Bleaklow Head - 28th April 2007
Date 28th April 2007 Description Bleaklow Head
Start Point Woodhead Tunnel CP Peaks Climbed Bleaklow Head 633m
Total Time 5hrs 25min    
Walking Time 4hrs 20min    
Stopped Time 1hrs 05min    
Distance 11.20 miles    
Moving Average 2.6 mph    
Elevation at Start 282 metres Temperature 19°C to 21°C
Total Ascent 610 metres Weather Sunny - Windy on Descent
Max Elevation 633 metres Walking With On Own

Woodhead Tunnel Car Park - Near Black Clough - Bleaklow Head - Wain Stones - Pennine Way - Wildboar Grain - John Track Well - Clough Edge - Reaps - Longdendale Trail / Trans Pennine Trail - Woodhead Tunnel Car Park

It was another Iovely sunny and warm day. I had to make the most of the weather and head up onto the moors today. I intended to complete this walk last week but other events took over.

Starting from the Woodhead Tunnel Car Park (on the Longdendale Trail) I headed across the footbridge and followed the River Etherow for a short distance to Near Black Clough. A large proportion of the walk would be following the stream which flows through Near Black Clough up to near the summit of Bleaklow Head. For much of the way there is no clear path and one has to decide where to tread. The higher one goes through the clough the better the scenery. On a day when the stream is not flowing fast and deep it is possible to walk through some of the cloughs length in the stream bed. Otherwise it means crossing the stream from side to side on numerous occasions. There are several lovely waterfalls and cascades through the clough and on two or more occasions a short scramble is necessary to ascend to he top.

Once one reaches the top of the clough the stream becomes dry and the peat landscape comes into view. The path heads for a stile over a fence then turns towards Bleaklow Head summit. I could see the summit very clearly today. The very large cairn which marks the summit of Bleaklow Head has a tall straight post in it's centre. The last time I visited this area in 2005 the post was lying down on the cairn. At the summit today was a gentleman who was "sunbathing" on the cairn.

After a short rest I continued on to the Wain Stones (as seen in many guide books). I then retraced my steps back to Bleaklow Head summit and then followed the Pennine Way towards Longdendale. The Pennine Way descends via Wildboar Grain to John Track Well. I met two walkers here who had walked from the Snake Pass road. We had a short discussion on mountains with direct ascent at the beginning of a walk (this included Tryfan in Snowdonia).

Eventually the path goes along Clough Edge following Torside Clough (which is now a long way below). At this point it was very windy and it was difficult to keep a straight line. The scenery from Clough Edge and all the way down to Reaps are absolutely fantastic with views to Torside and Woodhead Reservoirs and Black Hill in the distance.

I left the Pennine Way just after Reaps to join the Longdendale / Trans Pennine Trail. I followed the trail back to Woodhead Tunnel passing Torside and Woodhead Reservoirs. Whereas Torside Reservoir was drained absolutely dry Woodhead Reservoir was a lovely deep blue!! The Woodhead Station and Tunnel were at the end of the walk - only a few paces away from my car. The railway through Longdendale started in 1839 and completed in 1845 provided the first rail link between Manchester and Sheffield. The building of the 3 mile long Woodhead Tunnel to carry the line (the first opened in 1845 and a second in 1852) caused much misery and loss of life among the 1,500 'navvies' (workers hired to build the tunnels). A new larger tunnel replaced the two single tunnels in 1954. The railway was finally closed to traffic in 1981.

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Reference Books Used

Dark Peak Hikes Off The Beaten Track by Doug Brown (Sigma Leisure)
Maps Used
OL1 Explorer - The Peak District (Dark Peak Area)
River Etherow near start of walk
Woods at start of Near Black Clough
Peaty water of Near Black Clough
Boulders in Near Black Clough
Path alongsige Near Black Clough
First of the many waterfalls and cascades
Waterfall in Near Black Clough
Another waterfall in Near Black Clough
One of the many waterfalls to scramble up
Near Black Clough cascade
Near Black Clough with Black Hill in distance
Further up Near Black Clough
Near Black Clough waterfall
Clear water in Near Black Clough
Clear water in Near Black Clough
Nearing the top of Near Black Clough
A dry stream bed of Near Black Clough
A Bleaklow peat scene
Black Hill in distance from Bleaklow Head
Bleaklow Head Summit Cairn
Wain Stones
Wain Stones
Wain Stones
Returning to Bleaklow Head
Bleaklow Head Summit Cairn with "sunbather"
Bleaklow Head Summit Cairn
Pennine Way path from Bleaklow Head
Pennine Way path on Bleaklow
Pennine Way path on Bleaklow
Wildboar Grain at John Track Well
Wildboar Grain
Pennine Way path near Wildboar Grain
Path at Wildboar Grain
Torside Clough from Clough Edge
Torside Reservoir & Black Hill
Black Hill & Torside Naze
Looking down into Torside Clough
Torside & Woodhead Reservoirs & Black Hill
Torside & Woodhead Reservoirs & Black Hill
Black Hill in distance from Reaps Bent
Black Hill & Torside Res from Reaps Bent
Black Hill & Reaps from Reaps Bent
Longdendale / Trans Pennine Trail
Longdendale / Trans Pennine Trail
Longdendale / Trans Pennine Trail
Longdendale / Trans Pennine Trail
Longdendale Trail near Woodhead Reservoir
Woodhead Reservoir & Pikenaze Hill
Woodhead Reservoir through the blossom
Woodhead Reservoir & Bridge
Woodhead Station
Woodhead Tunnel entrance

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