A nearly Black Hill slackpack

by backpackingbongos

I had not taken into account the Friday afternoon traffic, therefore it was gone 4.00pm when I pulled into the car park at Crowden. As I was getting my kit together I have to say that I was a little perturbed by the pile of broken glass behind my car.  A popular spot next to the busy A628 meant that it was not the most salubrious place to leave a vehicle overnight.

The campsite was filling with weekend visitors as we passed by, a queue developing at the barrier by reception.  We left the organised ranks of caravans and started the climb towards the disused quarry above Brockholes wood.  A guy returning back to the campsite said that he was envious that I was going to spend the night on the moor.  With blue skies and light winds I was glad that I was.

The last people I would see that day were passed as we started along the track that contours above Crowden Little Brook.  This really is a delightful walk into surprisingly wild country, considering the main Sheffield to Manchester road is nearby.  The path stays level for much of the length, providing an easy promenade into the the hidden depths of the valley.



The path eventually turns into a sheep trod as it approaches Wiggin Clough.  I had originally planned to continue up to the summit of Black Hill.  However I really could not be arsed.  We sat by the stream for a while for a snack (well I had a snack whilst Reuben watched intently).   A change of plan then saw us climb steep slopes above the clough.


It was a rough slosh across Siddens, the hillside being littered with an aircraft wreck.  It was surprising just how far the debris was scattered. Overhead planes were making their descent to Manchester Airport, spoiling any feeling of remoteness.

I had a spot in mind in which to pitch the tent, so we headed across trackless ground to the head of Crowden Great Brook.


I located a great flat, tussock free spot to pitch on.  It was about as hidden from prying eyes as its possible to be.  I reckon that you could camp there for a week and not be spotted.  I’m not saying where it is, get out a map and match the photos to the contours.  A good way to boost map reading skills.

I was very keen not to have to drop all the way down into the main valley to fill up my water bottles.  I ended up finding a boggy hollow and skimmed reasonably clear water off the top.  It was well worth carrying a water filter which soon made it palatable.

Once again I had brought my large and heavy Voyager tent, a comfy palace for myself and Reuben.  After darkness I climbed the nearby rocky outcrop and failed to get a good enough mobile signal to call my wife.  However it was good to stand there in the darkness, the outlines of the surrounding hills just about visible.  Back at the tent I only managed to read for half hour before falling asleep.


I must have felt relaxed as I did not wake until 9.00am and it was 11.30am before I had packed up.  A cold wind hinted at rain later that day. We climbed to the twin rocky outcrops to take in the fantastic view.  I had been tempted to pitch up there but was glad that I had not as the wind would have been too brisk for a comfortable camp.



We headed up the valley for a short distance before crossing the stream and heading south on the Pennine Way.  Here I met a nice couple and their terrier which had its own tiny panniers.  Its barking and lunging turned out to be a way of attracting Reuben as she soon offered him her rear end.  This offer passed unnoticed by my innocent dog.


Above Laddow Rocks we headed west to the undefined summit of Black Chew Head, an easy bag to add to my list of Dewey hills. Laddow Rocks however are rather impressive, leading the eye towards the brooding hulk of Bleaklow.


We simply followed the Pennine Way back to Crowden, passing this sign that almost tempted me to see if the nearby bogs were dangerous.


I was relieved to find the car where I had left it with all its windows intact.

21 Comments to “A nearly Black Hill slackpack”

  1. Cracking wee trip James. I just worked out its been 12y since I last walked in that area. Shocking.

    • Aye it was not bad for a last minute overnighter Martin. Was the last time you were there when you did the Pennine Way?

  2. it was. A long time ago. The PW was superb. It snowed as well that day. Enjoyed a bacon roll past Black Hill. Then more snow fell. I cut that day short and walked off route to a bunk house. Mid March mind you. Wind and snow the first few days. Dales was nice, but it did snow some more. All good fun.

    • The Pennine way is on my list of things to do when I retire. Something I would like to do but not quite enough to use nearly 3 weeks annual leave.

      • Allow 3 weeks to enjoy it. I had planned it in 14 days, but in the end it was 15 as I split day 2 up due to snow. It’s a long walk. Best enjoyed, not rushed. Even better James. Make it part of a LEJOG.

  3. It looks lovely on those pics…quite a contrast to when I turned up on saturday…sigh…

  4. Looks a good jaunt. Makes me wish I was nearer some hilly stuff. I hate leaving the car in public car parks.

    • Aye it’s good having the Peaks an hour or two drive. Just knowing they are quick and easy to get to is comforting! Yep, I always worry about the car. Living in a big city it is just as likely to happen outside my house as in a country car park.

  5. Really Amazing pics

  6. Nice trip, wild country up there, amazing considering how close industrial civilization is

  7. Have walked up there a lot and often wondered about a night out. Have also often wondered about the wisdom of leaving the car at Crowden though. Thankfully all was good for you 😊
    Looked a rather nice night actually.

  8. Hahaha. Reuben’s “virtue” lives to see another day.

  9. I don’t know why, but that picture with your dog with the backpacks always makes me laugh:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: