Distance - 21miles
Ascent - 4019feet
Time - 7hrs 40min
Route - Ashopton Bridge - Whinstone Lee Tor - Back Tor - Lost Lad - Abbey Brook - Margery Hill - Cut Gate - Slippery Stones - Lower Small Clough - River Westend - Alport Castles - Rowlee Pasture - Ashopton Bridge
Today’s walk was a high level ridge walk, all the way around the Ladybower Reservoir. I maintained the highest route possible throughout the walk. We parked our cars in the lay by on Ashopton Bridge. There is plenty of parking but at weekends it quickly fills up so we started the walk just after 8am. We had a gentle start to the walk, going through the woodland to the first ascent of the day. This was Whinstone Lee Tor, it is only a short climb but steep and really get 's the legs working and warms you up. From here the views over the Ladybower and surrounding hills are fantastic.
The weather seems to be holding out at the minute but the weather forecast had given showers so we weren’t holding our breath. We followed the well-marked path along Derwent Edge to the trig point at Back Tor, passing the rock formation of Wheel Stones and Salt Cellar and many more. I really enjoyed the start of the walk and the pace was really fast, with the dogs pulling us along we quickly arrived on Lost Lad were we had to take the path leading down into Abbey Brook losing all are height for the first time. It’s a cracking little valley with a couple of nice wild camping spots.
As soon as we had descended it was time to climb again up onto Howden Edge, it’s a tough pathless way up but it’s a cracking way to ascend giving you a feeling of isolation. Just after we had gained the height we picked up the path running along the edge. With all of the rain we had it was a very boggy section to Margery Hill then the well-defined path of Cut Gate.
With firm ground under our feet we increased the pace, descending to Slippery Stones. Following the River Derwent to Lower Small Clough the sky started to darken and we could feel the first spots of rain. All of the rain over the last week made the crossing very difficult, so Warren gave up and just waded through giving us something to laugh about. We didn’t even have time to get the waterproof on before the rain came down, so hard that it soaked us through before we had chance to get them on. We pushed on as fast as we could hoping to find the bothie at the end of the Clough. We were so happy with what we saw, a great place for a dinner stop and a chance to dry off.
After dinner we geared up in full water proofs, even the dogs put their coats on as we made our way to the hardest climb of the day. No matter how many times I make the climb up to Alport Castles it still gets me how hard it is but the views are well worth the effort. The reward that was waiting for us was a very strong wind making it difficult to walk along the ridge. The wind did blow the rain clouds over with was a good thing and the sun was trying to come out.
An easy walk along Rowlee Pasture to Crook Hill it should have been straight forward however the final field before the farm was full of cows and if you’ve read my blog before you will know I don’t like cows. My fears are justified form todays antics. On opening the gate one cow spotted us straight away and headed for us but Warren said we would be ok and kept shoeing it away. This had some affect but it did keep circling us and the rest of the heard was now taking an interest in us too. Luckily they soon lost interest. So why wouldn’t this one? It continued to circle us and charged us all the way to the end of the field. A big thank you to Warren for getting me through that field, as there would be no way I would have gone through and don’t think I will ever go through one on me own.
A fantastic walk in a beautiful area of the Dark Peaks would highly recommended it.
Click here to see all the pics from the walk