Archive for August 15th, 2012

August 15, 2012

Shining Tor and the Goyt Valley

by backpackingbongos

*Warning this post may contain a bit of a rant*

Both myself and Corrina had the Friday off work and the weather forecast was excellent.  She surprised me by agreeing to join myself and Reuben for a short walk in the Peak District.  I therefore planned an easy route up to the summit of Shining Tor from the Goyt valley.  We had a lazy morning and did not set off from the car park at the Errwood reservoir until nearly 2.00pm.  The idea was to finish the walk and head to a pub for dinner before the drive home.

6.4 miles with 430 metres ascent

The car park was pretty busy considering that it was a weekday.  I’m not sure that I would want to visit the valley on a sunny summers weekend, I would imagine it would be packed.  A pleasant surprise is the fact that parking is still free.

Within a couple of minutes of walking back down the reservoir road I was fuming and on full on swearing under my breath mode.  The verges were covered in litter, including that from takeaways which had clearly been discarded from moving vehicles.  The knuckle dragging nature of some of my fellow human beings frankly often astounds me.  What goes on through their pea sized brains as they decide to visit a beauty spot and then make a bleeding mess of it?  I may have used the term ‘f*** nuggets’ a few times as Corrina quietly walked alongside me.

Thankfully the ‘f*** nuggets’ are firmly welded to the seats of their cars and are therefore unable to drag their stupid bodies away from the road.  On the other side of Shooters clough bridge a path led steeply up through the beautiful woodland.  In the warm and humid air we were soon sweating buckets, even Reuben was slower than usual.

At a junction in the path we decided that we did not want to lose any of the height we had gained and continued onwards, the path not marked on my map.  It ended up climbing up along Foxlow edge through thick jungle like vegetation, the surrounding moors filling the horizon.

Before the highest point of Foxlow edge I noticed a small outcrop of rock that overlooked the wooded valley far below.  Surrounded by cropped grass it was the perfect place to stop for lunch, a gentle breeze providing welcome relief.

The air unfortunately was full of flies, most of which decided to bother Reuben, his head a buzzing mass of them.  He happily snapped away at them, probably eating a few dozen.

Eating our sandwiches a familiar figure passed by the wall and we all paused to look at each other.  It turned out to be an old friend of ours Kate, who we had not seen for a few years.  A huge coincidence to bump into each other in the middle of the Peaks and we sat for a while catching up.  The last time that Kate had visited the Goyt valley was years ago with myself and a group of friends.  The conditions then were very different, a cold winters day with frequent downpours.

Most of Kate’s route coincided with ours so we set off together, following the wall along Foxhall edge.  The views along here are extensive and I found that my attention was grabbed by the huge bulk of Kinder Scout on the horizon.  We passed high above the Spanish shrine, located in a magnificent spot amongst the trees.  However none of us fancied the steep descent to get to it.  Our path descended gently towards the lane called The Street.  A path has developed on the other side of the road which means that a walk along the tarmac can be avoided.  We joined the busy path towards Shining Tor from the summit of the road, many people gaining access from the high level car park.

It is a splendid stroll along the undulating ridge and as we got further from the road the crowds thinned out.  The views are magnificent, especially to the west where the hills meet the flat plains.  Although it was a hot sunny August afternoon there was a hint of autumn in the air.  The moorland grass which up until recently was a vivid green has started to turn brown.  This gave a lovely velvety texture to the hills.  Once again I found myself suffering from hay fever whilst walking on the moors.

Just to the west of the summit of Shining Tor is a small outcrop of rock that provides an airy vantage point, the ground steeply dropping away.  The cone of Shuttingsloe was a prominent feature of the view.  Unfortunately we could not hang around for long due to the combination of flying ants and the clouds of biting midges.  I would imagine that the midges would have been even more hellish later that evening once the sun had lost its strength.

A kilometre later we parted company with Kate as she headed towards the Cat and Fiddle.  We headed north along a grassy path that follows a wide ridge.

A family and their dog was quickly catching up so we stopped and had a second lunch overlooking Shooters clough.  Unfortunately they also decided to stop right next to us which managed to raise my internal annoyance factor once again.  We had only stopped so that they could pass us by, especially since their Jack Russell was a bit squeaky around Reuben.

On the positive side the view back towards Foxlow edge was rather special.

The squeaky dog group soon left us to enjoy the peace and quiet before we followed at a distance down the switchback path through the woods.

One of the attractions of this area is the rhododendrons that surround the remains of Errwood hall.  The hillsides are cloaked in the things and are meant to look pretty spectacular when they flower in the early summer.  I’m not sure what benefits they bring to our native wildlife though.  The ruins of Errwood hall itself was half hidden amongst dense vegetation, the warm humid air making the location feel rather tropical.

A short stroll back to the car park where we managed to fill the car full of ravenous midges.  The one way road up Goyts Clough was a joy to drive, although accompanied by both of us scratching those itchy midge bites.