Monday, 9 March 2015

Torside Clough, how tough?

Torside Clough is a glacial formed feature to the south of Torside Reservoir with a car park only a few hundred yards away. I haven't found very much information about the clough as it appears to be less popular or just not written about to the same extent as others such as Crowden Clough. And it was also my next choice for a scramble challenge.

The clough is accessed via the Pennine Way by following the route south that climbs up onto Torside Edge. The point where you break off the Pennine Way is only a hundred feet or so up the path where you come to a cast iron sign for Bleaklow Head via the Pennine Way.


The path is an old track that initially follows the line of the land but steadily drops down towards the stream bed in the bottom of the Clough.


At this point you find the only visibly man made structure in the clough, and I presume is connected in some way to the abandoned sheepfold mentioned on the map.
Passing over the stream and looking up the clough it becomes obvious that this could get quite involving. The base of the clough is a bit of a boulder strewn maze with the occasional section that looks almost like a path.
Torside Clough has it's fair share of stone features, some looking out of place with the surrounding rocks. In particular, a rather flat slab that just didn't seem right with the rounded boulders littering the clough.
The first third or so of the clough can be as involving as you like with plenty of places to break out if you feel it is becoming overly committing.
The stepped waterslide feature is roughly my half way mark and the point in the clough where escape is becoming harder. This section is probably the most photographed area in the clough and a beautiful place to stop for a break.

After the stepped section you become more and more involved, with no chance for retreat except back down the clough.
The clough is now going through a transformation. Gone are the steady grassy, heather covered slopes, now a steep sided gully with walls of Peak District grit.
There comes a point where you are pretty much restricted to one route unless you fancy a swim. There is a rocky traverse that once done is pretty much the end of this tougher section.
You find yourself back into steadier slopes and less challenging terrain. The stream bed is accessible in places with what seems like a sheep run paralleling the stream.

Once past where the stream forks, taking the right hand fork, you will see a fence and gate across the stream. This felt like a good point to break out of the clough and up onto the Pennine Way.

The clouds were breaking and I had enjoyed another challenging scramble, probably the most testing so far.
The route back along Torside Edge provides plenty of opportunities to look down into the clough and see where you have just been. About three hours well spent.
So how difficult is Torside Clough? Nearly twenty years of martial arts has provided me with a good sense of balance, reasonable flexibility and strong legs. On the downside, a car accident left me with about 50% use of my right arm, something I have to constantly take into account when thinking of what moves to use in a given situation. I also have a moderate amount of experience at rock climbing which probably helps more than anything else. It's that part which helps me to figure out whether I should go any further or not. So that should give an idea of my capabilities.
While my walks and scrambles that I write can be used as a guide, they are my walks and scrambles, based on what I can do. So these guides should not be used literally, as your capabilities may vary considerably. I do not take responsibility for your decisions. If you are in doubt, then don't. Seeking further, hands on guidance, or  a course, may be the way to go. While the book I have regards Torside Clough as a grade 1, I feel it gets closer to but not quite a grade 2 in a couple of places.

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