Walking Big Moor, White Edge Moor and Barbrook Reservoir

Once again a few friends met at our now usual meeting spot of Monsal Head, for a weekend of socialising, walking and catching up on the gossip.
The friends were, Tim and his wife Chris, Phil, Kate, Alvin, Andy and Shaun.

Oh, I mustn’t forget Bella, Tim and Chris’ dog, who was also with us.

Phil, Tim, Alvin, Andy and myself were at the original meet during the bank holiday weekend of August 2011, where Terry Abraham organised a meet up of backpackers to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Peak District National Park. There was quite a lot more of us that weekend, but it was one fantastic weekend and many great friendships were built up on then and still going strong today.

The follow up to that was when Alvin said he would love to walk on Bleaklow and see the B29 wreckage what he had read from a previous blog of mine; Bleaklow, The B29 Superfortress and I got Bleaklowed!

So I organised a small meet with Alvin, Andy, Medhi a friend of Alvin’s for October 2012 to walk Bleaklow and see the B29, which you can read about here; Monsal Head Camping, Bleaklow and the B29 Superfortress return visit

The camp site we use is a very tidy one and the owners don’t normally permit groups of people camping together at the same time. Though we have a good reputation, I aim to keep numbers down and maintain the rapport earned over time.

For the weather, we probably couldn’t have picked a better weekend, the lead up to the weekend was getting warmer and the weekend itself was no less hot.


...."Saturday morning arrived, looking to be a hot day ahead"....
Apart from Phil, we all met on the Friday, pitched out tents, or in Shaun’s case, the trailer tent, then wandered off to the Stables Bar at Monsal Head for the usual catch up and for one or two, introductions who is who and from where.

Phil’s car unfortunately broke down on the motorway while driving up to Monsal Head and had to be recovered back home. However, Phil did manage to organise a hire car and make the trip, even though he arrived quite late at night.

Incidentally, Phil set up and maintains the Social Hiking website, which no doubt some of you will subscribe to. If not, then I can recommend paying it a visit at least, for a lot of walkers will post their routes on there and you can follow people live, as they enjoy wandering.

Also, the meet up in the bar provided a quick recap of the intended walk for Saturday, the route was one I had done with Andy last year, starting from Curbar Gap, ascending Froggatt Edge, following the path west circumnavigating Big Moor, on to White Edge Moor, past the now decommissioned Barbrook Reservoir, back on to Big Moor via Swines Sty and Big Moor Trig Point then back to the cars at Curbar Gap.

You can read about the original walk in my blog Froggatt Edge, Big Moor and some Stone Circles.

Before I continue, I must post a warning. With any moorland walk there are always bogs to cross or walk around. These can be dangerous places and require extreme care, it is too easy to become a victim and sink in to a bog, requiring help to pull you free.

Becoming bogfast can happen to anyone, including me, and I did not too long ago on the North York Moors. You can read about that in A Heartbeat Walk from Aidensfield on to Howl Moor

Saturday morning arrived, looking to be a hot day ahead, and we started to get ourselves ready for the days walking. So once breakfast was over and everyone had sorted their kit, we drove out to Curbar Gap.

The walk started by a short but steep ascent up to Curbar Edge, once up there, we then turned left and headed North West following the path towards Froggatt Edge, taking in the views around us.

The ascent from Curbar Gap to Curbar Edge

Incidentally, Big Moor is also known as Barbrook Moor, though maps tend to name it as Big Moor.

While walking around Froggatt Edge, we came to Stoke Flat Stone Circle, one of a few stone circles on the moors that we were walking.

Stoke Flat Stone Circle is a rather small circle which like many, time hasn’t been too kind. There is one large stone, which had what could be called an offertory tray dug out on the top, had various offerings left in by people passing by.

This and the next two photos are of Froggatt Edge



Stoke Flat Stone Circle

The biggest stone on Stoke Flat Stone Circle
complete with offerings left by people.

We carried on along the path and soon after leaving the stone circle we arrived at a gate. This time, headed for the road through a short wooded area, not like the last time with Andy, where we trudged across a rather waterlogged moor.

At the end of the path, we reached the A625 main road and taking a right turn to head for the Grouse Inn.

Walking along the road, there is a path that takes you clear of the road rather than following the road around, with little or no footpath. I’ve highlighted the path in green on the map at the end of this blog, to show you where it is and its route.

This might be a wiser option from a safety perspective, so you don’t become a casualty while out enjoying what is a very pleasant walk.


Path through a wooded area to the main road

The A625 heading towards the Grouse Inn

The alternative path appears alongside the A625 just south of the Grouse Inn

Approaching the Grouse Inn

We eventually arrive at the Grouse Inn, which to our surprise, happened to be closed. The opening time for that particular day was 12:00 midday and we had arrived around 11:30.

After a quick chat, we continued up the road in a north easterly direction to pick up the track and head up to White Edge Lodge. White Edge Lodge from a distance looks almost like it could be the Weasley’s house, from the Harry Potter films.

Soon after White Edge Lodge, we start a short ascent on to White Edge Moor.

Arriving at the gate after the short ascent, we turn left then right at the cross roads, to continue down White Edge Moor.


The gate leading on to White Edge Moor from the A625

White Edge Lodge

...."Arriving at the gate after the short ascent, "....

...."we turn left then right at the cross roads, to continue down White Edge Moor"....


Following this path, you walk past Lady’s Cross, which unfortunately has fallen down, and could be easy to miss. Well, we missed it last time walking that very same route.

Lady’s Cross dates back to medieval times and probably earlier, serving as a marker at the junction the boundaries between Hathersage, Holmesfield and Totley.


Lady's Cross


Following the path as it descends towards the road, you arrive at a gate on to the roadside. However, once at the gate, you will see a path that circumnavigates alongside the wall, without the need to walk on or close to the road.


...."once at the gate, you will see a path that circumnavigates alongside the wall"....

Following this path, we eventually reach the second of two sets of gates. I mention this particularly, for before the second gate, the ground is very boggy underfoot, so you need to tread very carefully, not because you will get a boot full or two, that will be guaranteed, more importantly you are at risk of becoming bogfast.

I can assure you that will not be fun; in fact it can be quite dangerous, for it is very easy to sink in a bog.

So extreme care is required negotiating this bit.

We finally negotiated this boggy part and continued our walk the other side of the gate.

Some of the group walked on to the now decommissioned Barbrook Reservoir, while others hand railed the fence circumnavigating the reservoir.


Hand rail the fence alongside Barbrook Reservoir

Barbrook Reservoir


If you decide to walk across the reservoir, remember it was once filled with water and therefore the ground has a very high chance of being boggy, making the walk risky in places.

I mentioned earlier that Barbrook Reservoir had been decommissioned. It had been decommissioned during 2003, according to the document “A Biodiversity Action Plan the first five years” from Severn Trent Water.

I quote from this document;
Barbrook Reservoir, Eastern Peak District Moors (19.05 ha) – disused for water supply for many years, for reservoir safety legislation compliance, it became necessary to drain and formally ‘discontinue’ the structure to ensure that it could no longer retain significant volumes of water. English Nature consented to the decommissioning process and agreed on the level of environmental mitigation required, in particular the establishment of new habitats that reflected and complemented those on the surrounding moors. These included wet and dry heath, wetland and open water and the re-establishment of the original streams. The work was completed in August 2003. Penny Anderson Associates were our key consultants and will be monitoring and managing the vegetation to ensure the establishment of the habitats

Barbrook Reservoir provided our lunch stop, where we sat on the side, looking over the reservoir, enjoying what was around us.

Close to here is the Barbrook 3 Stone Circle, which we didn’t visit this time, though Andy and I visited on the previous occasion.

Soon it was time to move on, so walking around the reservoir, we walked past the old reservoir buildings and picked up the track that goes southwards, past the front of the breached dam and cross the fairly fast flowing Bar Brook.



Take the track southwards past the water works.
Along the track you approach a small reservoir





Approaching the Companion Stone

The Companion Stone alongside the track


Following the track south, you walk past another small reservoir, maintaining your heading along the track; you reach a stone structure on your right. This stone structure is called a Companion Stone

Following the track further southwards and you reach another stone circle, which is reasonably prominent with a cairn behind it, called Barbrook 1.

At this point, we head off path as we descend in a south westerly direction from the stone circle, to cross Bar Brook and ascend back on to Big Moor.

Here we head for Swines Sty, a Bronze Age settlement, which is nothing directly relating to pigs. Though I guess they would have kept pigs, or hogs for food.

From Swines Sty, we continue to ascend and head for the Trig Point on Big Moor. Here you can look over to Sheffield and see two imposing tower blocks. However, we had a far better view and considerably nearer, deer feeding on the moor.


Approaching Barbrook 1 Stone Circle 
...."head off path as we descend in a south westerly direction from the stone circle,"....

...."to cross Bar Brook"....

...." and ascend back on to Big Moor"....




Swines Sty
Unfortunately they were just out of range for the zoom on my camera to get a decent photo. But I’ve put the photo in any way.

Looking south west from the Trig Point, you can see a path heading towards Froggatt Edge, which we took, walking along side what I called paddocks, or really modern field systems. As we neared Froggatt Edge, the cotton grass was starting to show itself quite clearly.

Last year, this was almost a sea of white cotton heads. Eventually we reached the path that circumnavigates Froggatt Edge, leading to Curbar Edge. Turning left and heading in a south easterly direction, we head for Curbar Edge where we descend safely back to the cars. Be careful not to descend too soon, for the descent could be very tricky. If you can, descend via the same route that you initially ascended by, rather than the route I took, which was a little steep and narrow paths with some steep drops to your left.

Big Moor Trig Point
Sheffield viewed from Big Moor Trig point
Watching deer grazing on Big Moor.
Sadly they were just out of range for cameras zoom lens

...."Looking south west from the Trig Point,
you can see a path heading towards Froggatt Edge
"....


...."Eventually we reached the path that circumnavigates Froggatt Edge"....

Post walk chill out before heading to the pub


Back at the cars, we drove in to Calver and enjoyed a post walk drink in the Bridge inn before returning back to Monsal Head to get ready for our food and a proper post walk drink, particularly for those who had to drive.

Once back at the campsite, we freshened up, had a chill out moment before we wandered to the Packhorse Inn in Little Longstone and enjoyed a superb pub meal and a proper post walk drink before heading back to Monsal Head.


Map showing the area walked.
The green track marked is the alternative route to the Grouse Inn taking you away from the traffic


A superb end to a perfect day. Thank you to Andy, Shaun, Alvin, Tim and Chris, Phil and Kate for being great walking and camping companions, and of course, not forgetting Bella the dog.
                                                                                          
Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,
Peak Rambler

Twitter            @PeakRambler
YouTube        Peak Rambler on YouTube

Links to some of the areas I’ve mentioned and written about here:



Bells Palsy, The Flu and Lymes Disease

What an odd title? 
There is good reason for that title, ticks can still be active in temperatures as low as 3.5ºC!
 
What is a tick?
 
A tick is a small arthropod, that is related to spiders, mites and scorpions, and will attach themselves to a warm blooded host to feed on the blood supply, often lying in wait on foliage like ferns, grasses and similar plants.


 








What is the combination of the three, Bells Palsy, the flu and Lymes Disease?
 
I have Bells Palsy, or as it seems to be now called, Facial Palsy or Facial Paralysis, most likely as a result of a bad bout of the flu many years ago, which will have triggered the Bells Palsy.
 
Bells Palsy is basically caused by trauma to the nerve in the seventh cranial canal. The end result could be total nerve damage, resulting in paralysis to the face, on that side.
 
First some back ground.
 
Those of you who know and have walked with me, I will have told you what the facial disfiguration is and how it was most likely been caused.
 
Please do not stop reading here, because there might be some parts of this that you may not be aware of and although it is too late to repair the facial disfiguration, if you or someone close to you by misfortune happens to have Bells Palsy or facial paralysis, then hopefully it can be resolved quickly and limit any damage that may result.
 
The first and most important reason why I tell people is should I become unconscious for any reason, when medical help arrives, you can then provide the medical team that bit of information, which will help them assess what is wrong.


Still enjoying a day out on the hills.



Hopefully that will not happen, but we can “never say never…”
 
What I want to do is to draw your attention to the damage that can be caused by a tick bite. I will also show some photos over myself, showing the gradual degradation of my face over the years.
 
Don't forget, a tick is a very small arachnoid that will sit on a blade of grass, a fern or any other plant, waiting for a warm blooded host to brush past, so it can attach itself and feed on the host’s blood.
 
This tick attached itself to my trousers
while walking through bracken
To give you an idea how large that tick was.
the weave on those trousers is extremely fine





 

Some ticks carry a bacterial infection called Borreliosis. I’m not going to go in to detail here, what I recommend is that you visit the Lymes Disease Action website, which will give more information and more up to date than this write-up that will not be updated quite so frequently.
 
Often, it is the incorrect removal of a tick, by flicking them off, burning them, pulling them, along with many other ways, which basically upsets their feeding and causes them to regurgitate the contents of their stomach in to the hosts blood stream.
 
Borreliosis can seriously affect the nervous system in many different ways. I’m lucky, for the only obvious post infection signs I have is the Bells Palsy, or facial paralysis, along with the fact I don’t like bright lights.
 
There are others far worse off than me.
 
For the preferred method of tick removal, please refer to the Lymes Disease Action website, for any changes to how and what to remove ticks with, will be described on there.
 
It’s all too easy to overlook a tick bite, as being an insignificant insect bite. I did, but through ignorance of what ticks can harbour.
 
My story goes like this;
 
Back in 1996, my old dentist retired, sold his business premises which became a retail shop, so I had to find another dentist to help me look after my teeth.
 
This I did and I duly registered, had the initial check-up and the Dental Surgeon asked;
 
How long have you had Bells Palsy?”
 
What’s that?” I asked and the Dental Surgeon began to explain basically what Bells Palsy was. She also added that she had no problem treating me, but would prefer if I visited my GP to ascertain the severity of the condition and if it could be treated.
 
At this point I gulped!
 
What the hell had happened to me?
 
Before I go any further, you may be asking why I hadn’t noticed any changes to my face.
 
Well it’s as simple as this, I keep my hair short, so I don’t need to brush my hair or, I shave by feel and not visual, therefore using a mirror wasn’t a necessity. So that's how easy for me it was to not notice the change.
 
So I duly made an appointment with my GP.
 
The day for the appointment arrived and I explained to my GP why I had come to see him. He took one look at me and explained it isn’t something that he could resolve in the time allowed, but suggested that I book a double appointment where he could look at the condition and my life.
 
The GP I saw in our group practice is also an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist, looked at my face and started to ask lots of questions.
 
To cut a long story short, I was with him for close to half an hour, where we looked at my life history in great detail.
 
It’s very rare that I down ill but there was one occasion where I was bed ridden with the flu. I don’t really remember much, other than almost for 48 hours, I didn’t move out of my bed, I ached, felt lethargic and didn’t eat, drink or do anything other than sleep!
 
Now not being one to go running to my GP, I just put it down to the flu, slept, then carried on as soon as I was able to get out of bed, job done, flu over, life carries on, etc.
 
Sometime later, I experienced involuntary twitching of the right cheek and eye. Again, I didn’t suspect anything; we all have these twitches from time to time.
 
Life carries on…..
 
The flu was January 1989 and the diagnosis was August 1996, some seven years later, by which time, muscle waste had long since been and gone!
 
We agreed it seems the Bells Palsy was a result of trauma to the nerve on the right side of my face, causing the paralysis of that side.
Two images of a tick.
The left is before feeding on its host,
the right is when its been feeding from its host


This was where my GP felt the trauma to the nerve may have resulted. In fairness to my GP, he could only diagnose on the information presented to him and I had no further information to give him.
 
Well, that was it as far as I was concerned, it was too late to do anything about it, muscle wasted had long since been and gone, and I’ll carry on regardless and make the best of life, as I always have done, irrespective.
 
Then, some years later, I think it was the Great Outdoors Show at the NEC one year, where one of the team from the Lymes Disease Action asked if I had Bells Palsy.
 
Needless to say, I said yes.
 
We got talking about Bells Palsy and Lymes Disease and ticks. It was a very interesting chat, with some more probing in to my life history, and again, to keep another long story short, I recalled back in 1988, a lovely September day in Snowdonia, when I got back to where I was staying, and tried to flick an insect off my face!
 
For earlier that day, I had been out with my two border collies, and as all good dog owners do, mess around with the dogs in a playful way.
 
I guess that would be where I picked the tick up, an ugly looking thing, that I had only felt on the side of my face, not actually observed until it finally fell off, on to the floor!
The September day, while out in Snowdonia,
with my dogs, when I acquired a tick!


 
I remember it well; it was an ugly looking thing, bulbous brownish body, which was disposed of.
 
Those who understand ticks and Lymes disease will see a catalogue of don’t do’s appearing here!
 
But as I mentioned earlier, I was ignorant to the damage ticks could do to humans, only suspecting animals could fall victim….
 
I then discovered that an infected tick bite could have flu like symptoms, around twelve weeks from the infected bite.
 
If you recall the dates, things start to add up.
  • September 1988 Tick bite
  • Very early January 1989 Flu infection
  • Early 1989, no date available, involuntary twitching of right cheek and right eye.
I then made an appointment to see my GP armed with this new information, to see what his thoughts would be.
 
I shared this new information with my GP, the one who I had spent half an hour plus with before, looking at my life history, and though he didn’t totally ridicule it, he didn’t buy in to it.
 
I came away a little disappointed, but fully understood that he wouldn’t be able to commit, for there was no conclusive test to confirm whether anyone has had Lymes disease or not.
 
So in fairness, I have no, grievance against my GP, he was doing his job to the best of his ability and training and medical guidelines of the day.
 
What I will say is, he has always kept a keen observation on my Bells Palsy and never been slow when I’ve reported any changes, discomfort or other observations, to follow them up and treat as required.
 
If any criticism is to be apportioned, then it is should be to my dentist and optician, of pre 1996, when at some point one or both of them should have questioned any notable changes to my face.
 
But neither did I.
 
However, that is history to me, I’ve moved on, I have a very supportive wife and a fantastic son, so Ive no axe to grind today and as I have already mentioned, Im lucky, I can still get out and about.
 
There are many who are not so lucky, they too still make the best of their lives, to the best of their ability.
 
Incidentally, to every negative, there is always a positive. My Bells Palsy means I cannot blow balloons up for parties, a task I always hated, especially when the balloons burst in your face! 
 
Note how the right side of my face has dropped,
pulling the right lower eye lid down....



Just to close, I have no problem talking about my Bells Palsy to anyone. I’m happy to share my story, not for sympathy, but for others to learn and be aware; ticks are nasty little critters with a bite that could maim!
 
A quick recap;
DO NOT just remove a tick by force, burning, flicking off or any other method you would employ to remove small insects.
 
ALWAYS USE the preferred method(s) as advised by people like Lymes Disease Action
 
If you suspect you might have been bitten by a tick, then:
 
DO NOT HESITATE TO SEEK
MEDICAL ATTENTION
AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
 
If you do remove a tick, either by the preferred method or different, do not wait for any rashes to appear, particularly the Bulls Eye rash that was once associated with an infected tick bite.
 
It is possible that no rash will occur, but any infection may be spreading through your blood stream.
 
The sooner you act, the easier it will be for any doctor to stop any further damage that might result and treat you as required.
 
This might seem all too frightening and even make you think twice about going outdoors. Please do not let it stop you enjoying the great and wonderful outdoors. Just be observant, be aware and take precautions while you are out and about.
 
July 2013, I met up with some of the wonderful people from BADA-UK, which has had to close Wendy, the Chairperson of BADA-UK, unfortunately is paralysed as a result of Borreliosis.
 
Wendy Fox, Chairperson of the now closed BADA-UK
at Ragley Hall Game Fair, July 2013


Sadly, BADA-UK have had to close. However, there is still a wealth of information and websites out there, one of which I've already mentioned; Lymes Disease Action. Or, if you type Lymes Disease in to your browser, then a whole host of websites will appear.
 
I take precautions, wearing gaiters and long trousers, especially in summer, and still enjoy the great outdoors, as you will see if you read my other blogs.
 
Finally, if you carry a First Aid Kit, which you should do, then invest in the preferred tick removal tool, as per advised by Lymes Disease Action, place it in your First Aid Kit, so if you need it, then it’s there ready for you.
 
If any First Aid Kit suppliers are reading this, please would you consider making the tick removal tools as part of the kits you supply, particularly those First Aid Kits for outdoor activities.
 
Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,
Peak Rambler
Twitter           @PeakRambler
Flickr              Peak Rambler Flickr Photo Album
YouTube        Peak Rambler on YouTube
 
References
Lymes Disease Action