Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Bilberries are not Ready yet!

I remember walking on Black Hill when I did the Marsden to Edale route with the Castle mountaineering club Black Hill really was black. A visit today revealed a wonderful environment with much fresh new growth. Today we enjoyed scrambling along a stream bed we had fun searching for an aircraft wreck. Earlier in the day we discovered a beautiful grotto with an excellent cascade.

The route map for our walk is shown below. Spot the aircraft wreck,  you can observe it on a satellite view of the google map.

GPX file for route

Following the scrambling guide (see reference 2) we decided to wander our way along Crowden brook. As can be observed in the photograph, below, after passing the weir system at the start of Crowden brook the valley starts out quite broad with Laddow rocks on the left hand side of the valley.

We were soon rock hopping along the stream bed, this was something that was encouraged by Louis. It's not a real scramble but it's sufficiently fun to feature in the scramble guide. For the last few days it had been fairly dry so we could do most of our stream scrambling with dry feet. Not a problem for Louis he went for it and got wet feet anyway!
Rather than continue with our scramble the view of Laddow rocks was quite enticing, we decided to take a closer look.

We had a great time scrambling the stream bed of crowden brook. We climbed up out of the valley near Oaken Clough, where we found some wonderful waterfalls. After scrambling up through immature bracken and thick bilberry and with the odd scramble we found the path proceeding below Laddow rocks.

We had a good chat with some people on the top of Black hill while we were munching on sandwiches.We were told about the aircraft wrecks and given the position (longitude/latitude) which could used to locate the wreck using google maps. Google maps worked out a 6 mile route to the wreck, we didn't take advantage of that,instead we were walked directly across the moor via Wrigleys cabin.
Wrigleys cabin

The aircraft wreck we located was a single jet engined Sabre F86E which crashed on a test flight on December 14th 1954. The crash site is at grid reference SE 091051 (see reference1)

Louis was the first there it was quite clear from 100m away contrasting against the dark peat
Before visiting the aircraft wreck we went to Wrigleys cabin a stone shelter
Holme moss wireless mast.
I've got to take my hat off to Louis he mad an effort to understand how to read the map and use it to determine which route we should take.

Louis has been warned not to pea on the moor because people might eat the Bilberries he sampled a load yesterday and reminded me that the Bilberries are not quite ready! What a fabulous day we both had great fun I'm enthusiastic to return to this part of the Peak.


  1. Dark Peak Aircraft Wrecks 1: Ron Collier and Roni Wilkinson pub. Leo Cooper
  2. Scrambles in the Dark Peak , Tom Corker and Terry Sleaford, Cicerone press

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Finding a Cool Spot in the Peak District on May Day

Amazing, a heatwave had been predicted for the may day bank holiday weekend. We thought we would try and cool down by getting high up onto the moors above the Derwent reservoirs. This route in the north eastern area of the Derwent valley started with a chill out at Slippery stones. This beautiful spot is a magnet for people wanting to paddle and chill out in the cooling water of the river Derwent.

There are some excellent events about to take place in the peak district. The Dambusters anniversary flight celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force and the 75th Anniversary of the 617 Squadron ‘Dambusters’, this takes place on the 16th May. There is also a BMC campaign to conserve our mountains there is an exciting event on the 22nd May in the Peak district. Further details are provided in the references at the end of this post.

Our route started from Fairholmes visitor centre, it's a good idea to get there early. Details for the route are shown in the google map and the route card below, there is also a GPX file for the route.
The route is quite difficult because it accesses a remote area and requires some navigation across the moor to transfer between two different tracks.

The walk along the side of the reservoirs is beautiful, starting from a classic view of the Derwent reservoir dam and ending at the peaceful woods near the bridge at slippery stones.

For most of the walk to slippery stones we didn't rush and for most of the way enjoyed the cool of the shade provided by the trees. We took advantage of this spot sat down ate sandwiches, paddled and had fun.
If you can avoid the odd hard rock and some dry sheep pooh then the grass is quite springy and this area makes a good spot to practice back flips and back hand springs. Keisha came away rather satisfied with a practice.

We followed the cut gate path which leads most of the way to the top of Margery hill, it was pleasantly cool at the top. A couple of people asked for directions and about the best way to return to fairholmes. It was amusing because they were wearing trainers and in typical style we bog trotted our way (it wasn't too bad), Louis slipped slightly and ended up ankle deep in peat...

For the next stage of the route we traversed east across the moor to join up with the path junction between the Cartledge Stones Ridge Path and Abbey Brook Path. Choosing the point at which to start the crossing needs to be done with some care otherwise you can have a fairly tiresome and boggy walk crossing peat groughs and streams. We've had a dry couple of days crossed at the right point taking the correct direction, the crossing was good.
Louis riding is walking pole like a hobby horse on the Cartledge Stones Ridge Path.

Enjoying the summit of Back Tor.

From the top of Back Tor Keisha decided she would like to run  down at first Louis was trailing behind but it wasn't long before Louis joined in the fun and I was the one trailing. I think it was the promise of ice cream that was the propelled him!