|Outline Map →||Route file →|
Date: 14 Apr 2004
Start / Finish: Crowden. Car park immediately off the A628.
Maps: Outdoor Leisure 1: Dark Peak.
|Day 1||A Black Hill Double||18m /3450 feet (29km / 1051m)|
Just one day available this time and we did this criss-cross route over an old favourite, Black Hill.
From the information board at the rear of the car park, a path leads through to the toilets and campsite. Turning R to join a metalled track by the site entrance, we turned L along it, crossing Crowden Brook and ascending to the Pennine Way (PW) signpost. The PW climbs to a small plantation and contours above it (the ascending path L climbs to Millstone Rocks). After crossing a couple of streams it climbs to Laddow Rocks and follows the edge for a grand view, then descends to Crowden Great Brook, fording and re-fording it a few times before settling down to an easy climb - easy because virtually the whole route is now paved. This may be seen as an unforgivable desecration of the wild moor, or as a welcome means of striding out without worrying about stepping into a bog. In either case the paving enables easy and rapid progress all the way to the exquisite desolation of the aptly named Soldier's Lump, the summit of Black Hill, a spot often inaccessible before without getting black legs. Even the trig point has been given a makeover with a very neat beehive of flat stones to hide the exposed ragged concrete plinth. Convenient, but a pity in a way, as Black Hill had a strong reputation to maintain as the number-one lumpy wasteland of knee-deep black ooze with no view, but even with the path, first time visitors may well arrive with dropped jaws.
The paved PW marches on northwards to descend into the attractive Dean Clough and climbs to the A635. We made a detour here, continuing on the PW to see the Wessenden reservoirs. Returning to the road, a ladder stile opposite joins the Kirklees Way (KW), a track that descends to cross the valley between Digley and Bilberry reservoirs. The waymarked KW route round to Holme village does not start as marked on the map, it curves around just above the reservoir then climbs R to join the map route. Arriving at the minor road at Holme, we turned R past the school and curved L to follow the straight track named Issues Road that approaches Black Hill from the NE. Just after it bends R, we crossed Issue Clough near a prominent black pipe and climbed trackless but quite easy slopes to rejoin the PW to the trig point. The route is now SE - no paving to help here. In dry conditions a direct line is no problem, but not today!. We continued on the PW past a pool and the worst of the ooze, then turned L where there was more support from marsh grass. Arriving at the fence (not on the map), there are two stiles about 50 yards apart - the L one leads onto a good gritty path through the peat hags of Tooleyshaw Moss. This becomes a rather wet path, passing a pool on the small rise of Westend Moss and descends to join a contouring valley track above Crowden. A final steep descent leads back to the campsite and car park.