Edale to Crowden
I ended up hitting the sack quite early last night, although that doesn’t necessarily mean I got an early night. I sat in bed watching TV, eventually dropping off around 11pm, just to be woken up at 3am by the howling wind outside. From then on all I could manage to do was doze until it was time to get up and get ready for the day ahead.
The Rambler Inn where I was staying was a lovely little place: good food, good beer and a very nice room. The only thing that goes against it, especially on a walk like this, was the fact that they didn’t start breakfast until 9am, even locking the door stopping me and everyone else getting in until 9am. This was not a good start to the day as normally I would be on the road ages before then, especially with a tough long walk ahead.
I got myself sat down and ordered my full English as quick as I could. To be honest I rushed breakfast, which I hate doing, just so I didn’t get on the trail too late. By the time I’d eaten, got my gear and checked out I hit the road around 9:35am…late…not good.
The route today was taking me over some challenging hills to Crowden, well, a B & B just outside Crowden but we won’t split hairs. I was really looking forward to today’s walk as I knew I was going to be guaranteed some fantastic views and I started with a spring in my step, keen to get through the first part of the walk and up to Jacob’s Ladder to start the ascent proper.
Before that though I had to make my to Upper Booth taking the Pennine Way round Broadlee-bank Tor. This was a nice enough mile and a half, which gave some great views of the Vale of Edale.
The mile out the other side of Upper Booth to Jacob’s Ladder was mainly on the track in to a farm, and then a short walk along another track. Not a lot to say about it really but I guess not every step in this walk can be that interesting? Crossing the small bridge to get to the bottom of Jacob’s Ladder though I began to feel a little nervous of the climb ahead.
The only way I can describe the first part of the climb up Jacob’s Ladder is giving Elisa a piggyback up the steps of the Empire State building. This was a tough climb with just a day pack but with the gear I was carrying? This was tough indeed.
Up the first bit I sat on a small wall and dropped my gear for a bit of a rest before the final part of the climb, this time a little bit easier than the first bit.
As I sat there a guy went past me, going a lot quicker than I’d been going that’s for sure, shortly followed by a couple. They were clearly with the other guy but seeing me sat there decided that that looked like a very good idea and joined me.
I offered to take their photo and we chatted for a little bit after they commented on the weight I was carrying. They asked if I was doing the walk for charity, which I said yes, and I gave them the website address before they headed off, leaving me sat there for just a little bit longer.
Rested, I decided to attack the final part of the ascent to the top, well, what I thought was the top at the time anyway. When I made it to the “top” and went round the bend there in front of me was another little climb, finally hitting the top at Kinder Low, some 2070ft up – a new record for the walk!
The views were absolutely stunning. My words, and even my photos, can’t do them justice; you have to get up there and see them for yourself. They were something else and well worth the effort getting there.
From there the route took me round the top of Cluther Rocks, Kinder Downfall and Sandy Heys. This was some fantastic walking to say the least, even if the path wasn’t the best.
Shortly after Sandy Heys I had to make my way back down – always tough on the knees – before once again heading up hill, this time Mill Hill, and out across Black Moor. Black Moor was pretty bleak; lots of peat bogs you wouldn’t want to fall into, the path being made up of very large blocks of stone. It got a little bit disconcerting when you trod on some of the large blocks and they moved under foot, giving a little sucking sound when you stepped off. How did people cross the moor before the path proper was there?!
While I was crossing the moor I think I disturbed a couple having a bit of a cuddle as they lie there. By the time I walked past them they were both straight and I just said hello and carried on walking.
About half a mile down the path I found a spot to take a break and ate my lunch. As I was sat there the couple I’d just passed walked by, saying hello again. I had to work hard not to put too big a smile on my face when I saw them again.
Lunch finished, I crossed the A57 and headed up [again] towards Bleaklow Head, again taking me up to over 2000ft.
On my way up I met a couple sat taking a rest and had a lovely conversation with them. I was telling them about the walk, again instigated by a comment on the amount I was carrying, and that I’d hit a bit of a low but since being in the Peaks that seems to have gone away. The guy said that he moved to the area 30 years ago and could never see himself moving anywhere else. I can totally understand that. This place is completely stunning, and to live in the area with it right on your doorstep? Well, that must be so nice, walking the Peaks as often as you wanted.
I stood there for quite some time talking to them, eventually having to say goodbye and attempt the final stage of the walk. By now my legs and feet were beginning to ache as I’d not really had too many breaks.
Finally reaching Bleaklow Head, having crossed all the streams and making my way up the not so good paths, a group of four young lads I’d passed earlier came over to ask me a question, map in hand. They couldn’t figure out where the path was they were looking for and wondered if I knew where it was. I grabbed my GPS and it showed that the path went back and to the left of us but there was no sign of it. The reason they wanted this path was that it cut across, making the route down a little shorter. We couldn’t find it though so I joined them to make our way down the Pennine Way path.
Chatting on the way down they told me that they were practicing for their Duke of Edinburgh award. I guess we’d better keep the GPS check quiet then? Oh dear, too late.
They were a great bunch of lads and having company for an hour or so was a really nice change. Thanks guys for brightening up the afternoon.
The path down was pretty awful. Loose stones, rocks, little streams to get over, and if that wasn’t bad enough, the path wasn’t exactly wide for most of the descent and there was a sheer drop of a few hundred feet off to the right. This was a path you would certainly want to avoid if you have a thing with heights!
I’d fortunately been given a couple of tips from the guy at the Old House B & B when I phoned them, one of which turned out to be an absolute nugget of local knowledge. As we were making our way down we came across a stream with a big bank on the other side and it was then that the penny dropped that this was where the guy had been talking about.
He told me that to actually get to the proper path you needed to get up the bank – not the easiest of tasks – and not to follow the stream, as people often do. It’s not until you look at the map, having that piece of information, that you can see that the path is indeed marked on the other side of the stream but it would be very easy to not spot that and make your way down the stream, not seeing the path as it’s out of view, and ending up in a position where you would have to turn back as the way would have been almost impossible to pass.
When we reached the road by Torside Reservoir they met up with their lift so we shook hands and off they went. I on the other hand still had almost a mile to walk up the road to get to my B & B for the night. The walk didn’t take too long though and the room, in an old farm house, is very nice indeed. If that wasn’t good enough there was a bath in the bathroom, just what I needed after the hard walk I’d just had.
Clean and relaxed, but beginning to seize up, I went downstairs and ordered an evening meal. This was great as there is nothing about so being able to eat here was an absolute godsend, especially as I had a beer with dinner too…lovely!
I had a good chat over dinner with a guy I’d seen at breakfast this morning. This was his first day of four walking along the Pennine Way.
All done I made my way to my room to upload the photos from the last couple of days and to write up the day’s events with the football on in the background. Shame it was a draw but I guess it’s better than a loss? And no, I don’t want a post-match analysis in the comments section thank you very much!
Today’s walk is definitely up there with the hardest walks so far of this adventure, but it was an amazing walk. I cannot stress enough how spectacular the views were – you need to do this walk…end of!
Oh, and today I went over the one million step mark. Can you believe that? I’m not even half way yet so who knows how many steps the entire route will take to complete?!