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 😉
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 🙂