This week my friend Ray and I headed up on to Bleaklow via what is perhaps one of my favourite routes in the glorious Peak District, Wildboar Clough. It really is an excellent route and if you stick to the course of the river it can become pretty challenging in wet weather. We started the day by having breakfast in Hadfield, Ray and I always like going there as it was the filming location for perhaps one of the best British comedies of all time….. The League of Gentleman. Hadfield or should I say Royston Vassey featured heavily in the series so it’s great to come back every now and then and see if we can find some more locations. Today however was about the walk, which began from the main street in Hadfield where we had manged to find a parking spot. We proceeded along the Trans Pennine Trail just as the rain arrived, paired with the wind it was rather uncomfortable walking at times but thankfully we were down in the valley at this point. The forecast had always been for it to be pretty bad early on but then improve as the day progressed. I had planned the route accordingly so we could miss out on the worst of it.
After a gentle stroll along the Trans Pennine Trail we arrived at Tor Side, the last time I was here was when I walked this section of the Pennine Way. The route up Tor Side was our foul weather alternative but as the rain had moved away we decided to go for the route we had wanted to tackle… Wildboar Clough.
Wildboar Clough is a few hundred up the track from the bottom of Tor Side Clough and is sign posted as you walk north east along the TPT (Trans Pennine Trail). We began the climb gently as the route crosses moorland until you reach a very picturesque forest. This time of year it was looking spectacular, the greens, the browns all added to the mystical look of the place.
After the forest the path rises sharply along the rivers edge as you rise upwards towards the main part (fun part) of the ascent. You criss cross the river until the path because none existent and the fun really begins. A fantastic scramble up towards your first real obstacle, The waterfall where Wildboar Clough narrows. These next few obstacles aren’t for the faint hearted, I’m no mountaineer so would perhaps advise caution if conditions are similar to what we experienced today. it was extremely slippery, the last time I came this way was in drier summer months and it was easily tackled but due to recent rains and the sheer volume of water it was pretty tricky but nothing too dangerous… naturally I have to add this disclaimer I wouldn’t want anyone heading up there and having an accident and pointing the authorities here 🙂 haha
Ray was the first one to climb up the side of the waterfall and just as he did a huge gust of wind pushed the waterfall in to reverse and inadvertently Ray’s direction, Thankfully I caught it all on video so it made it worth while :-).
The next real obstacle is another climb up a crack in the rock which again was very slippery indeed but we made it up there without any real problems. It was at this point that we decided to climb out of the clough and bypass the next test… you basically have to climb straight up the waterfall to get to the next level but there was just way too much water today and I didn’t have my swimming trunks 🙂
After climbing out of the clough we contoured along the back towards the top of the scrambling section and to where the river flows a little more gently. We rejoined and then meandered our way further up towards to summit of Bleaklow as the river got smaller and smaller. It’s at this point that the path becomes pretty vague so you just have to follow your nose, failing that a bearing on the compass to the point on the map where you reach the path that comes up Tor Side Clough.
A we approached Bleaklow Head the weather changed, we were hit by a small hail storm which was rather painful at times. Thankfully the storm was short lived, it passed along quickly and the cloud base rose slightly so we then had fantastic views over to Kinder Scout.
After a very short stop at the summit area we decided that we would head over to the B-29 Bomber Wreckage, I had visited the week before but Ray was yet to see it for himself. We followed the very rough path over while following a bearing as at times the path vanished, If you head straight for Higher Shelf Stones from Bleaklow Head then you’d struggle to miss the crash site. If you would like to view the video, read the blog post and look at more pictures from my visit to “Over Exposed” you can do so by visiting “Peak District – B-29 Bomber Wreckage & A Bothy”
After paying our respects at the crash site we made our way up to the trig point at Higher Shelf Stones, we then headed towards James’s Thorn via Lower Shelf Stones. The wind was extremely strong at this point and the relative cover of the valley floor was welcome when we reached the Doctor’s Gate Path down beside Shelf Brook. It was at this point that the route was all new to me, we continued along the road to Old Glossop which is a very picturesque little village. We then weaved our way through housing estates before climbing back up on to the Hill near the Quarry at Higher Dinting. The light was fading fast at this point and darker clouds were approaching, the weather was due to worsen as the evening arrived so it was a race against time to get back to the car. Thankfully we made it back in to Hadfield just as a heavy rain shower arrived.
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