Tuesday, 11 September 2012


For quite a few years of my youth, along with walking, I did quite a bit of rock climbing with the family at weekends. Wharncliffe Crags and Stanage in the Peak District mixed with the likes of Little Tryfan in the Ogwen Valley Wales. Unfortunately my current situation dictates that rock climbing, anything technical, is certainly out of the question. But there is one very good alternative.............scrambling.

I've looked at Grinsbrook Clough a few times on the map and read stories about the fact it can be tough, bad weather can make it dangerous etc. So this weekend I went along with a walking friend of mine and headed off up Grindsbrook to see what kind of challenge would be offered by this infamous feature.

All walks have a start and this one had it's beginnings at a car park a few hundred meters west of Whitmore Lea Farm. It's an ideal location, but it can get extremely busy here, so an early arrival can be advantageous. Heading just down the road, back the way you came for about one hundred meters and you come to a railway bridge. Passing under the bridge leads you across a small foot bridge over a stream and into the midst of a campsite.

Fortunately on the day of our attempt at Grindsbrook the weather was great, very clear, big skies. The path through the campsite heads north-west to Upper Booth where you pick up the Pennine Way. From Upper Booth it's a pleasant walk, roughly east to Edale.

The path heads over the lower regions of Broadlee Bank Tor and down into Edale. The path enters into Edal and you are faced with The Old Nags Head, the official start of the Pennine Way.

Up the side of The Old Nags Head is signposted the way to Grindsbrook. The path breaks off and down to right across another wooden foot bridge and over the Grinds Brook.

About one hundred meters on you come to a point where the path splits. To the right, and on up the hill, is a path that runs up the west side of The Nab. The path to the left, the path we needed, heads up the very scenic clough past some woods and eventually into the jaws of the beast.

This area has quite a few wooden foot bridges, some of them look amazing, a lot of thought and skill has gone into their construction.

The path working it's way up the clough is quite deceptive. You think it's not going to be too bad, but as you proceed further there is a steady increase in the level of difficulty.

As you work your way higher you start to cross different layers in the rock, with a point being reached where slate becomes a predominant feature. This layer is probably tougher than the surrounding sandstone and grit stone, so waterfalls have formed and would probably be quite dramatic in a severe downpour.

It's at this point where, if you look up the clough, you realise you might be in the jaws of the beast, but further up in the distance you can see it's teeth.

From here on it's a scramble with the occasional, very small level area, for a quick stop. The weather was very warm with the sun beating down. So a couple of water breaks on the way helped make the ascent a little easier. It also offers up the chance to chat to the other fellow walkers having a crack at Grindsbrook. It's important when I'm out walking to remember, every now and again, to look back, and take a photograph. From this point up the slope the views are fantastic, helped by the wonderfully clear conditions.

Then you look back up and see the point where the name Grindsbrook becomes more than appropriate. The teeth of the beast are more like grinders and the scrambling becomes tougher, but actually more enjoyable. There's more of a feeling of success with these tougher sections near the top.

All too soon you reach the top, and looking back, the views have stepped up a notch as well. Many parts of the Peak District are flat plateaus, but areas like this are what make the Peak District so great for walking.

From here our chosen route was to follow across Edale Edge and past the many features of this area icncluding; Crowden Tower.......

Wool Packs..........

And a strange boulder landscape, not to dissimilar to what you might imagine on another world.

Leaving Edale Head  we went north west from Noe Stool to the Trig point and Cairn at Kinder Low.

The views from here are stunning with the Manchester Metropolis in view along with Home Moss, Bleaklow and other surrounding features.

From the Trig Point we headed south for Edale Rocks with the view into the Vale of Edale opening up to allow some great photographs.

We passed Swine's Back where the crossing paths at Sheepfold can be clearly seen. I was up here earlier in the year when there was a foot of snow and it's a great place to be.

Taking a turn left and heading east down Jacob's Ladder, it may be less tiring on the way down, but tougher on the knees.

We passed the cairn on Jacob's Ladder which is looking like it's in a slight state of disrepair at the moment, probably the effects of the elements. And maybe too many stones piled on the top of it.

The walk down through the valley towards Upper Booth is very relaxing and a good point to look back at the days successes and consider the next challenge.

Through Upper Booth the road leads back down to the parking are and realisation of just how popular this are really is.

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