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Bleaklow from Longdendale

PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 10:48 pm
by poppiesrara
A tough route up (and an easy route down) the Peak District’s second peaty highpoint.

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Some route descriptions suggest a path of sorts up to the Rollick Stones ridge from east of the Torside Reservoir, but the sight and sounds of a very well-populated clay-pigeon shoot on the private land there made it seem prudent to keep well clear. Instead I took to the access land at the first opportunity after passing Wildboar Clough and just headed east. This is wild pathless terrain, strewn with big boulders and a lot more trees and vegetation than the map would suggest, but (in the lower reaches at least) it’s great fun devising a way to clamber up – sticking to the biggest rocks for the best going through the undergrowth. It gets rougher further up as the trees are replaced by a thick carpet of heather, making it largely guesswork at times whether there are rocks or plunging gaps beneath – a very slow quarter-mile or so quite reminiscent of the rougher Rhinog badlands in Wales to reach the clear ridge rising in front.
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Ascent from Torside Reservoir above Pasture Wood

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Torside Reservoir

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Woodhead Reservoir & Westend Moss

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Rollick Stones

A half-path develops along the ridge and pleasantly up Wildboar Clough, until the stream drifts too far off the right course and it’s time for the compass and a strike out across the deep dark groughs in the direction of Bleaklow Head. It’s quite featureless ground and very difficult to maintain anything straighter than a crazed zigzag avoiding the worst of the ground, but anything in roughly the right direction (trending west for safety – I missed the ‘bullseye’ by a couple of hundred yards…) will eventually run into the one wholly clear and broad path across this moor. Turn left for an easy tramp up to the scoured ground of the summit and then – as it’s pretty bleak up there – steer west for a bit to find the rock formations around the Wain Stones and a much finer spot to rest.
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Holme Moss over the Bleaklow moor

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The Wain Stones

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Higher Shelf Stones

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This 'should be' the summit of Bleaklow Head...

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...but it's actually over there

All the way back down to Longdendale on the Pennine Way, and an unsurprisingly clear and easy path contouring above the increasingly impressive scenery of Torside Clough, the valley reservoirs and the foothills of Black Hill impressive ahead. In truth, this is probably a better way up Bleaklow from the north than mine was, but you might not want to do it both ways and it definitely doesn’t offer quite the same sense of adventure…
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Wildboar Grain

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Head of Torside Clough from 'The Pulpit' off the Pennine Way

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Torside Clough

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Laddow Rocks & Black Chew Head

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Lad's Leap & Featherbed Moss

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Torside Clough

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Black Hill

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The ascent route from the Longdendale Trail

Perhaps climb Bleaklow from Old Glossop, with Higher Shelf Stones and Doctor's Gate, as a first choice - but this is a good alternative.

Re: Bleaklow from Longdendale

PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:51 pm
by clivegrif
So that's what it looks like!

I have only been onto Bleaklow once and that was many years ago. It was the last day of the Pennine Way (I went from North to South), and the cloud base was almost down to the surface of the reservoir. By the time I was climbing up alongside Torside Clough the rain was horizontal, and the cloud so thick that I didn't see the Wain Stones until I almost walked into them.

However - on a nice day this looks a decent walk! :D