Expeditions, Navigation, Guided Walks and Trekking
Sorry a rushed Blog this. Have to dash off to a wedding, so excuse the grammar;
Its difficult to believe that its Mid March, the weather is like a good June. So I took the opportunity of a warm day to grab a new route and find a new area but avoiding the three main summits in the Dark Peak (Kinder, Bleaklow and Black Hill).
Arnfield, just above Tintwistle, is about the closest area of the Peak District to most people in Greater Manchester. So by all rights it should get popular. Sunday morning there was just one parking space left next to the reservoir, si it was soon filled. Just before the hamlet of Arnfield a path sets off up onto Tintwistle Moor. This track is clearly a Land Rover shooting track, which stops before a short rise up onto the top of the moor. Then it follows an old pipe-way to an abandoned pond, marked as a reservoir on the map. Contouring around to a fenced-off area of woodland will bring one to the cairn marking the very small remains of the three RAF Hurricane’s which crashed into the hillside in 1945.
Further to the west from here is also the remains of a Lancaster Bomber that crashed in 1948 onto Tintwistle Knarr. It took some finding, careful bearings and the good use of a GPS usually works. There is not much left here of the plane, it apparently burned up pretty completely, but the crew bailed out before it ran out of fuel and crashed.
Back to the path up the moor which follows the remains of another pipeline that connected springs and ponds to the reservoir below. There is also the crash site of an American Lightening that crashed in 1944 near the path. One has to wonder why there are some many crashes into this small area of the Peak, in fact there are a further couple just up over the top.
The view below is to the now busy Woodhead Pass Road up to Crowden, but up here on the edge, there is rather unexpected line of crags. First Millstone Rocks, perhaps obviously named, and on the other side of Hollins Clough is Lads Leap. They must have been some leaping lad around sometime, now it is famous for the fell race.
Now it was time to head off path again, to follow the small stream up Hollins Clough. Just as I turned into the clough I came across a group of walkers having a tea break , the first people I had seen since leaving the road. They looked a bit shocked at seeing someone up here as well, they had come onto the moor to get away from the crowds. Anyway they pointed me in the right direction up the clough, keeping to the west side and a small path soon appears. After a km, the path disappeared into the expanse that is Featherbed Moss. The cairn was on the right hand side, probably a pain to find in the mist, and Chew Reservoir appeared up front.
Earlier in the day the sounds of helicopters came from the top of Bleaklow, now it was much loader as it had moved across to Featherbed Moss. This noisy beast was shift stone from the end of the reservoir road up to the top of the moss, and the warden who guarded the path while the helicopter flew across the path, explained it was to fill in the peat erosion.Good work, but disturbing a very peaceful Sunday.
I had planned to do a long traverse of the edge above Chew Brook, but as I had spent too much time early in the day looking for crash sites I decided to take the path down Ogden Brook straight down to Arnfield. Although the track is marked from above Chew Hurdles, it tends to wander about in the peat and was soon lost in the heather. Navigation was needed to get back on track, and enjoy the splendid path down to civilisation. It joined the Pennine Bridleway just above Devils Bridge, and a delightful stroll across fields took me back to the Arnfield Hamlet and the car. The cafe at the reservoir looked busy, but I made do with the dregs from my flask.