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.
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.
(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).
(* 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).