We have another new scrambling route from the Peak District that has not yet been published. Cicerone author Terry Sleaford recently discovered the Cloughs route and we couldn’t wait until the new edition of Scrambles in the Dark Peak to share it with you.
Start/Finish Car park near railway bridge between Barber Booth and Upper Booth, SK 107 847
Height gain 220m
Grade and rating 1/2 (summer and winter)
An excellent route, containing several waterfalls and a steep rock wall towards the top. The tallest waterfall can be quite tricky to surmount, so including this and taking the steep rock wall direct would promote the route to Grade 2 for the complete ascent. Somewhat green and vegetated in its lower section, things soon improve and there is a lot of clean water-washed gritstone higher up.
Park in the car park situated just past the railway bridge on the road between Barber Booth and Upper Booth. Walk up the road to Upper Booth, cross a bridge and continue on the narrower road (SK 102 853) that leads northwest into the valley of the River Noe. The road eventually passes through a couple of gates and becomes the Jacob’s Ladder footpath onto the Kinder Scout plateau.
Follow this path for about 1km to a packhorse bridge. Cross the bridge and take the smaller path leading off to the right to the side of the river. Follow the path along the left-hand bank for a short distance before crossing the river and continuing to a small cascade where a side stream joins from the right (SK 087 864, two small trees mark the spot). The route takes the line of this side stream.
Continue along the banks of the side stream for a short distance by means of a vague path, eventually reaching a small waterfall. This can be green and greasy but can be climbed on the right with a step left at the top (or avoided by taking to the grass and heather slopes on the right). Continue to a drier level area, which leads to another waterfall, climbed most easily on the right. Now follow a series of shallow cascades to a larger waterfall, made up of three short rock steps. Begin by climbing on the right of the shallow pool that lies beneath the waterfall then pick a line to suit to the top.
A short level section now leads to a bigger and steeper waterfall. The main wall is rather green when wet, so a step up on the left followed by an awkward move above (Grade 2) gives access to good holds over the top. In drier conditions this all feels more secure, but the waterfall can be avoided by taking a circuitous detour on the left-hand bank to get above it. Another section of easy angled rock steps and cascades leads via large boulders to a steep, but broken, rock wall.
Climb the knobbly rocks at the bottom to reach a good ledge below a crack in the wall above. This has an awkward move (Grade 2) after an initial step up, but there are handholds in the crack and above to the right. Alternatively, choose a detour over the blocks to the right.
Now work through the blocks above to reach a pleasant easy-angled rocky ramp that leads to another level section. Follow this to climb a short rock wall and then continue for some distance over rock steps and gritstone pavement to reach the path that runs along the southern edge of the Kinder Scout plateau. The Noe Stool (SK 083 869) can be seen a short distance over to the left (west).
The easiest and shortest option for a return to the car is to follow the path to the south-west to join the Pennine Way (SK 079 864) near the top of the Jacob’s Ladder path and descend this path eastwards (SK 081 862) to reverse the outward route back to Upper Booth and on to the car park.
Follow the plateau path eastwards to the top of Crowden Clough (SK 094 872) and descend this (reversing Route 34) back to Upper Booth and the car park.
Follow the path eastwards passing the top of Crowden Clough to reach the top of Grindsbrook Clough (SK 106 876) and descend the ravine back into the valley (reversing Route 35) to return to the start point by means of the re-routed Pennine Way which runs between Grindsbrook Booth (SK 123 859) and Upper Booth (SK 103 854).
Terry would also like to give thanks to Andrew Deacon who alerted him to this route.