Walked -11th March 2012. Distance 10 miles (16km). Total ascent 2368 ft (722m). Time taken 4 hours 45 minutes.
Route taken: Fairholmes car park-Lockerbrook Farm- Alport Castles- The Tower-Alport Farm-Snake Pass-Upper Ashop-Blackley Clough-Hagg Farm- Lockerbrook Farm-Fairholme car park
My jet lag from my recent trip to the West side of the USA coupled with 3 nights of interrupted sleep when I got home courtesy of my eldest son’s new Labrador pup meant that I have been feeling a bit jaded to say the least. Bramble as we call her howled through most of the first three nights. So I decided to take it easy and do a short 10 mile day trip in the Peaks.
I parked up at Fairholmes car park, before the crowds arrived, surprisingly I saw very few people all day, with most I think happy to meander around the reservoirs near the car park. It was a beautiful warm early spring day as I left the car park making my way up through a Beech wood and then a conifer plantation cloaking the hillside running down to Ladybower Reservoir.
The plantation is being gradually felled and the warm sunshine streamed into the clearings allowing glimpses of the surrounding landscape.
Clearing the forest I walked along the track towards Lockerbrook Outdoor Centre, and then up onto the moors following the easy track towards Alport Castles.
Whilst the sun shone brightly, there was a cool northerly breeze on the tops which justified wearing my Paramo 3rd element jacket with the sleeves removed and my Cioch trousers. When it was warm in the valleys and forest I could easily vent these trousers to keep cool.
I arrived at Alport Castles in time for an early lunch. This has got to be one of the gems of the Peak National Park and almost looks as if it belongs to the Western United States rather than Derbyshire, a fantastic place to spend time just sitting and staring at the view.
I passed Alport Farm and made my way down the access road turning left at the bottom onto a short stretch of footpath to emerge on the busy A57. Crossing the road quickly to avoid being mown down by the motorbikes that race along this road I dropped down the river and crossed using the shallow ford.
The track beyond led me to following a culvert until I reached Blackley Clough where I crossed the A57 again and headed up a very rough bridle path near to Haggs Farm Environmental Centre. After shutting the gate to this track, I had to jump up on to a high bank next to the track as two mountain bikers narrowly missed me as the came down the track at break neck speed. Despite nearly running me over there was scant recognition of the fact. I have increasingly found of late the dangers of walking in some areas of the country by a certain element of the mountain biking community, who seem neither to care or do not recognise other users when out biking.
The steep rough track emerges near to the Lockerbrook Activity Centre and from there I walked back through the forest to the car park at Fairholmes.
An enjoyable walk through some beautiful scenery, for large sections of the walk I saw no-one, quite surprising considering how popular the area is.