The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Back to Glossop (Again)

Friday 4 November

Distance: 13.25 miles

Weather: A bit of rain, a bit of sunshine but mainly just cloudy.

Friday didn’t get off to the best of starts when, within two minutes of emerging from my sleeping bag, I upset the stove and dumped a whole pot of water onto my gear inside of the tent. The water may have been inconvenient, but at least the stove landed such that it narrowly missed setting fire to anything; that really would have been a bad start to the day.

Over breakfast the rain, which had fallen for much of the night finally stopped, but camp was still a soggy, misty place when we emerged at 7.30. What you can’t see from the photo is that it was also unseasonably warm. In fact, still in my summer sleeping bag, I think it was the warmest night (out of 63) I’ve spent in a tent this year:


Having ended Thursday about a mile away from the originally planned route, and having no intention of backtracking, we started Friday with a ‘get back on track’ diversion. The diversion didn’t go entirely well either as, when we reached the point where we needed to cross the River Ashop, we found that the bridge marked on the map (and which appears to be in place on aerial photos) is now just two piers without the critical bit in between. With the water levels being high, none of us fancied the ford, so a bit of head-scratching and map-poring took place. The decision was that we would continue on the south side of the river for two miles until we could cross back just before the Snake Inn.

It turned out to be an ‘interesting’ hour or so of walking. None of the side streams proved to be difficult obstacles:


Some of those tumbling side-streams were quite pretty too:


But, of course, it wasn’t all just a simple stroll along a riverside. Some diversions up the hillside were required to find our way down to steep-sided streams, and then there were the two barbed-wire topped fences over which we had to clamber:


After the second clamber, a trod was found, which took us all the way to where we wanted to be. A trod was better than no trod, but it was deceptively strenuous walking, being very slip-slidey in its muddiness. I look happy enough to be walking it, mind:


One last stream crossing brought us to second breakfast time, which was enjoyed with a cup of tea whilst sitting on the wall-of-convenient-height that you can see on the left side of this photo:


Back on the north side of the river, into woodland we went (entering the shade at almost the exact moment that the sun finally came out). Someone had rigged up a swing in that woodland and Mick & Martin both turned to me to pose for a photo opportunity. It didn’t look the most secure swing that I’ve ever seen hanging from a tree, but they made me. That expression on my face is me trying to smile whilst being very alarmed at quite how much the string is moving along the branch.


It was as we made our way up the Snake Path (still in the sunshine, you’ll note) that we first started seeing a helicopter going back and forth between Glossop and the east end of the Kinder Plateau.


Each leg of the helicopters trip took about five minutes and it went back and forth continuously until we were out of sight of it, as we approached Glossop. On each outward leg it was carrying a skip full of something. On each return leg it was dangling the empty skip from one end. It was flying pretty low and it came quite close to us on Mill Hill – so close that we exchanged waves with the pilot. This website has lots of information as to the current regeneration project on Kinder Scout, which confirmed that the load would have either been lime or fertiliser.


A similar project on Black Hill has had very noticeable results, as shown by the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos I posted back in June last year.

As we dropped off Mill Hill I vaguely noticed something out of the corner of my eye, but didn’t think to investigate. It was Mick who spotted that it was aircraft remains, and over we popped for a look. Given how little wreckage was at this spot, I thought that Mick was guessing when he said that it was a Liberator, but it seems that he was right. It crashed in October 1944 on a delivery flight and both of the crew on board at the time survived.


The 1:25k map had suggested that there was a path running down from the Mill Hill path to the shooting cabin on Chunal Moor, and so there was. It may have been narrow and wetter than a wet thing, but it was definitely a path and it did take us down to where we wanted to be. From there we managed to stay on footpaths until nearly the centre of Glossop, from where it was just a bit of a road-walk back to our starting point.

We were later arriving back than expected, but then we had walked further than expected and with more obstacles than anticipated. All good fun though, and the trip was rounded off nicely when Pam & Paul didn’t baulk at allowing two muddy walkers (i.e. me & Mick; somehow Martin was remarkably clean!) into their house, for us to finish the trip exactly as it had begun, with tea, cake and good chat. (If you happen to read this Pam & Paul then thank you very much for your hospitality!)


  1. Ooh err, that fence crossing had me wincing, remembering the Sloman incident. Where's the titanium wire cutters when you need them?

  2. Mr. Sloman's name was mentioned before we set about clambering over the obstacles and many reminders were uttered to 'Be Careful!'. Even so, blood was shed on the second fence, but fortunately with an injury so minor that it blends in nicely amongst my 'been cutting the hawthorn hedgerow again' scratches!

  3. Wire Cutter: That's the only way I would deal with that monster.

    They are in the lid of my pack on every trip now.

    I felt quite giddy just looking at Martin in that photo.

  4. Sounds like good, wet, muddy fun! Although the fence does give me the collywobbles...

  5. That photo makes me feel giddy as well, Alan, though it felt very controlled at the time. It's fair to say we were on private land and it was entirely our decision to carefully negotiate our way over a couple of barbed fences rather than stick to the open country, thereby avoiding a hill that would have made your good self feel weak at the knees.

  6. For Alan Sloman - can you recommend the wire cutters you carry? I looked at some myself, but to cut barbed wire it seemed you needed a tool that was unacceptably heavy.

    No jokes please about my terminology!