To Edale and Back; via Chapel Gate, The Roych, South Head & Edale Cross.
Clear but cold the forecast promised, a good day to test out my new Buffalo perhaps? What with this potentially being the last of our winter weather I gave it a go anyway.
I arrived just in time at the station and took the usual train out from Sheffield to Edale, (09:14). It wasn’t as busy as I’d have thought it would be, what with the forecast being what it was.
I’d made rudimentary plans to do this route a few weeks ago, but work and other engagements had me put it off. However now there’s an extended version of this route here. From Edale station I would take a path heading to Barber Booth, from out of the back of platform 1. The path crosses the railway line twice, once heading north’ish when reaching Shaw Wood Farm, and once heading south just as you reach Barber Booth. The connecting path and stile/gate between the bridge and the path at Shaw Wood Farm is annoyingly concealed. It exists in a little driveway that otherwise says ‘No Entry’ on a gate at it’s end and should you not notice it, you will have to walk the long way round as I did.
From Barber Booth, I took up the main road and turned right, towards Upper Booth, and after around 200m the path upwards to Chapel Gate occurs on the left.
Approaching Manor House Farm the ground became increasingly saturated with some lovely ankle-deep sections, a feature that would correlate well with all ventures off the main bridleway today, though it was only a short way until I picked up the gravel path that would take me upwards towards Rushup Edge.
I saw a couple of groups both starting and finishing the tussocky slog over Brown Knoll, not for me thanks! I instead continued towards Rushup Edge and took the descending path south-eastwards towards Chapel-en-le-Frith, before taking up the Pennine Bridleway opposite the entrance to Rushup Hall.
Between Rushup Edge and the elevated section after the Tom Moor Plantation, the path has been devastated by prior 4×4 action. There has been some work towards the latter end but I can’t help but agree with the National Park’s decision to ban motorised vehicles from this area.
As I reached The Roych the sinuous path wound it’s way round, first to the north-east then to the west whilst it first lost, then gained altitude. In between these two points, I stopped for a rest and also for lunch.
The weather was fine, too fine really. The sun was pretty much unhindered and this made it considerably warmer than forecast. Definitely NOT a day for the Special 6 it turns out! I should have gone for layers.
Anyhow, the area around The Roych is quite lovely actually, the path is a well-maintained bridleway and the demeanour is ‘typical’ Peak District, with it’s sweeping farmland, steep cloughs and overlapping horizons.
My real surprise came when I popped up beside South Head and took the path alongside Dimpus Clough. On the east side of me, Mount Famine rises, then falls ridge-like towards Coldwell Clough and Hayfield, (this looks like a decent future route to perhaps join Castleton and Edale). On the west side of me, you have the humongous lump that is Brown Knoll, with glimpses out towards Pym Chair and Crowden Tower. and to the north, (‘ish), of me was the towering Kinder massif.
My path dropped down and crossed the River Sett, just west of South Head Farm. As you cross the river you enter a sheep feeding area that is literally ankle-deep in ex-sheep food. I found this out the hard way, (there’s little in the way of options to get across this bit), and had to have a bit of a wash in the bottom of Oaken Clough.
At this point, at least for me, the path became a little unclear. I followed the mapped and sign-posted route up the hill, along Oaken Clough up until the point at which it doubles-back upon itself. Either I went too far, or this section of path is considerably overgrown and unused. As I ended up bog-trotting for a while until reaching the path leading to Edale Cross. I’ll pay more attention next time.
The path from here is easy going once you hit Edale Cross itself, pretty much just descending towards Jacob’s Ladder and beyond, along the Pennine Way.
The sun was just beginning to set as I hit the bottom of Jacob’s Ladder, casting an increasingly dusky glow on Back Tor and Lose Hill. It was around this point I saw the most people all day, many of them actually heading upwards, probably to take advantage of the lovely photographic conditions. Perhaps I should start doing that more this year, a belated new years resolution. Perhaps.
As usual, a pint in the Rambler Inn, and the train home from whence I began. A good day, enlightening and certainly spring-like.