Bleaklow and the Upper Derwent - The Peak Empty Quarter
by icemandan » Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:36 pm
Hewitts included on this walk: Bleaklow Head
Date walked: 06/09/2010
Time taken: 7
Distance: 32 km
Ascent: 1633m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
The plateau is covered in a layer of peat, up to 8 ft deep and carved into a labyrinth of twisting groughs (the constant ups and downs accounting for the unlikely seeming height measurement). It's very much like walking across a giant chocolate sponge pudding - less tasty if you fall on your face in it though.
I'd refer sceptical Scots to Hamish Brown who writes in Hamish's Mountain Walk (Thursday 9th May - Cairn of Claise) 'Anybody can navigate along the Aonach Eagach; but try the Cairngorms or here or Kinder. Admittedly GPS helps.
Anyway we parked at the big car park under the castellated Derwent Dam and headed up the nature trail through the woods before picking up the lip of the Woodlands valley. The slope dropped away to the green valley, there were wide views south to Mam Tor, Win Hill, Stanage and Kinder edges. Overtaking a large party of chatty ramblers, we arrived at Alport Castles - Derbyshire's unlikely Quirang where a whole hillside has fallen away down the slope leaving high cliffs and rocky towers.
Drama over, we headed north into the empty expanse of the moors which gradually swallowed up the view. A thin path led to a solitary trig point.
Over a fence,onto a brown bulge, somewhat imaginatively called 'The Ridge' on the map and the hard work started. A jump over a trough of green slime and up and down grough after grough, sometimes brown and crumbly, sometimes black and slimy. Eventually a thin path emerged from somewhere, views north to Manchester and Yorkshire started to emerge and we were at the large cairn on Bleaklow and the trickle of people following the Pennine Way. It was a clear day and we could see north to Pendle Hill and far out to the Vale of York.
Back to the moors. More chocolate sponge cake and intermittent paths, following a very intermittent line of posts until we came out at Bleaklow stones - a Henry Moore-esque gritstone outcrop worn into smooth surreal shapes by the wind including a fine hammerhead.
The edge of the plateau showed a bit more view and we carried on down to the headwaters of the River Derwent. The Derwent ends up in the muddy soporific Trent but here it is a clear rushing stream in a steep sided heathery little glen that reminded me of the Falls of Tarf area - except that the path promised by the Ordnance Survey didn't exist. I was getting a bit worried about the time as I had to be in Cleethorpes in the evening for my mother-in-law's birthday. We splashed and blundered through the boulders, bracken and bog. At one point I fell in the river.
Eventually a track materialised and we carried on at close to running pace past the two nearly empty reservoirs at Howden and Derwent before we got back to the car. All in all a fantastic day's walk and an unbelievable wilderness experience.
by GarryH » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:33 pm
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by BothyManBone » Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:51 pm
- Munro compleatist
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by icemandan » Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:14 am
by Slogger » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:24 pm
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by susanmyatt » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:47 am
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