Sunday, 17 March 2013

A rather bleak bimble on Bleaklow...Well, almost.

Towards a mist shrouded Bleaklow, over Hope Woodlands Moor.
So; an impromptu, spur of the moment walk isn't always the best idea. Maybe that's a little harsh. We did have a good day after all, and the views were great. We had arranged to go for the walk on Friday at the beginning of the week, but a cold for Matt and bad back for Phil meant that we decided to call it off on Thursday evening. Despite my disappointment, Phil got in touch on Friday morning; eager to get out...

The thing was, we were already a few hours behind and the weather made navigation very difficult once we got up to the moors. Having not been to the area before, we had a fantastic time taking in the views of Crooked Clough, and all those that stem out from it. Following Doctor's Gate path from Mossy Lea Farm, there are quite a few.

On the tops of the moors, there was still snow around, as there was in the valley also. But all through our ascent of Doctors Gate, the low cloud and fog was ever present and shrouded the Higher and Lower Shelf Stones, and Bleaklow Head itself. The wind and rain was relentless too, often turning into ridiculous levels of hail.

Phil was determined to get to the trig point at the Shelf Stones and see the wreckage of the Superfortress bomber. It could have been achieved after getting to Hern Stones and taking a bearing with map and compass, but failing light and what seemed to be ever thickening fog; deemed it a bad idea. Matt had gotten pretty worn out, still suffering from the after effects of having had flu earlier in the week, so we decided to head back down the Pennine Way to the A57 and walked back into Glossop along the road. Perhaps a bad idea to some, but as it soon got dark - we didn't feel that way at having left behind the scenes cast over Bleaklow that we would have had to plod on through to get back to our starting point.

Sometimes, it is a wiser idea to turn back than venture on. We had forgotten any feelings of disappointment pretty sharply after we had sat down in our regular after-walk pub in Ashbourne.

Ill leave this post with some pictures from the day.

The beginning of what leads to Doctor's Gate Path, which eventually crosses roads with The Pennine Way.
It's quite a long path, and leads all the way to Hope.
The route is pretty simple up to the moors, following Shelf Brook.
The blanket of thick fog only thickened throughout the day.
The amount of snow still left around deepened as we climbed higher.
The point at which Doctor's Gate intersects the Pennine Way.
Heading up the Pennine Way towards Bleaklow.
The northern edge of the Kinder Plateau in the distance, and the woodlands at the start of Woodlands Valley.
The weather and visibility soon worsened. If I were on my own, I may have continued but didn't expect the guys to.
I don't care what anyone says, map and compass skills are needed for hill walking.
As we neared the Snake Pass, a bit of blue sky broke the cloud.
Bleaklow remained encapsulated, though.