It was early September, 2013, a planned camp at Monsal Head with a walk, or two, over the weekend with some friends.
The friends, Barney, Alvin, Andy H, Andy F, Shaun, Tony, Sean, Geoff and Chrissie, I can’t leave out Tilly and Dixie, Geoff and Chrissie’s two lovely dogs, all met up at Park House camp site, near Monsal Head in the Peak District. All of us keen walkers or active in the outdoor fraternity, which is where Tony and Sean come in.
Tony manages Sawyer Europe, which markets the successful Sawyer squeeze water filter, which is used quite successfully by many fellow walkers and backpackers.
I look forward to using mine in the not too distant future, after seeing one in action and even trying what was peat filled water that had been filtered to be as clear as tap water, while out on Axe Edge Moor with Barney and the two Andy’s.
You can read about that walk and see the video of the water filter in use in Axe Edge Moor, the Cat and Fiddle pub and a Stag Do and the same video Sawyer Water Filter can also be seen on YouTube.
Geoff, Chrissie and the dogs didn’t join us on this walk; however, they did join us on the Sunday, when we walked to Bakewell from Monsal Head and back along the Monsal Trail.
Both Geoff and Chrissie run a blog each. Geoff’s is “Far not fast A story of travels by foot, motorcycle and motorhome”, while Chrissie’s blog is; “Dixie Mountain Days and Nights with an intrepid Boxer”.
As we all of us arrived at varying times during Friday afternoon and night, pitching our tents, apart from Geoff and Chrissie who used their camper van, and a smart looking one it is too…
Myself, I had grabbed a portion of chips in Bakewell before arriving at the camp site.
For me, it was time to try out my new tent, a Vaude Odyssee L2P, which replaces my trusted Vango Tornado 200. The Vango was a superb tent, just a little too heavy for any wild camping that I would like to get back in to at some time.
|My new tent, the Vaude Odyssee L2P|
But, I do like a decent porch size in my tents, which the old Vango has, unlike many modern tents. The Vaude has a somewhat smaller porch, but bigger than many tents I have been looking at over the last couple of years, plus, its geodesic and pitch outer first, just as the Vango is, again, another preferred style of tent.
These are my personal preferences. I know there are those who prefer the much lighter pitch inner first that may only have one pole, but requires to be supported by guys irrespective. It’s down to what suits your camping needs and budget.
Anyway, tent pitched and kit sorted, sleeping bag rolled out, we then headed off to the nearby Stables Bar, part of the Monsal Head Hotel, situated on Monsal Head.
Just digressing, Monsal Head gives superb views down Monsal Dale and Upperdale, both dales providing very pleasant walks.
|Looking down Monsal Dale from Monsal Head (Peak Rambler Library Photo)|
|Looking down Upperdale from Monsal Head (Peak Rambler Library Photo)|
Upperdale has been covered in White Peak Walk from Monsal Head Sunday 18th December 2011 while Monsal Dale, which I’ve walked many times in the past, will be covered in my next blog, which was the second walk of our camping and walking weekend.
So we enjoyed a pleasant and sociable beer or two in The Stables. Those of us, who hadn’t eaten, had a meal there. I had a portion of chips In Bakewell before arriving at the camp site.
While in the bar, we caught up on the gossip, we shared walking stories and other tales and also sorted where we were walking on the Saturday.
Stanage Edge was agreed, which was Alvin’s choice after earlier exchanges of emails during the previous couple of weeks.
At the end of the night, we ambled back to our tents, with a post pub chat, before settling down for the night.
|The view over the Monsal Trail from our camp site on Friday night.|
Saturday morning, was a pleasant morning even though it was cloudy, with the threat of rain by the weather forecasters. Breakfast consumed and the days kit sorted, we headed off for the village of Bamford where we would take the road just to the north of the village up to Dennis Knoll, where we would park up for the start of the walk.
The route was based on two walks I had done on Stanage Edge, the first a couple of years ago, and the other was during the Spring Bank Holiday weekend of May 2013, which is covered in Stanage Edge on a sunny Bank Holiday Sunday where I had to cut short my walk.
The route was to walk west from Dennis Knoll to Bole Hill, where we would pick up Bamford Moor, then head for Crow Chin to climb up on to Stanage Edge.
From there, we would walk along Stanage Edge out to Upper Burbage Bridge, and then back to Dennis Knoll at the end.
Arriving at Dennis Knoll, we parked up and then headed west for Bole Hill. As we walked along the lane, we could clearly see Stanage Edge over to our right, for a short distance, before the road dipped below Bole Hill.
You wouldn’t believe the number of times I have typed Pole Hill, which is the highest point of the Long Mynd in Shropshire. Incidentally, the Long Mynd is another very pleasant area to walk in, having walked there many times myself.
|Walking towards Bole Hill, which is just off the photo in the right.|
Anyway, continuing along the lane in a westerly direction, eventually we reach the eastern edge of Bamford Edge, where we took the public footpath on to Bamford Moor.
Just looking to our left, we were given superb views across the Hope Valley and the Hope Cement works, where earlier this year, we had a winter meet, staying Pindale Farm and walking on Kinder in the snow, which was covered in A Peak Winter Meet, a Bunkhouse and Kinder.
|Looking over to Hope Cement works|
As we climbed up on to Bamford Moor, through quite a tall growth of bracken, we arrived at a disused quarry, where we would continue climbing from out on to Bamford Moor. Once on the moor we were able to see our next destination, Crow Chin.
Almost like walking through a jungle, I think Andy F was wishing he had packed a machete to trim the bracken growth.
We were also given superb views of the entire length of Stanage Edge, which is basically an old continental shelf from when the Peak District, along with much of Britain and Europe, was under the sea!
Stanage meaning STONE, therefore Stanage Edge means Stone Edge, quite a good description, considering it is a stone edge.
|Approaching the footpath on to Bamford Moor|
|The footpath on to Bamford Moor|
|The footpath on to Bamford Moor|
|.... "Almost like walking through a jungle|
I think Andy F was wishing he had packed a machete
to trim the bracken growth" ....
We wandered along Bamford Moor maintaining a steady course towards Crow Chin, following a track which ran almost parallel to a very low boundary feature, which is marked on the map.
As we neared the end of the boundary feature, which turned off at a right angle towards Stanage Edge, we started to approach a run of stone posts. At this point, we needed to follow the boundary feature and aim for Crow Chin, which was in clear view.
Quite quickly, the boundary feature disappears, so it cannot be relied upon as a navigation aid for too long, but then the visibility was extremely clear this day and navigation was not going to be a problem.
Heading for Crow Chin, we had to drop down Bamford Moor, which also meant we were to walk below the water table. Now those of you who walk on the moors a lot will know what that means?
Yes, it was going to get boggy…..
|This and the next photo, the disused quarry as you climb to Bamford Moor|
|The final climb out of the disused quarry to Bamford Moor|
|Walking on Bamford Moor|
|The boundary feature in the foreground, with Stanage Edge on the horizon|
|Stone Markers, marking the path towards Jarvis Clough.|
A good indicator we needed to turn off this path and aim for Crow Chin.
|Negotiating the bog on Bamford Moor with Crow Chin on the horizon.|
|Almost there, Crow Chin|
|Looking over Bamford Moor from Crow Chin to Mam Tor and Win Hill|
|Mam Tor (left) and Win Hill (right)|
|Wheel Stones on Derwnt Edge from Crow Chin|
|Choccy break on Crow Chin|
It wasn’t too long before we started to climb out of the water table and clear of the bog, to start the ascent up through Crow Chin on to Stanage Edge.
Once up on Crow Chin, we stopped to take in the views and also for a chocolate break….
Choccy break over, we started to head in a south easterly direction, following the edge, which was going to be our general direction all the way out to Upper Burbage Bridge.
This part of Stanage Edge is quiet and almost remote, being well away from the busier south eastern end of Cowper Stones by Upper Burbage Bridge.
|Looking along Stanage Edge|
|High Neb, Stanage Edge|
|A bit windy, almost 25 mph, F5 on the Beauforte Scale, a Strong Breeze....|
|The wind chill, 5.5ºC....|
Incidentally, the clearly defined path was once a Roman packhorse road, one of many throughout the Peak District.
Also, you will encounter quite a few pubs using the name, or variants of, Packhorse.
Walking along the clearly defined path, we walked past the trig point at High Neb and as we walked along the edge, we came across a shelter, just off path on our left. This of course meant we had to investigate the shelter, which really looked like a two stone bus shelters back to back.
The shelter was most likely for the use of gamekeepers during a grouse shoot, because a little to the north eat are grouse butts, which are basically fixtures from which those out shooting, will shoot from.
|.... "we walked along the edge, we came across a shelter, just off path on our left.This of course meant we had to investigate the shelter, " ....|
|.... "which really looked like a two stone bus shelters back to back" ....|
I’ve mentioned many times before, much of the land we walk on is managed, Stanage Edge (and Bamford Moor) are no less so managed land.
Once we had investigated the shelter, we returned to the path that followed the edge continuing our way towards Upper Burbage Bridge, walking, talking and enjoying the views along Stanage Edge and around, out across the Peak District, over to Win Hill, Mam Tor, Kinder, Bleaklow and Derwent Edge.
Walking along the edge, we started to see groups climbing the gritstone rock faces as we neared the more popular and busier area of Stanage Edge.
It was along this part that I encountered a small group of lads looking lost. They thought they had missed their turning and taken a wrong turn, not something that easy to do without going seriously off path, or even worse, over the edge!
After discussing with the lads where they were heading, I managed to reassure them and point them in the right direction, pointing out land marks on their map that were clearly visible from where we were standing at the time.
Not too far from this point, was Robin Hood’s Cave, a cave with what seems a naturally weathered balcony just below the main levels of Stanage Edge. Though I wouldn’t be surprised it it was manmade.
|Lunch in Robin Hoods Cave|
We had been looking for a sheltered area to eat lunch and Robin Hood’s Cave provided reasonable shelter from the wind, which had peaked up to almost 25 mph giving a wind chill of 5.5ºC!
|Looking over to Robin Hoods Cave (Peak Rambler Library)|
|Robin Hoods Cave (Peak Rambler Library)|
|The balcony in Robin Hoods Cave (Peak Rambler Library)|
Yes, early September, just out of the peak of summer and we were getting temperatures lower than the average domestic fridge!
Lunch over, we climbed out of the ledge where Robin Hood’s Cave was and continued south easterly along the clearly defined path on Stanage Edge.
It wasn’t too long before we reached Cowper Stones and the trig point. We then descended down from Stanage Edge and Cowper Stones, down towards Upper Burbage Bridge, which is actually a bridge over Burbage Brook.
After a brief break at Upper Burbage Bridge, we discussed the return route, of which we had two options; one was to follow the road back to Overstones Farm, then take a right back toward Dennis Knoll, or to return via Stanage Edge.
There is actually a third path, which we overlooked, which would be to follow the path at the foot of Stanage Edge. I think for me that will be one to investigate another time.
|As we were walking along Stanage Edge, this Biplane kept flying over|
|Cowper Stone Trig Point|
|Descending from Stanage Edge and heading for Upper Burbage Bridge|
|Looking over to Upper Burbage Bridge|
|Upper Burbage Bridge|
Incidentally, further downstream of Burbage Brook on Hathersage Moor, past Higger Tor, is Burbage Bridge.
We decided, to climb back up on to Stanage Edge and back track the route.
As we set off backtracking Stanage Edge we were looking for a shortened exit from Stanage Edge, preferably one close to where we had parked near Dennis Knoll.
During this section, we observed a rain shower working its way across Hope Valley, heading our way.
These scenarios, apart from giving good advanced warning that we need to put waterproofs on, can be fascinating to watch, especially as it veered off course and headed over Kinder towards Bleaklow.
So our waterproofs stayed where they were, in our packs.
|Watching the rain pass over the Hope Valley on to Kinder|
|Our descent from Stanage Edge, down towards Stanage Plantation|
|Looking up to Climbers on Stanage Edge|
|Continuing our descent from Stanage Edge down towards Stanage Plantation|
So our waterproofs stayed where they were, in our packs.
We had two options, the first was directly to the east of Dennis Knoll, and the second was just over 500 metres further on.
We managed to find the first descent path, which was quite a steep stone path bringing us out at a car park by Stanage Plantation.
In this car park, there was a mobile kiosk selling tea, coffee and many other niceties, with a picnic area, blessed with good views up and along Stanage Edge as well as around the surrounding countryside.
As we walked through the car park, we soon reached the road, we turned right out of the car park on to the road, from there we had a short walk to Dennis Knoll and our transport back.
Of course, as with any seasoned walker, we had to visit Hathersage and the outdoor shops that it has…..
After spending time in the outdoor shops, we travelled back to the camp site, where we could freshen up ready to head to the Stables Bar for our post walk drink and food.
I’ll leave you guessing if any goodies were bought and how much was spent while we were in Hathersage….
|Saturday night in The Stables Bar|
|Saturday night in The Stables Bar|
After our post walk drink and food, we trundled back to the camp site, where we had a late night chat where Tony and Sean had a mini BBQ going, cooking sausages.
A couple of us had some food, which was shared around, more sausages, oat cakes and bacon!
That was a superb end to a superb day. We settled down for the night, looking forward to the next day, walking to Bakewell and back via the Monsal Trail and Headstone Tunnel.
Thank you guys for being such great company, that was an enjoyable walk.
The GPS Tracklog of our route on Bamford Moor and Stanage Edge
You’ll have to wait for that blog; I’ve yet to start typing that one up. However, the photos are up for both days on my Peak Rambler Flickr Photo Albumaccount if fancy a preview
Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,
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