A walk on the boggy side – 24 hours in the Peak District

On Howden Edge- watch where you step!

With time to spare this weekend and with a view to walking fairly close to home I decided on the following route with an overnight wild camp. The weather was sunny and quite warm with a severe overnight frost and a beautiful sunrise.  The bogs so typical of this area seemed wetter than normal, months of rain probably accounting for this.

The previous weekend I had walked part of the route to look for a good wild camp site.

Haggs Fam Carpark – around Upper Derwent and Howden Reservoirs-Outer Edge- Howden Edge-1894 Stone – Swains Head- Barrow Stones-Grinah Stones-Deep Grain-Alport Moor-Alport Castles-Rowlee Pasture-Lockerbrook- Fairholme-Haggs Farm.

Saturday 20/10/12 – 15 miles (24 kms). Sunday 21/10/12 6 miles (9.7 km) – Total 21miles (33.7 kms)

In the summer months, you can take a bus from Fairholm to Kings Tree which would save  5 miles of road walking around the reservoirs, but this being October, I spent a couple of hours walking to get where the bus drops you off. A pleasant enough walk but it meant that I was to have a long first day.

Howden Reservoir looking North

After clearing the reservoirs, I took the path which bears right over the footbridge leading to Cut Gate End, turning left onto the path leading Howden Edge.  This was the start of crisscrossing to avoid the worst of the boggy ground, which was a feature of much of the walk.

Leading up to Cut Gate End

Trig Point near Outer Edge

Crow Stones

The path continues arching around the hills towards Featherbed Moss.  Whilst I walked 15 miles the first day, with all the deviations back and forth and up and down the groughs I am sure I did more.

Looking towards Bleaklow

This memorial plaque was found in one of the many groughs

As I approached the 1894 stone near Swains Head, I met up with two participants and their instructor on a navigation course. I can’t think of a better place to learn how to use a map and  compass as the bleak moors around this area. After a moment’s conversation, they darted off towards the nearby Dean Head Stones. I carried on to Swains Head, where I left the path heading directly South to the impressive Barrow Stones via the steep sided valley containing the River Derwent.

1894 Stone

This is the first time I had visited the Barrow Stones, the eroded gritstone covers a large area and I spent some time exploring the many weird and wonderful shapes.

Leaving the Stones, I headed towards the Grinah Stones about 800 metres South West and then on to my camp for the night, arriving there just before dark.

The Derwent

Barrow Stones

Grinah Stones

It had been a long day and once the tent was up, it was into the sleeping bag, water on for tea and a hot meal.  I spent the rest of my evening before sleep listening to the radio and catching up on some pod casts.

I was awake around six and as the night had been very still and cold there was ice on the inside and outside of the tent.  I fired up the stove for tea and had breakfast before venturing outside for the call of nature.  Packing away my frosty tent, I was away by ten past eight.

A frosty start to the day

Leaving my camp spot I made my way towards Alport Castles.  It was  beautifully warm in the sun shine, thawing out my frozen boots and gaiters, as I made my way over swampy land, until the dry of the slab footpath. Continuing down Rowlee Pastures, I made my way through woodland back to the car.

Alport Dale

Back through the woods to Fairholme

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25 Responses to A walk on the boggy side – 24 hours in the Peak District

  1. Some lovely photos there Mark. By, you get up early though! And how on earth do you manage to have breakfast and tea before you have to go out to answer the call of nature?! I could do with knowing that secret 🙂

    • Thanks Chrissie. Never been one for spending hours in the morning in a tent – Get up get going! Regarding the call of nature I surprised myself this morning, but maybe it was nice & warm in my sleeping bag 🙂

  2. Martin Rye says:

    Good round that and good weather too. I am in need of a walk more and more after reading that.

  3. backpackingbongos says:

    A nice route there Mark. If you were camped where I think you were camping, then its a cracking spot.

  4. AlanR says:

    You certainly had some unusually good weather. Some nice shots there.

    • Alan here on the East side of the country we had quite a number of decent weekends recently. 5 or 6 weeks in a row if my memory serves me right. I was able recently to do several weeks of outside painting in the good weather.

  5. surfnslide says:

    Cracking weekend. I was up a Derwent Edges a couple of weekends back on an equally fine day – long way behind with my blog though so you’ll have to wait a few weekends for a write up. Barrow/Grinah Stones are my favourite Bleaklow spots, some very happy memories of years gone by

    • Thanks Andy, great area to walk and for once not far from home!. I am trying to catch up on your blog. The internet speed is slower than normal here “in the sticks”, so I cannot easily read your recent posts and as they are very photo intensive, but will get to it as soon as the speed comes back up !

  6. A good read Mark, with great pics to match.

    Yesterday I had my wettest day for a long time, in the Arenig Hills of north Wales. I remember thinking that most Peak and Pennine walkers would have sneered at the idea that it was wet – those moors of the Peak are in a catagory of their own! Looks like you had a good trip.

    • Thanks Paul. Recently there has been quite a difference in the weather East to West. We have been rather fortunate of late, so nice weekends in September & October.

    • surfnslide says:

      Hi Paul – I did the Arenings this time last year, glorious blue sky day but very soggy especially the lake studded area to the south of the summit and the pass between Arenig Fawr and Moel Lyfnant. I was out in the Preseli Hills yesterday which were equally damp. I had trail shoes on – big mistake 🙂

      • Ah, but…..
        If you’re going to get wet feet anyway (as I did on my Arenig day) you might as well have light wet shoes on your feet rather than heavier wet boots 😉
        Trail shoes … The way forward? I should use mine more I think 🙂

  7. terrybnd says:

    Nice pics Mark. You know, I’ve never set foot on Bleaklow? Will have to remedy that soon. I think I was out that weekend you were in the Peaks. First cold frost I’ve encountered there this year, and then I headed off to the Hope Valley to admire the radiation fog in the valley below 🙂

    I do love Alport Dale….must head back…

  8. Diane Tibert says:

    Awesome photos. Thanks for sharing. I love the stones.

  9. Interesting account Mark. I know that area well and ran across some of it yesterday. Blog here if you want to compare. http://fellrunningguide.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/winter-coming/
    Regards, Dave

    • Nice post there Dave and some great photos. I always think the best time to travel this area is with a hard frost/snow. Frozen bogs are much easier to walk/run over. I will add your blog to my Google Reader.

      • Thanks Mark. Yes, that area of the Peak rarely dries out even in summer. Sub zero is definitely the best time to explore.
        I look forwards to reading more of your adventures. Regards, Dave

  10. Good post Mark.
    Looking in my diary It was me you met whilst I was teaching Navigation by 1894 stone. funnily enough I’ve had a few people ask about the stone recently hence me doing a bit more search and this came up.
    Ian
    http://www.everythingoutdoors.co.uk

    • Hi Ian and thanks for dropping by. Rather wet out there, but it looks like a good time you were having. Perhaps I will bump into you again sometime. I had a look at your website, perhaps I will look to do a refresher Navigation course at some stage- I am getting too reliant on my GPS!

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