Cicerone author Terry Sleaford of Scrambles in the Dark Peak has been out and about in the Peak District and has discovered some new routes. Instead of waiting for the next edition, here’s a sneak peek.
Ashway Gap Gully
Start/Finish Binn Green car park, SE 018 044 (or alternative)
Height gain 75m
Grade and rating 1 (summer and winter)
The route is situated high up in Ashway Gap and follows the narrow watercourse joining the main stream from the left as shown on the map. It is much better than it looks from immediately below and could be used as a shorter return route when completing the suggested reservoir paths extension in Route 1 (Rimmon Pit Clough, etc).
The shortest approach is to park in Binn Green car park and follow the path down to and across the Yeoman Hey Reservoir dam wall to the gate at the bottom of Ashway Gap (SE 023 043). A path leads easily uphill from here alongside the water channel to a footbridge (SE 027 043).
Cross the bridge and go a few metres straight ahead to a stile on the left. Cross the stile and walk up the right-hand bank of the stream until forced onto the left-hand bank. Depending on the level of water, following the streambed provides an entertaining approach with several cascades and rock steps.
There is also parking below the dam wall of Dove Stone Reservoir (SE 013 036), which gives a longer walk in on the reservoir path to the start of the route, but a less strenuous return to the car at the end of the day if completing any of the suggested links or extensions to this route.
Continue to follow the line of the stream uphill for about 400m, eventually passing beneath steep broken rock buttresses above the right-hand bank. The route begins on the left-hand bank, just before the end of these buttresses, at what looks like an unpromising jumble of rocks jutting out from the grass at the bottom of a narrow watercourse (approximately SE 030 041). As a ‘marker’, from here you should be able to see a group of large slabs leaning into the right-hand bank further up the main streambed.
Once above the initial steps the rock becomes more continuous and leads easily to a level section. The line above is obvious and somewhat steeper, but the rock here is beautifully water-washed and leads without difficulty to the top. A descent of the main stream to return down Ashway Gap and on to the car park is possible, but the rocks in the top end of the streambed are very greasy when wet so great care should be taken if choosing to do this. Some fun can be had on the way down by stopping to climb the biggest of the slabs mentioned above.
A full ascent of the main stream, ignoring the scramble, is also an entertaining way to reach the moorland at the top providing water levels allow it.
As mentioned above, this route can provide an alternative (shorter) return for Route 1 if following the reservoir paths extension mentioned there, but it also works in reverse – from the top of the gully follow the path along the edge of the moor northwards to Raven Stones (SE 036 048) and the Trinnacle, continue around the top of the crag and descend carefully into Birchen Clough. Scramble down the clough to join the path (SE 037 050) and follow this around Greenfield Reservoir and then southwards past Yeoman Hey Reservoir back to Binn Green car park.
Head south along the moor edge path, passing Dean Rocks (SE 027 039) and Bramleys Cot (SE 026 035), to reach the top of Charnel Clough (Route 4). Descend this and follow Chew Road back to the car park at the dam wall, or continue around Dove Stone Reservoir to reach the Binn Green car park.
To ascend one of the Wilderness Gullies (Routes 5 – 9), follow Link A, but go past the top of Charnel Clough and just before reaching Dish Stone Rocks (SE 029 018) descend the slope to Chew Road. The Wilderness Gullies are opposite and can now be reached by a further descent from the road to cross Chew Brook. From the top of any of these gullies walk eastwards to Chew Reservoir and descend Chew Road to return to the car parks as for Link A.
Maximise the scrambling by combining Link A and B – descend Charnel Clough and then walk up Chew Road to ascend one of the Wilderness Gullies. Return to the car park as for Link B.