Sunday 6 November 2011

Bleaklow in the Sunshine

Distance: 8km; Ascent: 130m; with Lynsey & Isabel

After a very misty start to the day, it was bright and sunny as we set off walking north along the Pennine Way from the top of Snake Pass at around 10:15am.  It was a little bit windy, but otherwise a fine day, so we had decided to head for Bleaklow Head this morning with Isabel on my back.

Higher Shelf Stones across tarn from Snake Pass
Hope Woodlands Moor
The wide path headed in pretty much a straight line across the moorland before dropping ever so slightly to cross the Doctor's Gate path.  Soon we started heading through peat hags, which whilst they limited the views, they did provide some welcome shelter from the northerly wind.

Pennine Way through the peat hags
After crossing another more open area of moorland, we dropped down into Hern Clough, which we followed almost all the way to the summit.  The path hugged the small peaty stream for around the next kilometre, crossing it several times.  It was relatively warm for the the time of year down in the clough, out of the wind, and we eyed up several possible spots to stop for lunch on the way back down.

In Hern Clough
We reached the large cairn, complete with stake, on Bleaklow head at around 11:45am, which was Isabel's first 2000ft peak.  Having seen hardly anyone else for the last hour or so, we met several small groups of walkers on the summit in the space of 5-10 minutes, some of whom mistook me for a Pennine Way backpacker due to the size of my rucksack!

Bleaklow Head cairn
After taking a few photos, we turned around and began retracing our steps.  Around half an hour after leaving the summit we stopped for a leisurely lunch break in the shelter of Hern Clough.  After lunch we continued down Hern Clough, admiring the views out over the moors to the east, before climbing ever so slightly up to Alport Low.

On Alport Low
Soon we could pick out the row of cars parked at the top of the Snake, so we knew we didn't have too much further to go.  After passing through a final area of peat hags, the path headed across the open moor heading for the road, with good views over the surrounding moors and across to Manchester in the distance.  We reached the car at around 1:30pm after a very pleasant sunny moorland walk.

Shelf Moor and Gathering Hill from the Pennine Way

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