|OS Route Map →||Route file →|
Date: 14 Jan 2009
Start / Finish: Old Glossop.
Maps: Explorer OL1 The Dark Peak.
|Day 1||Bleaklow Head||10.2 miles / 1900 feet (16km / 579m)|
A short circuit of Bleaklow Head from Old Glossop, approaching via Cock Hill and Torside Clough and returning via Doctor's Gate.
Another January and another rare single-day walk, again to take advantage of a narrow window of good weather. The east was most promising and the nearby Dark Peak was a good choice for an easy high level circuit to start the year and get on the scoreboard, although it didn't feel like a winter walk at all: very mild, no snow anywhere and virtually no remaining ice.
From the turning circle at the end of Shepley Street we ascended left to Charles Lane, a short narrow road that climbs to a stile onto the old quarry track leading to Cock Hill. The mist and cloud were still cloaking the high moorland plateau, but we were clear at this level and patches of blue sky were beginning to appear.
Cock Hill at 426m is merely the end of a broad shallow spur which gives an advantageous viewing position for the trig point, and the ground continues to climb gently on a clear path to a small ruined building near the high point of 481m. We thought the Torside Castle path running eastwards might be rather grim underfoot in January on a mild day after rain, and we decided to make a shorter descent northwards to Torside Clough. There is a thin path here, a bit squelchy today but not bad at all.
The Pennine Way running along the rim of the clough is typical of many Peak District paths in this type of terrain, an attractive ascent to a confluence of peaty streams at John Track Well which sported a last vestige of ice.
The cloud and mist had gone and the sun triumphed to give a fine walk up Wildboar Grain to the large cairn and upright post on the summit plateau. This large expanse of peat and gritstone often causes confusion in the unwary: the large cairn appears to be the summit at first but the map shows the 633m spot height well to the SW near the Wain Stones. Whichever point we stand at, the other always looks a bit higher.
The Pennine Way marches on southwards into Hern Clough, repeatedly crossing the nascent River Alport in a sinuous peat grough, until it bends SW following Devil's Dike to meet Doctor's Gate which we followed for a grand descent directly to Shepley Street.