Saturday 8 March
Having arrived at the Snake Pass Inn in Friday’s late afternoon sunshine, and having spent the evening inside indulging in much chatting, we headed back outside sometime after 11pm to find the skies still clear and a thick frost adorning Colin. It looked promising for another lovely day on Saturday.
Alas, it wasn’t to be. The day started overcast and the clouds descended before they lifted, so it was a bit of a grey, murky, mizzly one as the group (sorry, didn’t do a headcount, so can’t say how many of us there were) set out from the car park and chatted our way along Lady Clough, thence along Doctor’s Gate Culvert to Doctor’s Gate.
An amount of height was lost as we headed a way down Doctor’s Gate, until Graham (who had planned the route for this walk) called a halt at a nice sheltered spot (that wind was blowing again; 45mph was the highest reading I caught) for lunch. Finally, the clouds were starting to lift and break, with a hint that we may see a nicer afternoon.
It was then a touch of off-piste as we headed up a gulley:
It was up here where we found the first evidence of the theme of this walk – Peak District aircraft crash sites. This one was a C47 Skytrain (Dakota), which came down in July 1945. (Click the link for more information; I’m afraid I’m too lazy to reproduce any of the details here.)
A few minor obstacles had to be negotiated on the way up:
And various other bits of wreckage were seen before we levelled out at the top of the climb, just a few paces away from the crash-site itself.
With the cloud having lifted, there were finally some views to be seen, even if they were a bit muted, as we paused waiting for everyone to regroup:
The next point of interest on the agenda was the site of a Lancaster which came down in May 1945, but with little wreckage remaining, it is the memorial stone which is most notable at this spot.
Staggering gently in the wind, over to the trig point at Higher Shelf Stones, a short way from where was wreckage far more extensive than I would have considered possible after 65 years. This one was a B29 Superfortress which met its end in November 1948.
As you may gather from this snap, the day wasn’t a warm one; everyone was well wrapped up!
Following the trail of debris for a while, east was our direction to pick up the Pennine Way, enjoying some good Challenge training through peat hags on our way.
A hop and a skip took us from there back to Doctor’s Gate, where we had the choice of adding another four miles onto the day by heading over to Mill Hill (with the option of taking in another two crash sites) or heading straight back via our outward route. Unusually, we chose the latter and spent the extra couple of hours drinking tea in Colin, happy with the 9.25 miles we had walked (with around 1800’ of ascent).
Thanks go to Graham for planning a such a good route, the main circuit of which looks like this. I would happily go and walk it again (albeit preferably under blue skies!):
Even if you haven’t clicked on any of the other links in this post, I would recommend that you just take a quick look at the full list of Peak District aircraft crash sites. My mind certainly boggled that there are so many.