Saturday, 26 November 2011

Glossop to Hope: A Windy Moorland Walk

Distance: 26.5km; Ascent: 770m; Solo

Martin's recent Dark Peak backpack had reminded me that I wanted to take a look at Alport Castles and today I had a free day so I decided to go for a walk past them. However I couldn't use the car today so I plotted a linear route between Glossop and Hope stations, which meant I could use the cheap GMPTE wayfarer ticket. The weather forecast last night wasn't overly inspiring with its talk of gales and rain, so I almost decided not to go! However in the end I headed out soon after 7 this morning to catch the train to Glossop.

So I found myself walking out of Glossop station at 8:30am and wandered through a housing estate, followed by a woodland and park to reach Old Glossop. After almost getting distracted by the brewery, I headed up the track that led out into open country. This was a walled track, which in places looked to have been cobbled a long time ago and in other places just headed over the natural bare gritstone slabs.  After passing through the remains of an old quarry, complete with ruined buildings, I reached the trig point on Cock Hill. This seemed an unusual place for a trig point given it wasn't anywhere near the top of a hill, but I guess it must have been needed due to the moorland nature of the terrain.

Trig point on Cock Hill
I continued to head NE for a few hundred metres on a faint path to reach Glossop Low. Here I picked up a clearer track, which headed SE and E across the moor and had been "improved" with lots of boardwalks and even some bridges over some of the peat groughs! By now the wind was reasonably strong, but no where near as strong as forecast, and it was mostly dry with the cloud above the hills.

Boardwalk and bridge amongst the peat
At Torside Clough, I met the Pennine Way briefly before continuing up the clough to reach the interesting rocks of the Wain Stones. A short stroll NE brought me to the true summit of Bleaklow on top of a grassy knoll close to a large cairn, where I met a couple of fell runners.

The Wain Stones on Bleaklow
The two competing summit cairns on Bleaklow
I headed SE from here in an attempt to pick up the path shown on the OS map but soon gave up and just headed across the open moor. After a while I did find the path, which was clear for a few hundred metres before becoming indistinct. Then I contoured round the slopes to the north of the area ominously marked on the map as "The Swamp"!  After a quick break out of the wind, I crossed a fence and picked up a faint path heading S along The Ridge. After a couple of km this disappeared in a boggy area, and it started to rain. I crossed lots of peat hags and ascended slightly to reach a trig point, raised up on a slight platform and surrounded by water.

Trig point on Westend Moor
After a few more hundred metres, the rain eased so I opted for a quick lunch break in the dry.  The path now ran above the steep slopes that dropped down into Alport Dale, which resulted in a significant increase in wind speed and it was probably now closer to the forecasted speed. The rain soon started again and I opted to only have a quick look at the impressive Alport Castles, which reminded me a bit of High Cup Nick.

Alport Dale
Alport Castles
The path was now significantly clearer and even flagged for some sections as I followed it along the ridge getting constantly buffetted by the strong wind. By now it was clear that my waterproofs needed re-proofing as they had wetted out and I was soaked to the skin in places!  Eventually I reached the path junction and descened southwards into the relative shelter of the woods near Hagg Farm.  After crossing the A57 I dropped down through more woods to cross over the River Ashop at a bridge before ascending through the woods to reach Hope Cross.

River Ashop
By now the rain had mostly stopped and I followed the Roman Road and bridleway SE before dropping down to the S, thus avoiding Win Hill itself. Eventually I reached Hope, where I picked up a take away cake before reaching the station just after 3:30pm. I was glad I had decided to go for the walk as it was still quite enjoyable despite the wind and rain!


  1. A good outing, Alistair. Have you taken to bagging trig points half way up hills? I suspect our (M+G's) route by the River Alport, past 'Grains in the Water' may have the edge over your route through 'The Swamp'!
    I find some of my better snaps are taken at this time of year, between showers - something to do with the low sun perhaps.

  2. Only if the trig point happens to be on or not far from my route. I mainly opted to go via Cock Hill because I fancied taking a route up Bleaklow that I haven't taken before.

    I stuck to the high ground just north of "The Swamp" so I couldn't comment on how wet it actually was! But having looked down into Alport Dale, I agree that your route through the dale itself was probably more pleasant than my wind blown and rain splattered route across the moorland above!

    I've added some photos and a map of my route too.

  3. All very familiar, Alistair, and a good venue for a romp in the hills even in seasonal weather. Well done!