Crowden Hike Peak District

A ramble from Crowden

I had limited time this weekend so petitioned my very accommodating ‘Butterley Booters‘ mates, Jenny and Taru, to keep to maybe four hours of hiking somewhere near us. A ramble from Crowden to Laddow Rocks was arranged.

Taru’s suggestion came from the ‘The Pennine Divide’ book that she has. The book comes from the ‘freedom to roam‘ series from the Ramblers (said he, glancing at the cover as he types). This particular book is by Andrew Bibby.

I hadn’t seen the book before and I’ve only had chance to flick through it but the introductory section is nicely written and the walks are really well described.

The walk Taru earmarked was Walk 7: Laddow Rocks.

This walk doesn’t take the ‘direct route’, as it were, straight from Crowden along the Pennine Way to Laddow Rocks. Instead, it diverts off up to Lad’s Leap and then heads towards Chew reservoir before circling back to Crowden via Laddow Rocks.

The book marked it as tough.. giving it four out of five boots, so ‘challenging’.

Tougher still: I missed where the route changed at one stage and we had a short but steep off-piste clumpy section a bit earlier than planned.

Map showing ramble from Crowden Laddow Rocks walk see Pennine Divide book for more details
Screen grab from the route I copied from the book into Viewranger, I’ve kept it as a private map in VR to encourage others to look at the book.

I gather from some of my (mad) fell/bog runner mates that this is a route they know well.

It was around six miles but wasn’t a quick walk.
That’s because:

(1) as a group we tend to walk rather than march and also stop for lots of taking-in of vistas. And even with marathon running, ironman competing Karl along with us we resolutely kept to a sociable walking pace 😉
(I mention those facts just to make myself sound sporty by association).

(2) the off-track section after Lad’s Leap is across rough terrain.

(3) I was taking lots of photos which always slows down any walk.

But why rush? – even though I had an eye on the clock, it was a beautiful day. Time for some shared swigs of tea and a taking in of this rugged, lovely landscape.

And that landscape felt like some of the most ‘remote’ that I have walked. None of the moors from the peak district up to and beyond Marsden (where I live) are truly ”wild’ or ‘remote*’.

They’re managed: whether for sheep farming, grouse shooting, recreation, water retention/ management etc. And you can often hear the distant white noise of an A road (or motorway) in some parts. But the section just short of the Chew reservoir above Lad’s Leap was really quiet (bird life aside).

In wetter, boggier conditions the section from Lad’s Leap across to the eastern end (ish) of Chew Res would have been really, really slow going. Some of the cloughs and peat channels are five or six foot or more deep.. lots of trudging up and down.

But we had a bright dry day and it was fantastic to yomp under fresh blue skies with great company.

It gave my legs a great stretch for my upcoming (next week) trip to Harris and Lewis. We didn’t see any eagles or seals on this walk (that’s me wishing/planning ahead) but a lot of grouse. And sheep. And a couple of pheasants. And a brown hare (back in the Crowden car park, still counts though).

photograph of a section of the ramble from Crowden to Laddow Rocks circular walk
Taru and Karl.. Karl’s hat demonstrates how bright but chilly it was to start with.
photograph of a section of the ramble from Crowden to Laddow Rocks circular walk
One of the many grouse that broke cover along the walk.
photograph of a section of the ramble from Crowden to Laddow Rocks circular walk
I’m not sure what this bird is? I thought Thrush but not sure.
photograph of a section of the ramble from Crowden to Laddow Rocks circular walk
Scout having a splash up above Lad’s Leap.
photograph of a section of the ramble from Crowden to Laddow Rocks circular walk
Jenny catching me catching her
photograph of a section of the Crowden to Laddow Rocks circular walk
A Grouse running for cover just before it started its grouse shout as it took flight
photograph of a section of the ramble from Crowden to Laddow Rocks circular walk
We stopped for a cuppa at the ‘anonymous trig’.
photograph of a section of the ramble from Crowden to Laddow Rocks circular walk
A mountain biker deciding not to ride down the path above Laddow Rocks. From what I gathered (overhearing him and a mate chatting) someone sadly plunged off the rocks in this area a year or so back. It was an accident of a different sort (climbing) back in the 30’s (I think?) that gave rise to the modern Mountain Rescue service.
photograph of a section of the ramble from Crowden to Laddow Rocks circular walk
Karl looking down the Crowden Cough valley with Laddow Rocks behind and to the left. (panograph)
photograph of a section of the ramble from Crowden to Laddow Rocks circular walk
Taru and Karl leading the way down the Pennine Way to Crowden.
photograph of a section of the ramble from Crowden to Laddow Rocks circular walk
Taru looking every bit a mountain walker.
photograph of a section of the ramble from Crowden to Laddow Rocks circular walk
Brodie waiting for me to take yet another photo. I say waiting, she’s nearly always on a lead on the hills (especially in sheep country) so no choice, sorry dog.
photograph of a section of the Crowden to Laddow Rocks circular walk
Pheasant racing us down to Crowden
photograph of a section of the Crowden to Laddow Rocks circular walk
One of many wary sheep keeping an eye on us (the dogs) and guarding their lambs
photograph of a section of the Crowden to Laddow Rocks circular walk
Not so much wary as challenging.

(* disclaimer: they can be wild of course, I was making a point. You need to know where  you are when you’re ‘on th’hills’: have a map and compass, book/guide and /or GPS app/device with you when you hit the hills).

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