Walking, Hiking, and Scrambling route descriptions and reports, mainly focusing on Snowdonia and the Peak District, eg. the Snowdon Horseshoe, Tryfan, the Bochlwyd Horseshoe, and Kinder Scout. GPX files provided for all routes.
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After his initiation to the Dark Peak, I decided to try moving the little one to the next level to see what he was capable of. I was looking for something around 3 miles long but providing tougher walking than simply walking along a gritstone edge. I decided upon Win Hill. The ascent via Parkin […] The post A Simple Win Hill Circular appeared first on Hill...
After his initiation to the Dark Peak, I decided to try moving the little one to the next level to see what he was capable of. I was looking for something around 3 miles long but providing tougher walking than simply walking along a gritstone edge. I decided upon Win Hill. The ascent via Parkin Clough is a tough slog, however the rocky summit contained interest for a youngster (they tend to love scrambling on rock) and the descent back down the woodland tracks is pleasant with easy going gradients.
We parked just a little higher up the road from the Yorkshire Bridge Inn and proceeded across the dam (which I could see amazed him) before turning left and heading to Parkin Clough.
I have to be honest, I really thought he’d struggle with the climb and was expecting lots of whining whilst we slogged up the hill. The boy was doing well – enjoying it even. Eventually, we arrived at the head of the clough and stopped for a little while so he could munch down a bit of cake and refuel those little legs.
We continued up through the woodland, the rocky summit of Winhill Pike now visible in the distance. The summit was reasonably busy considering we only passed a handful of other walkers on the way up. The little one enjoyed his moment of scrambling around the top before we took the obligatory trig point photo and had another rest. It was a nice day and the views, as always, were fantastic.
After dropping down the opposite side of Winhill Pike, we headed west for a little while before taking a sharp turn to the right and following a narrow track north-east, through heather moorland, and back towards the wooded slopes.
Once back in the woods, the little ones legs had finally tired. He needed a little motivation from dad to keep him going. This was normally in the form of ‘OK, you wait here, I’ll go home without you. Bye bye‘. And then I’d wait around the bend as he shouted after me a couple of times before suddenly finding the strength to come running. After many repetitions of this same tactic (I wasn’t carrying him, no matter how many times he asked), we eventually reached the reservoir back at the foot of the hill.
At this point, I could see that he’d genuinely ran out of steam and wasn’t simply whining, and so I rewarded him with a shoulder ride over the dam and back to the car. Mission accomplished!
I had multiple options on where to start this route, including Keswick and the north side of Latrigg, but in the end decided to start up at the Dodd Wood car park and get the big ascents out of the way as early as possible. The reason for this was the temperature… it had forecast […] The post The Skiddaw Group appeared first on Hill...
I had multiple options on where to start this route, including Keswick and the north side of Latrigg, but in the end decided to start up at the Dodd Wood car park and get the big ascents out of the way as early as possible. The reason for this was the temperature… it had forecast a scorching hot day and I thought I’d benefit more from finishing the route with a long but easy low level road walk than the other way around. The evening before, I walked the Blencathra group before settling down to sleep in the car in one of the lay-bys on the A66, somewhere near Keswick. Upon waking, I popped to the Rheged Centre filling station for breakfast and a coffee before heading to Dodd Wood to start the walk. It was still nice and early and I was the first car to park in the normally busy car park.
Armed with a layer of sunscreen and 6 bottles of water, I began the walk up to the summit of Dodd through Dodd Wood. Apparently I was lucky in my timing of the walk as the paths had only just opened up again after tree felling. After an initial steep section, the path contoured gently around the slopes of Dodd Wood before, eventually, a short steep path headed up to the summit. Despite it being the smallest Wainwright of the day at only 502 metres, it quite possibly had the best views. A decent view was available looking south towards Derwent Water but by far the best view from this summit was looking north-west over Bassenthwaite Lake. Breathtaking!
From Dodd, I retraced my steps back down the summit track before continuing east, descending to the gap between Dodd and the south ridge of Carl Side. After a steep ascent up to the ridge, I followed it uphill and north to the summit of the second Wainwright of the day, Carl Side. The sun was getting hotter and hotter as the day was progressing and I let out a sigh as I spotted the ridiculously steep path up Skiddaw on the opposite side of the col. I was able to delay the inevitable for a little longer though as my next objective was to grab the Wainwrights of Longside Edge and Ullock Pike. Both of these involved little ascent and were located on the ridge to the north-west of Carl Side, forming one side of Southerndale with Skiddaw forming the other. After getting to the end of the ridge at Ullock Pike, I turned around and retraced my steps back to Carl Side.
So this was it – the inevitable slog. The sun was even hotter now and it was doing an outstanding job of sapping all of my energy. Normally I would give myself a good workout and try and keep a good pace uphill, but I just didn’t have it in me. I shuffled up the path slowly. Very slowly. I was starting to wish I had an unlimited supply of drinks in my backpack as I was getting through them at a fair rate. Eventually, after what seemed like far too long, I hit the summit plateau. I wandered over to the official summit and had a brief rest by the trig point. I felt like my skin would start to char and blacken, and my blood boil if I sat still for too long and so I continued.
I headed south for a short distance before veering south-east, taking in Skiddaw Little Man before descending down Jenkin Hill. Eventually I arrived at the path that would eventually take me back down alongside Whit Beck. Not yet though as I first had to make a little detour to bag Lonscale Fell by following the right hand side of a wall. Easy walking and there hadn’t really been any big ascents since the one up to Skiddaws summit. The sun was still out and there was nowhere to hide, and not a cloud in the sky either. I’d drunk all but one bottle of my water and I could have quite easily gone through another 5 bottles. It was becoming almost impossible not to dehydrate. The water had warmed up with the high temperatures and was no longer satisfying. The water wasn’t just lukewarm, it was heated like I’d filled my bottles from a hot water tap.
From Lonscale Fell, I backtracked again and descended down the aforementioned path by Whit Beck. It was steep, but had some great views ahead to Latrigg during the descent. Eventually I arrived at the car park that sits between the slopes of Lonscale Fell and Latrigg, but not before passing a memorial for the Hawell family of shepherds who tended their flocks of Herdwick sheep on Skiddaw back in the 1800’s. Just one small Wainwright to go… and then, due to my starting location, a long walk back to the car.
Latrigg is only 368m high and would be described as a rounded grassy hump rather than any kind of mountain. I walked up the summit with ease – opting for the direct route rather than the wheelchair friendly path which winds its way more gradually up. The hill overlooks Keswick and so the views from the top are excellent despite its modest height. The views looking south from its viewpoint are dominated by the Derwent Fells, the Borrowdale Fells, and the Helvellyn range surrounding the foreground of Keswick and Derwent Water.
The water situation was desperate at this point. I’d just drunk the last of what I had left and needed more. I descended Latrigg on its west side until I met the Cumbria Way long distance footpath. I followed this south beyond my planned turning and over the bridge into Keswick. My main objective now was to find the Co-op, which I achieved after only a short time. I bought 4 drinks… 2 I’d drunk before I even left the car park, the other 2 I stuck in my bag. I had a quick chat with one of the locals who informed me that this was the hottest day that Keswick had ever seen, or at least in his lifetime anyway. He informed me that it was around 33 degrees centigrade at the moment. What a day to go Wainwright bagging!
I backtracked over the bridge and took the turning that led me across pasture at a nice easy low level towards Applethwaite, before walking the remainder of the way long the road. I was really looking forward to getting back to the car and was disappointed to find my car had heated up so much inside that I could have baked a pizza in there. Luckily there was The Old Sawmill Tearoom at the other end of the car park and so I indulged myself with ice cream whilst the car cooled down.
This was the first of 2 walks that I’d planned to do over two days in the Lake District. The goal for these 2 days was to bag the majority of the main northern fells as well as the well known Sharp Edge scramble. This first route covered the scramble and the Blencathra group of […] The post Sharp Edge and the Blencathra Group appeared first on Hill...
This was the first of 2 walks that I’d planned to do over two days in the Lake District. The goal for these 2 days was to bag the majority of the main northern fells as well as the well known Sharp Edge scramble. This first route covered the scramble and the Blencathra group of Wainwrights. I didn’t set off from Nottingham until lunchtime and so by the time I’d arrived in Mungrisdale, parked by the river, and got my gear sorted for the walk, it was already somewhere between 3.30pm and 4pm.
There was no time to warm up before I was ascending the first Wainwright of the day. From Mungrisdale, I followed a path that skirted up the side of Souther Fell. It was a very hot sunny day and so my bag was suitably filled with 5 bottles of water, which I was confident would see me through the walk. The views on the way up Souther Fell were gorgeous – an expanse of low level farmland with a backdrop of high fells around Ullswater, and the distinctive dome of Great Mell Fell sitting in between; A lonely fell that clearly didn’t want to mingle with the rest of them.
For the majority of the ascent, there was a barricade of tall ferns to the right which blocked me off from attempting the direct approach up to the summit of the Wainwright. There’s one small section where there’s a gap and if this is missed, it will most likely mean following the path to its conclusion and then backtracking to the summit. Through the gap I went and up the steep slope to obtain the first Wainwright of the day – Souther Fell.
As I progressed south along Souther Fell, I was treated to some magnificent views towards Blencathra, Sharp Edge, and the valley of Glenderamackin that sits between Bannerdale Crags and Scales Fell. Eventually I descended and made my way towards Scales Fell. There is a path that leads along the highest point of this fell all the way up to Blencathra, but that would mean missing Sharp Edge.
I followed a lower level path that contoured along the base of Scales Fell, eventually ascending a steep steppy path to my left which led up to Scales Tarn. I stopped to refuel here whilst enjoying the tranquility and scenery on offer. Scales Tarn has a backdrop of huge crags (named Tarn Crags) that lead up to the bulk of Blencathra. These crags curve around the tarn, eventually narrowing into a rocky ridge which sat up to my right. This is Sharp Edge. The area was swarming with midges but, luckily, I’m one of those people that midges don’t like to bite.
I made my way up to the beginning of the Sharp Edge ridge proper. This is classified as a grade 1 scramble however, due to the slate, it can be tricky when it’s wet as it becomes quite slippery. I had worn my Scarpa Crux shoes for this one, and the rock was a dry as a bone so I wasn’t expecting any difficulties. The ridge was very atmospheric and enjoyable but, in my opinion, wasn’t in the least bit difficult. Obviously it would present more of a challenge to those afraid of heights or not very sure footed, but I was across it in no time at all. It’s not a very long scramble at all unfortunately.
I continued scrambling up the slope to Atkinson Pike and once up, I followed the path south, following the edge of Tarn Crags, until I arrived at the official summit of Blencathra. There’s no trig pillar here, but there is a trig point in the form of a concrete ring. I’ve never seen one of these before. I loved the views looking south down Hall’s Fell Ridge and towards Glenridding and Helvellyn.
Next on the agenda was Mungrisdale Common. From the trig point, I headed roughly North North-west, gradually descending the slopes on the western side of Tarn Crags whilst circling around Roughten Gill. As a guide, I headed to a point just beneath the scree on the slopes of Atkinson Pike. Once past here, I began to veer to the west, sticking with the highest ground which is Mungrisdale Common.
Mungrisdale Common didn’t feel like a Wainwright at all. It was more of a moorland walk – and one that I suspect would have been very boggy if we weren’t in the middle of a heatwave. The cottongrass was in bloom which added a little more interest to the surrounding scenery. This section of the walk reminded me of my usual haunt in the Dark Peak.
Once I’d achieved the official highest point of this unspectacular but tranquil wainwright, I set of back roughly eastwards towards the col that sits between the sources of River Glenderamackin and Blackhazel Beck. Quite a number of paths converge at this point as its the only place to cross without dropping down into the valleys. It’s also a good place to view the opposite side of Sharp Edge.
From the col, I headed east up to the summit of Bannerdale Crags where there are splendid views across Bannerdale, and also across Glenderamackin valley towards Souther Fell where I started this walk. As the name suggests, the eastern side of this Wainwright is made up of steep crags overlooking the valley below.
I followed the edge path northwards, eventually arriving at the next Wainwright on the list, Bowscale Fell. Again, this Wainwright isn’t the most spectacular in terms of looks or height, but it does have great views. I suppose it does get a bit repetitive saying that as just about every Wainwright in the Lake District has outstanding views from the summit. It’s a wonderful place. Bowscale Fell has 2 eastern protrusions separated by Bullfell Beck. It was the most northerly of these that I used to descend back to Mungrisdale. It was a pleasant descent route and, until the very last section, nice and gradual. The last section though was an extremely steep and loose track down towards the disused quarry below. Good footing and balance is needed here and I can imagine it would be difficult for anyone who doesn’t have that. A walking pole would have definitely be useful, especially as my knees were starting to feel rather creaky. It was a perfect time to finish as I strolled back to the car through Mungrisdale – perfect because I was out of water! A fantastic walk and I was looking forward to the next days planned outing up to Skiddaw.
This walk was designed to give my 3 year old son, Harry, his first taste of the Dark Peak. At this age, I didn’t really want to give him anything that involved too much climbing, or too far a distance. I felt that 3 miles should be about his limit. I also wanted a bit […] The post Birchen Edge and Gardom’s Edge appeared first on Hill...
This walk was designed to give my 3 year old son, Harry, his first taste of the Dark Peak. At this age, I didn’t really want to give him anything that involved too much climbing, or too far a distance. I felt that 3 miles should be about his limit. I also wanted a bit of interest on the walk in the form of gritstone as he, like all kids, love clambering on rock. And a trig pillar is always a bonus! After much studying of the map, I decided on Birchen Edge as it was quick to get up onto the edge from the car park, was short and sweet, and, even better, it was a location that I’d never been to before.
I was warned that the Robin Hood car park filled up quickly so I had to get there early – and whoever told me that wasn’t wrong. We left the house at 8:00am and arrived at a full car park at around 9:10am. Luckily there was somebody leaving just as we got there so I quickly nipped in and took the space. We started along the path towards Birchen Edge. The idea was to get up on the edge as soon as possible and an opportunity soon presented itself to do just that. A track on the right steeply ascended up to Birchen Edge. To an adult, the path was steep and steppy, but to Harry it was more of a scramble which he seemed to be enjoying.
It wasn’t long before we were up on the top and we started the pleasant walk north, following the line of the edge. Harry took every opportunity to climb onto lumps of weathered gritstone scattered around but his balance unfortunately isn’t too great at the moment and so he often needed a helping hand to steady himself.
We eventually arrived at the popular end of the ridge. The Birchen Edge walls were busy with climbers, the large gritstone formations known as the Three Ships were busy with boulderers, and many casual walkers were milling around in between. Harry had a go at climbing up onto the smaller of the gritstone shapes, and his efforts were met with success.
Just beyond this area was Nelsons Monument – a 3 metre column of gritstone erected in 1810 by a local businessman in honour of Lord Nelson. The column was restored in 1992. Also in this area was the trig pillar – Harry’s first Dark Peak trig pillar. I felt so proud!
From the end of Birchen Edge, we descended and made our way north, following the path through moorland. Just before we arrived at a road, another track headed off to our left, roughly south-west, and running parallel to the A621 below. This eventually took us to Gardom’s Edge. Harrys legs were beginning to tire and his enthusiasm for climbing was on the wane. He started to need a little more encouragement to keep moving as – being the cruel parent that I am – I was downright refusing to carry him.
Gardom’s Edge was a nice stretch of walking. The views aren’t quite as varied and expansive as they are from Birchen Edge due to the forested areas below and on the opposite side of the valley. It was much quieter though and we didn’t encounter many people along the way. The atmosphere could be described as serene and tranquil as opposed to Birchen Edge which would better be described as bustling with activity.
Once at the end of Gardom’s Edge, we followed the path slowly downhill back to the road. We passed another large gritstone formation of interest but, by this time, little harrys legs were too weary for more play. The boy done well! It was a decent mileage for such little legs, especially taking into account the ascent up to Bircham Edge and the occasional clambering on the gritstone.
This route is taken from the excellent Cicerone ‘Dark Peak Walks’ book and starts at one of the small parking areas at the end of the western branch of Howden Reservoir. From there, the route heads steeply up through Ditch Clough Plantation before heading across a patch of open moorland between Ditch Clough and Fagney […] The post Alport Castles to Bleaklow Stones appeared first on Hill...
This route is taken from the excellent Cicerone ‘Dark Peak Walks’ book and starts at one of the small parking areas at the end of the western branch of Howden Reservoir. From there, the route heads steeply up through Ditch Clough Plantation before heading across a patch of open moorland between Ditch Clough and Fagney Clough. In no time at all, Alport Castles is reached. Alport Castles is formed from a landslide and, at around half a mile long, is thought to be the largest landslide in the United Kingdom.
From the crumbling cliffs of Alport Castle, the route follows the edge north-west until it crosses the head of a brook. After crossing, a track leads up onto Westend Moor where it continues roughly north-west. On a clear day, the white trig pillar should quickly become visible in the distance and makes a useful point of reference.
The weather had forecast nice weather, but as yet there was no sign of it. It was still cloudy, and the top of Bleaklow was still obscured by low cloud. The wind was quite strong too and it felt chilly even with my fleece top on. To think that I almost turned up with just a t-shirt! The last time I walked across Westend Moor, it was hard work. This may have been partly down to me going slightly off route and having to cross a load of deep groughs, but it was also down to the wet weather and deep peaty bog. Due to the recent warm and dry spell though, it was completely different this time. All the peat had dried up and the bog had kindly converted into a springy bed of earth which made for a pleasant walking experience.
The route continues north-west, aiming for the highest ground between the groughs for the easiest walking. At the end of the moor, a sloped ridge rises up to Bleaklow Stones where the strange weathered gritstone formations can be admired for a while, as well as the weirdly scarred, other-worldly landscape of bleaklow’s plateau. From Bleaklow Stones, the rest of the route is relatively straight forward in clear weather as the next destination of Grinah Stones can clearly be seen in the distance to the east. It’s a simple case of following a track that contours around the edge of Bleaklow until this is reached. The views from here looking over the expanses of moorland below are fantastic.
The final gritstone collection of the day is only a short walk away. Head roughly north north-east and the weirdly eroded gritstone that makes up the Barrow Stones soon becomes visible. A track descends from here and a stile over a fence is tackled before the track continues over Round Hill and across Ridgewalk Moor before finally descending down to the River Westend. The view along the valley during this part of the walk makes for a great finish. Once down to the valley floor, the river is followed south back to Howden Reservoir.
From the starting point at Trent Bridge, the route follows the riverside path past the Nottingham & Union Rowing Club, and then The City Ground – home of Nottingham Forest Football Club. It then continues, still following the river, under Lady Bay bridge and past The Hook Nature Reserve on the right. Eventually, the first […] The post Trent Valley Way: Nottingham to Gunthorpe appeared first on Hill...
From the starting point at Trent Bridge, the route follows the riverside path past the Nottingham & Union Rowing Club, and then The City Ground – home of Nottingham Forest Football Club. It then continues, still following the river, under Lady Bay bridge and past The Hook Nature Reserve on the right. Eventually, the first detour away from the river has to be taken at the Nottingham Sailing Club.
Take a right turn and eventually turn left onto Adbolton Lane. This is probably the most tedious section of the route as it involves a long walk along the fairly uninteresting road. The route on the map utilises this road all the way to Radcliffe-on-Trent, however it’s probably more advisable to utilise one of the footpaths in the Skylarks Nature Reserve instead for a part of it. Conveniently, one of these paths runs parallel to the road although a longer detour can be taken to see more of the Nature Reserve.
The route continues past Holme Pierrepont on the left and, eventually, the tarmacked road gives way to a short section of potholed dirt track that links the road to Radcliffe. Once back on the tarmacked road in Radcliffe, continue for a short while to the point where Holme Lane becomes The Green. Here, the road can finally be left behind as a footpath on the left leads between fields used for horse grazing and brings you out at Wharf Lane Recreation Ground.
Here, it’s a left turn down Wharf Lane just past the railway bridge where a path veers off to the right up steps to an area called ‘The Cliffs’. As you’ve probably guessed, this is an exposed river embankment, steep enough that you could just about get away with calling them cliffs.The path runs along the top of this but it’s surprisingly difficult to actually get a good view due to the trees.
The path initially starts in Radcliffe and runs behind a row of houses, but this changes after a while as it leaves the town behind. The view opens up to reveal a landscape of gently rolling hills. The path eventually curves to the left and crosses sheep pasture to follow the course of the river which is on the left as always. To the right are fields of rapeseed adding a bit of colour to the scenery. Across the river, Stoke Bardolph is visible as is the popular riverside pub, the Ferry Boat Inn.
The footpath eventually reaches the farm road Stoke Ferry Lane which is followed past St Marys Church into the small village of Shelford. Head down Church Street to the junction before continuing straight ahead to a track named Water Lane. This is followed until it eventually leads to open fields. An incline is ascended to the road. A bench with a memorial plaque sits at the top of this hill should you with to rest weary legs and enjoy the view.
As soon as you’re on the road, it’s time to come off it again with a left turn onto another footpath that crosses fields as it follows the boundary line of Shelford Civil Parish. This next field contains the ruins of an old early 19th century windmill. The base is all that remains and it’s officially a grade II listed building. Continue past this, and then the next field which appears to be used for horse riding and jumping. A small wooded area is finally navigated which emerges on to the A6097. At certain times of the day – namely rush hour – this road can be extremely busy and difficult to cross so care needs to be taken, especially as there’s no path on this side of the road.
Once over the road, there’s one final stretch of footpath that leads north to Trent Lane, emerging near the site of the old Gunthorpe Toll Bridge that was demolished in 1925. There’s an information board onsite by the river banking should that be of interest. From here, it’s a short walk back to the A6097 and over the main bridge – the only bridge between Nottingham and Newark that crosses the Trent – before arriving in the small, picturesque village of Gunthorpe. It’s a perfect place to finally rest your feet and enjoy a drink or two! The best way to return to Nottingham by public transport would be to walk up to the A612 roundabout and catch the number 100 bus back.
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