Took advantage of some decent weather whilst visiting my father over Easter to get one hill walk done in an attempt to get my legs trained to do sustained uphill walking in preparation for my cross-Knoydart trek at the end of May/eraly June. Parked at Torside car park and had lunch before setting off along the trans-Pennine trail to get around the reservoir to access the Pennine way at Crowden. The plan was to hike to Black hill summit using the old Pennine way, then come back to Longdendale valley along the current Pennine way.
Weather was sunny and fresh, and as I climbed up the wind increased making it feel cool, but it was perfect as the fresh breeze removed body heat at the same rate I was generating it through ascent, so I climbed up the long broad ridge via Westend Moor to the high moor and the summit without breaking a sweat. There was a short bit near the start of the climb where I lost the path and had to blaze a trail onto the ridge to pick it up again. Briefly stopped to chat with another man who was doing the same route in reverse.
The moor underfoot was mostly very dry, only sporadic damp patches so was easy to cross which helped a lot with progress. There were a handfull of people at the summit and the views were very extensive across to Bleaklow and Saddleworth moor. I descended along the Pennine way flagstones which again makes progress very quick and easy. Great views across the high moor gave a great feeling of vastness and isolation not unlike the more remote parts of Scotland. My route down picked up a small gully which gradually widens and deepens to a full size valley. The route follows the stream and climbs back up at one point to around 500 m which again gave great views down the valley and towards Bleaklow hill. After a moderately steep descent I was soon back near Crowden and I decided to get back to the gar by going the other way around the reservoir. This involved following the Pennine way parallelling the main road (a nice wooded section of path) then across the dam to pick up the trans-Pennine trail again back to the car park.
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