Wessenden, Black Hill & Chew 2-day backpack

Pitch at Red RatcherA 2-day linear trek in the north-western corner of the Dark Peak.

The route from Marsden passes the Butterley and Wessenden group of reservoirs, joining the Pennine Way (PW) to ascend to Black Hill, one of our old haunts going back to the days when it maintained its reputation as a peat megabog resembling the aftermath of trench warfare, but is now tamed and sanitized by paving across much of its traverse, but not all – the very wet January conditions made progress slow on the boggy bits.

Near Laddow Rocks our line departs the PW to ascend to Black Chew Head, then follows the path across Laddow Moss to Chew reservoir.

This time our faith in the various weather forecasts for clear tops and some sunshine was misplaced: the thick windblown mist persisted on the high ground for the entire two days, a dank and dismal trek leaving only the wild atmosphere of the bleak moorland to savour. At Chew reservoir we improvised a lower level route than planned to reach Mossley using the Oldham Way and Tame Valley Way.

Full report & photos

New Year 2022

Last sunset of 2021New Year greetings for 2022.

After a dismal few weeks, the final daylight minutes of 2021 yielded a pleasant sunset from our terrace, giving a colourful timely photo to brighten up this post. It’s annoying that we missed the recent brief weather window when some excellent inversions were reported from the mountains.

Last year finally opened up the pandemic barriers and we enjoyed some excellent backpacks and tent pitches. Unfortunately this year is off to an inauspicious start with infections clocking up record numbers and the trains running to special reduced timetables, requiring careful planning. We shall probably focus on the nearby Peak District or South Pennines for a while where transport is more frequent.

So all the best to everyone and good walking.