only a short way to “Surprise view” at the end of Millstone edge, this was the beginning of my walk. The view was not as good as it could have been, as the weather was particularly hazy, but it was still great, and i was able to pick out a few places i knew on the horizon. Some of the places visible from here were, Win hill and the great ridge and the outline of Kinder just barely visible on the horizon.IMG_7640[1]¬†IMG_7641[1]¬†After a good few minutes soaking up the view, i decided to carry on with my walk. My route would know take me along the length of Millstone edge and then following the boundary line all the way to the back of Over Owler Tor. I decided not to go up the Tor just yet though, as i wanted to come back this way later. Looking to my left here, or North if you prefer, i could see Stanage edge jutting out from the landscape. A far cry from the last time i was here in February, when i had brought my partner and kids to see the snow fall. Back then, not only was the place covered in snow (obviously) it was also extremely misty, so the views were limited to a mere 100 meters or so. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Anyway, back to this walk, I was now heading pretty much straight towards Higger Tor, but i didn’t want to head up there first. I was actually looking for a place marked on the map as Sheepfold. I soon found it, it was a large drystone walled area, and it reminded me of a sheep dog trial arena. Upon reaching this point, my next destination was revealed, Carl wark fort.IMG_7647[1] It is widely believed to have been the location of a Iron age hill fort, and also possibly to have been re used as a defensive position during the Roman period. On the approach you can see why they would have chosen it, and i’m glad i was just visiting and not an attacker. I made my way up via the western slope and not by the marked path, this meant i passed through what was like a gritsone gateway, which was pretty cool. I was soon on top having a good explore of all the rocky outcrops, trying to imagine what it may have looked like thousands of years ago.¬†IMG_7648[1]¬†IMG_7649[1]¬†IMG_7650[1]¬†After a good explore, i was starting to get hungry, and so my attentions turned towards Higger Tor, i had ear marked this location earlier as my lunch stop. It was not very far from Carl Wark to Higger Tor, and i was soon at the top, sat out of the wind, in the shelter of one of the largest rocky outcrops on the Tor. As usual, i had wraps for lunch, though this time they were un prepared, as i had only brought them on the way. So making them up one at a time, with the cheese and salami slices, i ate my way through three wraps, before sitting back to let them digest while i enjoyed the view. IMG_7653[1]¬†Once i thought my food had sufficiently settled, i decided to have a go at climbing the big gritstone outcrop i had been sheltering behind. Now i’m no big climber, and i will always shy away from anything too technical, but I’ve always loved a good scramble up rocks since i was a small boy. So having a good look at the rock in question, i decided it was definitely on my level of ability, so up i went. Around half way up there was a little bit of a precarious section, but i managed to get past it, and before long i was on top, and surveying the land before me.¬†IMG_7654[1]¬†After climbing down, it was time to plan some more of my route. I hadn’t really got an exact plan from here, and with the weather being a lot cooler than i had expected, the possibility of extending my walk further had arisen. Out came the map, i decided that i would make my way to Upper Burbage bridge, that would then open up my walk to return via Burbage rock. So that settled it, and off i went. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†There was only really one obvious path to Upper Burbage bridge, and that was via Fiddlers elbow, i did however chose the higher of these paths. It was only roughly 1km to the bridge, and with most of it being a gradual down hill i thought it probably wouldn’t take me very long. On route i passed two groups of kids, all with climbing helmets and with a guide. Im not sure if they were young scouts or out with school, but they were definitely being educated in the surrounding geology by their teacher/leader. From this moment on, i would occasionally hear their shrill cries blowing on the wind, as they excitedly went about their activities. Sure enough i soon arrived at the Bridge, where i stopped for a little while to record an update for my video before carrying on.¬†IMG_7656[1]¬†IMG_7658[1]¬†Crossing the brook, i was greeted with Burbage rocks, and a choice between the high path along the edge or the low path along the base. I opted for the former and took the high route along the edge. I was glad i did join the high path, as despite the haze, the views were excellent. I had decided though, i wasn’t going to walk the entire length of the edge, i was going to walk as far as the end of the woods and drop back down and recross the brook then make my way back up to the gap between Carl Wark and Higger Tor.¬†IMG_7660[1]¬†My junction was soon upon me, and i made my way down to the brook. The woods in this area had recently been cut down, well nearly all, just a few small sections remain. I believe the notice board said it was 2014 when they had been cut down, making way for other species of plant, but to me it still looked quite an obvious scar on the landscape, and personally i think the woodland would have been more pleasing to the eye. But give it time, and i’m sure nature will have its way and it will all be looking beautiful again. Well i was soon crossing the brook, and before long i was stood next to Carl Wark once again. IMG_7662[1]¬†Back next to Carl Wark, i had decided from here i would retrace my steps back to Over Owler Tor, as i wanted to look for a spot i had my picture taken in the snow earlier in the year. It took me around twenty minutes to reach the Tor, and despite a good look around, i was never totally sure i found the exact spot, as it all looked very different without the snow. The next spot i wanted to see was mother cap, this was only two hundred or so meters down from the Tor. It wasn’t quite what i was expecting, but there was a great view and a rather large gritstone outcrop standing proudly on its own. IMG_7664[1]¬†From here it was a short journey back to the car, but not before passing what looked like a new species for the Peak District, a gritstone turtle. It looked very similar to one i’d seen on kinder scouts southern edge, (more on that in a future blog). Also in this area were a few discarded millstones, apparently abandoned after people started buying cheaper imports. After recording a bit of video footage, and having my picture taken with the turtle, i carried on my way. IMG_7667[1]IMG_7668[1]¬†Well after my turtle discovery, i was back at the car after roughly 9 miles of enjoyment. It had been a really great day, and it was now time to rejoin reality and drive back home.

So here ends another blog, i really hope you have enjoyed reading it. For those that have read this far, a very big thank you to all of you. As always this blog is available in video form, link at the bottom of this page.

So until next time goodbye ūüôā

Regards Mark

Millstone edge – Burbage rocks video

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Wet Woodland Wild Camp – The Rat Pack

It had been around six weeks since i had been on Rat pack camp, this wasn’t because there hadn’t been any, it was due to me having other commitments. Unfortunately for me i had been unable to make the last big camp, which had been at Kev’s permission woodland. Kev is “woodland camp and craft” on YouTube if anyone is interested in checking him out, and id recommend that you do. With the holiday book being full at work, ¬†i was stuck in a dusty warehouse, while everyone else was on there way to the camp. I did however manage to get other trips in the meantime. So when the chance came again for a Rat pack meet, i jumped at the chance. This meet was to be a mid week camp, which meant only three of us would be attending, as our shifts fell right for the dates set. So with Just me, Jay (GoonieBushcraft) and Paul (Prepped Nomad), we set our location for the camp, a woodland in Yorkshire.

The morning of the camp was a wet one, and it was still raining when i arrived in the lay-by near the spot we would be camping at. I was the first to arrive, and i decided to wait in the car for Paul to turn up, to save me getting completely soaked before we started. After ten or so minutes, i saw him pull up in his van, i got my gear together and ¬†made my way over to him. We already knew that Jay would be arriving a bit later in the afternoon, so it was up to us to find a suitable location, and set up camp and wait for his arrival. IMG_7023[1]¬†A week or so prior, Paul had been on a camp in these woods, and we thought it would be a good idea to find that location. Well this proved to be a lot more difficult than expected, as the woods are constantly changing at this time of year (this camp was early may). Try as we may, we just couldn’t find the place at all, so we decided to head to another spot that we had all used previously very early this year. This was also by no means easy, as the last time we were there, the woods were still dormant from winter, and they were now in the full growth of spring. Well eventually we found our chosen spot, and after an hour or so of walking around the woodland we were quite wet, fortunately it was just our waterproofs. It was amazing how different the place looked, i’d only ever seen it in the winter, and now being here in the spring, i barely recognised it. We both admired the beauty of the woodland in springtime for a moment, with all the different shades of green, interspersed with the violet colours of the bluebells. After a good look around the area, we decided it was time to set up our shelters. As usual i was on the ground, using my Terra nova adventure 2 tarp, while Paul was in his hammock with a DD tarp to cover him.¬†IMG_7026[1]¬†IMG_7027[1]¬†With set ups made, it was time to go meet Jay. Paul decided he would go, and that i would stay and look after all the gear. Whilst Paul was gone, I decided to sort the rest of my things out. So i inflated my sleep mat, then put my sleeping bag into the bivvy bag so i was ready for the night. Soon Paul was back with Jay, we greeted each other and had a quick chat as it had been quite a while since we had seen each other. Jay also handed me a new torch, we he had ordered for me back in February, and i was really happy to receive it, as it was the same as his and was very impressive for the money. With pleasantries exchanged, Jay went to find himself somewhere to set up his hammock. IMG_7029[1]¬†Once set up, we all then helped Paul put up the big group shelter. Well by helped, i mean, me and Jay held bits while Paul ran Guy lines off to near-by trees and tied them off. Paul after all is the Knot man of the group. A group shelter is invaluable in wet weather, as it gives us somewhere to socialise, instead of being stuck in our own shelters or out in the rain.¬†IMG_7031[1]¬†With the shelter built, it was time to search for firewood. We had no problem at all in finding plenty of dead fall, which we brought back to camp and processed into small enough sections for the fire. We decided to waste no time in getting the fire started, as with the wood being so damp, there were plenty of flies around and we needed the smoke to disperse them……. our plan worked a treat ūüôā IMG_7033[1]¬†With the fire going it was time for food, whilst Paul and Jay used the fire to cook their food, i always bring my gas stove, as the pans i have are not really suitable for placing in the fire. As always on these woodland camps, i had army ration pack boil in the bag meals. They are very easy to cook, and clean to make, and i also find them quite tasty for what they are.¬†¬†IMG_7039[1]¬†After food, we stoked the fire up more as it started to get darker. It was still raining, but we were all nice and dry under the group shelter, and it was also acting as a heat reflector keeping us all lovely and warm. It was about this time that we also decided it was beer o’clock, and we spent the rest of the evening chilling next to the fire, chatting about various subjects and supping on our ales. That evening we more than set the world to rights, and after some great discussions, we retired to our shelters at about midnight. It was an extremely warm night, and i didn’t even need to zip my sleeping bag all the way, and i slept right through till the morning.

The next morning i was up early, it was still raining, and i doubt that it had stopped all night. The first job for me as always, was straight on with the stove to make make a morning brew. After that i almost feel alive, and ready to tackle everybody’s favourite job……packing away wet gear,……. yes, im being sarcastic ūüėČ ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Once we were all packed away, we doused the ashes with any remaining water we had left, and covered it with mud to conceal where it had been. With the area tidy, and returned to how we found it, it was time to go. IMG_7041[1]¬†Its not a very far walk from the woods to the lay-by where we left our vehicles, and we were soon back at the cars. This as always had been a great camp despite the near constant rain, and made even more comfortable due to Paul’s group shelter. The group shelter had allowed us to sit outside and cook and chat together, without being stuck in our own shelters. So with out kit stowed in our respective cars it was time to say our goodbyes, and make our way home.

So on that note, its also time for me to say goodbye, I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog of our trip out into the wet woodland. If you have read this far, thank you very much, as always this blog is aviliable in video form, see link below. Thanks again for reading, and until next time, goodbye

Regards Mark

Wet woodland wildcamp video

 

 

Peak District – Derwent Edge – Lost Lad

On the 21st of may 2017, i had planned with my supervisor from work and two other work mates to go on a map reading trip in the Peak District. My supervisor also has another job with the TA, and he teaches outdoor skills to solider’s in the British Army. So he seemed like the perfect person to help me and my work mates, learn a bit more about map reading. Well, at least this was the plan, as only two days before our planned trip he informed me that he would be unable to make it, and that we would have to re arrange. This was due to the other training man at the barracks who trains in the same field of expertise had finished, and in doing so had passed the baton on to my supervisor. Not to worry i thought, and i planned my own trip. So the next day I looked over my map of the dark peak area in the Peak District, and decided i’d drive to the lay-by near Cutthroat bridge, and head ¬†towards Derwent edge. With a rough route planned out, and all my gear packed, i decided to ask my cousin Dan if he fancied a walk, and if so, he could stay at mine so we’d be ready to go in the morning. Dan agreed and came round in the evening, and we were all set and ready for the morning.

The next morning Dan offered to drive, which worked out great for me, as that meant i could get some good footage out the window for the intro of my video. The journey took slightly longer than normal, this was due to a diversion in Hathersage village which had backed the traffic up quite bad. Once we arrived at the lay-by it was very busy, and we were quite lucky to get a space. Well, with a space acquired, boots and packs on, we set off down the road back towards cutthroat bridge. It was only a few hundred meters to the bridge, and we were soon on the trail. The first part of the path was uphill, and with the sun beaming down, we soon had a sweat on. Whilst planning the route i had decided to take a slightly more direct route to Derwent edge, because if we followed the footpaths the whole way we would have to back track at some point. As our walk would be long enough anyway, i had decided we should follow the stream up Highshaw clough, and join the next path that followed a series of grouse butts. Well it seemed that i wasn’t the only person to have had this idea before, as there was already an established path leading ¬†the way. ¬†IMG_6982[1]¬†Whilst walking this short section, the heat got the better of me and i was forced to take off my thin showerproof jacket. With my jacket safely stowed in my bag, we carried on, and we were soon on to the official path we had been heading for. Following this path roughly westwards, we headed uphill towards the beginning of the path that would take us up to Derwent edge. As we carried on up hill, i had noticed that the clouds seemed to be moving in a lot quicker, and were getting darker. This was slightly worrying, and i mentioned to Dan that i was glad i had my waterproofs with me. It was then that the dreaded realisation kicked it…. whilst i did have my waterproof trousers, i had left my coat at home. Why oh why do i keep forgetting things i thought. Almost immediately after this realisation, it started to spot with rain. Deciding i didn’t want to risk waiting, i thought it best to stop and put my thin jacket back on, and my waterproof trousers. It was a good job i did, as the spots turned into a full on shower. With the weather coming in like this, and only being just less than two miles from the car, i asked Dan if he was happy to carry on. I also pointed out that the direction we were going still had blue sky, he replied he was happy to if i was, so on we went. It seemed fate was on our side, as we were soon out of the rain shower and back into the sun. I must admit i felt quite lucky at this point, as my thin jacket had kept me dry. ¬†Looking around the sky, it seemed that our direction of travel was all into blue sky territory, whilst most other areas still looked very grey. So when we arrived at the junction where we would head for Derwent edge, i decided to take my waterproofs back off. As we continued up the new path, i saw the wheel stones come into view, as it was approaching mid day i said to Dan we should stop here for lunch, to which he agreed. IMG_6984[1]¬†The wind was quite high in this exposed area, so we found a sheltered spot among the Wheel stones to eat our food. The spot i chose gave me a really amazing view. From my vantage point among the stones, i could see down upon the Lady bower reservoir, whilst also being able to see all the way down the vale of Edale, which is flanked on both sides, with Kinder scout to the north and the great ridge to the south. Whilst eating my lunch, i took a few time lapses of the incredible views for my YouTube video. After eating we had a good explore of the area, and then decided to carry on with our journey. It is around one mile from the wheel stones to Derwent edge, and on our way we passed many other interesting rock formations which we checked out on route, including ¬†white tor and the Salt cellar boulder.¬†IMG_6986[1]¬†It wasn’t long though before we reached Derwent Edge, and with the sun still on our side, we had a good explore around its many crags before we reached Dove stone boulder, where we stopped for a break. Whilst taking a break, i was called upon by a group of Chinese tourists to take a group photo for them, which i did, and they seemed quite happy with the result. I then decided i should probably have a look at my map, to see where we should head to next. Whilst i had planned a rough route, i hadn’t really planed much past Derwent edge. So looking at the map i thought it would be nice to head towards Lost lad cairn, then make our down towards the Derwent reservoir. We would then follow that to Lady Bower, before cutting back up the hillside again and back to the lay-by.¬†IMG_6990[1]IMG_6989[1]¬†So with our rest over, it was time to carry on, first passing the cakes of bread, which do stand out quite a lot on the relatively flat terrain, before eventually reaching Back Tor. At the top of Back Tor is a trig point, so for me, like many others (i hope) it was time for a trig point photograph. It was extremely windy at the top, and whilst taking the photo, i also decided to record some video footage. For this i had to try and hide in the shelter of the trig pillar, as otherwise all that would have been heard was the wind noise. The views however were pretty amazing, as the top of Back Tor was the highest we had been on the journey so far. Looking around i could see most of the walk we had already done, and also the Lost Lad cairn was now in view. Before setting off for the cairn, we had a good look around the rock formations of Back Tor, with both of us agreeing it would have been a cool place to bivvy up for the night, though perhaps not in this wind. It was only a short trip from Back Tor to the Lost Lad cairn, and we made short work of the mainly down hill walk. Next to the cairn is also a viewing point, with the usual platform and metal disc, designating various landmarks and their distance from our location.¬†Lost lad also has a bit of history to it, not that i know the exact full story, so for a better account see links in my YouTube video to Dean Reads or Andrew Beavers videos, who tell a ¬†far better account than i can. For what i do know though, is that a long time ago, a young shepherd boy got lost on the hills in very bad weather, and subsequently died. His body was then found in the following spring, with the words “Lost Lad”written on a near-by rock.¬†IMG_6993[1]IMG_6994[1]¬†So after telling Dan the story of Lost Lad, it was time to head back down in to the valley towards the reservoir as i had planned earlier. We had nearly two miles of open moorland to cross. This bit of the journey was pretty featureless, with my eyes mainly fixed on the distant landmarks visible on the horizon. We slogged this section out, and we were soon at the top of Walkers clough, with amazing views of Derwent reservoir. It was then i realised how low it seemed, now i’m no expert on how high the level should be for this time of year, but it didn’t seem that long ago it was high enough to be flowing over the Derwent Dam wall. With as much of the view soaked in as my eyes could take, we made our way down the clough to the reservoir.¬†IMG_6998[1]¬†IMG_6997[1]¬†Once at bottom of the clough, it became more apparent how low the level was. We followed the path towards the dam wall, and after around fifteen minutes, we arrived at the bridge at the base of Hollin clough. The stream that would normally flow under the bridge was all but dry, so we decided to head down the side of it, and into the reservoir. We made our way to the new waters edge and found a small ruin of an old building. I have no idea what it would have been, but where we were stood would have been at least fifteen foot deep under water if the reservoir was full. We made our way back out of the reservoir, and carried on to the dam wall. On reaching it we made our way down the steps at the side to get a better view. It was a really impressive sight, and anyone who finds themselves in the area should definitely check the reservoirs out. As a small side note, Derwent reservoir was used by pilots in 617 squadron during the second world war to practise the low level flights needed for the “Dam Buster” raids on the German Dams. ¬†IMG_7008[1]¬†IMG_7010[1]¬†Leaving Derwent reservoir behind, we then came upon Lady Bower reservoir. This we would follow as far as Grindle clough, which was the point we would head back up the hillside, and back towards the lay-by. At roughly just over half way to the clough, we came across a sign that told us about the old Derwent village. This village had been abandoned and was demolished to make way for the creation of the reservoir in 1943 . Originally they had left the church tower standing, and at low levels you could see it sticking out of the water. Though it was then demolished long before i was born in 1947, no doubt due to health and safety concerns. IMG_7014[1]¬†IMG_7013[1]¬†Leaving the site of the old village, it wasn’t long before we reached the base of Grindle clough. After spending the last four or so miles walking downhill or on level ground, it was a bit of a shock to the legs to be going back steeply uphill again. Whilst time was getting on now, it was still quite warm in the sun. That was not to say the sky was completely clear though, in fact there was quite a lot of clouds. We had made it up the clough as far as the shelter, and then those clouds decided to start raining. Not really heavy, but enough for me to decided to put my waterproofs back on. This was all we needed, just when i thought we had been lucky enough to avoid all the rain. We carried on up the path, waiting for it to get heavier, but it never happened. In fact, it stopped completely, and walking uphill in waterproofs meant that i rapidly started to over heat. So as quick as my waterproofs had been put on, they were soon back off again, ah well, its better to be safe than sorry. We were soon back on our way again, and taking a look behind us, we admired the view of the valley below, where we had been only moments before.¬†IMG_7016[1]¬† As we followed the path higher, we soon reached the top. This was a familiar spot, it was the path junction where we had turned for Derwent edge earlier in the day. This meant we was almost back at the car after a great day out. The walk had been a lot longer than i had originally planned for, not that this was a problem, but our legs were certainly feeling it. We followed the same route back as we had come up at the beginning, ¬†passing the long line of grouse butts, and we were soon walking back down Highshaw clough towards Cutthroat bridge. From here it was only a few hundred meters to the lay-by.¬†IMG_7018[1]¬†Well back in the lay-by, i checked my tracker, and we’d covered just over eleven miles, quite a few more than the six or so i told Dan we’d be doing……sorry Dan ūüėČ ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† All in all it was a awesome walk, and my first time at Derwent edge, and i will no doubt be going back again in the future. We were really lucky with the weather, and who knows, maybe one day i’ll do a trip without forgetting something.

So here ends another blog, i really hope you enjoyed it.  A massive thank you if you made it this far through, and as always this blog is available as a video on my YouTube account, follow the link on the side menu under social. So thanks again for reading, and until next time, goodbye.

Regards Mark