Longdendale & West Bleaklow 2-day backpack

Pitch on Bleaklow HeadAn almost circular station-to-station route in the western Dark Peak, starting at Hadfield and ending at nearby Glossop.

The Longdendale Trail starts at Hadfield station and follows the course of the old Woodhead railway for 6½ miles (10½km) past several reservoirs to the closed Woodhead tunnel entrance where it crosses the bridge to enter the River Etherow valley and ascends to Bleaklow via Near Black Clough.

It then takes the very familiar section of the Pennine Way from Bleaklow Head across to Mill Hill and descends via a new line over Chunal Moor to Glossop.

Having reluctantly refrained from winter backpacking this season after medical issues last year, the forecast seemed benign for an early April first trip but we clearly misjudged it this time: despite many years of deep winter mountain camping experience with no difficulty, this pitch on Bleaklow Head will be forever remembered as the coldest we have ever been and a stark warning.

Full report & photos