Thursday, 14 April 2016


Bit of a tough choice for this week. I'm waiting for a couple of important phone calls which means we need to walk where there is a half-decent signal (no way are we giving up a walk!), and it is also my 'birthday walk' so I don't want to walk anywhere too dull. Added to the mix is also that we are in the midst of the Easter break which means many more people out and about.

In the end we decide on a walk that we haven't done in a while, taking us onto Curbar Edge and White Edge - or the snake walk as we remember it since last time we were hereabouts we were startled by an adder! This time we will do it in reverse, and get the snakes out of the way.

At least it is sunny this morning, a bonus since the weather is so variable at this time of year and we have already had our fair share of rain, and we park in one of the small bays beneath Curbar Edge and away from the main Pay and Display car park which is already filling up with visitors.

We are soon sorted and cross the road before heading uphill. PC stops almost immediately to take the first photo of the day over the valley and towards Bakewell.

And we are only a few yards up the road when PC spots a carving
in one of the stones at the roadside. It looks like Hebrews
7 25, though it isn't that clear on the photo due to the moss and lichen, some of which we cleared away to see better. It is surprising that we have never spotted this before despite walking up and down here many times over the years.

 We continue up the road, wary of the cars on this narrow winding stretch, and manage to get onto the narrow verge path.  The car park is certainly getting busier now but most people are heading for Curbar Edge first, so we bypass them and go through the gate adjacent to the road to take us onto the access land.

Here it is relatively quiet as we follow the broad swathe of a path as it sweeps around the drystone wall and starts to go downhill. As we approach Sandyford Brook in the dip we are confronted by a quagmire. It is always a bit muddy here but the recent rains have made it particularly unpleasant. Nevertheless, we pick our way across the sludge and manage to avoid the worst of it. On the far side we ascend without slipping back down again, quite a feat.

At the top of the slope there is a sign at the corner of the drystone wall, but we know our way and turn left, walking up the eroded path to the top which is blissfully dry. We pause to enjoy the views westward.
A small group of people are a little way in front of us, they hadn't walked up the same way as us but appear to have come along the vague path linking this side of the road with the bridleway at Jack Flat, so we wait a while to let them get out of the way.
It is a bit unusual to see many people on this higher path, most stick to the Curbar Edge, but it appears that today we'll be seeing a lot of holidaymakers as well as local walkers.

We walk around the large boulders and see the trig point off to our right. We don't bother walking up to it, this part of the moor is soggy again, and there is another group of walkers wandering around is a slightly absent-minded fashion.
It is a straight, easy walk along here as the path gradually segues into White Edge. The boulders are rugged and very enticing, so we stop for a while for a cup of coffee and a chat, although we haven't actually stopped talking since we set off!

The flattened rock we sit on has lovely medallions of lichen growing on it.

Post coffee break and we are off again, continuing along White Edge. Sadly, by now, the sun has gone and a fair breeze has struck up. It hasn't stopped the walkers, though, who are out in droves. We have never, in years of walking around here, seen so many people on this usually ignored Edge.

It is surprising, too, how many of them don't bother to keep their dogs on a lead - and not many of those dogs are well trained (nor are their owners). Clearly the 'All Dogs on Leads' signs don't mean them! Mollie, however, is on her long lead and behaving beautifully.
We are debating how far we'll take the walk. We're tempted to continue to the end of the edge, then drop down to the road near the Grouse Inn, walk along the road then rejoin Curbar Edge at the Froggatt Edge end. The drawbacks, though, are Mollie's fear of heavy traffic and that we know the route down is very muddy at the best of times. And we are getting hungry.

We pause to take a photo of four trees perfectly silhouetted on the horizon, then find a huge rock outcrop to sit beneath. Not only does it shelter us from the path and the wind, it also provides shelter from the few spots of rain that want to ruin lunch.

PC has brought a celebratory (mini) bottle of fizz and proper glasses to drink it out of. A superb treat. As are the buns (the sandwiches, honestly, don't merit a mention). Wonderfully rich and moreish chocolate cheescakes. Mmmm. They taste so good that we don't even care how many calories they have. Followed by coffee we have to agree that it was a superb lunch, and that we are much too full to bother walking all the way around. We shall return, partly, the way we came and cross over to Curbar Edge at some point.

We head off back and just as we are looking for the path off of White Edge I get the first of my phone calls. All is going according to plan. 

We find our path and descent, but the flat moor with its huge tussocks of coarse grass is also wet and muddy. We hop from tussock to tussock with a reasonable amount of agility, until I take a wrong step and, unable to halt my momentum, continue along the route I had planned, go knee deep into a bog and topple with a splat. Fontunately I'm up fairly quickly and out of the mire, but I'm now walking with a distinct squelch and look non too smart either. At least I didn't have much of an audience.

A couple of minutes later I get my second phone call, and I'm pleased it didn't come while I was fishing myself out of the mud.

Then we are up onto Curbar Edge, and the number of people here increases dramatically. We amble over to the very edge to look over.

The views are, naturally, excellent, though it is a pity that the sun has gone in. The hefty breeze is drying out my walking trousers brilliantly though.

Even looking down from here, though a little bit vertigo inducing, is a treat, and we see a partly completed millstone abandoned at the bottom of the rocks.

We continue along to the end, then through the gate onto the rubbly path taking us back down to the road and the cars. And still more people are setting out.

A few minutes and we are back at the cars. 

We weren't certain at the time, but now we have confimed it, that was our last walk of our current series. PC is off away on her boat again so won't be back until summer. Until then I hope to get out myself - but I say that every year and rarely succeed. But if I do, I'll post my walk.