It’s a while since we had a proper walk with the Roberts family, so it was good to join them on a little jaunt designed to provide Andrew with a bit of navigation training for his D of E Award. Sadly Kate couldn’t join us this time due to a beach commitment.
We were all in a cheery mood as we set off behind a runner beside Shelf Brook from Old Glossop. (Note there is parking at the end of Shepley Street as an alternative to the car park by the Bull’s Head.)
There was however a rather low cloud base. I paused by the remains of a metal structure on a man-made mound, looking back towards Glossop. I have no idea as to the purpose of this structure.
The church bells of Old Glossop cheered us as we rose gently past large clumps of Crosswort, with its tiny white flowers. We had turned left towards Lightside and soon reached a stile leading to open country and, after Sue had adjusted her headgear, a misty challenge for Andrew to keep us on track to Bleaklow Head.
After Alastair had dispensed his wine gums, we continued on into the cloud past an assortment of rocky outcrops.
After an expanse of bogginess, and more than a little use of his compass, Andrew was careful to suppress his euphoria when we reached Bleaklow Head, and some rocks, the Wain Stones, that reputedly show two people kissing.
Alastair proceeded to address the novice navigator and his two assistants:
“Always wear fluorescent clothing to enable mountain rescue to spot you when you get lost!”
“But we’re not lost” mumbled Andrew, glancing anxiously at the 1980’s map provided by his father.
The maps have improved since the 1980s, as has the nature of the landscape around here. Whilst there are a few areas of peaty mess, the ground is much greener than it was before the Pennine Way path was surfaced.
Unfortunately it took us a while to find that path. There was a bit of toiling in the mist.
On reaching the path, we passed a fine specimen of Common Spotted Orchid.
As the Snake Pass road is approached, the surface of the Pennine Way path gets better and better. We encountered a family group with distressed children, and a few National Park wardens who would no doubt come to any necessary rescue.
Eventually a signpost to Glossop is reached at a junction. This is the Doctor’s Gate bridleway, down which we turned. Navigation was no longer an issue as the path leads inexorably back to Glossop.
There are new plantations.
The bridleway is well used. It’s a challenging technical descent for mountain bikers. None of them were braving it today.
Shelf Brook is crossed where the path levels out. There’s a huge new bridge built in memory of a local celebrity. Or has Sue shrunk?
It’ll be interesting to see how the newly planted saplings change this landscape in years to come.
After a last look up the Doctor’s Gate path, we ambled back to Glossop in dry weather, having got a bit damp earlier in the 100% humidity of the cloud.
It was a 16 km circuit, with about 500 metres ascent, taking a leisurely 5 hours. If you look carefully at the blue line (click on the image to enlarge it) you might spot that we didn’t quite reach the cairned summit of Bleaklow, and the path on which we left the Wain Stones was a little to the west of the ‘correct’ Pennine Way path. More micro navigation practice needed, Andrew, or was this intended?
Most of Glossop’s tea houses were shut, so we made do with afternoon tea/coffee at a branded venue. Their carrot cake was excellent.
Despite the low cloud, a most enjoyable outing.