Posts tagged ‘Curbar edge’

April 16, 2013

A big walk on Big Moor

by backpackingbongos

The clock really does seem to be ticking this year with regards to the approaching TGO Challenge.  After a Friday off work lounging in bed (due to complete laziness rather than illness) I decided that I really should make a half arsed attempt at getting fit.  I had backpacked the previous weekend but that turned into a bit of a slackpacking adventure, rather than gobbling up the miles as planned.

So early on the Saturday morning I took a rather excited Reuben to the nearest part of the Peak District, less than an hours drive away.  Most of my days on the TGO Challenge are around twenty to twenty five kilometres.  I thought that I should at least attempt that distance with a day pack.  I had also just got a new pair of Inov8 Flyroc 310’s.  After a few months in leather boots over the winter, it was a good opportunity to break them in and get my feet used to trailshoes again.

23.5 Kilometres with 630 metres ascent

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The car park below Birchen edge is one of those rare ones that remains free, you need to get there early to get a place.  Whilst enjoying a banana from the comfort of my car, I watched a group of ramblers kit up for what looked like an Everest expedition.  Reuben however had no interest in people watching and signalled his impatience from the back seat.  As we left the car park I admired the fact that one couple had brought stools so that they could put their walking boots on in comfort.  They even had matching bags to put their footwear in that looked to have been designed for that purpose (they were boot shaped).  People are fascinating creatures.

The path over the shoulder of Gardom’s edge to the main A621 is an enjoyable one, low open moorland followed by wooded slopes.  Crossing the road we then walked along the edge of some stunning grounds of a large house.  It’s all tumbling brooks and stones and trees and makes me feel rather jealous each time I pass through.  If I owned it I’m not sure if I would want unwashed ramblers walking through.

A sweaty climb in the dappled shade of woodland brought us to Baslow edge and the impressive Eagle stone.

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For the next few miles along first Baslow, Curbar and then Froggatt edges you are reminded that large conurbations are not very far away.  On this sunny day the place was heaving with every man, child and dog.  Although I do have misanthropic tendencies it is great to see so many people out enjoying such a great place.  It’s not somewhere to come to get away from it all, so with that mindset I enjoyed the hustle and bustle.  I wonder what Tracksterman would make of the place?  Reading his post dated April 8th gives me some idea……………..

Anyway, the views as we walked north were spectacular, somewhere where it is hard to resist the temptation to sit and gawp every now and then.

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Another main road soon shattered the idyllic scene but was quickly left behind as we entered Hay wood.  Here Reuben involuntarily lost his virginity to an over enthusiastic labrador twice his size.  Worth the price of admission alone to watch the well spoken elderly owner trying to get it to dismount.  Reuben took this undignified intrusion into his walk in his stride, although I did notice some nervous backwards glances for a few hundred metres.

Our lunch time destination was Tumbling hill, a fantastic perch within access land but off most people’s radar.  An enjoyable half hour in the sun with a flask and a dog who had a keen interest in my sandwiches.

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A short walk along the main road was followed by a pleasant track through the Longshaw Estate where Reuben was confronted by a mob of children who wanted to say hello.  I’m not really sure what he makes of little people, in Nottingham he views them as a free source of footballs.

Fox House to a pedestrian is an obstacle course of fast-moving traffic and badly parked cars on the verges.  It was with relief that the chaos was left behind for a walk across Totley Moor.  This was a place of lingering snow, deep and wet under the warm sun.  It was a bit of a struggle to be honest, especially in trail shoes which were soon cold and sodden.  The snow that did not hold would deposit me in the freezing cold bog hidden underneath.  There was a bit of cursing involved.

The trig point on Totley Moor at 395 metres was the highest point of the day, another pleasant spot to laze in the sun with Reuben.

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Descending towards Barbrook bridge via an ill-defined path the ground became marshy.  There is a distinctive feel to these eastern moors, a blend of fen and trees.  An area ignored by most as they head to the edges just a couple of miles away.

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The gate giving access to the track down Bar Brook was locked, barring the way to access land.  This was annoying and it was difficult hauling Reuben over the top.  A pedestrian access point really should be provided.

It’s a pleasant walk through the shallow valley and we managed to hop over the stream lower down to gain access to the expanse of Big Moor.  Here on a trackless walk to Swine Sty we came across a couple of standing stones that are not marked on the map.  For a moment I was transported to Dartmoor.

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I had planned to walk the length of Birchen edge but tiredness and the desire to get home and order a curry got the better of me.  Instead we were accompanied by the clinking of climbing gear as we made our way back to the car under the wall of gritstone.

December 29, 2010

Along the Arctic Eastern Edges

by backpackingbongos

My walk in the Peaks the previous week had been a bit of a damp squib and I was eager to see the hills covered in the white stuff and under blue skies.  A brief dusting the night before and a definite promise of clear skies got me out of bed sharpish and I pointed the Bongo in a westerly direction.  The car park next to the Robin Hood Inn, just off the Baslow road was nearly empty and is free which makes a pleasant change these days in the Peaks.  Already dressed and booted for the hill I simply grabbed my sack and headed straight out of the car park.

10.6 miles with 570 metres ascent

The path through the woods was quickly left when I spotted a narrow path through the heather directly onto the ridge above, I was keen to drink in some snowy views.  About an inch of snow had fallen the night before and the very cold temperatures meant that it was like icing sugar.  It was a joy to walk through, not at all slippery and the mud and peat underneath was as hard as iron.  Pausing on the southern part of Birchen the views to the west were extensive due to the crystal clear air.

The steep heather banks to my left soon gave way to a defined edge and the cliffs of Birchen.  I spent a great day here a couple of years ago with some service users of a local homeless charity being introduced to rock climbing.  It was a day filled with fun and laughter and I felt a twinge of sadness today knowing that it is unlikely that I will be able to do such work in the forseeable future.  I spotted Nelson’s Monument and followed a solitary set of footsteps towards it in the snow.

I could not get over just how clear the air was, the views only appeared impeded by the curvature of the earth itself.  The reason for this soon became apparent when a gust of wind directly from the north blew straight threw me.  The uncovered skin on my face soon began to ache and I quickly started to descend northwards into the shelter of the trees to pick up the path that heads to the A621.  This path is usually an ordeal of waterlogged bog but today it was frozen solid.  Careful not to slip on the clear water ice I made it to the main road dry-shod.  I reached it just in time to watch an idiot in a pick up overtake 4 vehicles in a row who were gingerly driving the icy road.  Just to show how manly he was he beeped his horn at them for having the audacity of getting in his way.  I quickly left the ‘real’ world behind, taking the hidden moorland path up to the summit of White Edge which was living up to its name.  The trig point is one of the few points on the Eastern edges where you can get a view to the east as well as west.  The tower blocks of Sheffield looked pretty close in the clear air.

The edge itself is the least defined of the edges and as I headed north my eyes were drawn to the northern horizon where both Kinder Scout and Bleaklow dominated.  Although enjoying myself on these lower hills it would have been a perfect day crossing their heights over frozen groughs.

Meeting a wall my map indicated a path leading down to the Grouse Inn but I could find no evidence of it on the ground.  I began to doubt my map reading skills and studied it even harder.  I decided that it was hidden under the snow and got confirmation further on that I can map read when it appeared.  By now it was not much after 2.00pm and the sun was beginning to get low in the sky, giving the hills an orange glow.

Behind the pub a path led me to the start of Froggat edge and a walk through the birch trees.  You do not get much of a feeling of walking along a cliff top until Curbar edge is reached.  I spent a while here off the main path exploring the rocks and peering down into the valley below.  An area which is usually busy with climbers was almost absent of people this Friday afternoon.  The sun was setting now and I realised that I would probably be finishing in the dark.

Just before the car park at Curbar gap there was a few moments when the sun peered through the gathering clouds and put on a magical display, contrasting with the monochrome landscape.

The main path was once again left on Baslow edge and I sat for a while and watched a couple of brave souls drive up the steep and very icy Curbar gap road.

All too soon I left the cliffs and headed towards the Eagle stone, making my descent underneath Wellington’s monument and down to the Sheffield road.  Through the woods there is an extraordinary house and gardens on the other side of a viaduct which carries its access drive.  I have passed this way a few times before and envy its location in a rocky gorge.  It was then a stiff climb at the end of the day to contour below Gardom’s edge.  It was pretty much dark and I stood and watched the lights of the traffic below me on the Baslow roundabout, the noise drifting up to what otherwise would have been a peaceful spot.  Eyes adjusting to the dark the low moors back to the van were passed without resorting to my headtorch.  A gentle day walking wise but exhilarating views in such cold and clear weather.  My watch thermometer said that the temperature never rose above minus three celsius all day!

April 19, 2010

A sunday afternoon bimble – White, Curbar and Froggatt edges

by backpackingbongos

The weekend did not go to plan.  I was meant to set off after work on Friday to join some friends for my birthday in our usual bothy like haunt in the Black Mountains.  A last minute dash to the vets for our cat Jasmine instead meant that the weekend trip was cancelled so we could look after her.  Thankful that the cat was ok I still sat there on the Saturday looking at the blue skies wishing that I was in the wilds of Wales.  Being my birthday weekend and that I was dreaming of the hills, my non hillwalking partner decided that she would join me for an ‘easy’ walk on the Sunday.  I settled on the eastern edges as they are only an hour from our house and you can park high up, taking away the need to put in much effort.

But first there is Hathersage to spend an hour or so in looking around the gear shops, fondling technical fabrics.  All I can say is that my bank account is much smaller but my backpacking sack will now be a little bit lighter.  I may even get to do a couple of gear posts!  It’s a real shame that Outside in Hathersage no longer does any discounts.  It’s a great shop but not the cheapest, no amount of haggling will get you anything off in there now.

With a late start leaving Nottingham, some gear shopping and a deli lunch meant that it was 2.00pm by the time we left the car park.

6.9 miles with 250 metres ascent

The National Trust car park on the Longshaw estate is a good springboard for White edge.  We soon passed White edge lodge and were on the edge itself.  Not the most spectacular of the eastern edges it does give good all round views and a sense of space which is needed after spending the week cooped up in a City.  Time for a sit down to take in the view!

We followed the edge south to the trig point and I was rather dismayed at seeing it swarming with one of those giant groups that hike in the Peaks.  I stood my distance, scowling and glaring as I can’t pass a trig point without saying hello and patting it on its head.  They soon headed off in a 100 metre long column, single file and being led by a man in the biggest baggy shorts imaginable.  Middle age has not even arrived and I am getting grumpy!

A short moorland crossing on a vague path led us to Curbar edge which although much lower than where we had previously been is much more dramatic.  Even though it is just over 300 metres above sea level it seems much much higher and the views down into the Derwent valley are great, even on a dull misty day.

Time for a sit down to take in roughly the same view but from a different perspective!

It’s a great promenade along Curbar edge which descends and turns into the silver birch lined Froggatt edge.  Where one edge and the other finishes I don’t know.

Before the dash back to the van we visited a spot that I have had an eye on the map for a while now.  There is a tightening of contours and a cliff symbol just north west of the Grouse inn called Tumbling Hill.  This really has to be one of the best viewpoints I have visited in the Peaks.  A lofty perch giving views along the upper Derwent valley with the high moors in the distance.  A place to sit and take it all in.

And yes as you may have noticed in the photos, you can buy a Paramo jacket in bright pink, as modelled by Corrina!