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

Peak District – Win hill – Crook hill

I have visited the Lady bower reservoir many times over the years, as a child with my parents, and now later as an adult. In all these visits, i have never seen the water flowing down the bellmouth overflows (known locally as the “plug holes”). So whilst browsing social media, a couple of short videos stuck in my mind. One of these was of the water flowing over the top of ¬†Derwent dam, and the other was a short clip by my friend Dean Read. The Clip Dean had uploaded, was a aerial shot of one of the Lady Bower “plugholes”, with water rushing down into its dark, seemingly bottomless depths. Upon seeing this, i decided that i had to plan a walk there, and sharpish, before the water levels dropped too low, and this amazing sight stopped. With a quick flick through my Peak District walks book, and a good scan of my OS map, i formulated a route, and packed my day pack. That night i went to bed, eager for the¬†trip ahead.¬†IMG_4806[1]

I awoke early the next morning, and shovelled my breakfast down as fast as i could. Now anyone that knows me, knows that i’d forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on, so to make sure i hadn’t forgot anything, i had to talk myself through all the gear i’d need and mentally check it off my list. So, breakfast eaten and list checked, i set off to the Peak District, my destination, Lady Bower reservoir, and a great day of walking. Arriving at Lady Bower around 10:30am, i Parked up in a lay-by near the dam itself. Opening the car boot, i excitedly laced my walking boots, put on my day pack and headed to the dam. As i got closer, i could hear the water crashing down the plughole, i quickened my pace. It was an amazing sight to behold, what are normally dormant, quiet plugholes, were now a crescendo of noise, with water flowing down at a blistering pace. After a few moments watching the water in awe, i set off on my walk, the first part of which would be taking me to the top of Win hill.

IMG_4808[1]¬†With the weather being warmer than i had expected, and my tendency to be able to sweat in a freezer, i thought it best to take the less direct route to the top of Win hill. A easier route it may have been, but i still managed to become a sweaty mess, i can only imagine how bad i would have been had i taken the direct route. No doubt the water level in Lady Bower would have risen some what. Around half way up the route, a few trees had fell onto the path, covering it for a stretch of about a hundred meters or so. My guess was that they had fell in the tail end of the recent storm. Some of them had sections¬†sawn out of them, so they were no longer blocking the path, but a good few of them were still there, completely blocking the trail, so i was forced to take a detour around them. After rejoining the path, i was soon taking a more direct route up, and upon leaving the tree line, the last slog to the top of Win hill began. Now out in the open, the views from the hillside were amazing, i was stopping periodically to catch my breath, and also to soak up¬†the beautiful views around me. When i reached the top, a huge smile crossed my face, as i strolled across to the trig point to take in the amazing vistas on all sides. In fact, from this great vantage point, i could pretty much see all the remainder of my journey laid out before me.¬†IMG_4811[1]¬†Once i had soaked up all the views possible, and taken the walkers obligatory trig point photo, i carried on with my journey. My next port of call on the route was Hope cross, i had decided this would be an excellent place to stop for the food i had packed. Whilst following the ridge line of Hope brink, i couldn’t help but keep looking at the impressive formation of the Great ridge, Lose hill to Mam tor, standing proudly between the Hope valley and the Vale of Edale. This got me thinking, and wishing i was walking the great ridge, but that would add on another seven miles to what would already be a ten mile round trip. My legs just aren’t ready for that yet.¬†IMG_4813[1]¬†So i decided to just admire the view, and save the great ridge for another day, and i carried on with my journey. Now this section i was on, was a very gradual downwards slope, so it wasn’t hard on my knees and i was making excellent time. I thought to myself i’d soon be eating the lunch i had packed, and i couldn’t wait, because i was starving. It was then that it came into sight, and it seemed another large group of walkers had had the same idea. They would soon have another visitor. As i arrived at Hope cross, we exchanged a few courteous hellos, “a beautiful day for it” i said, and it was. I then took out my food, removed any breakables from my bag and then used it for a seat, and promptly ate my food. It was a beautiful location to eat, as i watched the clouds rolling over the vale of Edale towards the great ridge. This really is the life i thought as i relaxed admiring the view. IMG_4815[1]¬†After around twenty minutes, it was time to move on, still steadily going down hill i soon reached the river that fed one part of the reservoir. Shortly after crossing the river, the easy downhill section was over and the first steep climb since ascending Win hill began. This ascent up to Hagg side, was a steep and winding rocky path. It wasn’t long before i was puffing and panting and the dreaded sweat glands were working over time again. Luckily it was only around five to six hundred meters, although i’ll admit it felt a lot longer. But i’d made it, and the path was now pretty level, with a very gentle upwards gradient. Next stop Crook hill. It was around one and a half miles to Crook hill, and i did my best to get my head down and cover this section pretty quickly. The reason being, was that all the Photos and video footage i had been shooting for my YouTube video, had taken up a fair bit of time, and i didn’t want to be home too late, and i still had a one hour fifteen minute drive ahead of me, traffic dependent. So as you can imagine, it wasn’t long before the distinct shape of Crook hill came in to view.¬†IMG_4818[1]¬†Now from my direction of travel, the path actually skirts around the left side of the hill, but i had an urge to actually walk to the top of both points of the hill. At first i was unsure whether to do it or not. Crook hill may not be really high, but from where i was stood, it looked very steep sided, so i left my decision till i was a bit nearer. Well who was i kidding, i couldn’t resist and up i went, and i was really glad i did as i got some spectacular views, from what was the last high point before heading back down towards the reservoir, and ultimately, my car.IMG_4820[1]¬†As i headed back down Crook hill towards Lady bower reservoir, and the Ashopton viaduct, i was filled with mixed emotions. I was really happy that i’d had such an amazing walk in such a beautiful location with great weather, yet sad it had come to an end. Yet i was also excited to go home and tell my family all about my journey and all the things i’d seen along the way. Well it wasn’t long before i had reached my car, changed back into my trainers, and slumped in the drivers seat ready to head home. This had been another extremely enjoyable visit to the Peak District as always, and as ever, i cant wait to get back out again soon. I hope you enjoy this latest installment of my Blog, and i look forward to any comments you may have. Thank you very much for reading.

Regards      Mark IMG_4822[1]